Your iPod and your iTunes library are proprietary software and closed formats. They are limiting your freedom. But there’s a Free alternative.
Ogg Vorbis is an MP3/MP4 replacement. You can use it in iTunes and on music players, so it isn’t inconvenient, and unlike MP3/MP4 it is Free and doesn’t limit your freedom. It sounds good too.
To rip CDs to OGG see here: http://www.vorbis.com/software/
To listen to OGG in iTunes see here: http://xiph.org/quicktime/
To get an OGG player see here: http://wiki.xiph.org/index.php/PortablePlayers
Or to use OGG on your existing player try here: http://www.rockbox.org/