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Discussion Starter #1
I have been busy experimenting and learning the new world of Linux as a media server. Here are some of my experiences.

1. There is a swack of software out there.

Java based the best is Serviio a free very easy to use (from a terminal) just call the .sh scripts in the bin directory that you find in the tarball.

It works with very little fuss and bother and does not eat up resources.

It is possible to just create desktop launchers to start and stop the server and the Serviio Console as it does not have to run at boot and will run perfectly well with user privileges.

The console interface can be set to different DLNA device settings and supports Samsung series a,b and c TVs, Ps3, Sony Bravia, and many other devices that have peculiar DLNA requirements like the xbox 360.

The Serviio Console can configure most things like directory paths so if you call it under Linux always start your entry with / for example my path /home/eric/Videos and /home/eric/Music and /home/eric/Pictures.

After you set the path then you can configure what that particular path contains. This way there is no confusion when you browse with the media player client on the TV or other device with the remote control.

2. MediaTomb

I felt like King Tut waiting for heaven and earth to move before getting anything to work on this server. It runs as a daemon at boot and has a localhost interface. Hopefully this software will advance as it is a step in the right direction.

3. TVMOBili

This is the most fascinating of all the software available for Linux.(also Windows and Mac) The premise is that there is a market for an Internet gateway to link users.
Although the software is still in beta it does do the trick with Debian and Red Hat based systems.
It runs as a root process so there is still some work to be done but the developers are trying as I write this to change this aspect.
The support is very good and even though their binary is closed they are open to suggestion and integration into other peoples projects.

Considering the fact that most home media devices run a version of Linux or Linux library created firmware, it should come as no surprise that innovation and flexibility in function are happening a much greater pace with Linux based devices.

The really important part of this is that Linux is finally starting to get the serious consideration from multi-media developers that it deserves.

All and all having WMP hog and label all my media content on a Windows Vista machine and then try to control all my streaming media without asking first gives me a case of the trotts. Linux is like a breath of fresh air in comparison. Even if the really good stuff is not totally open source, and most of it is in it's infancy.
 

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Did you look at MythTV at all? It is the most feature rich, flexible media solution for Linux, hands down. I've been running it for almost 6 years, and it works great. It may be a bit of overkill for what you are looking for, but it does all of what you described, and much, much more.

Having said that, it can be _interesting_ to install, but most problems can be overcome fairly easily. It is open source, and VERY actively developed (there are at least 6 active developers on it right now, and many many more that contribute fairly regularly) There is a new release due shortly (in the next week or so), so it's a bit hectic at the moment. As I said, I've been running it as our main TV, video and music solution for almost 6 years.

Tom
 

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For the sake of all Distros software that is agnostic is needed.

Did you look at MythTV at all?
Tom
Yes I have tried Myth on a separate hdd and a different boot. I found that to get DLNA devices to work over wifi was still one heck of a challenge. But that was last year.

My post was to start a discussion about software that will work with a media enabled (ffmpeg and libdvdread etc) friendly install of any version of Linux.

There is a very interesting version of Slackware called Zenwalk. It is kind of a Slack for newbees. The thing about it is the fact that it is the fastest RT kernel sysV style linux out there. I find that it runs better on older gear than any other full fledged multimedia distro out there ...hands down. Yes you still have to install some libs to get full multimedia functionality. And you have to install Java separate and except the Sun/Adobe ULA But it is not that hard to do, if you have some patience.

I found that Myth was a little bit too much of a resource hog for my gear. And that to get stuff to not run at boot was difficult. I am not averse to changing settings for /etc/rc.Xd's but I do prefer Zenwalk's and Slackware's old school way of doing things.

So far the easiest and best server side DLNA interface that I have found is Serviio. Though TVMOBili is coming along and does have a much nicer looking and full fledged web localhost gui, like the latest http://localhost:631 cups gui that I use on Slackware for easily setting up secure and flexible networked printers.

The way I see DLNA is the same as the way I see printers. The more that the manufactures use Busy-Box and Arm processors the more simple DLNA servers will be able to talk to home entertainment devices.

Another thing is the fact that Serviio is distro agnostic and just runs a universal binary with Java 6. So any distro will work with it if you have the multimedia libs for mp3, mp4, m4a, divX, aac, h.264, MKV mpeg and all the other silly codec related libs installed.

I was at my brothers wedding with my Mint based laptop and he wanted some very specific music and videos played. My other brother tried to set up his ps3 media server to play the wedding music and video from Windows 7.

The end result was that I had to rescue the day with my Mint Linux based laptop.

I streamed the content wireless to the ps3 through Serviio and all worked seamless and without a hitch except that which was intended!
 

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I been using mediatomb for a while to serve media to my two ps3 and I got to say it pretty damn solid! It not really resource hungry so you can literally set it up and forget about it I use to run fuppes on an old Pentium three dedicated server box. But now I just rather save the energy and run mediatomb on my main rig. The only hiccup is Ubuntu tendency of messing with external drive mount point after a reboot. I solve that just by not making mediatomb a startup application. Since a full reboot is pretty rare it not a big problem.
 

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Another option is PS3 Media Server. Don't let the name fool you, it is running a full DLNA compliant uPnP server with on-the-fly transcoding. I've played with both it and MediaTomb to good results in testing.
 
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