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A different way to share a common library on a NFS network share
Authored by: babbage on Mar 29, '05 11:18:48PM

I use a modified (and simplified) version of this , but it's highly dependent on the particulars of the network setup here: user accounts are centrally managed via NIS on a Linux server, various directories are mounted at boot time via NFS, and so anyone can log into any computer and have the same working environment whereever they go on the network. (You can get similar results in other ways -- AFP or SMB(samba) shares, per-user shares rather than system-wide ones, etc -- but the setup I'm describing is typical of predominantly Linux/Unix networks where the Macs have been added in to the pre-existing infrastructure.)

The hack is simple. I keep my iTunes library on one of the remote NFS mount points, but the configuration information for iTunes lives in my NFS mounted home directory. If anyone else would like to access my iTunes catalog, they already have direct access to the files, so all they need is the library database files. To do this, they remove their own iTunes configuration from their ~/Music/iTunes folder and add a symlink to mine:

mv ~/Music/iTunes ~/Music/iTunes.MOVED
ln -s ~babbage/Music/iTunes ~/Music/iTunes

That's it. Now, when they launch iTunes, they'll see my catalog. They won't be able to change anything, as the files belong to me and I don't have them set to allow group/world write access, but if we all trusted each other then we could do that. As it is now, they can all view but not change things, but that's mostly acceptable, as I try to keep the ID3 data well filled out so that you can search & shuffle however you like.

For the people that can't access the NFS shares like this -- that is to say, for the Windows users, who can only see their own home directories on our network -- there's still the fallback of iTunes's own sharing capabilities. This is fine, but for the people that take advantage of it, the other way we're doing is better... :-)



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