Setting up Ubuntu as a Desktop / Media Server

Now that I’ve got a new computer, I’ve decided to use my old one as a media server.  As it terns out, doing this with Hardy Heron is only slightly more complicated than it is with Windows XP, but given the stability and security offered by Ubuntu that Windows lacks, I feel the minimal extra effort was well worth it.

Fortunately, the additional software I needed was in the Hardy Heron repositories.  The first thing I did was install MediaTomb, and edit the config.xml file to work properly with my PlayStation 3, which is a lot easier than it sounds, since they have comments within the config file that tell you how to edit it.  Then, I just set up MediaTomb with the browser interface to share and monitor the folders I wanted to keep all my media in.  That got me set up to access all my media through my PS3, and PSP via Remote Play.

However, that left me with the need to edit and download all my media on my old desktop computer.  I could sneaker-net all the stuff on my laptop to my desktop.  But, I’m a tech geek in the twenty-first century.  If I need to get out of bed just so I can watch The Totally Rad Show on my PSP, then something is very wrong.  So, that meant I needed to open up and share those media folders on my network in a more conventional way than MediaTomb’s UPnP server.  Fortunately, that’s doable via Samba.  I’d give a how-to on how I managed to get that to work, but honestly, I mostly just fiddled with it till it worked (nice that it’s simple enough that you can do that, though).  I installed the needed Samba and NFS apps from the repository, and just toyed with the settings till I could see, add, and manipulate content in the media folders on my desktop computer via my Macbook.

Anyway, the point is that now I can download podcasts and free online videos, and upload them to my media server directly from my Macbook.

My Desktop computer has been an integral part of who I am as a person for a very long time, so it’s going to take a little while for me to get used to using a laptop for all my computing needs.  However, there’s no doubt that I can do that now.  The Macbook does pretty much everything better than my desktop ever did.


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