Using Ubuntu or Debian as a listening station

chombee at chombee at
Sun Jan 28 22:21:11 UTC 2007

I'm working on a little free software project for a cafe. They would like
to have a 'listening post' for customers to preview music from the cafe's
record label. The original idea was an ipod attached to a wall, in a
theft-proof box with some headphones. The plan now is to use a second-hand

1. Install an Ubuntu or Debian server.
2. Install XWindows, but no window manager or desktop.
3. Install the GNOME music player Rhythmbox.
4. Set it to automatically boot into an XSession running Rhythmbox
fullscreen, no window manager so no window to minimise, with a script that
periodically checks whether Rhythmbox is running and restarts it if
5. Attach some headphones to the laptop and mount it on the wall in a
theft-proof box.
6. Use SSH to easily transfer music to/from it over ethernet.

The main requirements are:

* Should work flawlessly all day every day, no crashing, no maintenance
* Should play music and display album art. We must be able to give it the
album art we want, because it will not find our art on any Internet search
it might do, and will not be connected to the Internet anyway (Does rb
allow this?)
* Should cost us as little cash as possible. An iPod video would do the job
perfectly well and could be gotten off ebay for £100. I'm trying to
convince them to use a laptop instead so that we can use F/LOSS and open

Any advice or warnings? Is our plan the best way to get about this project?
Any other lists/sites/etc. I should check out? Would Debian or Ubuntu be
best? What is the minimum hardware spec we'll need?


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