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I am fairly new to Linux but have a lot of the basics down, well at least on CentOS and Debian/Ubuntu. I don't need info on how to do things but rather what I should use.Now this may be a bit much for a little Celeron @500mhz and 128mb of ram (trying to remedy that), but what would the best distro, and software packages to do the following things?
Here are what I'm looking to do:
Media server stream my music to my computers and Xbox 360. Obviously not high def
Honestly, any distro would be fine, but looking at your specifications so far, you will want a smaller distro. If you are looking for something very simple, I do recommend going either Ubuntu, DSL, etc. And wanting only those few things, that pretty much narrows it down. I recommend heading over to distrowatch.com and looking at a few distros to see what all is available. It really does come down to you though, so pick wisely, and if you need to, try a few distros out.
I have done something like that (running FTP, Samba, Apache, rsync, SSH and a pyLoad daemon, no audio-streaming) on an Atom 330 (2*1,6 GHz with Hyperthreading) and 1 GB RAM. That machine is almost always idle (serving an occasional file or syncing my Slackware repositories) and uses currently, according to free, 57MB. I am still using Debian Squeeze on that machine, standard install without GUI, since I am still to lazy to replace that with Slackware, and it is running fine with excellent uptimes (only reboots occur when there is a security patch for the kernel).
If you're reasonably comfortable with Centos, that would still work.
You just need to choose the custom install option, ie no GUI, & only select the bare minimum of pkgs you need for the services you want.
Remember, after the initial install you can always turn off unwanted services and/or install new stuff.
Pardon me if I'm off the mark here (and I don't know anything about the XBox, though I have sons who do), but to stream media files, you don't really need any special server software on the file server.
You can point to the file across the network and pull it into your player.
I'm lazy. I use a file manager to connect to my server, then open the file into VLC or some other player.
Basically, all you need is to configure Samba to your liking, which is included in most distros.