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Messages - Zeratul

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Users / Re: Music Cover Art
« on: June 19, 2008, 11:43:49 am »
Yes I had the same thing.
Itunes did this once to my collection as well. As wonderfull as all the automagic stuff may be for some users, it's irritating for people who want to manage their collection by themselves.

My musical taste is such that 90% of the CD's I listen too are not even available on
Fortunately I copied my 120Gb of music to the core and could simply do that again.

Meanwhile I am using Amarok full screen launched from KDE for music. It's nicer and has support.

Users / Re: UI questions
« on: June 06, 2008, 01:27:56 pm »
The site with the casts seems a bit slow but Ill try again later.

About the 800x600 question: same tool to use I guess ?

Users / Re: UI questions
« on: June 06, 2008, 12:58:59 pm »
I don't want to use UI1 because UI2 is so much nicer. It's the eye candy of LMCE, it's the thing that makes people say 'wow'. I want the photo screen saver in the background. Digital picture frame was always on my wish list.

On top of that this touchscreen has cost me more than $800 and is built into the wall of my house.

So can't we simply add an 'X' to the top right corner? The X is there in other screens (UI2), but not consistently everywhere.

Users / UI questions
« on: June 06, 2008, 10:52:21 am »
First of all maybe a silly question but how do you EXIT from this screen ?

I have a touchscreen (behaving like a single button mouse), no keyboard, no mouse, no remote.
All I find right now is kill X through SSH or power cycle the system.

UI 2 medium at 800x600 has quite some text running out of the "borders" of the black boxes. It's a bit as if it's only tested properly on 1024x768. Anyone else having this problem ? Is there a known solution ?

Installation issues / Re: No fallback if installation goes wrong
« on: June 05, 2008, 01:52:58 pm »
If you want a feature, or set of features, help us put it in. This is a free software project..not as in cost..but as in freedom.. it is our cost of making sure this software is free.
Thanks for your comments.
I know how community projects work and I have contributed to several. And yes, the features I request I will implement myself and commit the patches/code. I will implement support for generic PLC based lighting and audio control.

But the thing is that the lack of fallback scenarios when things go wrong and good debug logging are making potential contributors all lose the same time when they start digging. I believe there should be some sort of debug logging guidelines and an easy configurable system, and that the log statements should be done by the people who know the code.
You'll get a lot more contribution if code is more accessible and has a little more error catching and logging.
I'm not saying X or Y should do it. I just say it disturbed me trying to find out why things went wrong. I didn't have that debugging previous open source software.
I'll give an example.
I got so tired of fighting against AVWizard/X detection. It kept installing the wrong nvidia module after I uninstalled, screwing up Xorg.conf, misdetecting adapter, launching at a time when everything was configured fine, auto rebooting etc. I was looking for the bug to fix and contribute, not for a workaround.

After spending more than an hour in the code, I eventually threw the whole thing out and I know that's not a good contribution. But if fixing the bug costs 10x more time than throwing the thing out, many people will throw the thing out, and the bug won't get fixed. And if one cannot produce a clean fix, the quality of the software is not going to improve.
It's a matter of priorities and imo the weakest points for a community LinuxMCE: fallback, logging.

Installation issues / Re: No fallback if installation goes wrong
« on: June 04, 2008, 02:46:28 pm »
Apparently, reading around, I'm not the only one who doesn't want LinuxMCE to run DHCP server.

If my DHCP statement was wrong, can anyone explain me how I could do this given
- I have an existing LAN setup with a low power router running 24/7.
- I dont want a PC to be on 24h/day, it's a waste of energy (I have my microPLCs boot PC when required or at preset times e.g. 10 minutes before arriving home)
- I dont want to reconfigure my router to be able to access the internet from a pc on external lan everytime LinuxMCE core(and dhcpserver) is down (Single NIC)
- The core should consume as little power as possible. Building a low energy house and wasting 60Watt is just stupid. Therefore I chose Via Epia (12W). There is only one NIC and the single PCI slot won't be sacrificied for a second one.
- My newly built home has UTP cables everywhere but they don't gather in the spot where Core should be running and I will not break open walls for a second UTP circuit.
- I want to be able to log in remotely from the internet to any machine through SSH as long as it's on and with portforwarding on the router. Yes, even when core is off.

Everything can be done without. Ping broadcast to discover, use arp, boot grub from flash sticks etc.

Anyway, given this nice atmosphere where different requirements and opinions are not welcome, I don't feel like I'll be spending much time here.

Installation issues / Re: No fallback if installation goes wrong
« on: June 04, 2008, 02:10:32 pm »
Sorry but, what a childish, defensive reaction.

Installation issues / Re: No fallback if installation goes wrong
« on: June 04, 2008, 12:47:40 pm »
First of all everybody has different priorities, I don't see why yours are more important then the others.
What is wrong in assuming that blocking installation issues which render the system in an unusable state are more important than cosmetic issues or new features ? Maybe not for you, but for this project to be successful, it simply is.

Furthermore, I have seen plenty of "non skilled" users set their systems up with only minor issues, usually due to a lack of knowledge how the system is supposed to work.  So you can drop the "not ready" argument.
Again the installation, anything that doesn't install in 99% of the cases, is not ready.
I tried two different hardware configurations, none of them work. Looking at what other people are reporting here - It's not ready.

Most of your gripes about the AVWizard could have been avoided if you had done a little homework beforehand and gotten a video card/chipset that is known to work well.  Sure it needs to be improved but it's not top priority to support a lot of graphics chipsets that (have drivers which) aren't up to the job anyway.
These hardware devices are very well supported in Kubuntu, MythTV, Freevo. There was absolutely no issue in setting up these things. On top of that, VIA Unichrome is in the wiki as being supported, and NVidia cards are even recommended.
As for the monitor refresh rate detection, this is very elementary stuff, you cannot expect a user to buy a "tested monitor".

And the DHCP server and firewall should be turned off by default??  I don't think so.  If you want to setup things in an unusual (unintended or non-standard) manner you're going to have to do some work, oddly this seems to apply to most things in life.  Just because you don't need/want certain features doesn't mean they will be removed for everybody. 
Well three things then
1) don't start DHCP server if system hardware setup failed
2) don't start DHCP server if a DHCP server is available on the network
3) I disagree with this default setup. Most people will start with one machine and don't have two switches running in a house. Running DHCP servers just for the sake of being able to BOOTP something is wrong imo. There are much better alternatives that don't mess up your local network.

If you go single nic, you can easily disable the DHCP server in your current router and let the DHCP server in LinuxMCE manage things.
No that's not possible, because the router needs to be able to forward remote ports and therefore needs to know what IP to forward incomin TCP/UDP traffic to. This is only possible if the DHCP server runs on the machine that has the external IP.
I spent 8 days trying to get a system up and running 2 months ago. I'd settle for your 20 or 50 hours anyday.
My 20 or 50 hours was excluding configuration of course; just to get to the point where the orbiter would load successfully for the first time. From booting the DVD to getting there. I know that configuration and adding hardware support will probably take me months.

I feel my message didn't get across:
There is no FALLBACK when things go wrong.
The system just keeps going on, no matter what went wrong. The system may consistently reboot, crash X, it just keeps playing 'dhcp' and starting firewall, blocking all access instead of producing a clean error message and halting.
This makes diagnosing, troubleshooting or adding support for new hardware very tough.

And as much as I would like to contribute some patches (and I'm sure I could) I only have a limited amount of hours I can spend on it. The way things work right now every new potential contributor is wasting tons of time. That's not encouraging.

I had a look at the scripts in /usr/pluto/bin and as much as I like scripts, interprocess communication is one of the pain points and it shows. Surely this is inherited codebase, but there is a lot of work there to get things stable and clean.

Installation issues / No fallback if installation goes wrong
« on: June 03, 2008, 12:29:03 pm »
I would like to share with you what I consider LinuxMCE's biggest problem is at this moment:
1) Installation is very unstable
2) there is no good error handling
3) There is no fall back scenario when basic things like video card are not detected correctly

It's clear LinuxMCE is not ready for the average user. But it is not ready for the average IT skilled dude who has some minor linux knowledge either. Depending on luck with the hardware combination, it's only possible for Linux experts and developers. I consider myself a member of the last category so I have the skills to investigate what goes wrong and what causes trouble, but still it takes me a lot of time to diagnose and I find the installation experience terrible.

Main issues encountered:
1) AVWizard and Xorg detection:
Fails on via unichrome chipset (wrong detected monitor capabilities and Horiz/Vert refresh range)
Fails on NVidia GeForce4 (doesn't detect chipset, didn't load nvidia_legacy kernel module, tries to load orbiter in OpenGL mode where xorg.conf is still on vesa !)
In the first case the system keeps trying to start X forever. In the second case, Error message is displayed starting Orbiter in X but there is no fallback.
In both situations the end user gives up here. There is really nothing he can do.
I submitted a bug report with lots of technical documentation on the first issue - it got closed as non reproducible. Unbelievable - it is very reproducible; only the proposed fixes didn't work.
I submitted a bug report on the second issue, we'll see where this one gets.

2) AVWizard is way to intrusive. Rewriting your xorg.conf from a template every time throws away without warning any custom configuration you may have done. I have a touchscreen with my own .so and input device configuration in xorg.conf. IMO, AVWizard should leave detection up to kubuntu, take kubuntu's generated xorg.conf, generate a template out of that and put that one in /usr/pluto/templates. Also AVWizard should better handle all situations where things go wrong and use a last-known-good when X doesn't start, auto reboot happens, or Orbiter fails to load.

3) Running a default DHCP server on your LAN for a DVD based install renders anyone with a local home network and only one NIC with PC's in the house which can no longer access the internet. Default should be NO DHCP server, and get IP as a client, unless no DHCP server exists on the network. This is easy to implement, and will help the 90%(?) people who currently have a small lan behind a NAT router to the internet to keep using their regular PC's. Turn off by default !

4) Turn firewall off by default after installation ! Blocking all incoming traffic makes diagnosing, troubleshooting, remote login very hard, even for average Linux users. If your video card was not detected or AVWizard is stuck in an infinite loop you cannot access the box but through the constantly disappearing (due to X being started) console. Try to type some iptables commands while the display is flickering - awfull!! Firewall off by default - SSH Server on by default - and turn these things on later, e.g. after a question to the user "Is the system completely working as expected ?" .

5) Logging - with all these scripts running concurrently, pffff. They all have their own logfiles but it seems impossible to correlate events. We need a good debug logging system. The only reason I could find out what goes wrong was by diving into the scripts themselves. This is not encouraging.

Just to get the system up and running with all hardware working, it took me about 20 hours. My first installation with Via Unichrome chipset took about 50 hours. That's not quite what it should be like.

I guess these things really need to be addressed if LinuxMCE wants to build an active development community where progress is made fast. I would love to contribute because it theoretically has all the features I would love to have, but this project seems to set wrong priorities.

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