There is a really great media player software out there with support for
avel linkplayer - SwissCenter (www.swisscenter.co.uk). Accessing your
media files through a nice interface with search and playlists
capability is _way_ better than accessing your media directly via
network. You also get the bonus of weather forecasts displayed by your
linkplayer, also photo albums with automatic thumbnailing etc.
I am running SwissCenter on my LinkStation 250, which works flawlessly
and quite fast. Installation requires some manual compilation (apache,
php4, mysql), but you are apparently no linux newbie. Obviously you have
to install the openlink firmware first.
Concerning which version I would go for the gigabit one, because it uses
a powerpc processor, which seems to be more broadly supported. The
"normal" version uses a mips processor.