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Old 12-27-2008, 08:29 PM   #1
Turjan
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Linux music server on specific old hardware?


Hello, I hope this topic is adequate for this forum, but it's roughly three questions in one.

I have an old PIII 450 MHz with 500 MB RAM running Win98SE with a Creative Live! Platinum sound card connected via Live! Drive and optical audio cable to my sound system to play music. I'm running out of space, and Win98SE is running out of possibilities. So I thought of replacing it with some Linux version that is slim enough to run on that old hardware with large harddisks.

My wishlist:
  • A very basic Linux version that doesn't strain the old hardware, but is compatible with my sound card.
  • It should ideally be setup as server without screen or keyboard, accessible from my other Win or Linux systems.
  • The optical output of the Live! Drive should work (I cannot use metal cables as the sound system runs on a transformer).
My understanding of Linux is quite basic. I use Mint on my main Linux machine and sometimes some RedHat derivatives at work. Nevertheless, can this work as Linux solution or do I have to buy some OS/hardware?
 
Old 12-27-2008, 10:09 PM   #2
MS3FGX
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You are a little vague about the "music server" part. What protocol are you planning to run? Are you looking to setup a basic fileserver that shares audio files to client devices, a server that can stream content via UPnP (or similar), or even a web-based jukebox?
 
Old 12-27-2008, 10:26 PM   #3
Turjan
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The basic function would be similar to how it works at the moment: Just start some music application like Exaile and use the sound system for output, but operate the computer from a different machine. I might also use something like MPD to stream music to other computers on my local network. The whole setup is not supposed to be visible from the internet. The music is mostly in flac format at the moment, but mp3 should also be usable for portable players.
 
Old 12-27-2008, 10:27 PM   #4
i92guboj
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With that hardware, you can run whatever distro you want (as long as you don't plan to run any heavy desktop).

If you are going to run headless on that box, I have a recommendation:
  • Set up MPD to serve the music. MPD has lots of clients available for linux, and several for Windows. There are also web clients. So, if you plan to use that machine as web server as well, you can use a web client and access all your music from a regular web browser from everywhere. Check here.
  • Set up ssh or ftp so you can upload more stuff to your server without needing a monitor or a keyboard attached to it, ssh will also be useful for updates and administration tasks when needed, so you can do everything remotely. You can access via ftp or ssh from linux using almost any file manager or command lines clients. For windows, you can use WinSCP to transfer files via ssh.

MPD doesn't require X to run. So you can run on text mode only, and all the ram and resources of your box will be available to serve music.
 
Old 12-28-2008, 11:43 AM   #5
Turjan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i92guboj View Post
With that hardware, you can run whatever distro you want (as long as you don't plan to run any heavy desktop).
I had Mandrake 9.2 on that machine at one point, and it was a bit sluggish. I'm not sure whether to use Xfce or, what I have never done before, just a window manager like Fluxbox.
Quote:
Originally Posted by i92guboj View Post
If you are going to run headless on that box, I have a recommendation:
  • Set up MPD to serve the music. MPD has lots of clients available for linux, and several for Windows. There are also web clients. So, if you plan to use that machine as web server as well, you can use a web client and access all your music from a regular web browser from everywhere. Check here.
  • Set up ssh or ftp so you can upload more stuff to your server without needing a monitor or a keyboard attached to it, ssh will also be useful for updates and administration tasks when needed, so you can do everything remotely. You can access via ftp or ssh from linux using almost any file manager or command lines clients. For windows, you can use WinSCP to transfer files via ssh.

MPD doesn't require X to run. So you can run on text mode only, and all the ram and resources of your box will be available to serve music.
OK, so no Xfce then. The only installation guide for setting up a headless machine that I know was with KDE, though, because of some out-of-the-box GUI remote control tools that are included. Which might be easier for me, as my knowledge of command line options has room for improvement, to put it mildly .


I might ask this in the hardware section, but does anyone here know whether the old Creative Live! Drive works under Linux nowadays?
 
Old 12-28-2008, 12:59 PM   #6
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turjan View Post
I had Mandrake 9.2 on that machine at one point, and it was a bit sluggish. I'm not sure whether to use Xfce or, what I have never done before, just a window manager like Fluxbox.

OK, so no Xfce then. The only installation guide for setting up a headless machine that I know was with KDE, though, because of some out-of-the-box GUI remote control tools that are included. Which might be easier for me, as my knowledge of command line options has room for improvement, to put it mildly .
You might need to learn a bit, but really, on such machine you don' t need X for anything. In fact, it will require extra configuration (X will refuse to start without a monitor unless you do some black magic). But really, in a machine that you are not going to interact with, what the point of having a desktop? It would only be justified if you are going to serve graphical applications via vpn or something like that.

In my opinion, it's better to free those resources so they can be used for what you need them.

No idea about the Creative stuff.
 
Old 12-28-2008, 03:52 PM   #7
MS3FGX
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Quote:
The only installation guide for setting up a headless machine that I know was with KDE, though, because of some out-of-the-box GUI remote control tools that are included.
That is a very...strange, concept, to say the least. You wouldn't need any GUI tools to setup or configure a server, all GUI tools simply pass commands to the actual daemons or edit configuration files. It isn't like Windows where the GUI is the program, under Linux (and Unix-like OSes in general) there is a clear distinction between the core operating system and the graphical user interface.

I would suggest going with Slackware or Debian, as they are going to give you a very capable and stable base to work with without any unnecessary GUI tools to confuse matters. For a beginner I might suggest Debian over Slackware, if nothing else for the fact that Debian will already have binary packages of most (if not all) of the software you will want to use, while Slackware doesn't contain packages for MPD or anything like that out of the box. Which would force you to either build them yourself, or use possibly unsafe third party packages.

As for the "Live! Drive", I have absolutely no idea what that is. But with a live CD you should be able to figure put if it is supported pretty quickly.

Last edited by MS3FGX; 12-28-2008 at 03:53 PM.
 
Old 12-28-2008, 05:14 PM   #8
Turjan
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Thanks, guys. I guess I will try my luck with a Debian or Ubuntu server then. Debian has the advantage that I already used it. I would probably use the stable release for this, as my "testing" machine broke nearly after every update, which was somewhat unpleasant.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MS3FGX View Post
As for the "Live! Drive", I have absolutely no idea what that is. But with a live CD you should be able to figure put if it is supported pretty quickly.
The "Live! Drive" is a front panel for a 5.25" slot that contains the digital outlets and the good analog outlets for the stereo. You have to somehow switch them on. But the use of a live CD is so obvious that I have no idea why I didn't get this idea myself, which is a bit embarrassing .

Thanks for the suggestions .
 
Old 12-28-2008, 05:44 PM   #9
shane25119
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There was a program a few years ago- called madman- its out of the Ubuntu repositories now... but you could run that on the win98 box... it has a streaming mode with a very spiffy web interface- keep all the music there, while playing it on whatever computer you are presently on.

But seriously, you could also just throw the win98 computer's hard drive into your present computer and keep down electrical costs.
 
  


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