Categories
General

Personal state of linux

In this post, I want to give an overview over the linux distributions I am using right now and why I use them.

I am since quite a lot of time using Xubuntu on every computer that is a little bit older or has limited resources. Xubuntu is fast, easy to install and uses litle resources, the in my opinion perfect os for old computers. I switched from Lubuntu to Xubuntu, since I actually liked XFCE more and it seemed more smoothly at that time (2014).

On my working machine, which is an desktop from 2012, I am using right now Ubuntu Budgie. This was due some problems I had on installing Manjaro or Fedora. Ubuntu Budgie runs smoothly, I sometimes have small problems with graphics, but this might be also due to my old graphics card. I also like the interface, which is a good mixture between the more mobile-oriented Gnome and a more desktop-oriented approach. I am also using the LTS-version because I do not want to upgrade the complete os very often. On the other side I switched from Ubuntu to Fedora because I wanted to have the latest software. Right now, I did not miss some newer software on my ubuntu machine.

On my notebooks, I am using Manjaro right now. I switched from Fedora, since I first wanted to try out something new and second, I liked the concept of the rolling release and wanted to try out this. From using it one month, I really like it. You get a lot of updates, but they all work smoothly, so there is not a lot to worry about. One particular thing I like about Manjaro is this layout switcher for gnome, that allows your desktop to look like in certain different ways without any configuration or the re-installation of another desktop.

At the end you really need to think about how stable your system should be. If you want a very stable system where you do not have to worry about (and maybe are a beginner with linux as well), use Ubuntu with some of its flavors or maybe Debian, preferably an LTS-version. If you want to try out new software, but maybe also encounter issues, better use Manjaro or Fedora.

On the software side, I get around with all the different distributions. Sure, the way packages are brought to you is different and the philosophy as well. But most of the larger distributions offer a a lot of software, you can do most of the things with all distributions. Using snap makes specialized or even closed-source software really easy, so you do not have to worry all your favorite programs not running anymore when changing the distribution.

Categories
General

How to make your own Raspberry Pi Musicbox

This is not about NLP, but I think it is worth sharing, so here we go 😉

I really like the project PiMusicbox, the raspberry pi is just the perfect device to host a music server, especially the model B1, which is also a little bit slow when it comes to video playback. But there are a few drawbacks, like that updates are quite hard and you cannot easily customize it. So I just set up the system in a different way, directly from scrath on Raspbian. In the next steps I show you how.

Thoughts before you start

This is what comes to my mind if someone asks me if she whether should take the normal version of PiMusicbox or mine.

Pros

  • You can update all the time. PiMusicbox you have to reinstall with every new release.
  • You can customize it as you want. The normal PiMusicbox does not provide Podcasts or Files.

Cons

  • Configuration is done manually. You should be able to connect to your pi via ssh. Alternatively use the Websettings package.
  • You do not have a way shutdown button integrated. But you can use RaspiCheck.
  • It is slower. In PiMusicbox a few tweaks are done to improve booting of the system. I did not do that.

Download Raspbian minimal image

You can get this directly from the website of Raspbian: https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/

Install mopidy + run as system service

In order to start it when the system boots, you only have to type (source)

sudo systemctl enable mopidy

Install add-ons

I used Spotify, Podcast and files, because these are all I use with the raspi. You can get an overview at the documentation of Mopidy. Generally speaking you can download all extensions either via pip or via apt, depending on in which repo they are. This makes it sometimes a little bit confusing, but you’ll find everything, I am sure 😉 You can find all of the extensions for playback (the documentation calls them backend-extensions in the mopidy-documentation).

Also, you need an extension for a HTML-frontend. I used the one made for the PiMusicbox. An overview can be found here.

Mounting your external storage automatically

For this I used usbmount, which is a small programm that just mounts external storage devices automatically. This can of course be done via scripts as  well, but I did not want to mess around with scripts, so I used this approach.

Configurations

The config file for mopidy can be found at /etc/mopidy/mopidy.conf, if you run it as a system service, not in your user’s directory. To shorten this paragraph I just paste my config file here and make some comments:

[core]
cache_dir = /var/cache/mopidy
config_dir = /etc/mopidy
data_dir = /var/lib/mopidy

[logging]
config_file = /etc/mopidy/logging.conf
debug_file = /var/log/mopidy/mopidy-debug.log

[local]
data_dir = /var/lib/mopidy/local
media_dir = /var/lib/mopidy/media

[m3u]
playlists_dir = /var/lib/mopidy/playlists

[musicbox_webclient]
enabled = true


username = # your username
password =  # your password
bitrate = 320 # better sound quality

[http]
hostname=0.0.0.0 # VERY important. Otherwise you cannot reach it from outside

[mpd]
hostname=0.0.0.0 # VERY important. Otherwise you cannot reach it from outside

[podcast]
enabled = true #only need to activate it. 
browse_root = #Path where your .opml-file with all your podcasts is

[file]
enabled = true
media_dirs = /media/usb #this is where your external storage is mounted via usbmount
show_dotfiles = false
follow_symlinks = false
metadata_timeout = 1000

I hope this tutorial helped you.

Bonus: Setting up SMB share

If you have a hard disk connected to your Raspi, you can easily share the files in all your network. I used the tutorial given by putokaz to install and configure it. I just configured it like the share for the torrent files at the end of the tutorial, but this is up to you.