Server Made Simple

In the past, installing a MusicBrainz server has always been a testing and lengthy task, without any clear-cut set of instructions to follow. Over the last few days I’ve been putting together a method of installing mb_server, starting from scratch, using Debian. Installing the server just got a lot easier.

This process is best suited to people who have a whole machine to spare (either a whole physical box, or a virtual machine like vmware).  It should be possible to set this up on a shared system e.g. dual booting, but I haven’t done that myself and you won’t find help on how to do that here.

Assuming you want to download and import a copy of the MusicBrainz database, I’d recommend you give the system at least 10 Gb to play with. I’m not sure of the exact amount required – 10Gb is enough, 4Gb isn’t enough.  Use your judgement.

In a nutshell, the installation is in three steps:

  1. First, install Debian. Start with bf2.4-3.0.23-mini.iso
    and give your system as much space as you can afford (see above).  The exact setup choices you make probably don’t matter too much, but if you want to follow what I did and do the same, please refer to the step-by-step screenshots.
  2. Once you’ve got a basic Debian system freshly installed from the “mini ISO”, just download and run these shell scripts (1
    and you’ll have a working mb_server (but with no MusicBrainz data).
  3. If you also want to load in a MusicBrainz database snapshot, just download the files and then run the last shell script.

You’ll need to have your machine connected to the Internet of course, so it can download and install all the required software.  That should be it.  Once you’ve done those things, you’ll have a complete MusicBrainz server.

For more details, please refer to the Wiki, these files and this README.

Good luck!

2 thoughts on “Server Made Simple”

  1. Ok, the install went fine – I can see the server, add myself as a user, add cds etc.

    My problem is I can’t seem to log in as an admin, what is the default admin set to or how do I change it?

    Thanks for the excellent guide.


  2. Good question. However there is no “administrator” account, nor privilege, but there is the “automatic moderator” privilege, so let’s deal with that.

    There probably won’t be one in your database as it stands, for the following reasons: If you chose to import a MusicBrainz data dump, then all the MusicBrainz users should all exist, but none of them will be administrators, so you’ll need to add one. If you chose to start with an empty database (“ –clean”) then you’ll have just one user by default (“rob”), but you won’t be able to log in because his password is blank (i.e. invalid).

    I think the thing to do is to tweak the database by hand:

    * su – mbserver
    * cd cvs/mb_server
    * ./admin/psql READWRITE
    * INSERT INTO moderator (name, password, privs) VALUES (‘my-auto-moderator’, ‘my-password’, 1);
    * q
    * exit
    * /etc/init.d/memcached restart

    Sorry this isn’t very readable – I’m trying to to include line breaks in this comment but the Blog won’t let me 😦

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