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View Full Version : Which OS for rock solid stability



Jac
2009-03-14, 13:36
Hi,

I have now had my duet for a while now but I am to the point of giving up as I cannot get it to be stable to the point I would want it to be. I have dedicated a PC (Pentium 4 at 3 Ghz running Vista) . The only other program running is windows MS Mediacenter which is connected to a TV used for DVDs. I have over 1000 albums (21000 titles) in FLAC on a USB 1 TByte WD drive

By being stable I mean 90 % of the time it is fine, but every once in a while for no obvious reason the response gets very slow when browsing for music. In other instances the music can take up to 10 seconds to start. Sometimes it will be fine after 15 minutes or so, or in other cases the only way to get everything back right is to restart everything, from the PC to resetting the remote. I have now started to look at CPU utilization, and have noticed that when it slows down it is the squeezcenter program that is running at over 50% CPU.

I am also running my WIFI with 2 Access points with the same name, since I have a large area to cover.

Who can recommend the simplest setup where there would be no (very very low) risk of the this anoying hickup to occasionaly happen. Is squeezecenter more stable on LINUX? or maybe on MAC. It would be a pity and $$ to dedicate a MAC. Can it be Vista? I have rebuilt the PC and the only 3rd party application is squeexebox. My WIFI network has been running fine for 2 years and I do not want change it, but could it be the 2 Access Points (with same SSID name) that cause this? I had thought of setting it independentaly usng the players WIFI, but this makes me loose access from my boombox, and I loose the range I need.

If anyone has every had such issue and managed to resolve some help would really really really be appreciated!!

......Especially the last 2 times in a week that it crashed was when I had over 30 guests in the house, and the last thing I wanted to be doing is resetting everything to get the music back

Jac

agillis
2009-03-14, 13:43
You should not run two access points with the same ID. Get one access point and a wifi extender. Vista should be stable although sometimes the multitasking abilities leave something to be desired. I would recommend VortexBox it's simple and uses very low resources.

pfarrell
2009-03-14, 13:53
Jac wrote:
> Who can recommend the simplest setup where there would be no (very very
> low) risk of the this anoying hickup to occasionaly happen. Is
> squeezecenter more stable on LINUX? or maybe on MAC.

I don't have personal experience running SqueezeCenter on anything but
Linux. I can say that I've run SqueezeCenter (and before that
slimserver) for years with no problems. I went well over a year without
touching the server. Literally.

> My WIFI network has
> been running fine for 2 years and I do not want change it, but could it
> be the 2 Access Points (with same SSID name) that cause this?

I think this is a really bad idea. I'm no expert in WiFi, but it feels
very wrong to me.


--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

Millwood
2009-03-14, 16:11
You should not run two access points with the same ID. Get one access point and a wifi extender. Vista should be stable although sometimes the multitasking abilities leave something to be desired. I would recommend VortexBox it's simple and uses very low resources.

Nonsense. Any large office runs multiple access points with the same SSID. That's what roaming is about. I have run two in my house for years. I run the two on different channels, but you can experiment with that as well - one channel will work. For now, the controller won't roam, so you have to force it to switch access points if you move it.

As for your question - IMHO, linux is much more reliable than windows. I run Debian etch (waiting for the bugs to shake out before going to lenny) and it would run forever if I didn't reboot once a month to fsck the file systems. It will reliably restart itself is a power failure takes it down. Only problem is the learning curve to get is set up correctly.

ddewey
2009-03-14, 16:38
Quoting Millwood (Millwood.3p29mz1237072501 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com):

>
> agillis;406493 Wrote:
> > You should not run two access points with the same ID. Get one access
> > point and a wifi extender. Vista should be stable although sometimes
> > the multitasking abilities leave something to be desired. I would
> > recommend VortexBox it's simple and uses very low resources.
>
> Nonsense. Any large office runs multiple access points with the same
> SSID. That's what roaming is about. I have run two in my house for
> years. I run the two on different channels, but you can experiment
> with that as well - one channel will work.

Agreed, this is an non-issue.

> As for your question - IMHO, linux is much more reliable than windows.
> I run Debian etch (waiting for the bugs to shake out before going to
> lenny) and it would run forever if I didn't reboot once a month to fsck
> the file systems. It will reliably restart itself is a power failure
> takes it down. Only problem is the learning curve to get is set up
> correctly.

I've exclusively run slimcenter/SqueezeCenter under linux OSs for
years, it is bulletproof. I use fedora, but it probably doens't
matter.

peterw
2009-03-14, 17:00
Nonsense. Any large office runs multiple access points with the same SSID.


And most probably have more sophisticated setups than a couple of consumer-grade wireless routers blindly using the same SSID. At my job we use radios from Tropos that are more expensive than Transporters and use proprietary protocols for mesh management (same stuff Google uses for their public wifi). You could say they use the same SSID, but that greatly downplays their sophistication.

At home I have a couple cheap Linksys devices running the free Tomato firmware in a WDS setup. It's been fine, and has significantly improved coverage and reliability.

jbm
2009-03-14, 18:08
Over the last few years, I've been running various flavors of
SlimServer/SqueezeCenter on a couple of Linux releases (currently
Ubuntu 6.06.2 LTS) and it's been really solid (for the solid
SlimServer/Squeezecenter releases -- Squeezecenter has been quite good
through most of its life, and SlimServer was pretty good except, I
recall, for awhile right after a major version version release whose
number I don't remember). But yes, I'm convinced Linux is in general the
most bulletproof platform for SlimServer.

A Debian-flavored release (such as Ubuntu) is convenient because you can
just put the Slimdevices debian package repository in the update list,
then Sqeezecenter releases become visible and available for optional
upgrade via the OS's regular update tools.

If I were setting up a new server for this, I expect I'd try to install
it on whatever the most recent Ubuntu release is which has been
designated "LTS" (Long-Term Support).

http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/releasenotes

http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download

(Looks like Ubuntu Server 8.04 LTS is supported until April of 2013.)

I ran SlimServer for awhile under Mac OS X, and that was... perfectly
fine, I guess, although I was easily confused by issues related to
per-user versus per-system install; and my Mac desktop goes up and down
more often (to accommodate restart-requiring updates) than I prefer for a
music server. The Linux box I run the music server on is dedicated to
long-running services and stays up usually a few months between times I
bother with updates and reboots. But I don't feel the need to keep up
with bleeding-edge updates, because that machine's only contact with
hosts outside our home is via connections it initiates to a controlled
set of hosts.

As for the networking issues... I connect as many of the nodes as
possible via hardwired ether. Wireless networking just provides another
way for the whole setup to flake out for reasons beyond one's control
(the neighbor decides to set up an access point one floor below you on
the exact same channel as your network, or microwaves some popcorn, or
there are... sunspots, or ghosts, or something). I kind of hate
wireless. I only use it (grudgingly) for laptops and a Squeezebox in
a bathroom.

-Jeff

Goodsounds
2009-03-14, 20:15
The software is EXTREMELY stable on XP. I could echo the many comments above that were made for linux. For me, slim software on XP:

Runs for month after month without being touched.
Has been trouble free for years (except for one incident that required a reboot)
Never freezes or jams, instant response
Starts itself after a power failure
Etc etc

If you read the forums here, you'll see that it's not as if linux users don't also have their problems from time to time. What will work for you is what you know or have the resources/capabilities to troubleshoot.

I'm not a techie, but I'd guess you have other problems going on unrelated to what you think it is. Two crashes, slow response time, 50% CPU useage, seem quite odd. Something is very wrong with your hardware, other software, or ???

How is your music organized, folder wise? Everything tidy, good tags, etc?

Do you have another PC you can substitute in to the mix and see what would happen?

peter
2009-03-15, 04:38
Jac wrote:
> Who can recommend the simplest setup where there would be no (very very
> low) risk of the this anoying hickup to occasionaly happen. Is
>
Linux server, any distro. Wire the server to the router and if at all
possible wire the SB's to the router as well. Do not use
wireless between the router and the server. That's the simplest and the
most solid setup. Wire the place...

Regards,
Peter

Howard Passman
2009-03-15, 10:48
Having never bothered with Linux, I run XP Pro and strip all of the junk out of it. The OS, SC, iTunes, Moose and sundry plug-ins take up 6.4GB and ran wihtout intervention on a normal hard drive until recently when I migrated it to a OCZ 30GB SSD. Now I have less maintenance (no defrags) and it's extremely quick. The music lives on a second SATA disk in the box and backups are put to seperate drives via a BlacX eSATA drive. Also a pretty quick way to back up.

I would bet there are several other ways to skin this cat reliably also.

Howard

Jac
2009-03-15, 11:35
OK,

Thanks for the comments

There seems to be mixed opinions about the having 2 AP with same SSID. I often see my duet remote reconnecting to the AP as I often travel with the remote where it probably connects & looses signal from one of the AP and connects to the other one. Hmmm I think I will try to rename one of them and manually connect my remote when needed to change AP. for the rest of my network it is very simple. the server is cabled to my router and the players are wireless with strong signal.

For the server I am tempted to go Linux. I am no Linux gouru, but I know it is more stable. I just want to have my music server and forget about it. Again looking for an easy istall and setup. However I am really puzzled as to why when everything slows down in Vista: occasionaly the CPU utilization % goes up and it is the squeezecenter that is indicating the high cpu. I seem to notice a pattern that this slowdown occurs when I do a search (artisist or song name) and try to play music from my search. In other words when I browse from albums things seem to run fine. Maybe that explains why it crashes more when I have friends over as they will tend to do some searches

Thanks



Someone asked how my music is structured. My FLACs are all album with sub folders artist - album. for compilations they are under various artist folder -album. I spent quit a bit of time on tags as we are 4 friends who ripped the music and all we keep are artists,album, title,genre

bernt
2009-03-15, 12:25
I have used Ubuntu server for a long time and never had any kind of trouble with it. The only thing that could be frustrating for a Linux beginner is setting up Samba.

If I were you I would go for Vortexbox. Next time I change hardware on my server I will install Vortexbox on it.

oktup
2009-03-17, 05:28
I used to run Slimserver on XP but moved to Ubuntu, and am very happy with that decision. Faster player response times and fewer 'quirky' episodes, ie just more "rock solid" generally ;)

Jac
2009-03-17, 11:17
Thanks, I will be switching from Vista to Ubuntu and dedicate the machine for squeezecenter. I have seen it on a friends laptop and I must admit it is impressive. Furthermore I will be able to remote access from my Mac with the built in VNC in Leopard. I hope it will resolve my issue #1 which is stability.

Oktup,
Since you switched have you noticed if accessing squeezcenter through a browser is faster. Or should I be expecting the same response time as on Vista/XP which is OK. I never understood why it is not faster: dedicated lan, 100Mbps speeds, performing machines..... should give fast response when using a browser?? and I have tried various browsers from MAC and PC and all give similar response, so I can only blame my squeezecenter on my Vista PC

agillis
2009-03-17, 11:27
The SqueezeCenter interface is running a lot of javascript. So it can be a little slow if you doing something complex. But I find it runs at a decent speed for most operations. Try FireFox 3 if your not already using it. It has a faster javascript engine.

iPhone
2009-03-17, 12:12
Hi,

I have now had my duet for a while now but I am to the point of giving up as I cannot get it to be stable to the point I would want it to be. I have dedicated a PC (Pentium 4 at 3 Ghz running Vista) . The only other program running is windows MS Mediacenter which is connected to a TV used for DVDs. I have over 1000 albums (21000 titles) in FLAC on a USB 1 TByte WD drive

By being stable I mean 90 % of the time it is fine, but every once in a while for no obvious reason the response gets very slow when browsing for music. In other instances the music can take up to 10 seconds to start. Sometimes it will be fine after 15 minutes or so, or in other cases the only way to get everything back right is to restart everything, from the PC to resetting the remote. I have now started to look at CPU utilization, and have noticed that when it slows down it is the squeezcenter program that is running at over 50% CPU.

I am also running my WIFI with 2 Access points with the same name, since I have a large area to cover.

Who can recommend the simplest setup where there would be no (very very low) risk of the this anoying hickup to occasionaly happen. Is squeezecenter more stable on LINUX? or maybe on MAC. It would be a pity and $$ to dedicate a MAC. Can it be Vista? I have rebuilt the PC and the only 3rd party application is squeexebox. My WIFI network has been running fine for 2 years and I do not want change it, but could it be the 2 Access Points (with same SSID name) that cause this? I had thought of setting it independentaly usng the players WIFI, but this makes me loose access from my boombox, and I loose the range I need.

If anyone has every had such issue and managed to resolve some help would really really really be appreciated!!

......Especially the last 2 times in a week that it crashed was when I had over 30 guests in the house, and the last thing I wanted to be doing is resetting everything to get the music back

Jac

I am a big fan of Ubuntu Desktop or using VortexBox if you need an easy install that rips and runs SC without knowing much about Linux.

peter
2009-03-17, 14:33
Jac wrote:
> Thanks, I will be switching from Vista to Ubuntu and dedicate the
> machine for squeezecenter. I have seen it on a friends laptop and I
> must admit it is impressive. Furthermore I will be able to remote
> access from my Mac with the built in VNC in Leopard. I hope it will
> resolve my issue #1 which is stability.
>

Pity you'll be running a whole GUI when all you want to do is run one
server. You shouldn't really run X it just takes up memory and CPU.
Access to Unix is best accomplisehd with stuff like ssh.
> Oktup,
> Since you switched have you noticed if accessing squeezcenter through a
> browser is faster. Or should I be expecting the same response time as
> on Vista/XP which is OK. I never understood why it is not faster:
> dedicated lan, 100Mbps speeds, performing machines..... should give
> fast response when using a browser?? and I have tried various browsers
> from MAC and PC and all give similar response, so I can only blame my
> squeezecenter on my Vista PC
>

It's probably squeezecenter. Not unique, though. I have Gigabit managed
switched with web interfaces that are painfully slow as well.

Regards,
Peter

pfarrell
2009-03-17, 14:42
Peter wrote:
>> Thanks, I will be switching from Vista to Ubuntu and dedicate the
>> machine for squeezecenter. I have seen it on a friends laptop and I
>> must admit it is impressive. Furthermore I will be able to remote
>> access from my Mac with the built in VNC in Leopard. I hope it will
>> resolve my issue #1 which is stability.
>
> Pity you'll be running a whole GUI when all you want to do is run one
> server. You shouldn't really run X it just takes up memory and CPU.
> Access to Unix is best accomplisehd with stuff like ssh.

I don't agree that is uses up a significant amount of memory.

But regardless, you can alway just change your inittab to boot into 3
and it boots without X-windows. Then all you are "wasting" is a few
hundred MB of disk storage.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

peter
2009-03-17, 23:17
Pat Farrell wrote:
> Peter wrote:
>
>>> Thanks, I will be switching from Vista to Ubuntu and dedicate the
>>> machine for squeezecenter. I have seen it on a friends laptop and I
>>> must admit it is impressive. Furthermore I will be able to remote
>>> access from my Mac with the built in VNC in Leopard. I hope it will
>>> resolve my issue #1 which is stability.
>>>
>> Pity you'll be running a whole GUI when all you want to do is run one
>> server. You shouldn't really run X it just takes up memory and CPU.
>> Access to Unix is best accomplisehd with stuff like ssh.
>>
>
> I don't agree that is uses up a significant amount of memory.
>

It uses a lot more than bash. And bash doesn't even run when you're not
using it ;)
> But regardless, you can alway just change your inittab to boot into 3
> and it boots without X-windows. Then all you are "wasting" is a few
> hundred MB of disk storage.
>

Obviously, but the OP was going to use VNC to manage his server, which
AFAIK implies X.

Regards,
Peter