How to Build a Home/Media Server with GNU/Linux

*Update #1* Room at MIT is now confirmed.
*Update #2* Additional presenter, Stan Livitski, will demonstrate a "free as in freedom" alternative to cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive, called Data Bag a.k.a. "the uncloud."

Part 1: Brendan Kidwell will show us how to use our favorite GNU/Linux distribution to build a personal home server for data storage and/or media serving.

Brendan will also discuss the dangers of entrusting your data to the "cloud," in particular a cloud service that you don't control.  As an antidote, the home/personal server solution that Brendan will present shows how you can free yourself from a dependence on proprietary cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive.

Although Brendan will cover technical steps, his talk is 100% newbie friendly.  Users at all levels of GNU/Linux experience are welcome to attend and are sure to get something out of this presentation.

Part 2: Stan Livitski will demonstrate Data Bag - - a secure and "free as in freedom" alternative to using cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive.

Meeting outline:

  • Motivation / why you should have your own personal server
  • Introduction to the components and what they can do
    - Your home router - providing optional off-site access. (Also or similar service to provide a friendly Internet hostname.)
    - Hardware - any old box or not-hot-running laptop will do
    - Operating System: Ubuntu Server
    - ownCloud - Personal file sharing, syncing; Calendar; Photos
    - Subsonic - Audio / Video storage with browser-based playback
  • Demo
    - ownCloud
    - Subconic
  • Q&A for Brendan
  • The "Uncloud" - Stan Livitski demonstrates Data Bag
  • Discussion / Questions [open ended]

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  • Stan

    Thanks to Brendan for recording and publishing the meeting's materials and helping to host the audio of my presentation. Now you can listen to it at

    and review my slides at

    in case you missed the Feb, 6th meeting. Brendan has links to his presentation and slides at .

    My presentation (audio and slides) are available to you under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license (

    February 16, 2013

  • Brendan K

    For my talk, the complete howto article, slides, and now audio as well are available at . Thanks for Dave and Stan for cleaning up the audio file.

    February 16, 2013

  • Richard M.

    Brendan: thank you for the informative Home Server talk. I had not seen owncloud before. It looks interesting. For media how about adding miniDLNA since so many devices these days can work with DLNA.

    February 7, 2013

  • Celso

    Boy, do I regret missing this one!

    February 7, 2013

  • Gary J.

    2 of the very first things Brendan talked about, lubuntu and setting up a static ip address "MADE" the evening for me, thanks for sharing.

    1 · February 7, 2013

    • Dave H

      +1 for lubuntu or no-gui-buntu on the server side.

      February 7, 2013

  • Stan

    The slides from my presentation are now available at

    Thanks to everyone who attended this meeting!

    February 7, 2013

  • Brendan K

    HERE IS THE COMPANION HOWTO I prepared before I did tonight's presentation:

    Hopefully I'll post the audio I recorded, and my slides, by next Wednesday

    February 6, 2013

    • Taylor B.

      Very nice, Thanks!

      One suggestion: I like guides that use $EDITOR in the command line instructions to make things easily copy/pastable for everyone. For example:

      sudo $EDITOR /etc/hosts

      1 · February 6, 2013

  • Dave H

    Very informative presentations! Setting up owcloud, the web stuff, and subsonic makes for a fine project on a snowy weekend and a spare machine! Stan: thanks for bringing the mic and the ride home! Brendan, thanks for meeting me at the T station; sorry I was late.

    February 6, 2013

  • Martin D.

    I would like to draw your attention to an event happening next month which many of you might be interested in. On March 23-24, the Free Software Foundation is organizing Libre Planet 2013, a conference for the global free software community. The focus of this year's conference will be on diversity- not only software developers, but also activists, academics, and users themselves will be giving talks and presentations. This year's keynote address will be delivered by Karen Sandler, the executive director of the GNOME Foundation and a well-known free software advocate. Besides talks, the conference will also feature workshops and hackathons. Hope to see you there!

    February 6, 2013

  • bob q.

    Many media players and smart tvs now look for multimedia servers that support the DLNA framework, will this (or can this) be a DLNA media server? Thanks, bob

    January 18, 2013

    • Brendan K

      I'll find out and be sure to address it in the presentation. Perhaps there is a built-in feature or a plugin for Subsonic.

      January 18, 2013

    • Brendan K

      Sorry I forgot to mention it in my presentation, but I did look for a DLNA plugin for ownCloud and Subsonic and didn't immediately find one. However, since ownCloud's files are just regular files on the filesystem, you might be able to install another app to provide this function.

      February 6, 2013

  • Nancy13

    Have to bail, very sorry to miss it.

    February 6, 2013

  • Nancy13

    Hey, folks, is pizza served or do we bring our own sandwich, etc.? I won't have time to eat beforehand. Thanks.

    February 6, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    wednesdays aren't good for me. bummer!

    February 2, 2013

  • Robert

    I am going to do my best to attend. I've been wanting to do this for a while... will it talk about hardward as well as software....

    January 24, 2013

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