Sunday, November 20, 2022

Plex on Raspberry Pi, revisited

Recently, I was visiting a family member that had Plex running on a Raspberry Pi device. I had set that up in March and it had been running ever since.

So, everything is good, right? Well, not exactly.

When I set it up, I followed instructions of others who had set up Plex on Raspberry Pi. And they used the full Raspberry Pi graphical user interface (GUI). You know, with the windows and mouse and such.

If you're setting up a personal computer, that's fine. That works well. But, it does take up resources, and that can be a problem. Not a huge problem, but everything the device has to manage and operate that is not needed is a waste of resources, and more importantly, something that can go wrong and cause a device to hang up.

You see, Plex should run just fine without the GUI. It has a small Web server running, and if I want to use a GUI, it's easy enough to simply launch a Web browser. And that's how it's managed. We don't need to physically go into the room where the device is located (where the Internet service comes in; not the main room of the house) to get on it. Launching a browser can be done from anywhere on the network.

However, there are other tasks that need to happen from time to time, particularly updates to the operating system.

Now, with it running a full installation of Ubuntu Linux, there are many applications that are installed with a setup like that. And those applications are not needed to run Linux, but they do need to be updated from time to time, for security reasons. And that's the issue with a full GUI installation for a dedicated purpose device.

So, here's what I'm thinking I'll do. I will set up another device running a headless install of Linux. With just a command line setup, the updates will be simple enough. Running SSH will allow connection from another room. And, should things go horribly wrong, it would be easy enough to connect a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to access. But most of the time, accessing the command line is easy, and updates will be two commands:

sudo apt update

sudo apt upgrade -y

That's easy, right? And you don't even have to get out of your chair.

But if it's working, why would I want to go through all this trouble. Well, it's not exactly working. There are some issues with updates. Oh, to be sure, you can do updates, but the Ubuntu installation is wonky, and command line updates don't always work. So, it needs some work, and I'm thinking the thing to do is to just put in a new, simpler installation.

I like things to just work in my Streaming Life, and right now, maintaining Plex isn't working as it should. And I will fix it. "It tasks me." And if you know that quote, you know I may fail gloriously if I allow it to blind me as the speaker of those words was blinded, obsessed. But when you get down to it, I just want it to work.

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