Using Linux to Power Your Church’s Media Servers

Linux, as a free, open source operating system, offers a number of software options, along with stability, which are two key values for a church tech team.

Using Linux to Power Your Church’s Media Servers
An example of digital signage at Hillside Community Church, highlighting recent information about an upcoming mission trip to Kyrgyzstan in July. (Hillside Digital Signage image 1)

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Using Linux to Power Your Church’s Media Servers

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Technology Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, November-December 2017
The November-December 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a review of the 49 New Product Award entries this year, as well as those entries up for Solomon Awards in 2017.
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Heft WFX 2017

Todd was a speaker at WFX this year in Dallas. For 2018, the conference is slated for Orlando in November. We hope to see you there.

Today, video media servers are playing a key role in helping people connect with the worship, the message and the happenings of local churches.

While most members of a congregation won’t see the systems that power environmental projection, video walls, streaming engines and digital signage, they are nonetheless an integral part of a church tech ministry.

Having extra systems to run, however, puts an additional burden on church tech directors to better manage their resources and infrastructure. There is a simple and free solution that can make things easier: Linux.

You can realistically run Linux servers for months or even years without having to touch it.

Linux is a free, open source operating system, with plenty of compatible open source software options available. 

As an open source operating system, the user benefits from the robust user community that surrounds the platform that continuously implements improvements and enhancements. Linux can feel a little less than mainstream, and therefore can seem like a big scary venture for many people. The reality is that the learning curve is much less than you’d think.

If you’ve ever switched from PC to Mac or vice versa, you know there are differences in style and feel, but generally things work in a similar manner. The same is true for most Linux distributions.

With computer hardware becoming more standardized and less proprietary over the years, the adoption of Linux has grown rapidly. A good reason for this is its stability.

You can realistically run Linux servers for months or even years without having to touch it. Most settings are stored specifically in files related to the programs you’re running, so over time it’s not going to get bogged down the way Windows typically does.

Getting Started

Picking a version (or distribution) of Linux in itself can seem like an overwhelming task. There are close to 100 to pick from. CentOS, Ubuntu, and Fedora are all great choices for a church-based Linux system. All three have extensive user communities that can provide support from the most basic questions to the most advanced technical problems.

Sticking with a more popular distribution can save you a lot of headaches down the road, should you happen to run into any issues. One factor that will also help drive your decision is what software you’re going to be using. While most software products can run on any distribution, it’s important to find out what is supported before moving ahead.


More About Todd Heft
Todd Heft is the director of media arts at Hillside Community Church in Bristol, Connecticut. He also serves as the Social Media Coordinator for Racing with Jesus Ministries. He holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Eastern Connecticut State University and a Master's degree in Computer Information Management from Central Connecticut State University. Todd also has a full-time position at ESPN as a Senior Systems Administrator, and enjoys spending time camping with his wife and their four children.
Get in Touch: todd.heft@hillsidebristol.org    More by Todd Heft

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, November-December 2017
The November-December 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a review of the 49 New Product Award entries this year, as well as those entries up for Solomon Awards in 2017.


Article Topics

Technology · Video · Video Displays · Visual Arts · Multi-media · Team Management · Budgeting · Church Techs · Distribution · Download · Linux · Media Servers · Software · All Topics

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