March 01, 2005

iTunes music server on Linux

Linux box serving music to iTunes

I've been very happy with the squeezebox and small computer setup I put together to store and listen to all my music. I ripped all the CDs I had and all the new ones I buy on my Powerbook, and then rsync them across the network to the computer, which stores them on its large 200Gb hard-disk.

The music is served to the squeezebox using SlimServer, using an HTTP-based protocol especially designed for serving music. While this works fine for squeezebox, another Mac machines in my house are not able to see the music stored on this computer. Ideally, this whole collection should be accessible to iTunes, which has a very nice interface.

Last night I did find a way to make that music collection accessible to iTunes. The program is called daapd, and is really amazing. I now have my dedicated music computer serve the same music collection to my squeezebox and to other iTunes applications running on macs around the house!

Setting up daapd on my computer running Knoppix was a bit more complicated than I had expected. However I got it up and running in three hours, after compiling all the necessary packages from source:

Compiling all the packages, except for Apple's mDNSResponder, was fairly standard. All of these free software packages use autoconf, so getting them to compile is a matter of running ./configure, make, and make install. Apple's package had to be compiled using make os=linux, after cd-ing in the mDNSPosix directory. Most of the time I spent was hunting down the packages and figuring the right order in which to compile and install them (the order above is the one you should follow).

The latest version of daapd was supposed to use howl to implement Apple's Rendezvous. I could not get it working, so I had to use Apple's mDNSResponder to do that piece. It's not a big deal, but I just thought I'd mention it here.

Posted by ovidiu at March 01, 2005 08:49 PM |

Yep, I had a similar setup to this. However I recently started running out of space on the Powerbook.

Fortunately iTunes copes with this situation. If you manually set the location of your library folder (in Advanced) options, and then do a Reconcile Library, it will copy all of your music into the directory specified.

However the really nice thing is that if that directory is not available when starting itunes, it reverts to the default ~/Music/iTunes. This means you can have a local cache of your music collection locally (ie on the powerbook), and all of it on the server (or external disk, or whatever).

No rsync needed to copy the library to the server - it will be there already. Of course once there you can serve it from using daapd if required.

Posted by: Alastair on March 2, 2005 01:31 AM

I am not sure if you can help me, but I am trying to set up a similar music network with my dell laptop and a buffalo wireless storage device. I would like to use the wireless device to store my music and access it on my laptop using itunes. So far I haven't been able to get itunes to see the music on the wireless storage device. Do you have any advice? Thanks

Posted by: ben on January 22, 2006 07:56 PM
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