Monday, March 2, 2015

Thoughts on setting up Murmur and Mumble.

Following my experiences of compiling and setting up Synergy, I found myself setting up Murmur/Mumble this past weekend.  It was a sharp contrast in experience.  Mumble seems to want folks to be able to build and run their software.  Mumble is an open source VOIP solution used often by gamers to talk to each other while playing games and Murmur is the server portion.  I needed Windows and Linux clients since those are the system that people are on when playing and a Linux version of Murmur since that's what I'm going to be running the server on.

In most cases, setting this up on Linux is as simple as using whatever package manager is used by the distro and installing the Mumble package(s), but I ran into a problem with Fedora 21.  There are no packages for Mumble since it was retired after Fedora 20.  That means compiling from source which is normally not a big deal since this is open source, but to just make things a little more difficult some packages that Mumble depends on were also retired so those needed to be built and installed as well.

In the end, I cheated and grabbed the rpm from Fedora since they still had the RPMs from before they decided to retire it from the repo.  Mumble also requires the Ice package which was also retired so make sure to install it as well.

Now, the next step was getting a Windows client and this was when things got interesting.  The Mumble team provides pre-built binaries that are hosted on Sourceforge (development snapshot are available directly from their snapshop location).   I've been fairly distrustful of Sourceforge following what happened with Filezilla and malware and reluctant to use anything hosted there especially Windows binaries so the alternative was to try to compile the client myself.  I approached with some trepidation as there is a reason that on Windows people distribute binaries more then source code.

Compiling other people's code on Windows is not easy!  In the past, the tooling was not always available but that's gotten a little better when Microsoft decided to make free "Express" editions of Visual Studios available.  Still, the effort required to build something like Mumble wasn't trivial, but I have to give kudos to the Mumble guys who has done a very good job documenting how to build Mumble on Windows.  I went though their instructions and they document a lot of potential gotchas that helped get over issues that I ran into and while it took the entire morning (a lot of time was spent just waiting on the build), I was able to get a working client running that talked to the server running on the Linux box.

Misc Thoughts

I didn't know anything about Mumble before the weekend and came across it while I was looking for something to meet my needs.  Once I found Mumble and started looking at how to get the client, I also found which looked and sounded like Mumble (it has the binaries, let's you buy the server software, etc.) but in small fine print at the bottom it says it isn't affiliated with

It's these kind of things that always bothered me and where a trademark would actually be very helpful.

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