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Symlink to a Server Volume
Authored by: asteryx on Feb 07, '09 09:40:06AM
I've used a symlink to a server hosted "iTunes Music" folder since iTunes version 4. It's a great way to share the same music files among our family.

The key is to make sure that your file server permissions allow the group to read & write to the music files. This allows the members of the group to update artwork, etc.

Note that when you use this method, each person's (account) has a different iTunes Library. Since the library is really only a sort of index on steroids to the Music folder linked above, one can customize playlists, ratings, etc. in their own library without affecting someone else's library. All of this requires iTunes to manage the music.

One minor issue... when someone adds music to the library (by purchase from the iTunes Store or ripping a CD, for example) the other iTunes libraries don't automatically update. The owner of the library must use File, Add to Library and locate the new music files to index.

All of the above syncs to two different iPhones (a 1st generation EDGE only, and an iPhone 3G) and wirelessly to an AppleTV. The AppleTV only syncs with one user account, not with all of the accounts.

As an aside, our family also uses a similar technique to share a single iPhoto library as well.

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Symlink to a Server Volume
Authored by: jamietshaw on Feb 08, '09 03:44:25AM

Keeping computers synchronised from a central server is a bit of an issue. We have music on a NAS but with iTunes library files on each Mac so we keep our own ratings etc.

The Syncopation program mentioned earlier looks like it could help once you've ticked 'Import tracks without copying', and possibly turned off the attribute synchronising options, both in Preferences.

I wrote my own program a few years ago which you may have if you like, but it was and still is my first AppleScript/Xcode application so it's not particularly well written! It has to be run manually, copies your tracks into a text file, does a Unix find command to make another text file that lists tracks on the sever modified after a specified date, then does some more Unix stuff to compare the files and import the ones not in your iTunes into a playlist. If anyone does want my far-from-perfect program email me - jamietshaw at the 'googlemail' address.

Another thought was to use Folder Actions but they seem very unreliable.

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Symlink to a Server Volume
Authored by: asteryx on Feb 08, '09 11:29:19AM
I agree that keeping the individual libraries synchronized is a problem. But I leave that up to the individual anyways. I don't care if my son marks a song or a movie with 1 or 5 stars.

My concern is that the .mp3, .aac, .m4b, etc. files are all in a single location. (These are then backed-up using both Time Machine and Mozy.)

The rest, for us, is just communication. I have to let my wife and kids know when I've imported new music or movies into the file location so they can update their individual libraries if they choose. Or I can remote into their systems and update their libraries if they ask.

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