Ushare configuration is not necessarily complicated, but it does require some CLI skills and is not that flexible. There are two main ways in which Ushare can be configured:
- AD-HOC: Opening a terminal window and running ushare with the correct parameters. For example:
ushare --name=Ushare -D --dlna --interface=wlan0 --content=/shares2
The line above creates a streaming session named "Ushare" as a daemon, using interface wlan0 and the PS3 streaming protocol, as well as sharing contents from the folder "/shares2".
- FIXED: Ushare uses a default configuration file,
/etc/ushare.conf, which allows users to configure all parameters so they remain static and Ushare always streams the same media through the same protocol.
I personally find both methods flawed, either cumbersome or not flexible enough. I own both a PS3 and an Xbox 360, so I want the flexibility to easily select the streaming protocol on the fly. More over, it isn't necessarily the smartest thing to share a big folder full of media files, for it may complicate things and make indexing slower.
As a result, I thought it would be better if there was a GUI interface that simplified the creation of a Ushare streaming session on the fly and in a matter of seconds, allowing users to easily share the specific media they are interested on. Such interface would not only help unexperienced users that do not feel comfortable using the CLI, but it would also save time for more experienced users.
To cope with the requirements above, I created UCT (Ushare Configuration Tool), a script that brings Ushare closer to the GUI and makes its configuration just a few clicks worth. An image is worth a thousand words, but in this case I recorded a video of UCT in action:
NOTE: I recommend watching this video fullscreen and in 720p resolution.
To further explain what is going on in this video, here's a step by step run through:
I first ran UCT from a desktop launcher. When the script starts up, it checked that Ushare was installed and that there were no previous active sessions running. It then proceeded to gather information about a few parameters so it can start a new streaming session, namely:
- Network Interface: Defaults to
wlan0, but a number of options are offered. If none of the options available fits the user setup, UCT cannot automate the creation of a session, so it quits. MANDATORY.
- Session Name: Defaults to "Ushare", so the field can be left blank or skip this step entirely.
- Device: Defaults to Playstation 3. MANDATORY.
- Share: Select a folder to be shared. Note that subfolders inside the selected folder will be streamed as well. MANDATORY.
With all the necessary information, UCT started a streaming session. I opened a terminal so I could display the active daemon process running. After that, I ran UCT again, which in turn detected that a previous instance of Ushare was already active. As a result, it offered the user an option to shut it down, but because killing processes requires admin privileges, credentials must be entered.
I hope you agree UCT simplifies using Ushare on a day to day basis, saving configuration time and adding flexibility. I am using it often and I am more comfortable streaming now than I ever have been. In the past there was always uncertainty about whether I typed the command correctly, but now it's just a few clicks and it's done.
Installing UCT is pretty simple, just follow these few steps:
UCT.shlocally and grant it execute rights from the GUI. To do it from the CLI:
chmod +x UCT.sh
- Create a launcher so that UCT can be started with a couple clicks from the GUI (optional).
That's all there is to it, really... other than having Ushare installed, of course! ;-)
A FEW THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
- UCT does not provide an interface to modify the port Ushare uses for streaming, so it will need some manual tweaking if the default port used by the application is no good.
- It should be noted that firewalls can get in the way and prevent Ushare from streaming correctly, so the necessary exceptions will need to be managed by the user.
- I have tested UCT extensively and am confident it works solidly. Having said so, that applies to my hardware running Ubuntu 10.10, so (although unlikely) you may experience a different behavior under different hardware/distro combinations.
TRY, TEST, ENJOY... IMPROVE!
I created UCT for my own use, but of course I would be glad if it would help others as well. Therefore, I encourage everybody to give it a go and let me know their experience. Please report unexpected behavior or bugs... and if you enjoy using it, of course!
If you would like to improve UCT, I am perfectly fine with that, I would only ask you keep my name in the script credits.
Thanks for reading!