You might be wondering, why would some folks not want to install iTunes? Well, putting it simply, some hate it, and besides, iTunes is not available on operating systems like Linux. So what’s a penguin-and-iPod lover got to do? Thankfully, open source apps like Senuti and libraries like gtkpod/libgpod can help bridge the gap.
Unfortunately, with the introduction of the new iPods, that’s all changed. Apparently, the iTunesDB file now consists of encrypted hashes that are used for validating your music lists; this limits a lot of these third-party apps from managing the iPod’s music. Until the community figures a way around it, I guess iTunes is your answer.