How do I cope with the loss of time from building a bogus server?
January 2, 2016 10:47 PM   Subscribe

Received a very old computer. It had the necessary hardware, so I decided to turn it into a music streaming server so that I could listen to my 450gb of music at anytime over my iphone. I tried to set it up with tonido, and everything worked well. The only problem is that their iphone app sucks and crashes like a mofo EVERY time.

This is what I did to make a dedicated machine.

0. Dealt with all sorts of erasing, formatting, and partition nonsense.
1. Installed xubuntu.
2. Installed Tonido to it.
3. Set it up indexed my entire USB drive full of 450GB of music I have acquired over the last couple of years.
4. Got the app for iphone.
5. Set up the app.
6. Listened to about 2 songs and then the app crashed.

And it kept crashing everytime. I got up to about 4 songs at best. The server is fine. I had a friend try it out and we both were crashing at different times, both of us, just one of us. The app is crashing all the time. Its the app, thats the problem.

So what do I do now?
1. Give up on Tonido as a music server because their app sucks and start with another program for music streaming.
2. Give up on tonido and just turn this into another kind of server because music servers like this are always sucky.
3. Something else.

Previously, I had no success with other, more bloated linux distributions and with complete solutions like daphile. I also don't want to do stuff like plex, because if im paying anyways...why should i setup my own hardware, id rather spotiy. So no plex, or any other subscription based programs.

Any other type of useful servers, if I'm getting no love regarding a linux-based music streaming server?
Any tips? Everything is garbage, so I will definitely take advice from the beginning on making a linux music server. Or anything else that would be easy to do on an old computer.
posted by hal_c_on to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Plex has a subscription program, but you don't actually need a subscription to use it remotely. If you want to use cloud storage or offline sync to your mobile device (I think those are the big draws?), you do, but I'm running Plex on an Ubuntu server in my living room, and if I sign into the Plex app and select that server, I can stream things just fine. The app was like five bucks; there's not an ongoing fee.
posted by MeghanC at 11:06 PM on January 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

ampache running on an ubuntu box, with the subsonic backend enabled, and a subsonic client on my phone is my setup. It works very well for me, and thus is my recommendation.
posted by namewithoutwords at 12:00 AM on January 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Have you worked out what it's going to cost you in electricity to keep your very old computer running for a year? You might well find that you'd be financially better off for ditching it and spending less than $100 on a Raspberry Pi instead, which eats under ten watts at full throttle and well under five when idling, and with four cores and 1GB of RAM might well outperform a very old PC.
posted by flabdablet at 2:03 AM on January 3, 2016 [11 favorites]

i'm not sure if you want a server only for music you already have, or one that also connects to other services.

if you only want to listen to the music that you have yourself, then mpd is reliable (and free). there are many different clients - i have used mpdroid on android, but i have no experience with iphone (mpd itself doesn't have a gui - the only gui is whatever client you use).
posted by andrewcooke at 2:58 AM on January 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

But since it's set up if you do decide to use a new power efficient device keep this one as a backup mostly powered down.
posted by sammyo at 5:29 AM on January 3, 2016

We use MiniDLNA with PlugPlayer on iOS and BubblwUPnP on Android. I can't say I like it, but it doesn't suck as badly as it might.

Seconding flabdablet's question about power consumption: Old hardware can cost a lot more to run than you'd think...
posted by straw at 6:08 AM on January 3, 2016

I have no recommendations for streaming software but definitely consider what flabdablet said. Last year I somehow ended up with an old Sun sparc-based workstation and decided to run it as an OpenBSD server for streaming music at work (Spotify was blocked) and other misc. tinkering. It worked great, until the electric bill came and was $40 higher. This is an extreme example as I doubt your computer is as big and loud and totally inefficient as this 15 year old workstation was but it's worth considering.
posted by Venadium at 7:35 AM on January 3, 2016

The "old" computer I'm talking about is a late 2012 Mac mini. I'm using it because it doesn't consume much power.

I'd appreciate it if we got off the power derail, though.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:56 AM on January 3, 2016

OK, no power derail.
+1 to subsonic, I think.
I've used subsonic for some years, a couple of years back.
My mobile data coverage was to flaky to utilize it properly, but when that wasn't a problem, it was flawless.
I'm on android, though.
As to your original question of how to cope, I'd say chalk it up as a learning experience :-).
Plenty of those available in the Linux world.
Best of luck!
posted by Thug at 10:22 AM on January 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Plex is great! You can see here ( that syncing and cloud storage are the main paid features (at least in my opinion). There are some others, but none of them are necessary.

Another alternative is to upload all of your music to Google Play Music.
posted by reddot at 11:29 AM on January 3, 2016

I've been using subsonic for years for this purpose (linux media server) and it's worked great. iSub is the iOS app to use on the client side.

I haven't had any success using Plex for music (as opposed to video) but I also haven't worked very hard on it.
posted by crazy with stars at 12:19 PM on January 3, 2016

I have a 2012 Mac Mini with Plex serving up movies & music in my house (note: not across the Internet), and it's awesome. Mind you, I got a Synology that has mostly taken over the media server role, but the Mini is still super for this.

I haven't paid for the Plex software. Which features require you to pay?

Also, what about using the Home Sharing feature of iTunes to get to your Mini's tunes on your iPhone?
posted by wenestvedt at 12:53 PM on January 3, 2016

Tips... You may not like this one, but if you value your time... Get yourself a mid-level Synology... (I have a 5-bay model)

Linux-based, and pretty much "plug'n'play"... I used to try building my own media servers, only to have them crash after 6-12 months...

Not only does my Synology have the appropriate server software for media streaming, it has "apps" for every portable OS/device and is a very simple "no-brainer" solution...
posted by jkaczor at 8:15 AM on January 4, 2016

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