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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How to turn a spare Linux machine into a media server

How to turn a spare Linux machine into a media server

Your home hub awaits

October 4th | Tell us what you think [ 3 comments ]

When MediaTomb is running, you can add files and folders to your media collection through a web interface


Linux is brilliant at serving files. It's this ability that keeps the enterprise world turning to Linux for its heavy lifting jobs and that keeps the world Googling 24/7.

But it's just as good at serving files from a computer tucked away under the stairs or stuck in the loft, and a server in your house is now becoming an essential accessory.

Mobile phones, games consoles and even televisions are rapidly developing the ability to read, display and play files held on a media centre PC, and Linux is the perfect free software solution. All you need is a relatively low-powered PC, a decent amount of storage and somewhere safe to hide it.

1. Install the software

We've chosen to use Ubuntu Server Edition for two reasons. First, it's the same distribution that most people know and love, only optimised for use on a server. Second, you still have access to exactly the same packages and repositories as you do with with the desktop version, which makes installing and using software easy.

Skipping on down....

3. Configure MediaTomb

We're now only a couple of steps away from completion. When your machine restarts after installing all the main packages, you need to log in and type sudo apt-get install mediatomb into a terminal. This will grab the media-streaming software and install it on your system.

All you need to now is type mediatomb to run the server. Watch the output, because you should see something like the following:

2009-07-16 15:20:52 INFO: MediaTomb Web UI can be reached by following this link: 2009-07-16 15:20:52 INFO:

This is the port and the IP address for the server, and you should now be able to point a web browser on the same network at this address and use the simple user interface to add the files and folders that contain your various bits of media.

After a few moments, the media should appear on any UPnP streaming client, such as those on a Playstation 3 and XBox 360.

Go there...


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