I just set my Linux box up as an iTunes server. After seeing how easy it was to get this working (not least because of Gentoo’s excellent package management), I’m almost annoyed at myself for putting this off for so long. :)
The HOWTO Apple ITunes Server document on the Gentoo Wiki was absolutely on the spot and made this very easy, and the entire installation only consisted of a handful of comments plus some very simple config file changes.
The iTunes server shows up fine on both of my Windows laptops and allows me to access my entire music library (well, at least the part of it that I’ve ripped so far, which already comprises a large chunk of the CDs that I really care about). In combination with my Apple Airport Express, this is a very powerful part of my digital media strategy.
The sheer power of being able to play virtually any song of my music collection either on my laptop or on the living room stereo with a few mouse clicks (or a quick title search) is almost overwhelming… ;)
I have yet to try syncing songs to the iPod. If this works, I think I’ve found my perfect solution, as I’m not all that excited about the Linux alternatives to iTunes.
Update: It turns out that syncing songs from the iTunes server to the iPod is not supported. More surprisingly, iTunes does not even support adding songs from the iTunes server to a playlist, which severly reduces the usefulness of this approach. I may have to go back to using Samba to share my music collection. The downside of this approach is that I need to manually update my iTunes library on all computers whenever I add new songs to the server, but at least I get full access to the library, including the ability to create playlists, sync to the iPod, etc.