Share media on your own network


On the MediaGoblin homepage, press the corresponding button to create a new user account (Figure 1). This option is open to all visitors of the website. If you want to prevent this, you need to replace the allow_registration = true line in the mediagoblin.ini configuration file below the MediaGoblin directory with allow_registration = false.

Figure 1: If the installation worked, MediaGoblin serves up this website to potential users.

As with any change to the configuration file, you will need to update the databank with gmg. Using the

./bin/gmg dbupdate

command does the trick. After this, only the administrator can create user accounts using the gmg command-line tool:

./bin/gmg adduser

The software prompts you for the username, password, and email address. The

/bin/gmg makeadmin marvin

command lets you convert a user with name marvin into an admin, if desired. In contrast to normal users, administrators are allowed to view a list of all files reported as offensive and access user management as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: In user management, administrators can temporarily lock out a user or specifically remove the user's rights – such as the ability to upload images.

Once a user has filled out the registration form, the system sends them an email with an activation link. This email appears at the command line in a test installation. The settings for the outgoing mail server live in the config_spec.ini configuration file, which in turn resides in the mediagoblin subfolder. Go to the file and, in the [mediagoblin] section, enter the information behind the line starting with email… .

To avoid any additionally sent email from being output to the command line, you need to change email_debug_mode = true in mediagoblin.ini to email_debug_mode = false. As the sender for all activation and status email, MediaGoblin uses the address in quotes below email_sender_ address.

After logging in, the user is sent to an overview page. Users can reach the available features by clicking on the arrow in the top right-hand corner. This is where they can Add media or edit their profiles. Users can store a short biography and a personal web page in their profiles. Avatar images or similar information still cannot be integrated into version 0.7.1.

An Atom feed notifies users about new uploads by other users; media also can be grouped into collections. Clicking on an image or movie opens a details page (Figure 3). Other users can add comments here. If the comments are offensive, the owner can disable the page or use the corresponding button to report inappropriate media. MediaGoblin would publish, for example, files belonging to a user named Tim on http://localhost:6543/u/tim/gallery/ for access by all visitors.

Figure 3: For each file, the user can enter a title, a description, tags, and a license.


MediaGoblin only uploads file types that it explicitly knows. By default, these are only images. To use other media formats, you need to add plugins. MediaGoblin comes with matching plugins for the media types from Table 1; they must be explicitly unlocked in mediagoblin.ini. In the mediagoblin/media_types subdirectory, you will find a plugin whose folder name reveals the media types it supports. The plugin below audio thus allows users to upload audio files.

Table 1

Supported File Formats

Media Types

File Formats

3D objects

Obj, STL

PDF files


Audio material

MP3, Flac, Wav, M4A



ASCII text



MP4, Mov, WebM, Avi, 3GP, 3GPP, MKV, OGV, M4V

To enable a plugin, you need to note the directory name and add it below [plugins] in the mediagoblin.ini file, like this:


The example relates to a directory named audio and enables the corresponding plugin. After that, you again need to run ./bin/gmg dbupdate to upgrade the database.

Note that MediaGoblin goes haywire at this point and will probably cancel the action with a reference to missing tools. For example, MediaGoblin processes video and audio files with GStreamer but does not automatically install the required packages. The command in Listing 2 does this retroactively under Debian and Ubuntu for audio and video. In the case of Debian, you also need the gstreamer0.10.10-ffmpeg package.

Listing 2

Installing the Packages for Ubuntu


For audio processing, the platform administrator also needs to add the Python scikits.audiolab module by typing

./bin/pip install scikits.audiolab

This also gives you a spectrometer view. Once all the dependencies are resolved, gmg updates the database again.

If a successful upload fails, against all expectations, to appear in the media browser, you need to take a look at the statistics in Figure 4. To do so, unfold the links by pressing the arrow in the top right and select Media processing. The message displayed there is a first indication of the source of the error. The log messages at the command line are also helpful.

Figure 4: The Media processing overview displays statistics for all ongoing and completed activities.

MediaGoblin automatically transcodes uploaded video and audio files into other file formats. In my tests with Ubuntu 14.04, this process repeatedly failed; in particular, larger files often caused an unspecified internal server error.

Long term, the idea is that admins be able to install new plugins using Python modules. Currently, you can run

pip install mediagoblin-licenses

to first fetch a plugin, which lets you create and use your own licensing information. By default, MediaGoblin only offers you a choice of All rights reserved and a Creative Commons license when you upload a file.

Topic of the Day

The page appearance is defined by themes, of which version 0.7.2 just has two in separate subfolders below the mediagoblin/themes directory. To change the theme, you just store its directory name in the mediagoblin.ini configuration file:

theme = sandyseventiesspeedboat

This line tells MediaGoblin to use the sandyseventiesspeedboat theme; the effect is shown in Figure 5. After customizing mediagoblin.ini, you need to run the

Figure 5: The sandyseventiesspeedboat theme uses lighter tones than the default airy theme.
./bin/gmg assetlink

command to set a few links.

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