3 minute read

I admit it. I have a Windows laptop at home. For a very long time, it was my primary system.

For the past year or so, I've been using a Linux laptop as my daily system, reverting to the Windows system for reliable video and HD audio -- basically, it was my media system, which just happened to also have all my email, files, and whatnot.

Since moving in with my girlfriend (who's an ardent Mac user), we've been trying to find a neutral solution to our media needs. I refuse to use iTunes, but am so far not very happy with XMMS / AmaroK on Linux. Frankly, I like Winamp. It has amazing capabilities, a good Media Library with search/filtering (and complex boolean logic) for automatic playlists, it's fully supoprted by my remote control, and with WAWI I can control it over the Internets too. Plus, it's easy to set it up to stream to one or more ice/shoutcast servers and rebroadcast that over the LAN or the Internet.

It shouldn't be ... that hard to recreate this on a Linux box. Right?

I have two pretty low-power boxes available - an AMD PIC that I'm in the process of putting a DamnSmallLinux on, and my workhorse Dell Latitude that I bought at a dot-com assets auction. It's been with me to Venezuela and Jamaica, and is celebrating it's 10th birthday this year. It has Ubuntu on it with a clean gnome desktop, but KDE extentions installed to support amaroK. I'd reinstall the whole thing, but the sound config is a dark art that took me weeks and lots of luck last time I got it working (and I'm all out of candles).

So the laptop system is currently "working," but it's pretty painfully slow and has some odd problems - the playlist likes to randomize itself from my library after a while, the audio volume (in the system) likes to lower itself, and remote connections to the GUI have been, thus far, unsuccessful. I haven't even tried getting the interactive Amarok web interface to work decently or LIRC to talk to my USB/IR/remote.

I'm sure it's all possible. I'd just occasionally like it to also be easy (without my gf constantly trying to pull me over to the Dark Side.