Oh, the hilarity.

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So, for years my media server ran Ubuntu 12.x. It ran it happily and despite the fact it was hideously out of date and painfully slow things were (broadly speaking) good. We had a cozy clunky duct-taped together feel, where bits occasionally dropped off at which point there were enormous amounts of swearing, weeping and coffee… I’d spend hours playing at the command line with my latent and semi-forgotten linux knowledge being pulled, dragged, screaming and wailing from the pits of hell in which it lurks and eventually through a series of cludges it’d always get back up and running.

The new media server is sexy and fast and multi-core and more memory than my old machine would even consider supporting. It’s got 4 SATA ports on the motherboard. It’s quick and slinky. It runs Plex and I can stream music from my server as I go to work. I can share my media with my friends. Shiny shiny… It can actually transcode on the fly without falling over. Logitech media server seems to be happier, the little boxes haven’t fallen off the network yet.

But despite that, it also doesn’t entirely work.

See, I installed Ubuntu 14.x and whilst much of it is nice…after much internal (and remarkably chilled out) cursing*, and having trawled the internet, my VNC connection, and hence my desktop on the media server, looks like this:

X11 Blankness

Which is overly grey and underly useful. Delight in the minimalist asthetic of no icons, and no usable windows. No applications. It’s ‘sparse’. I’m sure that’s very in. It’s also quite irritating.

After a lot of prodding and poking it turns out, I’m not alone.

XRDP, which is the X-Remote-Desktop-Protocol, which appears to be responsible for allowing me to actually use my machine as a headless box (i.e. one that lives in a cupboard with no monitor) appears to be the subject of a honking great bug. Which is upsetting. Now I actually can and am use(ing) an alternative non-cludge to fire up applications and have them display on my laptop, because OSX is sufficiently UNIXy that with X-window server installed that bit of magic works. However, that doesn’t solve a couple of issues. There are graphical front-ended applications that I use on the Linux box that I like to leave up and running when I shut my Mac. That’s part of the purpose of the media server, I can use it to run various things that I might not leave running otherwise.

So I’m not quite sure what to do about them at the moment.

The other quirk which I’ve not yet managed to resolve is (I’m moderately sure) a permissions / remote user access / sharing issue. For some reason when I try and log in to copy files it won’t accept my password. I have yet to work out why. I can log in as a guest. I wondered if it had created some quirky username for me and I’d not noticed – but having checked that doesn’t seem to be the case. So I’ve had to resort to another cludge. I’ve got an application that can use SCP to copy stuff to the server.

It’s filthy-dirty solution wise, but as far as I can tell the access privileges look right… so perhaps I need to look at it when I’m not ill.

Incidentally, Pseudoephedrine is my favourite drug today. It made the whole day much more bearable, despite my cold persisting like a persisty** thing.


* I spent lots of money on new music today. We have four new albums that are universally fan-fucking-tastic.

** Granted, 3 days only at the moment. But I’m slightly sensitive given how long it took me to actually get over the last cold.


Kate is lord and mistress of all she surveys at pyoor.org...