File Server & HTPC Build

Next Task: Implementation and testing…

Introduction and Analysis:

My family watches a LOT of media via the internet, and as a result, we’ve been in need of a media centre PC for some time. In the past, we have used an android driven Kodi TV box from Ebay, but somehow it was misplaced and is nowhere to be seen 🙁 . So, I’ve decided I’d build my own Media Center PC, utilising Kodi. Kodi Allows me to add a wide selection of my own media and stream media from external sources like youtube and streaming sites.

We also have a lot of priceless family pictures and videos stored on a 1TB external hard drive. This is all well and good for now, but it’s not backed up anywhere, so if something were to happen to it it would be a disaster! We also save a lot of school work to the cloud, and having a way to store it safely and access it on the go would be great. So, I’m also going to add a file server to this machine.

Plan

To build this project, I can use an old computer that I’ve had for some time. It’s a decent machine, with a dual core Pentium and 4GB of DDR3 1333Mhz RAM, it should be fine for a media computer and simple file server. As previously mentioned, I plan to use Kodi for the HTPC aspect of the machine and for the file server, OwnCloud would be a perfect choice. I shouldn’t need to spend any additional money on this project, as I have most of the parts on and the software is open source, This project shouldn’t take long too.

Specification:

HTPCthumbnail-light-300x300

  • Kodi Based
  • Set up with streaming sites and an easy to use skin
  • Machine launches Kodi on start-up

File Server

  • Owncloud based
  • Web Interface that can be accessed via domainowncloud2
  • Easy to understand file structure
  • Different user accounts
  • Backup via RAID configuration

Design and Project Development:

This project doesn’t require any special designs or schematics. However, the machine will be running Ubuntu as it’s base OS. I’ll then install the Kodi App and Owncloud onto the same machine. Once configured, I’ll set Ubuntu to launch Kodi on the machine’s start-up. This should be a relatively easy process.

Setting up Ubuntu

To create this system, I needed to install Ubuntu onto the machine as the base OS for Kodi and Owncloud to run on. To do this I created a bootable Ubuntu 14.01 USB image using Windows USB ISO burner. I then used this to build the server.

Setting up Owncloud

Once Ubuntu was configured, I began setting up ‘own cloud’, which would run the file server. To do this, I added the ‘own cloud’ repository using the following commands:

First, I needed to add the ‘own cloud’ repository as a trusted repository.

wget -nv https://download.owncloud.org/download/repositories/stable/Ubuntu_16.04/Release.key -O Release.key
apt-key add - < Release.key

Then, i downloaded the repository and added to ubuntu.

sh -c "echo 'deb http://download.owncloud.org/download/repositories/stable/Ubuntu_16.04/ /' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/owncloud.list"

Now that I had the repository installed, I updated my package libraries using the following command

apt-get update

I then installed ‘own cloud’ with this command

apt-get install owncloud

The install process then ran, during this process, the installation created a LAMP stack server which consists of an Apache2 web server, SQL and PHP modules. The ‘Own cloud’ files were then added to the www directory of the web server and I could begin to configure ‘own cloud to my own liking via the web interface.

signin

I created a user account for an administration account, an account for every member of the famil and a backup account that I will eventually set up to be a backup for all the family’s pictures and videos.

Installing and Configuring Kodi

Now that I had set up ‘own cloud’, I could begin to install kodi. To install kodi i added the necessary repositories and installed the application, following these commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/ppa
sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install kodi

I then began to configure some basic settings, I enabled the remote control and web server for Kodi. This allows me to use an android app to control the media centre via my phone. I also changed the skin  to give kodi a more modern, clean 2D look.

Once i had added these settings, I began to add some media stream apps. To do this I added the Fusion, ‘Muckys’ and Metal Kettle repositories and installed some media stream applications. I then added shortcuts to these programs on the skin’s main items page and the media centre was ready!

20161130_211243

I then added kodi to the Ubuntu start-up applications. Now, Kodi will automaticly launch when Ubuntu boots, making it a automated process even my mum could use!

Port forwarding and setting up a domain

To allow the file server to be accessed by the family from outside our LAN, I needed to give the box a static Ip address and open a port. To do this I edit the /etc/network/interfaces file in Ubuntu to set a static Ip address of 192.168.1.100, I also defined a DNS server of 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 as the backup. As the web server is using port 80 by default, I  needed to open the port on my router’s end. My ISP is Vodafone broadband, and unfortunately, they force you to use their own router (Or make it very difficult to do otherwise). This router had great features for the everyday user, but for advanced users, it’s a complete nightmare due to the ‘security’ features. However, I did manage for port forward port 80 on the router and point it to the home server.

captureImplementation and Testing:

Evaluation:

Owncloud Logo: https://blog.webernetz.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ownCloud2.png
Kodi Logo: https://kodi.tv/wp-content/uploads/thumbnail-light-300x300.png