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View Full Version : Opinion: which is the best OS to run SlimServer?



chris.mason
2007-08-20, 06:36
Hi all,

I've been running SlimServer for over a year now on Windows XP.
During that time, Slim's performance has largely been ok, but its not been helped by the fact that the PC I use for SlimServer is also my main office PC.

I have recently bought a new PC which will be the main office machine. I now have an opportunity to complete rebuild the old PC as a music media server.

The spec of the machine is thus:
Pentium 4 (Northwood core) running at 2Ghz
2GB PC2700 RAM
200GB & 80GB IDE Hard disks.

Which would be the best OS to install to run SlimServer? If Linux, which variant? I'd like to run the machine headless as well, and run Music IP on it if possible.

Thanks for you opinions/advice.

Chris.

Mark Lanctot
2007-08-20, 06:51
Having run SlimServer on Windows XP and now Linux, I'd say Linux, definitely. Less memory usage and rescans are MUCH faster.

I'm partial to Ubuntu Linux, but if you're running it headless, the GUIs may consume resources with no real benefit. The Server Edition has no such GUI, but then you should be familiar with the Linux command-line in order to proceed. It's not really that complicated, all you'd have to do is the following:

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?DebianPackage

and install/configure samba so you can transfer music to it:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=202605&highlight=howto%3A+samba

Still, without knowledge of the command-line, you may not know what commands are required to edit files.

You could try SlimCD:

http://www.herger.net/slim/detail.php?nr=763

though Michael Herger himself recommends SlimNAS:

http://www.herger.net/slim/detail.php?nr=1026&kategorie=slim

chris.mason
2007-08-20, 07:00
Having run SlimServer on Windows XP and now Linux, I'd say Linux, definitely. Less memory usage and rescans are MUCH faster.

I'm partial to Ubuntu Linux, but if you're running it headless, the GUIs may consume resources with no real benefit. The Server Edition has no such GUI, but then you should be familiar with the Linux command-line in order to proceed. It's not really that complicated, all you'd have to do is the following:

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?DebianPackage

and install/configure samba so you can transfer music to it:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=202605&highlight=howto%3A+samba

Still, without knowledge of the command-line, you may not know what commands are required to edit files.

You could try SlimCD:

http://www.herger.net/slim/detail.php?nr=763

though Michael Herger himself recommands SlimNAS:

http://www.herger.net/slim/detail.php?nr=1026&kategorie=slim

Mark, thanks for such a full answer. I'm pretty comfortable with Linux command line (I use Solaris in my job, and thats a possibility I guess).

Mark Lanctot
2007-08-20, 07:56
Well, if you can figure out vi or nano, that's really all that's required for both those setups. And samba is probably already installed in the Server Edition, you just need to configure it.

I just noticed your requirement for Music IP. Having never used it, I'm not sure, but there is a Linux version on their site. To compile from source, follow these instructions:

http://monkeyblog.org/ubuntu/installing/#source

Pale Blue Ego
2007-08-20, 08:01
ClarkConnect is a great Linux server OS for running headless. Here's a nice guide for installing and configuring it:

http://www.ulverston.myzen.co.uk/mini-itx/pages/installingCC.htm

hickinbottoms
2007-08-20, 08:25
MusicIP is closed source so you won't be building it yourself. There is
a wiki entry about getting it working, though:
http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?MusicMatchMixerHeadlessOnLinux

That guide may be a bit old, but I know the mixer definitely works on
Linux (I run it continually on a headless Linux server - it works very
well).

If you're going to try it then check that guide and fix it where it
might be out of date, if possible.

Stuart

Mark Lanctot wrote:
> Well, if you can figure out vi or nano, that's really all that's
> required for both those setups. And samba is probably already
> installed in the Server Edition, you just need to configure it.
>
> I just noticed your requirement for Music IP. Having never used it,
> I'm not sure, but there is a Linux version on their site. To compile
> from source, follow these instructions:
>
> http://monkeyblog.org/ubuntu/installing/#source
>
>
>

bklaas
2007-08-20, 08:28
Much as I like to evangelize Linux wherever possible, I spent a long long time trying to get MusicIP working on my linux machine and it never worked. I installed it on OS X and it worked on the first try.

So, if MusicIP is an essential, I'm not sure I can recommend Linux. Without that requirement, it's Linux hands-down.

cheers,
#!/ben

chris.mason
2007-08-20, 08:32
I wonder if a hybrid solution might be possible then - SlimServer on a Linux flavour, and MIP on my Windows machine - I'd run the MIP service (as I do know), which Slim could connect to. Of course, that would require the Windows PC to be on...

I don't use MIP that much, but I like it to be there, because its so good when I do use it!

mherger
2007-08-20, 08:42
I've been running MIP for well over a year now on a headless Linux system. I guess the GUI part is the major problem on Linux. Buf if it's for a server install only, it's running stable for me (no crash yet). There are a few features missing in this configuration, though (eg. binary moods - due to lacking support in the HTTP interface).

snarlydwarf
2007-08-20, 08:43
I ran MIP headless on Linux for a while, but finally got bored having it analyze things and doing funky stuff with tags. (It liked adding additional tags on import...)

It worked fine, though the startup script didn't work.

Back to original subject: if you're comfortable with a command line, then a Unix box of some sort is really ideal. No need to have a GUI and associated memory usage; easy to bury the box in a cabinet and not worry, etc....

Which distribution depends pretty much on religion and what your pizza-and-beer bribable friends run.

chris.mason
2007-08-20, 08:48
I ran MIP headless on Linux for a while, but finally got bored having it analyze things and doing funky stuff with tags. (It liked adding additional tags on import...)

It worked fine, though the startup script didn't work.

Back to original subject: if you're comfortable with a command line, then a Unix box of some sort is really ideal. No need to have a GUI and associated memory usage; easy to bury the box in a cabinet and not worry, etc....

Which distribution depends pretty much on religion and what your pizza-and-beer bribable friends run.

Hmm, trouble is, I'm likely to be one of those "pizza and beer bribable" friends of someone else!
I have no real affinity with any flavour of Linux.

pfarrell
2007-08-20, 08:51
snarlydwarf wrote:
> Which distribution depends pretty much on religion and what your
> pizza-and-beer bribable friends run.

I fully support that the best distribution is one used by a friend who
will help in return for pizza-and-beer.

All other justifications pale compared to this one.

--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

bklaas
2007-08-20, 09:00
I agree with Pat, but if you are the pizza-and-beer guy, I'd tell you to go with Ubuntu.

My distro experience is RedHat, Mandrake, Corel Linux (r.i.p.), Fedora Core, RedHat Enterprise, Gentoo, and Ubuntu. I've easily been happiest with Ubuntu. Gentoo is the linux geek's dream, everything built from source, total control over everything. I had fun with it for a couple years, then just got tired of the dorkage. Ubuntu is the most dead simple of all of these, and it's a welcome change after getting off the Gentoo boat.

cheers,
#!/ben

chris.mason
2007-08-20, 09:19
I agree with Pat, but if you are the pizza-and-beer guy, I'd tell you to go with Ubuntu.

My distro experience is RedHat, Mandrake, Corel Linux (r.i.p.), Fedora Core, RedHat Enterprise, Gentoo, and Ubuntu. I've easily been happiest with Ubuntu. Gentoo is the linux geek's dream, everything built from source, total control over everything. I had fun with it for a couple years, then just got tired of the dorkage. Ubuntu is the most dead simple of all of these, and it's a welcome change after getting off the Gentoo boat.

cheers,
#!/ben

Which Ubuntu version would you favour?

maggior
2007-08-20, 09:21
This is an interesting thread for me since I switched to running SlimServer on Linux just last week. Actually, I have both XP and Linux going at the same time for now and am just about ready to make the switch.

I chose to use Open SUSE 10.2. I've worked with Slackware and RedHat in the past and I find SUSE to be extremely refreshing. The tools (YaST for instance) are wonderful. The desktop has come a long way. The GUI is as easy to use as Windows XP and I have the power of the shell when I need it.

I tend to be the beer-pizza bribable friend, but a friend at work runs it at home too and had good things to say about it.

For this project, I bought a P4 hyperthreading PC with 1GB RAM from Dell's lease refurb program for $210!! Had it a week from ordering. It is some of the best $$ I've spent on a computer.

I have a library that is ~1400 discs, so quick scanning has become important to me. On my Windows XP machine (which is comprable to the Linux box - P4 HT, 1 GB RAM, etc.) a full scan would take ~30 min. On my Linux box, it is ~7 min.

Only problem I had was finding an APE codec for Linux. And there is also the issue of transcoding WMA files.

So, I think you would be making a good choice moving to Linux, assuming you can work out the Music IP issues. Which distribution to chose is really a personal choice.

erland
2007-08-20, 09:30
Please note that even though a lot of people in this thread recommends Linux, I'm pretty sure most people that uses SlimServer runs it on Windows. SlimServer will run perfectly on Windows if you have a 2GHz computer with 2GB memory as you specified in your initial post. If you are using a slow computer there are more reasons to start to think about using Linux.

Linux has gotten a lot better and more user friendly in the last years. Personally I have only used Ubuntu the last years and I love it and have no plan to switch to anything else. Ubuntu might not be the best distribution if you want someting that use as little resources as possible, but it is a really good distribution to start with if you are new to Linux. The discussion forums on http://ubuntuforums.org/ is also really active and you'll get help pretty fast if you have any problems.

Regarding SlimServer I would say that the only disadvantage of using Linux is that can be a bit more work to get things working.

If you choose Linux, you should be prepared to do a bit of work and learn some new things. Even though it is pretty simple to get a Ubuntu box running with SlimServer and MusicIP, it will be even simpler doing the same thing on Windows.

MusicIP worked out of the box for me on Ubuntu, but I have had some problem with file names that contains non ascii characters. However, this is now solved so everything works perfectly.

My recommendation would be:
- If you are ready to learn and do some work: Go with Ubuntu
- If you just want something running as fast as possible: Go with Windows XP

If you aren't used to Linux, I would install the desktop version of Ubuntu. You can always turn off the graphical things after you have got everything to work as you like.

chris.mason
2007-08-20, 09:36
Please note that even though a lot of people in this thread recommends Linux, I'm pretty sure most people that uses SlimServer runs it on Windows. SlimServer will run perfectly on Windows if you have a 2GHz computer with 2GB memory as you specified in your initial post. If you are using a slow computer there are more reasons to start to think about using Linux.

Linux has gotten a lot better and more user friendly in the last years. Personally I have only used Ubuntu the last years and I love it and have no plan to switch to anything else. Ubuntu might not be the best distribution if you want someting that use as little resources as possible, but it is a really good distribution to start with if you are new to Linux. The discussion forums on http://ubuntuforums.org/ is also really active and you'll get help pretty fast if you have any problems.

Regarding SlimServer I would say that the only disadvantage of using Linux is that can be a bit more work to get things working.

If you choose Linux, you should be prepared to do a bit of work and learn some new things. Even though it is pretty simple to get a Ubuntu box running with SlimServer and MusicIP, it will be even simpler doing the same thing on Windows.

MusicIP worked out of the box for me on Ubuntu, but I have had some problem with file names that contains non ascii characters. However, this is now solved so everything works perfectly.

My recommendation would be:
- If you are ready to learn and do some work: Go with Ubuntu
- If you just want something running as fast as possible: Go with Windows XP

If you aren't used to Linux, I would install the desktop version of Ubuntu. You can always turn off the graphical things after you have got everything to work as you like.

I'm all up for a bit of work and learning new things. Thats the advantage of Unix/Linux in some ways, you can actually get your hands dirty.

Ramon
2007-08-21, 07:49
I'm using the Clarkconnect OS now, which essentially is Linux, but tweaked to be a server solution only. I doesn't have a GUI, but makes use of a webbased interface to maintain. I'm not using Music IP though....

A Via C3 processor does have enough capacity to run CC (this is what I'm using now). So I guess this should not be an issue at all with your equipment

Ron F.
2007-08-21, 11:22
I ran Slimserver under Win2K for a year on a clunker computer, and then switched to SlimCD running on a small modern fanless machine. SlimCD is based on Damn Small Linux, and was a little difficult to set up the way I wanted, but Michael's latest version should be much easier.

Since then I have really gotten to enjoy Linux and I have migrated to Ubuntu - and I love it. I have Slimserver running on my Ubuntu machine, and it works great. I also have Softsqueeze running on Ubuntu, but it does not seem to run for a lot of other people, and I cannot figure out why (still trying to figure that out - but that is another forum topic:)

-Ron

chris.mason
2007-08-21, 12:55
Thanks for all the responses so far, very helpful.

I'm going to play with both ClarkConnect and Ubuntu I think, and see what happens..!

Robin Bowes
2007-08-21, 13:30
chris.mason wrote:
> Thanks for all the responses so far, very helpful.
>
> I'm going to play with both ClarkConnect and Ubuntu I think, and see
> what happens..!

You mentioned you work with Solaris during the day - why not try
OpenSolaris?

R.

egd
2007-08-21, 13:56
Thanks for all the responses so far, very helpful.

I'm going to play with both ClarkConnect and Ubuntu I think, and see what happens..!

You'll be glad you did. Slimserver performs an order of magnitude faster on Linux than on Windows. This is especially noticeable when rescanning your library and browsing cover art. I've had no problems getting MiP to run headless on Linux. The MiP gui on Linux is underdeveloped (even more so than the windows version) but this shouldn't present you any problems if you're running it headless for playlisting.

An Ubuntu reference guide I have found very useful over time is http://www.ubuntuguide.org

4mula1
2007-08-21, 15:53
Mark, thanks for such a full answer. I'm pretty comfortable with Linux command line (I use Solaris in my job, and thats a possibility I guess).

Solaris handles SlimServer pretty well. Some programs are a bit quirky to compile, but the resources are available to solve the problem (look for about any thread involving me and Solaris here). It's been a rock solid music server for me.

I'm actually going to make a Solaris wiki entry this week to help other people avoid the issues I had.

Robin Bowes
2007-08-21, 17:19
4mula1 wrote:
> chris.mason;221771 Wrote:
>> Mark, thanks for such a full answer. I'm pretty comfortable with Linux
>> command line (I use Solaris in my job, and thats a possibility I
>> guess).
>
> Solaris handles SlimServer pretty well. Some programs are a bit quirky
> to compile, but the resources are available to solve the problem (look
> for about any thread involving me and Solaris here). It's been a rock
> solid music server for me.
>
> I'm actually going to make a Solaris wiki entry this week to help other
> people avoid the issues I had.

I'm currently evaluating options for a new NAS server and I like the
look of the zfs filesystem so that pretty much restricts me to FreeBSD
or OpenSolaris so I'd find a Solaris wiki entry useful if I go down the
Solaris route.

Thx,

R.

chris.mason
2007-08-22, 01:03
4mula1 wrote:
> chris.mason;221771 Wrote:
>> Mark, thanks for such a full answer. I'm pretty comfortable with Linux
>> command line (I use Solaris in my job, and thats a possibility I
>> guess).
>
> Solaris handles SlimServer pretty well. Some programs are a bit quirky
> to compile, but the resources are available to solve the problem (look
> for about any thread involving me and Solaris here). It's been a rock
> solid music server for me.
>
> I'm actually going to make a Solaris wiki entry this week to help other
> people avoid the issues I had.

I'm currently evaluating options for a new NAS server and I like the
look of the zfs filesystem so that pretty much restricts me to FreeBSD
or OpenSolaris so I'd find a Solaris wiki entry useful if I go down the
Solaris route.

Thx,

R.

OpenSolaris is certainly an option, and is has the edge of familiarity of course. I noticed that there is more information and ready-packed stuff to make Slim and various plugins work without a huge amount of effort.
What I think I might do, is re-build the PC running Linux and Solaris. Would be a useful exersise to see how to get both OS's running Slim.

hickinbottoms
2007-08-22, 02:14
I could be wrong, but going back to your original requirements I don't
think MusicIP is available for Solaris (Open or otherwise).

Stuart


chris.mason wrote:
> OpenSolaris is certainly an option, and is has the edge of familiarity
> of course. I noticed that there is more information and ready-packed
> stuff to make Slim and various plugins work without a huge amount of
> effort.
> What I think I might do, is re-build the PC running Linux and Solaris.
> Would be a useful exersise to see how to get both OS's running Slim.
>
>
>

chris.mason
2007-08-22, 03:37
Well, I'd still like to get Slim working on Solaris, just for the hell of it!

I think though the main focus will be on Linux.

th00ht
2009-04-12, 11:51
Which would be the best OS to install to run SlimServer? If Linux, which variant? I'd like to run the machine headless as well, and run Music IP on it if possible.

Thanks for you opinions/advice.

Chris.

That is simple: the OS you feel most comfortable with. It runs fine on everything (altough my latest experiences have been GNU/Linux only)

bklaas
2009-04-13, 08:02
Well, I'd still like to get Slim working on Solaris, just for the hell of it!

I think though the main focus will be on Linux.

If you are distribution-agnostic, I suggest you run it on Ubuntu, simply for the sheer volume of people running Ubuntu Linux relative to other distros. It never hurts to have a big user community to help you through a gotcha or two.

I use Ubuntu for my SqueezeCenter as well as headless MIP. MIP is brutal to initially get running, but post-MIP-install everything just works.

cheers,
#!/ben

agillis
2009-04-13, 08:11
It's a good idea to use Linux if you want all the different plugin's to work. I a plugin has a binary component it may not work on Solaris. i would recommend VortexBox it's based on Fedora 10 and it has SC preinstalled and configured.