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Music Media Software

Centrally-Controlled Home Music System on a Budget? 287

akgoatley writes "Recently my technically inept parents bought a new stereo and have expressed a wish to have it connected to a computer for storing large amount of music - a Linux CD jukebox. An example of this would be The Idiot Jukebox, but the solution has to be less complicated than that. I've already written a fairly basic music database in Perl with a web frontend for searching through it from our LAN, and I'm looking for a Linux-based collection of software to run the jukebox. It has to rip CDs when inserted, store them in a directory structure based on the name of the album. Modification of the ID3 tags is not necessary as my database handles that centrally. To complicate matters, it has to be command-line based as I will be SSHing into the jukebox to control it. The solution has to be a simple collection of software that can be easily controlled via SSH. Due to hardware (and budget) constraints the jukebox will be too slow to run X, anyway :( This means programs like Grip will not be usable. What do you Slashdotters out there think? Any good suggestions or pieces of software you would use?"
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Centrally-Controlled Home Music System on a Budget?

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  • solution? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:32PM (#10545820)
    you want a solution? hell, i'm having trouble understanding your question!
    • "News for Nerds. Stuff that matters."

      Might be a Sunday but come on...
    • Re:solution? (Score:5, Informative)

      by badasscat ( 563442 ) <basscadet75@yah o o .com> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @06:37PM (#10546935)
      you want a solution? hell, i'm having trouble understanding your question!

      He basically wants a music server, and he apparently wants it to be as complicated as possible, and he wants to run it on an 8088.

      This isn't the first time the music server question has come up here, and the questioners always seem to want to make it as hard on themselves as possible. They want a text-based interface, they want to be able to rip and burn, they want Linux, and they want to do it all on a hacked HP calculator or something.

      I've got a media server that I cobbled together out of old spare parts, combined with a new hard drive and a new case. Whole thing cost me about $200 for the new parts and I've got a reasonably nice machine that hosts my music, movies, and photos. I have it set to auto-logon to Windows XP (with a username and password) and then launch iTunes and Media Portal (an OSS media center clone) with a girder plugin for my remote control. Then I've got a bunch of options. I can access that PC directly through my TV using Media Portal and play music with my remote control. I can carry my laptop anywhere in the house and control that PC through Windows' own remote desktop connection. Or I can use it as a real music server and stream music through iTunes over my wireless LAN, playing it on my laptop or whatever else I'm using.

      iTunes will also rip and burn, which was another listed requirement.

      My advice to anyone who wants to do this - build or buy a cheap, mostly second-hand PC. Along with whatever new hardware you buy, pick up an OEM copy of Windows XP for cheap at a site like Newegg.com. Install iTunes, install Media Portal, put them both in your startup folder. Import all your music into both apps and enjoy.

      Very simple and very powerful. Not expensive either.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I just picked up a D-Link Media Server [dlink.com] for $150 yesterday.

        It's got wired and wireless network. Audio outputs Optical/Coax/Composite. Video Outputs S-Video/Composite/Component (anything I could imagine hooking to my stereo or tv)...

        I've got my MP3s, MPEGs, and JPGs on a server downstairs, and can play most everything in my living room. Handy remote control blends in with the rest on the cofffee table, and the unit itself is the smallest thing in the AV console. (It's only about an inch and a half high
    • by turnstyle ( 588788 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @07:10PM (#10547103) Homepage
      I hope it's ok to mention my own software, Andromeda [turnstyle.com].

      It's been out for about 4-5 years, and has received good reviews [turnstyle.com].

      I've coded ASP and PHP versions, and it works on Windows, Unix, and Mac OS X boxes.

      Basically, you just drag in the one script file, and it turns your folders of MP3s into a complete streaming site -- whenever you add new files, the site is always automatically up-to-date.

      You can use it over your LAN, or (bandwidth permitting) over the Internet.

  • Idiot Jukebox (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FrenchyinCT ( 733872 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:33PM (#10545824)
    Are you entirely certain this is a good idea? Aging parents + new technology = unending tech support calls and the increasing likelihood of parricide...
    • Re:Idiot Jukebox (Score:3, Interesting)

      by erick99 ( 743982 )
      From experience I can tell you that aging parents + new technology can end up translating into a lot of tech support calls and quite a few visits for some one-on-one help. However, when I watch my 72 year dad getting such enjoyment from learning how to use his computer, surf the web, work on the family genealogy project, etc. it is more than worth it. I am not saying I haven't gritted my teeth more than once, but he's my dad. I hope my two sons will take the same amount of time with me when I am in my 70
    • Re:Idiot Jukebox (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, a lot of us actually like helping out friends and family, and especially parents who gave us so much earlier in our lives.

      Yes, a lot of us actually enjoy showing others how to use their computers to their full advatange.

      Yes, a lot us actually want to fix others' screw-ups so they're not turned-off by computers, so they know they have a person to rely on, so they're not afraid to experiment and become comfortable with computers.

      Yes, a lot us actually are patient enough to provide tech support to frie
    • I agree. Aging parents and a command line interface? If they knew how to handle a command line interface, would they ask their kid to set it up for them?

      How about this, why not just set up a 100 to 400 CD changer and leave it at that? My CD changer reads CD-Text on the songs and the CD title. The slowest part is copying all the pressed CDs so that the CD-Text data can be encoded into them, and that's an easy job in Nero.
    • Re:Idiot Jukebox (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wondergibbon ( 626825 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @04:58PM (#10546355)
      Are you entirely certain this is a good idea? Aging parents + new technology = unending tech support calls and the increasing likelihood of parricide...

      As opposed to when you were young, and they were showing you how to do something with technology that was new to you? Like, say, ride a bike? Use a spoon? Walk? How many times did you ask for their help???

      Who bought you your first computer?

      You have to give back. And instead of it being a chore, you should be grateful you can.

      A newbie is a newbie is a newbie - no matter what age.

  • Idiot Jukebox (Score:2, Informative)

    by erick99 ( 743982 )
    The Idiot Jukebox would be great for someone that is a reasonably sophisticated Linux user. I like what the software suite does but it's beyond my technical ability to implement the Idiot Jukebox. Perhaps if someone wrote a detailed "hwow to" it would be more accessible?
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:33PM (#10545830) Homepage Journal
    Taadaa! [slashdot.org]
  • Save up money to buy a 40 gig iPod [amazon.com], download all the music your parents want, then plug it in to the stereo. Now you have a big collection in a small device playing on a set of nice stereo speakers.
    • An iPod is nice, for portability. But, I don't think that was listed in the requirements. Also, if the music is to be played on a stereo system, the iPod interface may not be the best.

      Another option would be an Airport Express. Rip all the music, and store it on their desktop PC. Then, play it via iTunes + Airport Express on their stereo.

      If they wanted portability, the iPod could fit nicely into this structure. But, just for home stereo playback, it's not really necessary.
  • by montulli ( 658308 ) * on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:35PM (#10545836) Homepage
    I would give SlimServer a try. It is web based but would probably suit your needs. You may also like their hardware since you won't need a direct cable connection between the stereo and the computer.
  • Tunez! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:35PM (#10545838)
    Funny this story was just posted... I've been trying out a couple of these web frontended jukeboxes the last couple of days. I personally like Tunez! [sourceforge.net] the best because I can setup an icecast stream. The installation was fairly simple.

    I've also tried Jukebox (which i found difficult to get going - with a icecast stream) and also tried the Andromeda look-alikes.
  • Airport Express (Score:2, Informative)

    by dcstimm ( 556797 )
    The Apple Airport Express is what I use to stream my music library to my stereo system, its an amazing device which works great with linux considering it uses open standards. Do a good search for Airport express and linux and you will find the howto. I almost cant live with out it. also its a bridge for my exsisting wireless so I get 10x better connectivity in my living room then I did before with my wireless laptop, and it has an extra usb port on it for a wireless printer(which isnt supported in linux)
    • The Apple Airport Express is what I use to stream my music library to my stereo system, its an amazing device which works great with linux considering it uses open standards.

      Open standards? Last I heard, DVD John [nanocrew.net] had to reverse engineer the Airport Express streaming encryption. Hardly an open standard.

      That said, they are nice little boxes with excellent audio quality and CHEAP!
  • CPU (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GrAfFiT ( 802657 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:36PM (#10545847) Homepage
    You mention : "the jukebox will be too slow to run X"
    If you can't get X to run smoothly, how do you expect to encode you CDs ?
    • Or even play MP3s. I've run X (256 colours, low resolution) quite happily on machines which struggle with MP3 playback. Playing something that sounds a little better, like Ogg or AAC uses even more CPU (unless he's planning on just ripping the CDs without any compression...)
      • Re:CPU (Score:4, Insightful)

        by krymsin01 ( 700838 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @04:19PM (#10546114) Homepage Journal
        He may be confusing running KDE or Gnome with running X. I use fluxbox on my aging laptop and have no problems. Try to runing KDE and the laptop will just sit there churning the hard drive because of lack of memory.
      • Good example - Vaio PictureBook C1F or any old laptop with a f00f encumbered Pentium. It is sometimes painfull to watch it update the screen. At the same time OGG at 192 VBR - no problem whatsoever. 10% load and happily trucking along.

        In btw, I am currently looking at the same jukebox question from a different perspective - to move the picturebook to the car and plug it into the AUX IN on the car stereo. The only problem I have is the interface - how to make it controllable in a safe manner.
        • In btw, I am currently looking at the same jukebox question from a different perspective - to move the picturebook to the car and plug it into the AUX IN on the car stereo.

          There are tons of resources on the web for doing just this. I did this with an old toshiba Libretto 100 (the one that's a P166 and about the size of a VCR tape, easily stashed under a seat). For driver-friendly control, use a parallel-port LCD display, like this [crystalfontz.com], and a serial port IrMan [evation.com] with a credit card-sized universal remote. I bu

      • Re:CPU (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by senatorpjt ( 709879 )
        I've run X on a 386/20 with 4MB ram. It takes about five minutes to start and can't run a window manager, but it actually ended up working fairly well for running remote X apps.
        • Yes. Running an X-server on your ancient machine shouldn't be too painful if you're using it to display 'nice' clients running on remote machines - mplayer will of course saturate a network connection and! no sound, but emacs and xterm windows are fully responsive.
    • Re:CPU (Score:2, Informative)

      by barrkel ( 806779 )
      Encoding CDs will only take time; it can be done in the background.

      Another poster has indicated a doubt as to the possibility of playing without skipping. MP3 playback on 133MHz Win95 systems with 16MB rarely took more than 10% CPU, back in the day.

      From what I hear of the requirements to run X, it sounds like it has bloated terribly since the old 486 / 1MB graphics card days.
  • Get a Mac (Score:2, Informative)


    I have an old iMac that is used for nothing but serving web pages and playing music. It's plugged into my home stereo in the other room. I use Salling Clicker and my bluetooth phone to control iTunes from anywhere in the apartment. And, with iTunes sharing I used it to play music off my PowerBook over my wireless LAN.

  • low tech solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FiReaNGeL ( 312636 ) <fireang3l@hGAUSS ... m minus math_god> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:37PM (#10545857) Homepage
    Buy them a CD rack. Remove CD from CD rack, insert into stereo, play.

    Honestly, most new stereo cd players come with a 50 discs capacity... is it worth the trouble? If you have 'low hardware and budget' I doubt you'll have space to rip 500 cds at a good bitrate anyway. Could be a cool project, just for the fun. But it's totally non-practical, in my view.
    • by Em Ellel ( 523581 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:47PM (#10545929)
      while I generally agree, some math shows:

      Say 1 CD at 192 is about 100MB
      so 500CDs= 500 x 100 MB = 50,000MB so about 50GB, given that you can get a 120GB IDE disk for under $90 easy, I think it is safe to say that ripping 500 CDs is more likely limited by ability to find 500 CDs worth ripping, rather than disk capacity.

      • Say 1 CD at 192 is about 100MB

        Time factor. Take into account that parents are going to be an age where vinyl and tapes were ever so popular. A typical album is typicaly about 45min or so IIRC and should be played in real time if converting it to another format. Let's say there 50 albums in the collection... that would be about 40hours and flipping sides 100 times.

        Not to say this wouldn't be a worth while project, but also a very time consuming one.
    • Storage space is incredibly cheap nowadays. When you can get a 250GB hard drive for $109 (or, to be a little more reasonable, 60GB for $29), a HUGE amount of storage is really not much of a budget hit.
      • by lar ( 148557 )
        But what about the mb?

        I can't say for sure, but if he is worried about the CPU's ability to run X, then he probably has a pretty old processor and, therefore, motherboard. Old motherboard's cannot handle that kind of storage.

        I'm running a K6-2 400MHz machine, and the best it can do is run a 30GB hard drive (which is actually a 40GB hd jumpered down to 30GB).

        So, a $30 60GB hard drive (are they really *that* cheap?!) would probably cost a lot more, considering CPU and MB.
    • Re:low tech solution (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @04:17PM (#10546102) Homepage Journal
      Not enough space?

      According to du my ogg directory, containing 600 CDs ripped at the highest quality setting, is taking 49Gb of space.

      That's gonna cost you what...100 bucks?

      There are many things a CD rack won't do. Like, say, shuffle your collection. Or let you create playlists off of a large number of CDs. Or start the stereo from an ssh session in another room.

      I've been playing all my music off of a harddrive for years. It's hardly impracticle. I used to have a pile of CDs cluttering up my desk. I used to have to worry about CDs getting scratched. I used to have to work to keep the CDs sorted.

      No longer.

  • $129. Apple Airport Express + iTunes. It will pipe the audio out to their stereo.

    If need be, add another hard drive to a PC and have iTunes use that for all the music.

    this really is all you need, since you don't seem inclined to make a stereo-side frontend for control too. If you were trying to make a stereo-side frontend, then this would be better...but why do this, especially when you're going to have to support it for someone else?

    by all means, though, have fun doing this at home where you (hopefully

    • more thoughts....this is cheapest since you don't need to have another machine to run linux on (technically inept == win or mac rig already in house)...you can sell that on eBay (if you already have it) to pay for the Airport Express or new HDD

      just because you may think writing your own frontend is cool now doesn't mean you'll think it's cool when it goes *boom*....i know I said this earlier, but I speak from experience
      (so I felt like repeating it).

  • answer: XBOX + XBOX Media center [xbmc.org].

    It'll read from a network drive, rip CDs, rip DVDs, navigable with a remote, viewable on the TV, and above all, it's easy enough for your mom to use.
    • Agreed. Also, put the audio output to the stereo and the video to the TV - this means that you can listen to music on the speakers and turn the TV only when you want to change tracks or add more stuff.
  • OMG (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Apreche ( 239272 )
    I can kind of understand when people are looking for a piece of software that does X, Y and Z and they can't find something for Windows. But for linux there are multiple online, free places where you can search for software that meets your needs.

    I use gentoo, so my first place is esearch. If I want a ripping program I open up a term and do

    esearch -Sc rip

    . It's that easy. Look what came up!

    [ N] media-sound/rip (1.07): A command-line based audio CD ripper and mp3 encoder


    If you don't use gentoo and do

  • Jinzora (Score:3, Interesting)

    by guycouch ( 763243 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:40PM (#10545882) Journal
    I'm working on a project with a few others called Jinzora. It's a PHP jukebox for medium to large music collections. Our next release will feature a much enhanced jukebox mode that lets you play your music back from a wide variety of software (xmms,winamp,etc) and also several hardware players like the slimserver. Check it out at www.jinzora.org (and of course it's all GPL)
  • music daemon (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gregmac ( 629064 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:40PM (#10545885) Homepage
    You'd have to find something else to rip, but Music Player Daemon [musicpd.org] is a pretty neat little player that has various front-ends (including a web-based one with an API). I use it at work to play music-on-hold over our telephone system, and it can be controlled from our intranet.
    • I use an old gateway PII-333 running mpd with apache/php and phpMp. it has nfs access to my (about) 60 gig of music on the file server. and plays through a cambridge soundworks Desktop theater system. way more than enough to fill my living room with plesant noise. plus you can change the playlist from any browser in the house. and finally my non technical wife (just enough computer skill to surf ebay) has no problem setting up playlists. Total cost: about $50 for the gateway and about 4 hours playing with m
  • by Em Ellel ( 523581 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:41PM (#10545888)
    Ballpark numbers:

    Used xbox = $110
    Used xbox DVD kit (for remote) = $10
    Mod for xbox = $60 (installed)
    120GB drive = =$90

    Install XBoxMediaCenter. Total cost $270

    Additional stations probably do not need the hdd, so they are $180 a piece

    Optional $10 for a used component output, which includes optical out.

    Done. All you need is some networking gear to connect them and it will do MP3/photos/videos/etc.
    • Damn, you beat me to it. XBMC is really good. The interface is very nice and you can configure it to play music from smb shares. I have it set up to play music off my laptop's external drive. It will also play divx movies and dvds, but that's not required for your parents I guess.

      If you go this route, find slayer's xbox installer. It will reformat the new hard drive and set it up with new dashboard and xbox media player. Then just ftp into it and copy over xbox media center.

      Installing a mod chip isn'
  • Why bother? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by InternationalCow ( 681980 ) <mauricevansteenselNO@SPAMmac.com> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:42PM (#10545891) Journal
    OK, I am probably the nth person writing to say this, so mod me redundant... But, why this complicated solution? For a couple hundred bucks you by an iMac (candy colored one) and put in a big hard disk. Connect decent speakers. Use iTunes. And there you are, instant juke box. Why this complicated solution? I mean, you get mega geek points, but as far as simplicity for elderly people is concerned, your way is not the way to go IMHO. My kids have the iMac + speakers solution and it works wonderfully. They use Audion with a nice skin for kids snd have required only very limited explanation of how it works.
    • There is one thing iTunes won't do.

      What I want to do is to create a music server with all of my music connected through a real sound system.

      I want to be able to control it from my couch.

      iTunes won't work for this...what would really be nice is something like iTunes that ran remotely so that I could control it from my laptop.

      Actually, another thing that would be nice is a remote control interface and the ability to run it on a set top box so that I can sit on my couch and select music on my TV screen.

      • Re:Why bother? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tarth ( 445054 )
        That sounds exactly like AirPort Express with AirTunes [apple.com]. I have one in my dorm, and I can tell you it is
        a) convenient
        b) a good way to impress chicks.

        I highly recommend it to anyone that uses iTunes on a laptop.
      • True. However,for remote control there are third-party solutions available from Belkin and others. If you want to use windows media player, there is a nice remote available from Keyspan ( here [keyspan.com]). For the TV screen, I wouldn't know. Sounds like you might have wanted Windows XP Media Center, if that weren't a too expensive and platform bound solution.
    • Re:Why bother? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Nikker ( 749551 )
      Why not, If it was me trying to push an mp3 player on my folks this is what I would do,
      • Get a CD ROM with DAE at least 16x
      • Write a routine that will start to play the ripped (mpp3/ogg) while the cd is ripping, to make it seem like its doing both at the same time and reduce delay
      • Make sure there are as *FEW* buttons as possible(REC, Play, FF, RW, search)
      • Try to make an interface using an external 10 line LCD that you could grab at any supply store for cheap and keeps things simple
      • If you must use a CRT
  • a mirrored set of 120Gb drives on a Promise RAID controller, MusicMatch (later iTunes when he got an iPod) and a SliMP3 [slimp3.com] Squeezebox [slimp3.com]. It's pretty simple to maintain, easy for him to use and the Squeezebox is the best MP3 streaming system out there. Software is available for Linux, WinXP and MacOSX and the box is simple to set up and works like a fucking charm. It is truly an awesome bit of kit.

    I had thought about setting up a Linux system for him but I didn't want to have to train him how to use Linux and h

  • by jafo ( 11982 ) * on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:44PM (#10545906) Homepage
    I had watched the "SliMP3" hardware player for quite a while, but it's cost and my unfamiliarity with it prevented me from ever getting one. Back in April, they had a sale on the "next generation" verion, the squeezebox, at slimdevices.com [slimdevices.com], and have since lowered their prices.

    I got several of tem when they were on sale, and I've been totally happy with it. They have wifi and ethernet versions, and the best part is that it just worked. I was worried that since I have my music in FLAC format it would be a problem, but their software detected it and just did the right thing. It was super easy to set up.

    Want to try it out without buying a device? There are several software projects that can use a regular Linux machine to act as a client. SoftSqueeze, IIRC, is a Java program that accurately emulates the squeezebox.

    The hardware devices can be synced together, so they play the same music in sync. That's pretty neat. Or you can unsync them and have different music in different rooms.

    I am so happy with the Squeezebox.


    • any client that can stream mp3 can connect to the slimserver...winamp, xmms, wimp, gsplayer etc.

      this is easily the best solution for a home network

      I use it to stream mp3s from my 80gig collection to my PDA(802.11b). No hiccups, does bitrate conversion on the fly, itunes, shoutcast, etc

      the list goes on...
  • by QuasEye ( 98125 ) <prussbw@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:44PM (#10545908) Homepage
    If you're already SSH/Telneting into the machine, just install the necessary X libraries and run XMMS with a remote display. You don't even have to configure an X server on the machine itself.

    I have an old P100 w/ 48MB EDO RAM in it connected to my stereo, and I control it that way. It works just fine, on top of being a Samba server (120 GB HD, where the music lives), and a DNS server.

    It's not set up to rip on demand, because I do that from my main desktop machine. I tend to spend a lot of processor time encoding my MP3s (LAME presets standard or extreme), so it already takes long enough on a reasonably powered machine. However, if you were willing to settle for less (or were willing wait a week), it probably wouldn't take much to write a shell script to do it.
  • MythTV (Score:5, Informative)

    by jhoger ( 519683 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:46PM (#10545926) Homepage
    I believe MythTV will rip cd's, has a user friendly menuing system, etc.
  • this? [sourceforge.net] With Bemused, you could control your jukebox from anywhere in the house with your cellphone and view the placelist on your phone.
  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:50PM (#10545945) Homepage Journal
    Just for kicks I made remote control streaming karaoke jukebox []. I used WWWinamp by Justin Frankel. [nullsoft.com] Pick a song, add it to the playlist, then watch it here. [7bamboo.com] You'll need winamp to watch the streaming karaoke video. Kinda cool, kinda on topic, kinda free (well windows isn't but that's another slash discussion)
  • Well, let's see... (Score:5, Informative)

    by rusty0101 ( 565565 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:50PM (#10545946) Homepage Journal
    AutoRip http://freshmeat.net/projects/autorip/ [freshmeat.net] should take care of the dropping a disk in and ripping it.

    mplay http://freshmeat.net/projects/mplay/ [freshmeat.net] should take care of a text mode front end for mplayer.

    Obviously you would need to include Mplayer, which will probably want to include the ability to do video playback. As long as you only include a CD player, and don't introduce your folks to VCD's, you should be alright.

    Hey, hope this helps...

  • by jcrash ( 516507 ) *
    Why not just get this:

    MediaMVP by Hauppauge [hauppauge.com]

    It goes for less than $100 and displays to your TV...comes with a remote, too.

    you must like doing things the hard way.
  • Crip (Score:3, Informative)

    by staili ( 200478 ) <resilar@myrealbox.com> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:52PM (#10545956)
    Crip [dynet.com]

    From the page:

    crip is a terminal-based ripper/encoder/tagger tool for creating Ogg Vorbis/FLAC/MP3 files under UNIX/Linux. It is well-suited for anyone (especially the perfectionist) who seeks to make a lot of files from CDs and have them all properly labeled and professional-quality with a minimum of hassle and yet still have flexibility and full control over everything.
  • Use what you got (Score:3, Informative)

    by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <`gro.derdnuheniwydnarb' `ta' `em'> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @04:03PM (#10546022) Journal
    It shouldn't be too hard to modify your front end to run a command line MP3 player (relative to what you have donr so far I mean, I couldn't do it, but I couldn't do the database either). For ripping it looks like

    crip http://bach.dynet.com/crip/ could be used aloing with an expect script to work non interactivle and get what you need.

    It also looks like tagging the files will be easier then getting the tags seperatly, but I am sure there is a perl library for using cddb (there is at least a python one).

  • TiVo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @04:06PM (#10546038) Homepage Journal
    I play all of my MP3's via my home network and my TiVo. It's painfully easy to setup.
  • Console CD Ripping (Score:2, Interesting)

    by paranoos ( 612285 )
    I've written a scripting tool for ripping, encoding, taging and naming CDs in Bash. You can find it here [sourceforge.net].

    Also, might I suggest using the MusePack [musepack.net] audio format, as it produces higher quality encodes, and is faster than mp3 (both for encoding and decoding), which would be nice for your low-spec machine. However, all the players I know that can use it are X-based (other than the command-line decoder). Is it really an issue to run an X session that opens XMMS? You can use the built-in twm window manager, no G

  • Check out JWZ's Gronk [jwz.org]
    • Gronk rocks.... I've had it running for three or four years, and every alternative I've looked at sux.

      It's even better if you drive it from something with a touchscreen. I've used Sharp Mobilon TriPad PV-6000 for this purpose and it works really well. Yeah, it runs WinCE, but Gronk works fine with the builtin browser, and the touchscreen makes it really nice.
  • Tools of use (Score:2, Informative)

    by Qerub ( 812398 )
    cdde + abcde
  • That your technically inept parents are going to be weeping with frustration pretty soon.
  • ... and is controllable via the RC (remote control) command-line interface as well. You can write some simple Perl scripts to launch one instance on the low-end hardware, and another on a more powerful machine that can stream the music to the low-end box. Not to mention, VideoLAN is open-source, and you can write a sockets interface for it if you like if you know some basic C and BSD sockets. I did it, so i'm sure you can as well.

    Regarding the ripping, you can rip via any of the myriad of Linux ripper

  • Think this is the point of the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound systems. Friend of mine has this system - it's very very nice.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @04:31PM (#10546189) Homepage Journal
    Why store the music in directories based on the album name? Just dump it anywhere it can be quickly retrieved. Keep the name/directory lookup in the database in Perl - the filesystem is a crappy database management system. It's too subset oriented to reflect the relationships among the music data, like bands/solo, compilations, live sit-ins, nonunique titles like "Greatest Hits", etc. Use a unique namespace generated for storing your data, and lookup in the DB when retrieving.

    And why write a database in Perl, when you can use Perl DBI::[MySQL, Postgres]? Adding features will be a lot faster/easier, including using other people's code; not to mention the possibility of higher quality code from an open source process. You don't want your stereo to crash during a party.
  • What I want is a linux music player with the ability to deal with large, (think >10k songs). I want it to be able to search by anything in the metadata. I want it to be able to keep virtual and static playlists and be able to switch through them easily. Also I'd like it to be in a client-server setup so I can control the server computer from wherever in my house w/ either a nice graphical interface or a command line or web should need be. Winamp 5 does all of this, (except maybe the virtual playlists
  • Globecom Jukebox (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jalewis ( 85802 ) <jlewis@packPLANC ... minus physicist> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @04:39PM (#10546231) Homepage

    Development is pretty much dead, but it is a mix of perl, php and mysql. I have been using it for years and love it.

    Web gui, cmd line if you know perl, auto rips cds, stores mp3s logically, in general it is nice.
  • Tooting my own horn... for the backend, I've written a metadata persistence module called AudioDBI [patentinvestor.com] for perl that derives from DBI. It should be pretty easy to use. I've got a couple other tools written against it, but they're not quite ready for prime time.

    Using AudioDBI not only can you store/retrieve metadata from a DBI supported database (well, just PostgreSQL right now but that should be easily overcome), but I designed it to support most any CD you come across. Imagine a CD where each song is by

  • Try the list of live CDs at frozentech. I believe there are about 5-10 media versions that can be installed to HDD. Some will rip a CD when inserted. They try to have small foot print (disk space wise) knowing that you will use a "spare" box. I'm not sure about the system requirements seeing how most of them will play DVDs. If one of these will work your life will be much easier.
  • Check out abcde (Score:5, Informative)

    by DarkKnightRadick ( 268025 ) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @05:01PM (#10546370) Homepage Journal
    Check out a tool called abcde [hispalinux.es]. It's a shell script frontend that rips and encodes all in one shot. It supports various formats, makes directories based on a predefined set of variables that you can set up as you wish and many other lovely features. It's completely command line based and, of course, GPL'd.
  • Personally I use vlorb. Easy to use, lots of features.

    http://jk.yazzy.org/projects/vlorb/ [yazzy.org]

    Someone else suggested jack, but was to lazy to provide an URL:

    http://freshmeat.net/projects/jack/ [freshmeat.net]

    IMHO the most important aspect of an auto-ripper, is its error-handling: what happens if a CD is too scratched to rip? How should it react if someone tries to rip the exact same CD? make a new rip with another name ? silently overwrite the old rip? etc.
  • You might want to take a look at gnump3d [gnump3d.org] as that might cover the bases for the most part. It also has a web-interface with password protection if that's something you need. The Windows support seems to be flaky but since you'll be running it from Linux you shouldn't have TOO much trouble.
  • OK, I have a completely different solution for you. Other than ripping and burning, it doesn't involve using a computer at all. It's fast, easy to use, and has an interface they're already familiar with.

    For less than $100 you can get a progressive scan DVD player. Many of these will play back MP3 files from a data DVD (a friend of mine got one at Sam's Club for about $49). Some will even show the MP3 tag info on the TV as each song is being played. You don't get playlists here, but if you're careful with

  • Xbox Media Center is pretty darn cool. A modded Xbox set up to boot right into XBMC might be a good enough solution.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Everything you need, right there.

    The Music Player Daemon (mpd) takes care of the database and playlists: http://musicpd.sourceforge.net/

    That site has links to all kinds of clients for the damon, including the command-line bash-friendly 'mpc' client, as well as the web-based php client, which can run on any webserver that can connect to the music server running mpd.

    A Better CD Encoder (abcde) is a command-line CD ripper/encoder that is *hugely* flexible. It can rip to mp3, ogg, flac, and something else I
  • You can remotely control iTunes through perl or applescript. I read that someone used an old serial terminal and a keyspan serial-usb adapter to build a remote iTunes controller. Hardware like that is practically free.

    iTunes plus+iMac+OSX is the solution you want. Its cheap and powerful. I bet you can get an iMac with OS X for under $100. Gussy it up with Apple Airtunes and you have multiple rooms with music.

    Take note that Airtunes as digital SPDIF i/o!
  • I think the ideal UI for streaming music is a 3Com Audrey, a diskless Internet Appliance from a few years ago that failed to sell, and can now be bought on EBay for $85. It has a nice sharp color touch screen (7-inch 640x480) with a stylus, wireless keyboard, USB LAN dongle, audio output jack and a second USB port. It looks cool too, kind of like a Jetsons version of an Etch-a-Sketch. I bought steveral and am using them to stream music all over my house.

    The Audrey runs QNX, an embedded version of Unix. A g
  • The responses here look like a perfect cross-section of what goes wrong in IT projects:
    - suggestions by people who haven't bothered to read the question, just the headline ("ignoring user requirements")
    - suggestions by people who have read the question, but haven't understood the scenario ("misinterpreting user requirements")
    - suggestions by people who have read the question, but have inserted elements that nobody asked for ("imagining user requirements")
    - gloom-and-doom comments by people who predict disas
  • I have to warn you that a computer too slow to run X is going to take forever to rip and encode CDs (depending on format and encoder, a little).

    I mean what do you need to run X, a 486 with 8 megs of ram and a 2 meg trident vga card? Any machine that doesn't meet those specs is going to spend hours encoding a CDs worth of audio.

    Maybe you meant something else when you said it wouldn't be enough computer to run X.
  • I found everything I needed to create a streaming jukebox-like server in the open source world. I use Apache [apache.org] + mod_musicindex [freshmeat.net] to provide an acceptable user interface. The music is streamed via Icecast [icecast.org]. For ripping on the Windows side I prefer Audiograbber [com-us.net] because it will rip directly to ogg. It's not opensource, but it is freeware.

    The interface provided by mod_musicindex could use some improvement, but is friendly enough to use and allows for playing or shuffling everything, by artist, and by album, a

  • use iTunes... (Score:3, Informative)

    by imsmith ( 239784 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @07:08PM (#10547088)
    you can set up an streaming server / music repository on a Linux box that doesn't have to have X running on it or even a CD-Rom that you can then use from any iTunes [apple.com] client and if you really want to, you might be able to get it to stream from the repository to a stereo via an AirPort Express [apple.com].

    here is the link [linuxgazette.com].

    Furthermore, you can still have the songs available for other streaming servers, and you get to bury it in a closet or the garage or something and SSH to the command line so you don't have to listen to the fan.
  • Front end. (Score:3, Informative)

    by saintlupus ( 227599 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @07:42PM (#10547250) Homepage
    I use an Audrey as a front end for my own setup (check out www.audreyhacking.com if you like). All of my CDs come into the house, get ripped on the Mac using iTunes, the mp3s are copied over onto the NFS server by a daily crontab, and they show up in the Audrey playlist.

    If your parents are bright enough to put a CD in the drive and click on a "rip" button, something similar might work. And the Audrey is a simple, simple, simple touchscreen interface that even my parents were able to figure out.

  • by LinuxHam ( 52232 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @10:37PM (#10548068) Homepage Journal
    There have been plenty of suggestions here for automatically ripping CDs, but for command line software to run on a server

    * jack from http://jack.sf.net, mentioned previously as a highly configurable excellent ripper in a python script
    * slimserver from http://slimdevices.com, mentioned 1,000 times but no one mentioned all in one posting that the server software is freely downloadable, you can point any streaming client at it, like winamp, and that the slimserver has its own internal web server; if the article submitter doesn't know how to port forward over SSH, well..
    * mp3blaster with mserve - I haven't seen this little beauty mentioned once. Check THIS out.. the server is console-mode full-screen (use 'screen' to log out of a box and keep a full-screen app running), but the real beauty is that everyone loads a tiny agent in windows, and everyone gets to rate whatever song is currently playing. Then the system keeps track of everyone's preferences and *dynamically* updates the playlist so that only songs everyone likes are queued up (well, everyone who's currently logged in).

    Originally intended for small offices with music throughout, mp3blaster is a console mode app that kicks off mp3s one at at time through a player of your choice, so it can use mpg123 or xmms or whatever. It can even use netcat "nc" to send the play command to your slimserver. As an aside, if I don't feel like using the Shoutcast plugin on my Slimp3, I use an older copy of Streamtuner, configured to use netcat to tune into Shoutcast streams.

    Remember, you can do all of the Slimserver stuff we talk about totally for free and just buy whatever Slimdevice you decide you want, when you want it or can afford it. Put the infrastructure in place now! There's even a java emulator of the squeezebox and another of the remote!! Finally, I gave my father-in-law a Squeezebox as a thanks for replacing my hot water heater after it exploded on a Sunday afternoon, and he loves it. He bought wireless speakers for poolside and a PC off eBay to dedicate to the server and music library. We have collected 55GB so far and the box has 180GB capacity. We also do rsync replication between our homes.
  • by daemonc ( 145175 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @10:47PM (#10548111)
    "Any good suggestions...?"

    1. Move out of your parents basement. Sure, the rent is cheap, but you will pay for it in free tech support.

    2. Get a real job, then you can tell them you are too busy.
  • Without the PC? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by erixtark ( 413840 ) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @03:50AM (#10549058)
    Has anyone tried setting up a harddrive based MP3-player without a PC?
    It should be possible to use one of the USB harddrive-to-WiFi proxies out there, like this one: Linksys NSLU2 [linksys.com] together with one of the MP3 players that plays from the network, like Creatives: Wireless Player [creative.com] (although that one requires a server running some software).
    Then you'd have USB harddrive -> WiFi Proxy -> Mp3 player without the hassle, power consumption, noise and ugliness of a PC.
  • My Solution (Score:3, Informative)

    by SlipJig ( 184130 ) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @02:44PM (#10551245) Homepage
    I wrote a little system that does some of what he's looking for, but not all. Mine doesn't rip CDs (plenty of better tools for that), and mine has a GUI for setting up playlists and starting jobs. It's written in Java and uses an SWT interface, and supports MP3 and Ogg. Of course it won't run on ancient hardware, but that's fine with me.

    None of that is especially interesting, but the cool part (to me) is that I wrote it as three separate apps - a server, player, and controller. The server runs wherever the music is stored. The player resides on a machine connected to a stereo or speakers. The controller can be on a third machine, and is what the user interacts with. One controller can set up multiple jobs streaming different music to different players, and you can shut down the controller once the jobs are running. All three pieces discover each other on the local network via broadcast.

    In my house, I have the server on a Windows machine downstairs in my office, the player on a Linux box in my living room connected to the stereo, and the controller on both my Linux laptop and my wife's Windows XP box in the kitchen.

    I'm thinking of open-sourcing the app (it's basically alpha/beta quality right now - usable, but needs more features and a little rework)... if anyone's interested in looking at it, let me know (msimpson at abelsolutions dot com).
  • by PhunkySchtuff ( 208108 ) <.ua.moc.acitamotua. .ta. .iak.> on Sunday October 17, 2004 @06:35PM (#10552465) Homepage
    Simply get one iMac [apple.com] or eMac [apple.com], add in a good dose of iTunes [apple.com] and an AirPort Card. Hang an AirPort Express [apple.com] off the back of the stereo.
    Set iTunes' preferences to "On CD Insert: Import CD and Eject" to handle the ripping automatically, it will also connect to CDDB to get album and track names, and encode all the ID3 tags correctly. Down the bottom of the iTunes window, select the name of the AirPort Express Base Station. Hit Play.
    If you can't be arsed selecting music, there's an excellent party shuffle, where you can see what's coming up, and what's been played, as well as queue music up to add to the shuffle, without distrupting it.
    Plus, and this is the a big plus, it's easy enough for pretty much anyone to use.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson