Open source streaming media server to access videos on a NAS

Q I manage a Linux-based (PCLinuxOS/Karoshi) infrastructure in a school. I want to add a streaming media server with a web-based interface so that staff can easily access videos stored on a NAS. Can you suggest any open source solutions/projects which might help me do this?

A MediaTomb, from www.mediatomb.cc may fit your needs. It's available for several distros, with unofficial RPMs for PCLinuxOS available from http://hack.mypclinuxos.com. Once it's installed, the first decision you have to take is how you want MediaTomb to store its data. The first time you start MediaTomb, it will create a default config file at ~/.mediatomb/config.xml. Edit this to set either sqlite3_enabled or mysql_enabled to 'yes' or 'no' Some distros use a global configuration file in /etc/mediatomb/config.xml. If you choose SQLite, MediaTomb will create the database file the first time you run it, but a MySQL server would probably be better for a larger collection. To use MySQL, you need to create a database called mediatomb and populate it by running

mysql -p mediatomb </usr/share/mediatomb/mysql.sql

Then create a user with a password and read/write privileges for the mediatomb database. You can do this using the MySQL command line client if you are familiar with it, or take the easy way out and use PHPMyAdmin. Edit the config file to set the correct username and password. Start MediaTomb and load http://localhost:49152 into Firefox (it doesn't work with Konqueror) If you are administering this from another PC on the network, use the address of the server instead. You'll see a very bare window, so click the + button to start adding content. When adding a video file, set the type to Item, the title to the name you want shown and Location to the absolute path to the file. The MIME type setting is important here; one way to determine the correct value is to use the file command on the video file

file -i /path/to/video.avi

You can add directories to the server using the filesystem view, and edit the properties of these directories in the database view to enable autoscanning. This means you can have one or more directories that will automatically make available any content dropped into them. There are several UPnP (universal plug and play) programs that can browse and play the contents of your server, but for Linux computers, you can also make the content available to any program. Install DJmount from http://djmount.sf.net (you will need the Fuse filesystem in place to use this). Create a suitable mount point, say/mnt/media, and mount it with djmount /mnt/media The /mnt/media directory will now contain a MediaTomb directory, plus one for any other UPnP server on the network, with subdirectories for each type of content, such as /mnt/media/MediaTomb/Video.

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