I have the following pieces of hardware I would like to network mostly for file sharing (media primarily): 1 gaming laptop, 1 i7 (2.3Tb storage) desktop, 1 P4 desktop (500g storage), and 1 250gig PS3.

I am looking to setup a linux host (with a PS3 media server) with the i7 desktop but am concerned about leaving it on all the time. What stripped down, low energy usage distro can I couple with which windows & PS3 friendly software?

Also, how should i reformat my i7 (in terms of partitions, RAID options, whatever)? It has 2 1Tb drives (likely adding a third), and 1 320 gig.

  • (i tried to add a ps3 tag, since there is a linux/ps3 compatibility concern) – mfg Aug 23 '10 at 14:51

Here's how we have our media server set up at my house (Dell Blade server w/2 Pentium Dual Cores, 8gb RAM and a 1.5TB HDD and an old 80gb hdd). It's very basic but works splendidly.

Main OS: Ubuntu Server Edition (check the options for Samba during the install).

HDD Setup: All ext4. The OS is on it's own 20gb partition on the 80gb drive with /home being on a separate partition. The reason the main OS is on a separate drive is we were debating putting it on an SSD, but never got around to it. The 1.5 TB drive is mounted to /media/data (make sure this is done in /etc/fstab, not manually, as mediatomb likes to have it available when it loads).

Media Sharing: Set up samba to share /media/Data (allow guest, no authentication sharing). Standard samba setup really. Install mediatomb (UPnP) and follow the instructions on their wiki regarding sharing with a PS3 (basically uncommenting 1 line in a config file). Use the mediatomb web interface to select which directories you want to share. Pretty easy.

Other Thoughts: Read through the mediatomb options and wiki's, there's a lot of other features you can enable through the GUI and also the config file. I know we changed the behavior it monitors directories and also how often it scans directories for new files.

It should be relatively easy to set up, and when you are done you have an excellent media server.

  • I think I am going to follow through with this kind of a setup (keep it simple) and continue using PS3 media server (just the linux version) since i have had good experience hosting it on windows machines. The Samba sharing b/w computers will do nicely for the other machines. – mfg Aug 25 '10 at 14:03

Not too sure on the sharing with Windows, but as far as the ps3 goes, I use Playstation media server. It's written in Java so you can use it on any platform as long as you have java installed. It's probably the easiest thing I've found so far and I just keep it running all the time. http://code.google.com/p/ps3mediaserver/downloads/list

  • i am currently running PSM on the the laptop and P4 to share to the PS3, and it works well; totally forgot it has a Linux version! – mfg Aug 25 '10 at 13:58

Normally the easiest way to share files over a network is to use Samba which is very easy for sharing files with Windows. However, I don't think it works with the PS3. Your best bet is to use DLNA which you can use with a program called Rygel (Available from the Ubuntu Software Centre).

I would recommend using plain Ubuntu but installing openbox which is a lightweight window manager and running a plain openbox session when it is acting as just a server (though you may want to do configuration in GNOME).

I don't know much about RAID but I would install Linux on an 8GB ext4 partition on the 320GB drive and format all of the other space as ext3 to use as your media storage. It may be a good idea to use RAID to split the space into two where one mirrors the other to act as backup if you know how to do this.

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