Linux Jukebox Project

I have an idea for a little project. I have two full size (15") laptops which I use to do “proper stuff”, and I also have a little netbook, which only gets used for playing music, nothing else. It’s a relatively under powered little thing. 1.5Gb Celeron processor and only 1.7Gb (usable) RAM, and with it’s 11" screen isn’t much use to me for anything else. But being so small and lightweight it’s convenient to move about from one room to another, connect to external powered speakers, and away we go.

The one thing that irritates me is how long it takes to boot anything up, and I’m thinking it’s a case of “could do better”. The way I see it there are two ways I could approach this. One is to use a minimal distro, add a music player and any other essentials, job done. Problem with that is a lot of minimal distros are labelled as “for experts”, and I’m certainly not an expert. I’ve had a closer look at a couple and to be honest wouldn’t know where to start.

The other option is to use a more common, average distro and make it more lightweight. That is, remove any unwanted software, and disable anything unnecessary in it’s start up procedure. The issue with this is that I probably wouldn’t know where to stop, and I end up with something that won’t boot at all.

In a nutshell, I don’t need office suite, video player, development tools, games or anything else, just a music player. I don’t need bluetooth either, but I will still need internet connectivity, for the purpose of displaying song lyrics and occasionally searching for any missing album artwork, although this is rare as vast majority of my collection is all tagged correctly.

The other thing of course is the music player itself. My preferred music player is Strawberry, but it doesn’t appear to be possible to install it in every distro. I suppose I could use Clementine, but it hasn’t been updated in about 6 years, and the last time I used it a couple of functions didn’t work. Another alternative is Gmusic Browser, but I don’t think that’s available for every distro either.

I’m open to any alternative suggestions, but bear in mind the music player needs to be capable of handling relatively large collections, approx 8,000 tracks in my case, and I know a lot can’t. I also don’t want anything that opens as a tiny little box, the screen’s small enough to start with, so I want to fill it.

So, any ideas, suggestions, pointers, whatever, feel free.



If you have your music in order, you may find a DLNA server might be enough - maybe miniDLNA. you can control some via your phone too, and/or connect to a Bluetooth speaker and steam it via your phone (or whatever). although lyrics may not be available (unless already downloaded)

if you want something to help organise; Media Tomb is pretty well established and I’ve used Logitech media server (aka Squeezebox) in the past.

I’m currently using a PiZero with JustBoom, and see there is a x86 version of Volumio - that may be a good fit for your use-case, which provides a standalone player, with DLNA capabilities, along with internet streaming (radio, paid services, etc) also adds phone app to the mix!

Another one that springs to mind is Jinzora - but there are lots if you look for alternatives to any of the above…

…but I’d encourage you to seek something with DLNA/UP&P support, which should give you more flexibility and better support for connecting other devices.

There are so many variations and options depending on your hardware, “smart speakers” and network setup. like you could stream the audio and just connect devices to the right port, in order to listen in.

hope this helps…

Thank you for your comments. The thing is, the whole point of this project is to use what I’ve already got, and I don’t have any Bluetooth speakers. Being a bit of an old fashioned person I connect things with cables, which are far more reliable and very rarely fail. Also there’s nothing wrong with any of my sets of speakers, so no intention of replacing them at present.

I also won’t be controlling anything with my phone, as I don’t have a smart phone. My mobile probably belongs on Antiques Roadshow, but again it still works. I’m not the sort of person that rushes out to buy a new gadget just because it’s the in-thing, I replace things when they no longer work. Hence me typing this on a laptop from 2009.

I won’t be connecting any other devices either, just the speakers. However, my music collection is well organised and everything is tagged correctly. Many hours have been spent in the past updating missing info.

Finally, what’s a DNLA server, what does that do? Not a thing I’ve ever come across before, so know nothing about them.


and thanks for the clarifications - I tend to agree with your approach to tech, but try to plan for my future needs too.

A DNLA/up&p server is just software that allows other media “aware” devices to share the same content - so i have a TV recorder which is also DLNA server, this allows me to watch the same programs from any smart TV, computer, smart device or games console (etc) on my network.

if you want a laptop connected to a speaker, then any of the things like MediaTomb should do a good job. Options like Jinzora and Squeezebox would add connectivity from other computers, so you can change songs from somewhere else - providing a multi-room feel.

Checkout MediaTomb and it’s alternatives.

although reading the intro to that page - I see that my understanding if MediaTomb is outdated, because it seems to do far more than I gave it credit for. :slight_smile:

just to say that I also just learnt that mediatomb is no longer supported.

so looking for alternatives will be necessary - i believe that Gerbera continues where MediaTomb left off.

sorry for this misinformation!

Thanks for that Brian, I will look into it. Although as usual it will be when I get around to it. In fact, you won’t believe all the things I’m going to achieve “when I get around to it” :smiley: