Configuring my Ubuntu media server

This is a follow up to setting up my Dell M1730 laptop up with Ubuntu post as I configure it to be a decent media server.


The keyboard on the laptop is broken. I had to buy a cheap USB keyboard so that I could get the installation done. Now that it is installed I plan to just VNC into the computer to do everything (or SSH when command line execution is sufficient).

Since Vino comes with Ubuntu I went with that. It defaults to port 5900 and I wanted to change it to use the alternative port using dconf-editor as noted here. Also it is REALLY slow and after a bit of reading I found that checking the ‘ disable_xdamage ‘ option fixed things. I’ve read that this isn’t the most bandwidth efficient way to do things, but I’m happy with the result for now.

(Update: 12/14/2014)  I’ve upgraded to the next version of Ubunut (v???) and it wiped out my VNC settings. So instead of vino this time I used x11vnc.  In just a few minutes of using it, x11vnc appears to be much much more response.  I’m not sure x11vnc is going to keep the settings after a reboot, but for this boot I’m much happier with my VNCing experience



This was pretty easy to setup. I already forgot what I did here, but never-the-less it works using Putty from my windows laptop.

I was just reading about exporting displays using Xming, X-win32, or Exceed and may give that a try some other time.

Wake up on LAN (WOL)

My ethernet card supports WOL and it is easily enabled in the Power Settings. Note, the wake up only works if Ubuntu is in standby mode and not fully shutdown.

I also configured my dd-wrt router in the Administration->WOL section to enable the WOL for this computer.   Now when I put the computer into Suspend (not shutdown) I can go into the DD-WRT webpage and through the WOL section click the “Wake Up” button. The webpage shows the following (actual MAC address replaced with XXs) and the computer wakes up

Waking up XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX with

The next thing that I wanted to setup is to be able to wake up this computer from an external IP. Right now the only way I can click the “Wake Up” button is to be on the internal LAN and I’ve blocked public access to this page. After tinkering around for a day I’ve discovered there isn’t any simple thing out there that I’m looking for. What I really want to be able to do is from any computer (i.e. no special software) turn on the media server. Since there isn’t anything good out there right now I’m going to take this up as a new project and will post about this whenever it is working.



I setup SAMBA to get to the drives over the network on my windows laptop. This is a good guide I setup access a bit different for my own network, but this helped a lot.



I’ve relocated my laptop along with an external drive so that it is connected directly to the LAN.  With XMBC I plan to watch many of my movies through the PS3 since this is the normal way that we watch bluerays too.  For this I’m more interested in stability than the latest and greatest so and the setup is pretty easy once you get to the right link in XMBC.


sudo apt-get install python-software-properties pkg-config
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xbmc

Then I learned this really isn’t a DLNA server and isn’t what I need.  I have it working, but I’d really like to play my videos through the PS3.


PS3 Media Server

I use PS3 Media Server on my windows machine and it works great so I set out to use this on Ubuntu. Here is my starting point: I did a manual install to get 1.72 since in 1.71 ,the ppa version, there is a bug. After I got it loaded I tested it on a few videos. MKVs seemed to work, but some some AVI files (like my Lord of the Rings) did not have audio. Other AVI files worked and I wasn’t too sure what the difference was between the working and non-working files. So I decided to look for another option.


There was a lot of talk about Mediatomb, so I installed that. But after opening things up it looks confusing and I wasn’t really interested in figuring this out (though I’m sure it is pretty good).

Universal Media Server (UMS)

So onto option C, Universal Media Server (UMS). UMS is just a branch off of PS3 Media Server which is nice since I’m already familiar with it. I got the tarball from and extracted it to /usr/sbin with the ums-2.2.0 default folder. I noticed that there was a error about mediainfo so I did an install

sudo apt-get install mediainfo

With it open on the default setting I did a few tests and all the files worked including the all important Lord of the Rings videos. I then made a few slight changes to the defaults, but am really happy that this work right out of the box, so to speak. I set UMS to start minimized, force the network to use eth0 rather than the wireless card, set the max bandwidth to 0, and added the movieinfo plugin.

With that my media server if pretty close to being in working order. I’ve discovered that there is an issue with the DVI output that looks like will take some time to get it working or perhaps will never work. But that is another post.

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