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Topics - phenigma

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1
Users / 'Diskless' Raspberry Pis are out in the wild!
« on: September 21, 2016, 01:43:15 am »
Hey everyone!  I wanted to pass on some of the recent work I've been doing in relation to the Raspberry Pis.

It's been a long slog bringing the system to the RPi line of systems.  In the original LMCE release for the RPi I had spent 2 months hacking u-boot to provide a really robust 'PXE like' boot process for the RPi in LMCE.  It was intense and required understanding and programing u-boot for low-level memory access to pass boot parameters (ATAGS) properly to the linux kernel.  When the RPi2 was released the hardware had changed significantly and the broadcom SOC was upgraded to a multi-core cpu and armv7 rather than the older armv6 architecture.  Due to the architecture changes in the SOC u-boot failed to work with the new Raspberries.  So I revived the old, old concept of disked Media Directors for the RPi2.  This worked well as long as the power didn't go out (which meant you would have to re-write the sdcard and let the system re-install all the software packages again.)  With the RPi foundation's recent announcement of netboot capability (https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/pi-3-booting-part-ii-ethernet-all-the-awesome/) we have a new way to boot all Raspberry Pi B's (1, 2 and 3).

Head on over to http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/RaspberryPi to read about how to setup a network booting RPi Media Director.

Keep in mind that the RPi foundation (and myself) still consider this to be very experimental.

Have fun!

2
Users / The return of CDDB and CD-Ripping
« on: February 09, 2016, 12:33:46 am »
The update after this one http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/LinuxMCE-1204/1404_Updates#Update_1204.3D201602080446.2B2028f850_1404.3D201602071815.2Bc31bc44f will bring the return of CD identification to LinuxMCE.  CD Titles/Performers/Track Titles/etc. should all be automatically determined from freedb using the cddb interface when a disc is inserted into a CD/DVD/BD drive attached to any MD.

CD-Ripping functionality also returns with the return of CD Identification!  I've tested flac ripping and it's working great!

Happy LMCEing!

J.

3
Users / Some upgrades and all IR code editing currently broken [fixed]
« on: February 05, 2016, 09:46:46 pm »
Just want to give a heads up that any upgrades that include the dcerouter package, or any attempts to add/edit DeviceTemplates with IR data will currently fail.  Hopefully this will be solved asap.

J.

4
Users / 1404 is now considered our primarly development version
« on: January 17, 2016, 02:57:38 am »
Hey everyone,

We are slowly deprecating 1204.  Going forward primary development will continue on LinuxMCE 1404.  Happy LMCE'ing!

J.

5
Users / Mini-PCs and Compute Sticks - initial thoughts
« on: December 15, 2015, 01:48:09 am »
Hey everyone!

Since these types of devices have been brought up once or twice already, and they are becoming much more prevalent, I wanted to put out a bit of a brain dump here on my initial experiences with these new 'mini-pcs'.  I recently acquired an Intel Compute Stick, Quad Core 1.33Gzh Atom, 1GB RAM, 8GB eMMC (only 5 total after recovery partition and only 1GB free), Ubuntu 1404 LTS 64-bit.  The unit itself is not much larger than a USB stick and includes b/g/n wifi and bluetooth and integrated HDMI connector.

With our newer packages it was easy enough for me (please don't read in to this that it was easy, I'm very adept at this now) to shoe-horn LMCE onto the stick.  Special audio drivers, wifi, bt and more.  The i915 graphics adaptor provides va-api acceleration of many formats and I had no problems playing any video that I wanted to play.  1080P full frame video.  Better support than the rpi/2 for video playback.

We have a bug with 64bit and UI2, they don't like each other.  Compositing is not functioning properly on 64bit installs.  Compositing is required for UI2.  The Compute Stick supports only 64bit Ubuntu (or only 32 bit windows, go figure).  UI1 is the only option if you want to use the onscreen orbiter.  If, like me, you don't use the onscreen orbiter then it is not a problem and provides a nicer Photo Screen Saver.

Audio playback just doesn't work.  There is a bug in the audio driver that shuts down the audio output during low cpu usage, kick the cpu and audio comes back.  This seems like a power management issue to me but I'm only in the beginning stages of even trying to track it down.  In some cases people have reported that this can affect video playback if the cpu usage drops too low but I have not confirmed this myself.

Wifi and Bluetooth both suck beyond belief.  To alleviate the wifi issues I set up and access point just for the compute stick, on separate channels and ssids and all that...  Still drop outs and ping times in the 400ms range.  Ok, so I added an usb ethernet adaptor and.... no improvement.  The wifi kept slowing down and lagging the entire system.  I had to disable the wireless to even get a reasonable network connection.

Don't buy one.  The issues are such that I cannot recommend this device, or any similar device, to anyone for LMCE use at this time.  I have seen a bunch of devices that are similar to the Intel Compute Stick that offer much more promise.  If you find a device with better wireless possibilities, or wired mini-pc, and want to see it as a supported device feel free to dig in (or send me one to work with).  If anyone wants to provide me a device I can see what it will take to get LMCE to work, if at all.  The same goes for ARM devices.

I'm really excited about the prospects of these types of low powered x86 devices, and arm devices, being used as full MDs within the LMCE ecosystem, but they are not fully developed and supported enough at this time. 

Use an RPI2 for low powered MDs.

J.

6
Hi everyone, I hope you're all have a great American Thanksgiving!

Thanks to those that have been testing snapshots and installs, etc.  We do appreciate that.

I need to take a moment to remind everyone that 1204 is the *ONLY* version that we are actively trying to work on and, hopefully, support.

If you are installing a version of linuxmce that is NOT Ubuntu 1204 then we expect you to troubleshoot your own problems.  Period.  We *may* answer questions if we have direct answers.  Some people have been trying to personally contact devs over twitter or via private messaging to solve your problems.  Don't do this.  It will piss us off and we won't want to help you anymore.  There is a reason I don't publicize my contact information.

If you have a problem and it is not with 1204 please help us by solving your problem and posting the solutions.  If you are unable to solve your issues then please install the 1204 release and report your specific problems in trac.

We appreciate testing and welcome patches to solve problems.  If you wish to contribute contstructively please see the sticky's in the Developers section about trac commits for submitting bug reports.  Bug reports in trac are the only way that developers will actively track issues.  Please use it.

Thanks,

J.

7
Users / Changes
« on: November 21, 2015, 02:40:37 am »
Hey all,

Just wanted to give a heads up to those that are testing 1204 (or 1404 if you are brave).  There are a bunch of changes that have been commited recently to improve some of the integrated software and to unify the service start/stop enable/disable mechanisms across all of the current distributions and architechtures.

Let us know how things go.  I'm hopeful that things will be smooth.  Things always crop up that are unexpected though.

Happy LMCEing!

J.

8
Users / Running on X86, ARMHF or AMD64 hardware - it is possible.
« on: November 12, 2015, 11:11:39 pm »
Hey everyone,

There has been lots of great things happening in the world of ARM devices recently and I wanted to point everyone to an 'example' setup of LinuxMCE.  This system uses a low-power odroid xu4 armhf core running ubuntu trusty and multiple low-power RPI2 devices as media directors.  You will also notice there is a 64-bit ubuntu trusty media director running in this system.  This example setup is the production system in my house.

Have a look at http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Phenigma and you can see a brief overview of the setup.

While this type of configuration is still not 'officially' supported I wanted to share with people some of the hardware platform capabilties that I have been working on.  I now know of 2 persons running cores on an odroid xu4 so far, and we're both happy.  Thanks to merk for donating the xu4 for development.

I'm happy to answer questions from anyone about my system.

Happy LMCE'ing!

J.

9
Users / deb.linuxmce.org, download.linuxmce.org are back up
« on: October 23, 2015, 09:52:29 pm »
Hey all, we're having some issues with our new server it seems.  Installs and updates are not possible at this exact moment.  We'll get things restored as soon as possible.

J.

10
Users / New repository server and source updates
« on: October 14, 2015, 04:43:32 am »
Hey everyone, I just wanted to give a heads up that deb.linuxmce.org may experience a couple of hiccups over the next 24hrs as we migrate to a new server.  The new server is faster and has more storage so we can continue to develop across 2 distributions (ubuntu/raspbian) with 4 development releases (precise/trusty/wheezy/jessie) on 3 different architectures (i386/armhf/amd64). 

The installation system has been through a massive overhaul.  New DVDs will come out soon for precise and trusty testing.  Thanks to everyone that has been testing!  We can't do this without your help.

Happy LMCEing!

J.

11
Users / New RPi Raspbian Jessie Image available
« on: September 24, 2015, 05:54:22 am »
There's a new raspbian jessie RPi sdcard image available.  This will boot on either an RPi1B+ or an RPi2.  I *highly* recommend the RPi2 as the RPi1 cannot handle all of the functions of a MediaDirector.  You no longer need to create a diskless image for RPi, the device runs as a 'Disked' MD rather than diskless.

Check out the download info on the wiki at http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/RaspberryPi

Happy LMCE'ing!

J.

12
Users / RPi1 broken - DO NOT UPGRADE! - Partial solution found.
« on: September 21, 2015, 07:20:37 pm »
Hey all,

Just a heads up that we've found an issue recently with RPi1 PXE boots.  The Raspberry Pi foundation recently pushed a new kernel which is using device tree blobs on the raspberrypi 1.  This has broken the u-boot booting process as it was designed and built prior to device tree support on the raspberry pi.

Do NOT create a new diskless image as the new kernel will be there and will prevent booting after announcement to the router.

Thanks.

J.

13
Users / DVD Installs are working -- Use either install method - Thanks.
« on: September 06, 2015, 02:08:31 am »
Hi all, the DVD snapshots are broken atm.  They install just fine but are missing some pkgs that are causing havoc communicating on the internal network side.  The network based installs are very robust and should result in a working hybrid.

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Installing_1204

Thanks for your patience while I work through these new installation upgrades.

J.

14
Users / Changes to packages and install procedures, whew.
« on: August 28, 2015, 06:15:45 am »
Hi all,

I hope that you are all enjoying LMCE as much as I tend to. I wanted to let everyone know about some pretty major changes that are occuring in the system.  This is meant both to inform and to solicit feedback as we go forward.

To date the LinuxMCE system has been a bit of a pain to install.  We have required an officilal installer script that you would run after installing ubuntu.  It has long been a goal of mine (and others) to remove this requirement and make the system install more like a normal ubuntu package.  Today we are very close to that.  I am working vigorously towards the ability to simply 'apt-get install lmce-blah'.  This allows us to more closely align with debian policies (something we want to do more of) and allows for easier integration into the ubuntu ecosystem.

I know that for some this could cause issues.  I, and others, hope to minimize any issues that might occur.  That doesn't mean that there won't be some 'growing pains' as we move forward.  We urge anyone that is testing on 1204 (or 1404 if you are really brave) to provide feedback.  IRC feedback is ideal but the forums here are a good place if you cannot access IRC.  If something is determined to be a proper bug (as is often the case) we will have you (or one of us) file a ticket in trac.  Trac is locked down for anonymous submits due to *massive* amounts of spam.  We still want your bug reports and would be very happy to grant trac access to submit tickets and information (code submissions are still relegated to devs only).

Going forward the plan is to support simple installation through normal apt procedures.  This would entail adding the lmce repo to the /etc/sources.list and then apt-get install blah package to install the remainder of LinuxMCE.  Tests are so far very successful and in the next day or two we will ask others to begin testing this procedure.  After that DVD installers will follow with the hopes that they too will work as easy (or easier) than they have been.

Many small install bugs are being squashed with regards to network setup and general installation.  Hopefully we can improve the setup further to reduce any issues that people may experience.  Some issues may be known, others not.

As always testing is really, really, appreciated.  Please follow: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/LinuxMCE-1204_pre-alpha for changes to LinuxMCE packages.

Happy LinuxMCE'ing!

J.


15
Users / LinuxMCE Rpi2 alpha testing
« on: April 18, 2015, 01:14:01 am »
Hey all,

I wanted to let you all know that Rpi2 development has been speeding along as quickly as possible.  We now have Rpi2 MDs booting in LinuxMCE on 1204 and 1404 cores.  We currently use UI1 but we are still working towards a qOrbiter based MD as well.

Our Rpi2 solution is built completely on Ubuntu Trusty ARMHF so we support almost everything that standard i386 LinuxMCE supports, the exception is some newer game emulators and diskless MDs.  Video, Audio, Games (up to PS1 emulation should be possible but not yet tested), HDMI-CEC control should all be working.

Because we build for Rpi2 on Ubuntu Trusty rather than Raspbian Wheezy we support all ARMv7 cpu instructions, which permits faster execution of many applications than the Raspbian equivalents.  We also support newer libraries for many common functions like audio and video decoding than the Raspbian equivalents permit.

Please follow instructions at http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/RaspberryPi#RPi2_Disked_Media_Director

Please file tickets if you encounter issues (somewhat expected at the moment), join us in IRC to talk one-on-one or respond here for any issues you may have.

Happy LMCEing!

J.

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