For a full step-by-step…check out our article on how to use your i Pod with Foobar2000.
Another good alternative is either the free Standard version of Media Monkey or the Gold version which requires a license.
Personally, I'm surprised you're tech savvy enough to manage keeping the library file and music files on an external and don't mind shift-opening every single time since you can't be bothered to have a "home base" for your i Tunes library, but you are bothered by downloading 60-80 MB of data four or five times a year.
Of all the things I've ever wanted to change about i Tunes, slowing down the snail's pace of development further is not on that list.
All that isn't portable is the application itself, and that doesn't require much, a couple of gigs per machine on the outside and that updating it every few months.
The only truly portable solution I know of is Floola, you can run it right from the i Pod.
This way i could carry around the portable itunes with my itunes library and have the best of all worlds.Even with the recent release of i Tunes 10, speed and performance hasn’t been addressed in any meaningful way.We have covered some tips to make i Tunes run faster, but if you’re a geek who wants as as little to do with i Tunes as possible, we’ll look at some quality alternatives.The number of itunes updates has me simply overwhelmed.For someone who only wants itunes to be a music player and not a phone synchroniser etc, the updates are really detracting from my experience.