ShairPort Turns Your Computer Into An AirPlay Destination

ShairPort Turns Your Computer Into An AirPlay Destination

Developer and hardware hacker James Laird reverse engineered Apple’s AirPort Express and packaged the important bits into a Perl script that turns your computer into an AirPlay destination.

Note: This is pretty geeky stuff, and you can bet that in a short time, someone will have cobbled together a more user-friendly version. The current script requires a lot of setup, and isn’t for people unfamiliar or uncomfortable with command-line work.

Here’s how to set it up, straight from Laird’s README:

1. Make sure avahi-daemon is running and the prerequisites are installed. (Ed. note: Prereqs include openssl, libao, avahi [avahi-daemon running and avahi-publish-service on path] , and Perl, along with the following Perl modules: HTTP::Message, Crypt::OpenSSL::RSA, IO::Socket::INET6.)

2. Edit with your favourite text editor to set the access point name and/or password, if desired.

3. `perl`

The triangle-in-rectangle Airtunes logo will appear in the iTunes status bar of any machine on the network, or on iPod play controls screen. Choose your access point name to start streaming to the Shairport instance.

In short: This hack really isn’t for the faint of heart. Whether or not you’ve got the chops to set this up (I’m currently testing it on my Hackintosh), the main accomplishment is the RSA private key that Laird extracted from the AirPort Express. This should allow developers to make much friendlier tools for turning any of your computers into an AirPlay-friendly device. (XBMC plug-in, anyone?)

We’ll keep our eyes open, and let us know if you stumble onto a friendlier version.

ShairPort 0.03 released [jhl via HN]


  • Its kind of unfortunate that this type of thing has to be done to allow non apple equipment to utilise apple equipment.
    I have long felt that Apple should adopt the attitude of maintaining quality hardware / software and sell it on its merrits, it will sell, provided the costs are competitive.
    Just as Apple has empraced UNIX as its core, it should freely make available access to much of its features and negate the requirement for hacking that their current approach encourages.
    Id like to mix and match, one day playing stuff out through non apple gear and other days using apple gear, whatever fits the occasion.
    I mean im licensed with apple for content and some of their gear so they know who I am, im not hiding anything, just let me use my stuff with minimum fuss and yes apple will end up with some of money, just dont expect me to only purchase apple.
    Thanks for the article Adam, Thanks to James to.

  • Hi Jon,

    Firstly, thanks for you good work.

    I’ve installed all prerequisites and compiled hairplay. iTunes sees the remote player and connects fine, however I don’t get any sound out?! If I play soothing locally (i.e. an mp3) on the speaker netbook sound comes out fine.. Any ideas?!

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