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Ben Rubinstein
2005-01-01, 06:13
This is probably a FAQ - but I have searched and not found. If there's a
place I should have found the answer, I apologise - please point me to it.

I'm eager to dive into the world of squeezebox - but I need a server. I
live out of a laptop that's not always at home; my wife ditto. The only
machine I have hanging around is an ancient PowerComputing Mac clone
(7100/200) currently running Mac OS 9 on a plug-in G3 233 upgrade card. I
assume that this is completely unsuitable, since it can't run MacOS X (and I
suspect would be underpowered anyway).
Q1: is that correct?

Assuming that's right, I'll need to get a machine for this purpose. I'd
prefer not to let Windows into the house, so my choices are Linux or OS X.
Obviously there are lots of issues between these - such as Linux probably
cheaper for the same spec, but I'm familiar with OS X, and haven't used any
other Unix for 20 years - but pretending for a moment that they were equal
in other ways,
Q2: is there anything to choose between the two as hosts for SlimServer?
Eg, is performance better? User interface? More plugins, easier to
install, etc? (I noticed in the list some exchanges about problems with
AlienBBC on OS X, for example - do there tend to be problems with some
plugins on some platforms?) Or is there no interesting difference between ?

Q3: what sort of spec should I be looking for to get adequate performance,
assuming I'm not expecting the machine to do much else except run
SlimServer? I'd certainly want to run two squeezeboxes - might be three
eventually. For example, I think the minimum system to run Mac OS X would
be a blue/white G3: these seem to start at around 256MB, 350MHz. Would this
be not good enough, barely adequate, or ample?

Q4: (a bit OT, sorry) - those blue/white G3's are big monsters, and I live
in an old house which manages to be both small and rambling. Getting
network to the attic would be a nightmare, and it's going to be hard to hide
a big server. A G4 cube would be ideal - small, quiet, innoffensive to look
at - but those things are still remarkably expensive on ebay. Are there any
equivalent devices on which to run Linux - ie small, preferably fanless? Of
course I don't really need a video card, sound card, any of that - I'd plan
to run whatever it is headless, and use VNC or similar to control it. So
all I really need is a hard drive, RAM, 10baseT, a CPU, and an OS. Maybe
one of those 'internet appliance' jobs would be suitable. Any suggestions?

A lot of questions, sorry. I'll be grateful for response to any or all of
them. Happy New Year to all slim types everywhere!

- Ben

Jules Taplin
2005-01-01, 08:52
Hi Ben.

Slim have a pretty solid committment to a wide range of server
platforms, and as an organisation they're pretty pro-macintosh.

Slimserver itself is a perl application, so it culturally has it's roots
in the *NIX part of the world. So... you'd be pretty right to favour
either OS/X or Linux as the obvious places to go.

However, in a thoroughly unscientific way, my gut feeling is that more
of the 3rd party developers (of which I'm one) are Linux folks than
anything else. At the risk of stereotyping people, I suspect this is a
demographic thing - if Windows users buy a Squeezebox - they by and
large just want it to work... The OS/X users tend to be similar, but are
more tolerant of doing some mucking about to make it function, and the
Linux users can't resist pulling the damned thing apart to see what
makes it tick. Nobody shoot me for this - I'm sure there are plenty of
exceptions in each camp, but I still reckon there's some truth in it. ;)

That tends to be (as is the case with AlienBBC, for example) that Linux
support comes first... OS/X support turns up once somebody manages to
make it work, and Windows support either comes out in the wash, or in
AlienBBC's case - is it a bit of a pig to produce. Both the OS/X and
Windows versions also have a 'skin' application (Preference Pane in the
OS/X version, and the pre-compiled version for Windows), both of which
move those platforms slightly away from the native perl application at
the centre, and cause occasional confusion.

Personally, in your position... I'd suggest that you try to get a
small-ish shuttle or similar, running Linux. You can go quite a long way
down the line with quiet/silent machines (think other posters have got
to that). Being x86 based, they'll be cheap, of course. As far as
specification is concerned... right now, slimserver largely consumes
memory in relation to it's size of music library, although the version 6
branch should lower some of that if it all checks out properly.

For my music collection, on Linux, the slimserver process consumes about
90MB of memory when running (for a shade under 20,000 tracks). There are
some scary people on this list running libraries easily 10 times that,
and then memory is a really key issue. My slimserver machine has 512MB
of RAM in it, and that works just fine. I also run a test instance on a
500MHz PIII with similar memory, and that works OK, too. Bear in mind
that I'm a fairly hard-working user, too - my place has 5 Squeezeboxes,
plus a softsqueeze instance in the office upstairs. So... for only a SB
or two, and with a smaller music library, you might find you can get
away with somewhat less.

Does that help? If you after any more info, don't hesitate to get in
touch. ;)


-- Jules


Ben Rubinstein wrote:

>This is probably a FAQ - but I have searched and not found. If there's a
>place I should have found the answer, I apologise - please point me to it.
>
>I'm eager to dive into the world of squeezebox - but I need a server. I
>live out of a laptop that's not always at home; my wife ditto. The only
>machine I have hanging around is an ancient PowerComputing Mac clone
>(7100/200) currently running Mac OS 9 on a plug-in G3 233 upgrade card. I
>assume that this is completely unsuitable, since it can't run MacOS X (and I
>suspect would be underpowered anyway).
>Q1: is that correct?
>
>Assuming that's right, I'll need to get a machine for this purpose. I'd
>prefer not to let Windows into the house, so my choices are Linux or OS X.
>Obviously there are lots of issues between these - such as Linux probably
>cheaper for the same spec, but I'm familiar with OS X, and haven't used any
>other Unix for 20 years - but pretending for a moment that they were equal
>in other ways,
>Q2: is there anything to choose between the two as hosts for SlimServer?
>Eg, is performance better? User interface? More plugins, easier to
>install, etc? (I noticed in the list some exchanges about problems with
>AlienBBC on OS X, for example - do there tend to be problems with some
>plugins on some platforms?) Or is there no interesting difference between ?
>
>Q3: what sort of spec should I be looking for to get adequate performance,
>assuming I'm not expecting the machine to do much else except run
>SlimServer? I'd certainly want to run two squeezeboxes - might be three
>eventually. For example, I think the minimum system to run Mac OS X would
>be a blue/white G3: these seem to start at around 256MB, 350MHz. Would this
>be not good enough, barely adequate, or ample?
>
>Q4: (a bit OT, sorry) - those blue/white G3's are big monsters, and I live
>in an old house which manages to be both small and rambling. Getting
>network to the attic would be a nightmare, and it's going to be hard to hide
>a big server. A G4 cube would be ideal - small, quiet, innoffensive to look
>at - but those things are still remarkably expensive on ebay. Are there any
>equivalent devices on which to run Linux - ie small, preferably fanless? Of
>course I don't really need a video card, sound card, any of that - I'd plan
>to run whatever it is headless, and use VNC or similar to control it. So
>all I really need is a hard drive, RAM, 10baseT, a CPU, and an OS. Maybe
>one of those 'internet appliance' jobs would be suitable. Any suggestions?
>
>A lot of questions, sorry. I'll be grateful for response to any or all of
>them. Happy New Year to all slim types everywhere!
>
>- Ben
>
>

Jack Coates
2005-01-01, 09:03
Jules Taplin wrote:
> Hi Ben.
....
> Personally, in your position... I'd suggest that you try to get a
> small-ish shuttle or similar, running Linux. You can go quite a long way
> down the line with quiet/silent machines (think other posters have got
> to that). Being x86 based, they'll be cheap, of course. As far as
> specification is concerned... right now, slimserver largely consumes
> memory in relation to it's size of music library, although the version 6
> branch should lower some of that if it all checks out properly.
>
> For my music collection, on Linux, the slimserver process consumes about
> 90MB of memory when running (for a shade under 20,000 tracks). There are
> some scary people on this list running libraries easily 10 times that,
> and then memory is a really key issue. My slimserver machine has 512MB
> of RAM in it, and that works just fine. I also run a test instance on a
> 500MHz PIII with similar memory, and that works OK, too. Bear in mind
> that I'm a fairly hard-working user, too - my place has 5 Squeezeboxes,
> plus a softsqueeze instance in the office upstairs. So... for only a SB
> or two, and with a smaller music library, you might find you can get
> away with somewhat less.
>
> Does that help? If you after any more info, don't hesitate to get in
> touch. ;)
>
>
> -- Jules
>

I just want to add a suggestion for a mini-itx system -- these can be a
bit underpowered for some functions (particularly transcoding), but they
work, are ridiculously cheap, and are quiet. Shuttles are very nice too.

--
Jack at Monkeynoodle dot Org: It's a Scientific Venture...
Riding the Emergency Third Rail Power Trip since 1996!

Sally Shears
2005-01-01, 09:09
Ben,

1. If Apple does introduce the $500 cheap desktop, I'll buy one of
these for the server.

2. SlimServer doesn't require much, unless maybe you have a huge
music collection.

3. I'm using a Beige G3 in one location and a PowerBook G3 (300 MHz,
WallStreet) in another. Running 10.2.8 and with new hard disks, these
are just fine. From my experience, you'll want a machine with 10/100
ethernet (so you can move files to it quickly). Also, with a "b"
access point, and Squeezebox wirelesss, it worked better to have the
server wired. This doesn't seem to be an issue on a "g" access point.

On Sat, 01 Jan 2005 13:13:14 +0000, Ben Rubinstein <benr_sd (AT) cogapp (DOT) com> wrote:

more or less, "looking for a Mac OS X machine for SlimServer..."

--
Sally Shears (a.k.a. "Molly")
SallyShears (AT) gmail (DOT) com -or- Sally (AT) Shears (DOT) org
(was sshears (AT) theWorld (DOT) com)

Marc Sherman
2005-01-01, 15:05
Ben Rubinstein wrote:
>
> I'm eager to dive into the world of squeezebox - but I need a server. I
> live out of a laptop that's not always at home; my wife ditto. The only
> machine I have hanging around is an ancient PowerComputing Mac clone
> (7100/200) currently running Mac OS 9 on a plug-in G3 233 upgrade card. I
> assume that this is completely unsuitable, since it can't run MacOS X (and I
> suspect would be underpowered anyway).
> Q1: is that correct?

I'd bet you could install linux on that machine and get pretty decent
performance. I don't know about other distros, but I'm pretty sure
Debian will install on a PowerComputing G3. If it's an idle box
already, it can't hurt to try before you buy new hardware.

- Marc

Pat Farrell
2005-01-01, 20:33
At 08:13 AM 1/1/2005, Ben Rubinstein wrote:
>Q2: is there anything to choose between the two as hosts for SlimServer?
>Eg, is performance better? User interface? More plugins, easier to
>install, etc?

Nothing really, as long as you can run a decent Perl.
The real User Interface is just HTML looked at with any
browser.

Of course, if you want to use a Microsoft or Apple proprietary
format for some or all of your music, you need to pick one
of them, or find one of the grayware alternatives


>Q3: what sort of spec should I be looking for to get adequate performance,
>assuming I'm not expecting the machine to do much else except run
>SlimServer?

Until it burned up last week, I used a Pentium III 500 with
lots of memory, 'cause I had it laying arround in a drawer.
Worked perfectly with two SqueezeBoxen

I have about 10,000 songs from 700 CDs


> Are there any equivalent devices on which to run Linux - ie small,
> preferably fanless?

Cheap and fanless are usually in conflict, just because old stuff
ran hot, altho not has hot as way cool fast stuff.

Any linux box can work. look at systems such as the VIA EPIA
motherboard, they are designed for very low current draw

Pat


Pat Farrell pfarrell (AT) pfarrell (DOT) com
http://www.pfarrell.com

Joe Hartley
2005-01-02, 10:45
On Sat, 01 Jan 2005 13:13:14 +0000
Ben Rubinstein <benr_sd (AT) cogapp (DOT) com> wrote:
> The only
> machine I have hanging around is an ancient PowerComputing Mac clone
> (7100/200) currently running Mac OS 9 on a plug-in G3 233 upgrade card. I
> assume that this is completely unsuitable, since it can't run MacOS X (and I
> suspect would be underpowered anyway).

I've had good luck installing YellowDog Linux (http://yellowdoglinux.com/)
on older Macs, extending their usefulness by years. I've never run the
slimserver software on it, but there's no reason I can think of that would
prevent it from running.

--
================================================== ====================
Joe Hartley - UNIX/network Consultant - jh (AT) brainiac (DOT) com
Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Arnon Meshoulam
2005-01-06, 13:39
Pat Farrell wrote:
> At 08:13 AM 1/1/2005, Ben Rubinstein wrote:
>
>> Q2: is there anything to choose between the two as hosts for SlimServer?
>> Eg, is performance better? User interface? More plugins, easier to
>> install, etc?
>
>
> Nothing really, as long as you can run a decent Perl.
> The real User Interface is just HTML looked at with any
> browser.
>
> Of course, if you want to use a Microsoft or Apple proprietary
> format for some or all of your music, you need to pick one
> of them, or find one of the grayware alternatives
>
>
>> Q3: what sort of spec should I be looking for to get adequate performance,
>> assuming I'm not expecting the machine to do much else except run
>> SlimServer?
>
>
> Until it burned up last week, I used a Pentium III 500 with
> lots of memory, 'cause I had it laying arround in a drawer.
> Worked perfectly with two SqueezeBoxen
>
> I have about 10,000 songs from 700 CDs
>
>
>> Are there any equivalent devices on which to run Linux - ie small,
>> preferably fanless?
>
>
> Cheap and fanless are usually in conflict, just because old stuff
> ran hot, altho not has hot as way cool fast stuff.
>
> Any linux box can work. look at systems such as the *VIA EPIA*
> motherboard, they are designed for very low current draw
>
> Pat
>
> Pat
> Farrell pfarrell (AT) pfarrell (DOT) com
> http://www.pfarrell.com
> <http://www.pfarrell.com/>
>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>

Sally Shears
2005-01-07, 07:42
Just for fun, I decided to do some measurements of server load.

Test conditions:
- SlimServer 5.2 and 5.4 on a Mac Beige g3 233 MHz, 384MB, Mac OS X 10.2.8
- This might be equivalent to a 400-500 MHz Pentium 3 Intel machine
- Hard disk 120gig ATA
- Music Library 130 albums, 1600 songs
- One player (SlimP3) playing a playlist of 500 songs
- Server machine is running SlimServer, terminal, OSXvnc server, and top
- For load, watch the %CPU output of top. Look at "perl" process

Results
- doing nothing, perl is 2-4%
- not playing, browser window open, 2-4%, spiking to 60% for 1 sec at
browser refresh
- playing, 15-25%
- playing, borwser window open, same with spike to 70% for 1-2 sec at
browser refresh
- search song title from browser produces varying results. Sometimes
it's 70% for 3-5 seconds and there is a break in playing. Sometimes
it's 40% for 1sec and no break. Why different?

Conclusion
- I could server several streams from this low powered PC
- Don't open too many browsers !

Anyone else have server load data?

On Sat, 1 Jan 2005 11:09:25 -0500, Sally Shears <sallyshears (AT) gmail (DOT) com> wrote:
> 2. SlimServer doesn't require much, unless maybe you have a huge
> music collection.

-- Sally
--
Sally Shears (a.k.a. "Molly")
SallyShears (AT) gmail (DOT) com -or- Sally (AT) Shears (DOT) org
(was sshears (AT) theWorld (DOT) com)

Sally Shears
2005-01-07, 16:33
On Fri, 07 Jan 2005 15:12:27 +0000, Ben Rubinstein <benr_sd (AT) cogapp (DOT) com> wrote:
> (about OS X on Beige G3)

10.2.8 installs just fine with the Apple installers. For 1.3, Apple
installer will say "no" but you can do it with Ex Post Facto.

You can get results to compare to mine...
- Open terminal on the server machine
- top
- and just watch the results, look for the line with "perl"; it will
update every 2s.

> (One question - you mentioned SlimServer 5.2 and 5.4. Is there something
> I've not cottoned on to about two versions at once ... snip...

No... I was using 5.2 and updated to 5.4 -- The numbers are the same
for both versions.

> >From my selfish point of view the variation I'd be most interested in is the
> effect of multiple (hardware) players. Also, it sounds like you were
> opening a browser on the server G3;

Sorry, it WAS on another machine, as you describe below.
I opened a browser to http://server.beige.g3:9000

> ...another variation (again, this is purely
> selfish thinking about how I'm planning to work) would be using a browser on
> another machine, so SlimServer on the server is answering the request, but
> not displaying results etc.

-- Sally
--
Sally Shears (a.k.a. "Molly")
SallyShears (AT) gmail (DOT) com -or- Sally (AT) Shears (DOT) org
(was sshears (AT) theWorld (DOT) com)