Build a Linux-based music server to store all your digital songs in a stable and affordable package.
"Build a Cheap MacMP3/AACServer" [Hack #30] covered how to create an awesome Mac-based digital music server. But what if you have a spare PC or a Mac that is too old to run OS X? For the old Mac, check out "Run iTunes on an Old Mac" [Hack #29] . Otherwise, your best option is to look at creating a Linux music server for your iTunes music collection.
That's right, with an old machine you have lying around, and the best open source operating system out there, you too can easily build a jammin' music server. To make your jukebox complete, you can route your music to your stereo with AirPort Express and AirTunes.
If you need to go out and buy a computer, I recommend a cheap PC. It doesn't need to be the latest and greatest, because Linux can perform very well on modest hardware.
Here are the PC music server specifications:
A Pentium II or AMD K6-III processor and 128 MB of RAM (so, a system manufactured in around 1999) should be fine. More speed and memory will hurt nothing but your pocket.
A CD-ROM drive to run the Linux installer CDs.
A monitor, at least temporarily, for server installation and configuration.
A network card.
A large hard disk.
My friend just bought a fast 120-GB hard drive at Best Buy for $100. By the time you read this, ...