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Linux for the Audiophile - Snakeoil OS


snakeoil.os

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Hello guys. I have created a Linux distro (based on 32bits Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS) called Snakeoil. Currently still in beta stage at the moment, and would like more testers.

 

Snakeoil comes pre-installed with some common players - XMMS, MPD, JRiver, Squeezelite+LMS that users can configure from a web interface, and the list of players will be updated in each release. (You'd need a Linux JRiver license to use JRiver)

 

player_list.png

 

The key features of Snakeoil are:

 

  1. LiveCD - makes it easy for you to try Linux and its players without actually knowing how to use Linux (configure everything from another computer via web interface, and play songs with your tablets, handphones and other mobile devices)
  2. Use a custom built RT kernel optimised for Atom based motherboards. A list of different kernels to try on the Snakeoil forums.
  3. A web interface for configuring the basics
  4. Customisable - Change the kernel and installed software by uploading files (no need to learn Linux commands)

 

Because of the nature of the custom kernel, only a few audio devices are supported.

  • Intel High Definition Audio
  • ESI [email protected]
  • Asus Sonar Essense ST/STX
  • USB Audio device

 

And the most important bit, Snakeoil requires a network connection. And the only NICs supported at the moment are Intel E1000E and Realtek chips.

 

Snakeoil is made for people using Atom based motherboards, but a generic386 ISO is also available that should work for all PCs. Only the boot kernel is different between the two ISOs. Let me know if your motherboard NIC is not Intel/Realtek. I will rebuild the kernel and send it to you, and you just have to replaced the kernel on the USB stick with this new one and it should work.

 

There is a manual. Unfortunately I overlooked the most important section - how to play music with the installed software. Will try and complete that part of the manual later this week.

 

That embarrassment aside, hopefully I have made Snakeoil easy and accessible enough for people to give the Linux ecosystem a go.

 

Some quick links:

 

 

Received reports that keyboards and mouse don't work with the latest ISO. If you are just testing Snakeoil in live CD mode you can just start up a web browser from another computer and point it directly to the machine.

 

If you want to install, please use the VNC method of connecting to the machine and install from another computer. Read this section if you havn't use VNC before.

 

The machine name by default is called snakeoil. So if you have uPNP setup try snakeoil.local, followed by snakeoil, and finally look up the leased IP address from your DHCP server (if you have a monitor connected to the machine the IP will be shown in the tty0 console).

 

Head on to the downloads now if you are interested to try. Note that files are hosted on GoogleDrive and the ISO is big at about 520 MB. Google is not very open about any quota limits placed on Drive downloads, so the downloads may be disabled in the future. Rush in while you can.

 

Please understand Snakeoil is still in beta so bugs and problems are expected (especially when a stripped down kernel is used). Hopefully we can hunt and eliminate most of the bugs down.

 

Troubleshooting over the Internet can be tedious (especially when we are in different time zones), so I ask for your patience in resolving them.

 

Thank you :)

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I have installed Snakeoil OS on to my server and so far its been impressive in terms of excellent sound quality - Its the best i have experienced with Squeezelite so far.

 

The built in JRiver option (license required) is a great feature - I would have found it too difficult to run JRiver from Linux any other way.

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I'm using Snakeoil. SQ is fantastic and with it I can easily compare different players and kernels; all from my listening position using only my web browser. Amazingly simple to use...I have zero knowledge of Linux and would qualify as computer illiterate on this forum so don't be scared to give it a try.

 

Yes it's only beta at the moment; worked straight up on my (Atom) server. OP clearly wants to hear of and fix any issues with other server types.

 

You can run it from a USB flash drive to try out before installing on your SSD/HDD.

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So just to get this straight, you are repackaging Ubuntu and Jriver (the latter, at least, without permission it would seem), and charging for registration.

 

WTF?

 

How does your post differ from an advertisement?

 

You forgot to mention the product name. :(

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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If I read the website correctly, you can download it for free, but if you want the full functionality, you have to register which requires a paypal donation.

 

Q: I see a register tab, isn’t Snakeoil free?

A: Snakeoil is free to use and modify for personal use. You are not allowed to re-distribute the contents for profit. For 99.9% of the people out there, the normal version of Snakeoil is all that you need. Registering do not improve the sound quality. It only makes it easier for you to use Linux without learning the “how". And really, it’s a social experiment to test just how much people are prepared to pay for Snakeoil, and who is actually brave enough to overcome the self imposed social stigma. These additional features will be added via the web interface when you register:

 

More than 1 mount points in the music tab (i.e. you can use > 1 SSD/HDD)

More than 1 audio device in the hardware tab (who really needs more than 1 DAC?)

Option to turn on/off LMS in the software tab (not an issue for 99.9% of the population)

Additional Snakeoil tab with snake oil features! (For people who don’t want to waste time learning a new OS)

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How does your post differ from an advertisement?

It is indeed an advertisement - for beta testers....

 

If mods think this is suss, please remove this thread and delete my account. Snakeoil can speak for itself so I don't have the need to defend my character from now onwards. Other than the above clarification.

 

At the end of the day, I'm looking for people to help me make Linux easier for audiophiles to use. Looking for people who are always interested in Linux, but don't really have the experience to dig deeper into.

 

Anyway, if folks have any issues with installing and using, please post it here and I will assist the best that I can.

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It is hard to imagine Ubuntu (or Lubuntu or Xubuntu or ...) needs another layer of abstraction to make it more useable. Why not work with them to make a truly open-source iso distribution focused on GPLed audio software that sounds good, and forget about registrations and donations? Who knows, you might become the Marc Shuttleworth of audio.

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Links for 0.1.2a are live! Refer to top post for the Download link. Hopefully the keyboard will work this time, and as requested - no more JRiver. People using Apple keyboard and mouses will no longer have issues either.

 

It is hard to imagine Ubuntu (or Lubuntu or Xubuntu or ...) needs another layer of abstraction to make it more useable.

From my perspective nothing is hard as long as one put his/her mind to it.

 

Why not work with them to make a truly open-source iso distribution focused on GPLed audio software that sounds good, and forget about registrations and donations? Who knows, you might become the Marc Shuttleworth of audio.

Baby steps. At the moment the focus is on:

 

  • identifying bugs and fixing them
  • finishing up the manual
  • complete the the lists of things in the "features" list.

On the subjects of registrations, donations and snakeoils. Consider this project a social experiment - are you game to try Snakeoil? How much would you pay for snakeoil? Would you recommend Snakeoil to somebody else?

---

Anyway, folks who have issues/difficulties in using this OS, please comment so I am aware of it (even after you finally figured it out by yourself). Regardless how trivial you think they are - a fresh pair of eyes often can reveal things/issues that I take for granted.

 

One of the most popular source of confusion is the creation of the user account (and the machine name). Not sure if I can fix that but will look into it when I can.

 

For people who are installing directly on the computer, please let me know if the keyboard is still not working for you. This is a weird vncviewer issue. If you still have this problem, please follow these steps to fix:

  1. CTRL-ESC, a menu will pop up from the bottom left, Select Terminal
  2. You have type in these words (without quotes) blind as you cannot see the terminal: "killall vncviewer"
  3. Run this command: .icewm/startup

 

Or just remote access from another computer (the keyboard/mouse) will be working fine.

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Is this free or is there a charge for the product?
Missed your msg.

 

Snakeoil is free.

 

Last thing I want is to be audited. I'd try and clarify this in the manual later today.

 

BTW, what's "hidden" behind the registration (for now they are - change priority, upload new updates/kernels, allow > 1 DAC and 1 mount points), some of these features will slowly be exposed to the public eventually - probably when Snakeoil is out of the current beta cycle, i.e. when I feel more confident with how the whole upgrade process works. Most of these features are not important to get music playing.

 

And then obviously when I add more features, the more unstable ones will hide behind registration first. And if they are useful and stable enough for everybody - be released to the public. So think of them as experimental features.

 

That is the plan anyway, unsure if this is going to be messy to execute or not. Time will tell.

 

I understand now how donations in return for a registration code can be interpreted as charging. The whole paypal really started as a joke - "what prices snakeoil?". Need to rethink this, will change some things later this week.

 

In the mean time, any bugs, please report. Thanks.

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Please remove JRiver from your distribution.

 

Thanks for the quick response.

 

It seems to me you are missing out on a chance to sell a few more units of your product.

 

After giving this new OS a try (and being impressed with the SQ) I was about to commit to the linux version of JRiver.

 

Unfortunately your "take no prisoners" business model continues to alienate potential purchasers.

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It seems to me you are missing out on a chance to sell a few more units of your product.

 

After giving this new OS a try (and being impressed with the SQ) I was about to commit to the linux version of JRiver.

 

Unfortunately your "take no prisoners" business model continues to alienate potential purchasers.

 

Don't you just buy jRiver like you do for Mac and PC? What's different about getting the Linux version?

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Thanks for the quick response.

Not a problem.

 

It seems to me you are missing out on a chance to sell a few more units of your product.

To be fair to them - I did not ask. If they changed their minds and give me the permission to bundle, I am happy to include it back in the next release.

 

Don't you just buy jRiver like you do for Mac and PC? What's different about getting the Linux version?

It's really the operating system. When you buy a new computer, it often comes pre-installed with the operating system.

 

To try JRiver on Linux, first of all you need to have some level of Linux know how - how to install Linux, how to download app, how to install app, how to start app. Most people wouldn't bother.

 

Even Snakeoil right now is probably not simple to install. Something I hope can be improved in the future.

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Don't you just buy jRiver like you do for Mac and PC? What's different about getting the Linux version?

It's not that simple on Linux. You need some Linux knowledge in my experience. I have had a look at it and gave up because of the complexity. Very different from the Windows or OSX versions.

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Just a quick suggestion. If your going to release a Linux OS stick with open sourced projects.

Clementine can be easily configured for bit perfect streaming. It also has a wonderful user friendly GUI and a android remote app. Give it a try.

https://www.clementine-player.org/

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

no-mqa-sm.jpg

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Please remove JRiver from your distribution.

 

I have a J-river Master licence which i have used with Linux with excellent results. I have also used it on my windows and mac machines and while these are easy for anyone to setup, for linux it is very hard unless you are proficient in that OS.

 

Why Linux? one approach to reducing overhead on a music server is the windows / audiophile Optimizer approach ( i also have bought licences for those) or start with a stripped down, headless, light- weight built-for-purpose Linux distro. The appeal of Linux audio distros like Daphile, Vortexbox and now S/O is that it opens the world of Linux to all.

 

If JRiver does not want to allow others to make it easy for us to use JRiver software for headless stripped down Linux versions, would you be able to do your own release of a Linux based ready to play JRiver distro? Now that would be awesome i think.

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Just a quick suggestion. If your going to release a Linux OS stick with open sourced projects.

Clementine can be easily configured for bit perfect streaming. It also has a wonderful user friendly GUI and a android remote app. Give it a try.

https://www.clementine-player.org/

Clementine, Amarok, plus others (e.g. xmms2) are in the list of players.. Not sure when I'd get them ready yet though, so no promises just yet..

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Clementine, Amarok, plus others (e.g. xmms2) are in the list of players.. Not sure when I'd get them ready yet though, so no promises just yet..

Your call, I'm a FOSS guy and have run Linux RPM based distros on all my boxes since 2000. I believe in staying true to open source when at all possible and in this case it is definitely possible.

I wouldn't be interested in a Linux audio distro build around a closed source media player.

Thanks anyway.

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

no-mqa-sm.jpg

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Just a quick suggestion. If your going to release a Linux OS stick with open sourced projects.

Clementine can be easily configured for bit perfect streaming. It also has a wonderful user friendly GUI and a android remote app. Give it a try.

https://www.clementine-player.org/

 

Clementine is a great looking and functioning player and I used it exclusively for a while several years back.

 

No iPad or iPhone app precludes it now though.

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It's not that simple on Linux. You need some Linux knowledge in my experience. I have had a look at it and gave up because of the complexity. Very different from the Windows or OSX versions.

 

Some versions of Linux are dead simple to install, like Ubuntu.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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