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We have a few Windows(XP & 7) and Ubuntu machines in the house sharing a wireless connection, and want to share music between them. If possible, I would like to be able to serve music from both Windows and Ubuntu (but it doesn't have to be the same time).

I don't know much about sharing folders or streaming, but I'm guessing both would be options (that is, using a local client to access a shared song or a local client to access a shared stream). I want to be able to share the music between the systems as simply as possible.

Bonus points (but not requirements) for

  • cross-platform -- same application on both Windows and Ubuntu?
  • available on startup (via daemon or autostart or whatnot)
  • open source

More info:

  • All systems have dynamic addresses (DHCP) supplied from the ISP-supplied wireless router.
  • There are several Gigabytes of music on one Windows XP box and one Ubuntu 10.10
  • The music is not well-sorted (I'm thinking this might have an impact on UI usability).
  • Only has to be available internally (private address space behind the wireless router)
  • bandwidth is not a problem
  • We don't have (legitimate) admin access to the wireless router
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How do you not have admin access to the router in your house? – scottl Feb 20 '11 at 9:11
@scottl It belongs to the ISP. I have physical access, so I could get admin access, but it's not something I'm interested in. – belacqua Feb 20 '11 at 9:42
up vote 4 down vote accepted

What comes to my mind first is to use UPnP media file sharing between your machines. You will need a UPnP server on the machine that stores the files and a UPnP client to play the contents.

UPnP server/client technology is well established in Windows Media Player and allows media sharing over the network. If you are looking for a cross-platform solution there is e.g. VLC player or XBMC that can be installed on both, Windows and Ubuntu. However by using the UPnP protocol you can also run a different software on each machine (e.g. Media Player for Windows and VLC for Ubuntu).

To provide a UPnP server only to share media folders there is an easy to handle command line tool in Ubuntu: uShare.

If you rather like to send audio live streams simultaneously to all connected machines in your LAN you may want to have a look at Icecast available for both, Ubuntu and for Windows. This enables you to stream music using an internet radio protocol (but in your case streamed to local machines only - including so called "Internet Radios").

In any case you'll need enough LAN capacity for audio files to be streamed without congestion.

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I'll take a look at uShare. Originally, Icecast seemed like overkill, though the fact that it is also available for windows is a plus. (We have Windows XP systems for work-related software.) – belacqua Feb 1 '11 at 23:14

I just use a samba share. For linux I also export it as an NFS share, although it is mountable using SMB. I already share directories using both.

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Does the router support UPnP? A DAAP server like Tangerine might be the quickest bet to sharing your Ubuntu music with Windows. There are other options but Tangerine does make things very simple.

And then you'd just do the same on the Windows machine: Install a DAAP server (or use a client that has one - iTunes does not count as they encrypt their DAAP). This is a little harder for me as I'm not a Windows user (more than running a few apps in VirtualBox once a week) but FireFly should work. It looks a little more effortsome than Tangerine but there you go.

With both computers running DAAP servers each can run whatever music software and as long as it supports DAAP (most do these days), you should be able to see what's available on the other machine.

Both RhythmBox and Banshee will play DAAP shares on Ubuntu.

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I've started looking at firefly and tangerine -- good so far. – belacqua Feb 2 '11 at 9:13

Rhythmbox has a built-in plugin for DAAP, which is supported by Songbird. Songbird is available for both Mac and Windows.

If you have your music in Rhythmbox already, I'd recommend checking it out!

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DAAP likely won't work in this case: – Jorge Castro Feb 1 '11 at 20:30
That's only an issue for other clients consuming iTunes DAAP shares and there's a really simple fix: Don't use iTunes. Going on the description in the OP, the music doesn't sound like it's organised into any sort of real library system anyway. – Oli Feb 1 '11 at 23:41
Right, so there's no reason to use DAAP at that point, might as well use UPNP which windows supports ootb. – Jorge Castro Feb 1 '11 at 23:52
That explains why I can never connect to my roommates shares - and here I thought it was just me. I removed the iTunes reference from my answer - thanks for the info, Jorge! – Windigo Feb 2 '11 at 15:07

TwonkyServer (Not Free)

TwonkyServer for Windows®, Windows Home Server, Linux, and Mac®.

I have it running on a Linux Hacked Linksys NSLU2 and it works great. There is a try it for 30 days trial period.

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Looks interesting. We don't have NAS or even a single location where files are located, so I don't if there would be issues for licensing for multiple systems. – belacqua Feb 1 '11 at 23:07

ps3mediaserver is available for Windows and Linux:

PS3 Media Server is a DLNA compliant Upnp Media Server for the PS3, written in Java, with the purpose of streaming or transcoding any kind of media files, with minimum configuration.

I used it some time ago, and it was very easy.

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What about Tonido? It is not limited to the same network, is cross-platform, uses the internet browser to display shared files. Tonido has to be installed and running on the computer that shares the music. To share, create an account with an e-mail address, get a password and enter it when starting Tonido and when the internet browser opens.

Then you'll see your computer files and will be able to select the folders you want with a link.

enter image description here

Sending a link that shares an entire music collection would be the best idea. And then, saving that link (maybe as a desktop shortcut or as a bookmark in the internet browser) on the computer where you want to play the music.

You will be able to play the music in the Tonido's player. It can play MP3, AAC, OGG, FLAC, WMA, M4A, M4B, WAV (according to their page; more info there.)

enter image description here

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