TrueNAS + POP_OS + Roon Core -- Shout out to System76.com

When I first built my Roon Core, I used a Ubuntu fall release not under long term support. It finally came off support in October 2020 so I decided to build a new core.

I tried Fedora server, then Fedora desktop. Neither would run Roon correctly. The symptom was that the Firewall was not allowing Core to interact with Qobuz and TIDAL which are essential here. SELINUX and FirewallD are complications audio hobbyists need not contend with.

IBM RedHat and Ubuntu are strongly focused on Cloud computing servers and Cloud computing development where the corporate money is. DIY is somewhat supported but the path to DIY oriented downloads is hidden in the underbrush of Cloud computing.

So I remembered the folk at System76 who make computers for the science and engineering community and the arts. All run System76 POP_OS which is a curated Ubuntu distribution with emphasis on the programs needed by the creative arts, engineering, and science. It is quite responsive and well regarded in the tech community. They are very much end user oriented and DIY is a secondary market for them.

I downloaded an image, configured it in my second BHYVE instance, and ran the installer. It came right up. I ran apt update and apt upgrade to get up to date. That all went smoothly. I opened a shell and followed the Roon Core Linux installation procedure which all went as advertised. I added FFMPEG and found the ALSA and CIFS-UTILS already installed. Roon came right up. I restored my backup, deauthorized the legacy CORE, and authorized the new CORE. Roon came right up and has been happy as a clam.

System76 offers a NUC-like computer that is System76 trademarked as Meerkat. I have a pre-sales ticket in to them to verify that it is indeed a NUC drivers wise. I’ll pass on what I learned later. A basic configuration able to run ROCK is $500 for a Gen 10 i7 processor. This includes 8GB memory and 256GB storage on SSD. nVME 2.2 is a $50 up charge. System76 offers both the low boy and 2.5 bay enclosures. https://system76.com/ System76 aims Meerkat at the DIY and home Linux market in addition to corporate appliance roles in the briefing room.

Nucleus is a nice product for those who are not handy. The nice power supply and other internal improvements are beneficial if Nucleus will be communicating with a USB DAC. Good to keep the noise on the USB down. That’s a worthy goal as noise crawling in over USB does cause jitter in the DAC. For those of us using networked Roon Endpoints at point of service, Nucleus advantages over ROCK on a NUC are lost.

Nobody has ever argued that Nucleus has any operational advantages over other methods of running Roon. It’s advantages reside in not having to do any of the stuff you did to get a Roon core up and running. The hard work should all have been done for you!

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