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i’ve always wanted music in the shower. and not just some dinky little radio, but a real jukebox, with access to my music collection and playlists. after some google-searching, i’ve put together a system that does those things and more. for instance, i can play any song from my music collection in multiple rooms of my apartment. i can also control the music using a slick web-interface. all for, of course, free. here’s how i started living the dream.

assuming you’re making a dedicated jukebox, first lay your hands on the cheapest x86 you can find (make sure though that it has a working soundcard). the slower the processor, the better, since lower megahertz translates into lower electricity use. personally, i selected a PIII 500 Mhz machine w/ a whopping 256 megs of RAM that i had actually built in high school and then forgotten about at my parents’ house. machines like this can be had for about $50 on craiglist or for free if you live near a college campus (labs often give away old hardware).

once you’ve got a box, go ahead and wipe the hard drive. don’t bother reinstalling windows; the damn thing requires so many patches, updates, and anti-virus. instead, just install some flavor of linux. i’ve myself have grown attached to debian. make sure to enable all of the webserving choices the debian installer offers (make sure apache and php get installed).

next, download slimserver – get the linux distribution of course. if you need help installing an rpm file in debian, look here. once slimserver has been installed, turn on the slimserver daemon.

at this point, you can upload all of your music to your linux box. afterwards, navigate to the server settings menu of slimserver. there, you can select the top-level folder of your music library and have the software index your music collection.

now, you’re almost ready to play music. connect any set of powered speakers (i.e. computer speakers) into the stereo-out jack of your linux box. if you don’t want to put a computer in the bathroom just buy some stereo extension cord from radioshack.

to get slimserver to stream to the local server’s soundcard, install splay. that is, at the terminal, type:

sudo apt-get install “splay”

then, use this command to turn splay on and point it at slimserver.

you should be all set now. hitting play in slimserver should cause music to play out of the speakers you’ve connected. and, if you get a cheap stereo splitter at radioshack, you can play music in multiple rooms.

if something about this doesn’t work out and wasn’t well-explained, feel free to email me and ask for help.

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4 Responses to “make a linux-based web jukebox”

  1. on 16 Mar 2006 at 8:47 pm Anonymous

    Thanks for posting this. I was trying to get slimserver to run from unstable with many issues. By following what you have here, I was up and running with little effort.


  2. on 21 Jul 2007 at 10:51 am nathan

    what about simply using gnump3d? Mo features, mo easier install?

  3. on 30 Jan 2011 at 3:42 pm karel

    I was looking for a similar solution, and found this. I am using amahi as my home server, and it has also a slimserver application. Is is the one from logitec.
    I was not able to find the splay application, but I found a replacement app: mpg123 or pmg321.
    The setup is working, but it is to slow. It looks like the mpg123 application is buffering to much, and it takes to long to react to start playing.
    Did you encounter the same problem?
    gnump3d was no option for me, as it plays on the requesting pc, not on the server itself.


  4. on 30 Sep 2014 at 4:25 pm music production

    music production

    make a linux-based web jukebox » from the desk of stinkpot

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