Running Roon Core on Linux

I currently run my Roon Core on a Windows laptop with an attached USB HDD. The Core serves a Sonore ultraRendu as a Roon Endpoint. I control it via Roon Remote installed on an iPad and an Android phone. The laptop isn’t used for any other purpose. However, I’m growing tired of the Windows forced updates.

I’m thinking of installing Linux over Windows on the laptop for its enhanced stability and user control over updates.

If I install Roon Server for Linux, can I keep the rest of my system the way it is? Will it still be able to access my USB HDD? Can I still control it with my Remote apps on my mobile devices?

Hi @Nicholas_Seltzer and welcome to the forum. If you don’t use a remote app on the laptop then Linux will run RoonServer fine. Your iPad and phone remotes will work.

Potential snags might be USB disk format. Linux doesn’t always support NTFS out of the box but adding the right packages is easy.

There could be a issue if you play DSD direct to an endpoint attached to the core.

That’s all I can think of but I’m a long way from an authoritative source. Am also a strong advocate for Linux so consider me biased :wink:

It should work without change to remotes or endpoints, but there are a few things to pay attention to:

  1. Linux does not always play as nice with laptop hardware as Windows, because it does not cover as many variations in hardware and driver versions.
  2. ExFAT support does not come pre-installed on all Linux distributions, if you are using that format for your HDD.
  3. You need to make sure your firewall is set up to let RoonServer and RAATServer through.
  4. You should still update regularly your Linux setup, as bugs and security issues keep showing up that should be addressed.

I run my Roon Core on NUCs with Ubuntu Server 20.04, with either EXT4 local disk or SMB mounts from a NAS, with a variety of remotes (Mac, Android, iPad) and endpoints.


But of course most Linux distros have a live CD so you can try before committing.


Do you use the laptop for anything else? If not, no problem. Throw Ubuntu on there and you’ll be fine. If you want to keep using the laptop as a main computer and you don’t need any adobe software then you’re asking about switching from windows to Linux. If that’s the case, throw Ubuntu on it and you’ll be fine.

But, if you’re not interested in switching to Linux as a desktop os and want to continue using the laptop as a daily machine you may want to consider just buying a low-ish priced fanless machine and throwing Ubuntu on it.

Most older laptop hardware from mainstream brands should be fine (even better if your hardware manufacturer is part of the Linux foundation). Even brand new hardware is usually fine as long as you’re not using an LTS distro. WiFi is the only major PITA, don’t have a Broadcom WiFi chipset.

I don’t play DSD but I don’t see why there would be any issues. USB 2.0 audio is standard and works out of the box, just plug your DAC in.

As far as your hard drives go, just buy new ones. Great opportunity to make a backup. Linux will be able to read any windows or Mac format, but might not be able to write to it. If you want to use the drive on Mac and windows, format it to exfat and make sure the exfat package is installed in your Linux environment.

For Mac cross platform, turn off journaling on your HFS formatted drive (NOT RECOMMENDED FOR A BOOT DRIVE). Don’t know anything about their new format though.

Roon couldn’t be easier to install and Linux is perfect for creating appliances.

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One thing to remember is that Roon does not have a Linux control client, only the headless RoonServer. So, if you want to run the client GUI then you will need to use Wine which I have found to be …wonky.

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Thanks for the advice. The only thing I use the laptop for is as a Roon server. I ended up installing Xubuntu and have everything mostly up and running. Xubuntu seems to play nicely with my Asus UX305F fanless laptop.

At the moment the only two problems I’m having are:

  1. Finding a good solution for real-time, automated syncing with my music folder (stored on Box) and syncing across my three listening environments. Box doesn’t have a linux client, so i’m using a command line application called rclone. It’s yet unclear if it will suit my needs.

  2. I’m wondering how I can utilize convolution filters without a GUI. If I use another PC as an endpoint, I can choose a convolution file there (under DSP), but I can’t preload a convolution file on the core that be activated and inactived with the remote apps (iPad and Android). Any ideas there?

Thanks in advance,

Thanks for the advice. Is there any particular advantage to using EXT4 instead of ExFAT?

This is one time that you need a PC or Mac-based remote client as that’s the only way to load a convolution filter up to the core.

If you want to connect the drive to a Windows machine then choose NTFS or exFAT but that’s the only reason. If it’s just to use on Linux boxes then definitely ext4. The exFAT file system doesn’t support all of the POSIX permissions. This might cause issues with your file syncing client. More details can be found here:

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Thanks so much. I appreciate the help. While I regret the loss of convolution filters, I suppose we really shouldn’t be relying on DSP for room treatment anyway.

I’ll admit that I do rely on DSP for this but am currently renting while between houses. I’d still use DSP but would start with physical room treatment if practical. In case you’re interested I use one of the MiniDSP boxes with Dirac live built in. It has the advantage that you can apply it to 3 digital sources Roon streamer, the TV and a Bluetooth box in my case. I’m happy with it but I still use Roon’s DSP for headphone equalisation where IMHO it makes a big difference.