Want to Stream Your Content? Check Out Darwin Streaming Server!

Darwin Streaming Server 6.0.3 (Open Source)

In the age of multi-core processors and broadband networks, many don't think twice about what it takes to transfer and play back audio and video data. Most just click on a link, start up an external player or browser plugin, wait a few moments, and then listen to or view the content. However, there may be situations where you have to stream content to a large number of users on a constrained network, or want to stream live content. Fortunately, the core of Apple's QuickTime Streaming Server technology is available as an Open Source project, otherwise knows as Darwin Streaming Server (DSS).

For users of Mac OS X 10.5 and above, you can download the binary (avoiding all the fun of compiling it yourself) for both the streaming server and the streaming proxy from the project page. For users of other operating systems, which includes Solaris, Redhat Linux, FreeBSD and others, you can download the source and try to compile it yourself. For those lacking the resources or geek factor to compile the server software, a quick Google search on "darwin streaming server <operating system>" should bring up several sources for a precompiled binary.

When installing DSS, you'll be asked a few questions. You can specify an MP3 streaming password, install an SSL certificate for secure administration, choose a folder to store your streaming content, and choose if you want to stream over port 80. You may want to choose this option, since the RTSP protocol used by DSS normally uses port 554, which may not get through some firewalls. Once you've configured the server, you can then administer it by accessing it on port 1220 via a web browser, which would be if you are on the same machine as the server.

Darwin Streaming Server Administration and Status via Browser

You should then try to stream one of the sample movies included with the installation to make sure everything is working. Once this is done, you can put your own movies in this folder. To get optimum performance, you need to "hint" your MOV, MP4 or 3GPP file. One way to add hinting information to a movie is to load it into QuickTime Pro, choose Export... from the File menu, and choose "Movie to Hinted Movie" in the Export list. There's also an Options… button which will let you fine-tune the hinting settings. During streaming, you can get current performance information by going to the administration web page. This will show information such as CPU load, number of connections, throughput in bps, total number of bytes served, and total connections served. To tailor the system to your network environment, you can go to the General Settings section and define the maximum number of connections (default is 1000) and maximum throughout (default is 100 Mbps).

So start streaming your content today, and give Darwin Streaming Server a try. Have any other gadgets that let you share your stuff with others? Send an email to John, and he'll check it out.