Which Linux distribution?

General discussion about the media server. Feature requests. Hints, tips and tricks.
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sandyc
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Which Linux distribution?

Post by sandyc » Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:09 pm

Hi

I'm building myself a NAS using spare hardware.

I had thought I might set up the OS using freenas (http://freenas.org/freenas). However, in my very limited understanding, the uPNP support in FreeNas is very simple, leading me to believe I may get more benefit from a product like TwonkyMedia Server.

My understanding is a bit sketchy because:
- I have never owned a media server before
- I've barely used Linux (though have used Unix/AIX professionally in the past - I'm a developer)

I'd like a solution that acts as a media server for my music; but also acts as a file server for all my important documents (photos, MS Word docs, etc). Ideally I will be able to map my family's 'my documents' folders to to this device.

If I intend to use TwonkyMedia server for the media anyway, do I still need to use FreeNas for the file server aspect?
Could just use Gnome or KDE?
Any other thoughts?

Thanks very much

Sandy

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mgillespie
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AV Hardware: TwonkyMedia AV UPnP Mediaserver (Marvell Kirkwood ARM Sheevaplug with Debian Squeeze).
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Re: Which Linux distribution?

Post by mgillespie » Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:49 pm

You might want to look at a SheevaPlug, which runs Twonky very nicely and uses minimal power, comes with Ubuntu pre-installed, and does Samba filesharing out the box.

http://www.plugcomputer.org/

I'm massively impressed with the flexability I have with mine, it's less than 2W, always on server, that can do anything I want it to (pretty much)...
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DaemonBeetle
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Re: Which Linux distribution?

Post by DaemonBeetle » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:37 pm

Most of the packaged solutions, like FreeNAS, OpenFiler etc have the problem that they're not really designed for you to add to it.

I'd suggest you start by getting a copy of VMWare Server or VirtualBox and installing the distro you're interested in. Play with it in a virtual environment where you can experiment freely (since you can take snapshots to restore to in moments). That's the best way of finding something you're happy with, since you'll be the one living with it.

Personally I don't think you can go far wrong with Ubunu 9.04 (NOT 9.10) as your starting point, it's simple enough to use and learn.
No longer running Twonky

sandyc
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Re: Which Linux distribution?

Post by sandyc » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:39 am

Thanks to you both.

I've since discovered that FreeNas is BSD based, not Linux, so I was barking up the wrong tree there anyway.

I'll give Ubuntu a go; I'm trying to get the OS (and Twonky) installation onto a CF card, so my next job is to work out how much space I will need

Thanks again

Sandy

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DaemonBeetle
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Re: Which Linux distribution?

Post by DaemonBeetle » Sat Jan 16, 2010 1:05 am

Watch out - cheap CF cards aren't designed with a heavy write cycle in mind, which you'll get with a stock Linux distro. How long it lasts isn't trivial to guess, but if you assume it may only last a year you'll have taken a backup in sufficient time ;)
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sandyc
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Re: Which Linux distribution?

Post by sandyc » Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:54 am

Thanks for the tip. Is there any way I can configure it so that the CF card remains read-only, and provide a small, writeable partition of the HDD for the OS to use?

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DaemonBeetle
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AV Hardware: Plex Media Server, Samsung Smart TV (2009 and 2013)

Re: Which Linux distribution?

Post by DaemonBeetle » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:17 pm

If you put /var (and a partition for your media) on the hard disk you'd reduce the volume of writes to the point where a commercial CF should last you a few years. However, I'd have to ask why - the CF would be slower and you'd still have the space/heat/power/noise issues of using a hard disk, so why not put it all on the hard disk?
No longer running Twonky

egon
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Re: Which Linux distribution?

Post by egon » Sat Jan 16, 2010 9:37 pm

I'm using Mandriva 2010 with Twonky Mediaserver. Mandriva is very easy to install and has a very good driver support. If you use Mandriva 2010 One, you can also install it on an USB stick and boot from it.

Egon

sandyc
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Re: Which Linux distribution?

Post by sandyc » Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:01 am

@DaemonBeetle
Thanks for your clear-headed thinking! I've arrived at this point after originally considering a raid array, where I had planned for my OS to be on a single solid state drive (well, a compact flash).

I ditched the RAID idea, however, I didn't reconsider my plan to use CF. Of course, you are right! Thanks for your help.

@egon
Thanks for the tip, I'm downloading it now.

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