Set up your own media-sharing site with MediaGoblin

3D Goblin

One thing that makes MediaGoblin unique is being able to share 3D models on your site (Figure 5). The format used is STL, an industry standard that you can easily produce with Blender 3D [3].

Figure 5: You can also show and share 3D files produced with Blender.

To make this work, you will have to install a newish version of Blender (2.63 or later) on your box, somewhere on your global PATH, and include the line


in the [plugins] section of MediaGoblin_local.ini. Then, do the usual

gmg updatedb
./ --server-name=broadcast

Be warned that support for 3D in MediaGoblin is still spotty, and complex meshes with complicated nodes will probably crash the plugin. My advice is to strip down your models to the bare essentials.

Once you have loaded a mesh, you can see a shaded version in perspective from the front, top, or side, or you can pan, zoom, and move around it using the WebGL view and your mouse.

More media formats can be shared through MediaGoblin. See, for example, the "Text and PDF" box.

Text and PDF

MediaGoblin also allows you to upload, display, and share text file formats, both simple and rich (Figure 7). For PDF files, for example, include the line


in your mediagoblin_local.ini. Then, download pdf.js [4]. Unzip the package in your mediagoblin/static/extlib/pdf.js directory, run gmg updatedb, restart your server, and you're good to go.

Figure 7: MediaGoblin has a feature-rich reader and renders PDFs beautifully.

In theory, this step should also allow you to upload ODF files to your platform, including text, spreadsheets, and more. The plugin should then transform the uploaded files to PDFs for sharing. Unfortunately, on my version, a bug crashed the process. MediaGoblin is being actively developed, so maybe by the time you read this, that bug also will have been squashed.


Once you've set up your site and created some users, it's time to upload some content. When you log in, your content is shown below the MediaGoblin menu bar. The bar is tucked away, but you can access it by clicking on the downward-pointing arrow on the right (Figure 6).

Figure 6: You access the user's menu by clicking on the downward-pointing arrow on the right.

From here, you can change the setting in your account, visit the content-processing panel (if you are an admin user), log out, add content, or create a new collection. It doesn't get simpler than that. You also can group media into Collections, tag them, and comment on them, as well as change the look and feel of your site using themes.


Despite its bugs, MediaGoblin is great. Once you've gone through the admittedly complex installation and post-install configuration, you can see where MediaGoblin is headed and its enormous potential. Thanks to its modular architecture, new media formats are constantly being added and improved, and development of the platform is going ahead at full steam.

Currently, there's no easy way to embed your media into pages of non-MediaGoblin sites à la YouTube or Vimeo, nor is there any Share; these things, however, will no doubt be included in upcoming versions.

Additionally, the developers have lofty plans for the future. They plan to develop MediaGoblin as a "federated" network of media-serving sites, allowing a user to subscribe to multiple channels on one site, for example, regardless of whether the channels are hosted on the same site or another one on the same network. They are also implementing a blog plugin, which will make MediaGoblin an all-in-one solution for your media-flaunting needs.


  1. MediaGoblin:
  2. MediaGoblin deployment:
  3. Blender 3D:
  4. Mozilla's PDF rendering library:

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