Ubuntu streams MP3 music through iPhone and AirPlay

If you have an iPhone or iPod, a large collection of MP3s and a great home theater system, Ubuntu has an app for you. The Linux distro maker has introduced a way to stream the music from its cloud to your home system using Apple's AirPlay.

You'll also need an audio/video component that supports AirPlay such as an Apple TV, or one of the AirPlay-supported third-party stereo electronics from Denon, Marantz, or iHome. And wait ... one more thing. You'll need a paid account with Ubuntu One Music. While Ubuntu does offers 2G of free storage for music and other files, in order to stream from your mobile device, you'll need to sign up for Ubuntu's $4/month Mobile Package.

Ubuntu One Music lets you stream MP3s from the cloud to your Apple TV.

If you have all that, then this free Ubuntu One Music app, available from iTunes, could be for you.

Even though we are poking fun at the idea that the Linux faithful will own so much Apple gear and also pay for a cloud service, this streaming service is a break-out use of AirPlay. Ubuntu is the Linux distro for the Average Jo, who tends to be less religious over using only free open source software. It could be worth considering for MP3s, given that it lets users stream them without the hassle of uploading them to iTunes or otherwise converting them to Apple's can't-run-with-the-pack MP4 format.

You'll need to store your music in Ubuntu's mobile cloud service.

Some are calling this an unofficial use of AirPlay. But that's a stretch. Apple opened AirPlay up to third-party use when it introduced it last month as part of iOS 4.2. AirPlay is an upgraded and improved version of AirTunes. Whereas Apple TV was previously a clunker in Apple's repertoire, the improved stuff Apple made available to watch on Apple TV along with the improved wireless streaming of AirPlay has turned that perception around. Gizmodo even went so far as to proclaim that AirPlay will change your life.

Apple TV

You'll also need an Apple TV device or AirPlay compatible device.

AirPlay is used with Apple’s AirPort Express base station, or with AirPort Express-enabled stereo products. AirPlay can stream music, videos and photos from iTunes to said Express-enabled equipment. It can be used by Apple's mobile devices that use iOS 4.2 (the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad).

Support for AirPlay to wirelessly play your music is expected to wind up in everything, from high-end AV equipment to cheap iPod speakers. So a way to include your MP3 tracks in the revolution, such as with this Ubuntu app, is something you may one day seek. We're not saying it will change your life, but it could be nice all the same.