Everything else is running as well or better than when the machine was running Windows.
- Ubuntu Linux is perfectly fine and the install is dirt-simple
- The CIFS (SMB, Samba, or Windows Networking client) support in Ubuntu is kind of weak
- VLC Media Player isn’t bad, but the linux version doesn't support direct browsing for media over CIFS protocol
- If you're going to have to mount your network media file system, and you have the option, NFS is a much better protocol choice for Linux.
- MPlayer is an even simpler media playback tool than VLC, and it’s got a wide range of codec support
- MythTV, while being pimped as a DIY DVR box, also provides a great front-end for accessing your media library and playing it through MPlayer