The problem at hand is how to elegantly share media files in your LAN without resorting to NFS exports or Samba shares.
Simple! DAAP! "The best open-source media server, Firefly"! a.k.a. mt-daapd.
Installing and configuring it is really simple:
sudo aptitude install mt-daapd
It should be started already, once the install finishes. If it isn't, however, you can start it with
sudo /etc/init.d/mt-daapd start
Then, the configuration is straight-forward. You can even avoid manually editing .conf files.
For that, you'd just go to http://hostname:3689, which is the default port it runs on.
"hostname" is, of course, the host name of the machine in your LAN that hosts this DAAP server. In other words, the host name of the machine you installed it on. Or its IP, whatever suits you better.
The default login name is "admin" with the password "mt-daapd".
From the web-based administration console of the Firefly server (mt-daapd) you'd just need to go to the "Configuration" tab and specify there a few things, the most important being the directories where you'd want Firefly to search for your music files, the extensions etc.
Then you'd be able to access the DAAP server using a client on the other machines in your LAN.
One such client is Rhythmbox, the default music player in Gnome. In the left pane it would display a "Shares" drop-down (below "Library", "Stores" etc.) and you'd be able to browse the collection on the remote server and copy parts of it into your collection.
...If only it mt-daapd wouldn't crash every time it finds a few thousand tracks in its scans!!!
...If only it wouldn't scan outside of the directories I told it to scan!!!
...If only the "most detailed log level" would show me something more useful than:
2009-05-29 01:53:02 (b6c1bb90): Received a message from daap serverSo, no, mt-daapd is not a solution to my problems.
2009-05-29 01:53:02 (b6c1bb90): Rendezvous socket closed (daap server crashed?) Aborting.
2009-05-29 01:53:02: Aborting
I'll just go back to the Samba shares and NFS exports... But it's all so lame.
Of course, there might be lots of defenders of mt-daapd who have 2,000 tracks in their collection.
I have 40,000 and that's barely a "big" number.
The irony of these advanced times... we now have storage devices that can hold terabytes of information. However, open-source applications scale to the 2000s information capacity.
Long live alternatives! :-/
However, it seems I'm not the only one who is frustrated in regards to mt-daapd.