If you have been following my adventures, you know that I have ripped my entire CD collection (some 14,000 songs) to flac files and have those stored on an Ubuntu machine. (Read the starting article here.)
I have thus far been able to use my collection through a file-share on another machine. Both the serving machine and the receiving machine are running Ubuntu. That is working great but the road does not end there.
Rhythmbox is capable of sharing music in much the same manner as iTunes does using what is known as DAAP (Digital Audio Access Protocol).
Now, iTunes does not natively support the playback of flac files. Apple has their own lossless codec which they would like us all to use. But this is not time to commit yourself to forever being an Apple consumer. Keep your options open.
So, in my case the question arrives: How do I play my collection on my Mac (10.4.11) using what’s available there? I know that VLC, though clunky, will play flac files; it does not currently properly support DAAP. By contrast iTunes (pretty as it is) will connect to DAAP but as mentioned is unable to play flac files natively.
I have mentioned before this article which offers instructions for enabling flac playback in iTunes on the Mac.
The article was aimed at someone with files local to their Mac wanting to playback those flac files using iTunes. This procedure rests upon a component for QuickTime called the Xiph QuickTime Component (xiph-qt-0.1.8.dmg). QuickTime is relied upon by iTunes for playback. So, giving QT the ability to play flac files ought to be the end of the matter.
With Xiph and the Flac.Importer installed (in the QT Components folder) I am able to play a local flac file using QT. I have confirmed that each of these is required by QT for flac playback (you will encounter a different error if either of these components is not in place).
Sadly, after adding these components and connecting to the Rhythmbox share iTunes sees but will not play my flac files. Instead, when a flac file is selected for playback iTunes sits idly while claiming to be in playback mode (though the time does not change nor does the progress bar move across the song).
The one item which was not followed was running all the flac files through the OggS application. The article implies this is an optional step. The OggS application registers certain metadata with the operating system. According to this article this is necessary only in order for iTunes to successfully import the flac files into your collection, but iTunes will ignore any attempt to attach to a flac file which has not been so registered.
I wish not to do this for these three reasons:
- This creates an extra step I have to take on every subsequent flac I rip
- The flac files are to be considered complete when they are ripped not after they have been iTunicized
- The files are stored across the network and they are more than 14,000 in number—way too much time and bandwidth spent for a rather superfluous matter
I am still seeking the answer and am creating this post as an informational repository at which I can point folks who may be able to contribute to the solution. I will continue to add information as I find it. Please feel free to help out in the comments.
Special Note for those Running 64 bit Macs (Lion, for instance):
You can run iTunes in 32 bit mode to make the above work (until a 64 bit version of the tools becomes available). To do so go into your Applications folder, right-click on iTunes and choose Get Info. On that dialog you will find a check box to “Open in 32-bit mode“. Check it.
I haven’t tested this but I am assuming it will allow the above procedures to work.