1. First….I’ve always used iTunes with my Soundbridge with much success, however I’m very curious/anxious to be able to run Firefly as a service on my PC or on an NAS so I don’t have to have iTunes running….can this be done?
Yes. With the pc it’s easy. First, go to the apple site and download and install Bonjour for Windows, then go to the nightly page, download the windows EXE version and run it. It should do everything necessary to be visible from the soundbridge.
2. Second….I really don’t understand how Firefly works and why there is so much talk about Firefly and iTunes working together? I understand them to be two different things…do you need both?
There are two versions of the Soundbride. One works with iTunes (in which case, you could just use iTunes as a server, assuming you had a windows or mac machine on all the time), the other (the Pinnacle-branded ones) can’t see iTunes. For those, one has to use a different server. One could use SlimServer, or a uPnP server like Twonky, or Firefly.
I like firefly because it’s open source, and I’m familiar enough with it that I can make it work the way I want it to. I also think it’s faster than most of the other servers.
3. I went to the ‘stable’ download section of this page, and I can even figure out what to download to get started?
Start out with the windows binary on the nightly page. Once you’ve played with it a bit, you might have a better idea about what it is, what it does, and what questions you have going forward.