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Messages - mkbrown69

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Developers / So, what comes next after 8.10 GA?
« on: September 06, 2011, 04:27:23 am »
This is a followup to my post on the user's forum...,11889.msg83738.html#msg83738

I'm wondering if there's a roadmap/game plan as to what happens next one 8.10 goes out the door...

In the immediate near future, is the plan for an in-place upgrade from 8.10 to 10.04, or will it be "a blow it away and reinstall" like the transition from 7.10 to 8.10?  Given that I have young kids and a family with a busy extracurricular schedule, I'm looking for some guidance as to where I can best direct my limited time and efforts to provide some useful results.



Feature requests & roadmap / Re: Monitoring
« on: September 06, 2011, 04:04:35 am »
Not to throw gas on a fire, but here's an example of Cacti power graphs and temperature graphs feeding into Misterhouse home automation .  Marc's been around MH and Linux for a while...

As Hari suggests, you might want to check out the data logger functionality that's presently built-in to LMCE, and compare / contrast that against MRTG/Cacti.  It might be beneficial to have a requirements and capability analysis of the three, since logging and graphing can form a crucial part of the system and will likely have a data warehousing function for many people who want historical data for a reason.  I'm speaking as someone who's been using Misterhouse myself since 2004 to record internal house temperatures, and I have the RRD's to prove it!

I've used SAR, CollectD, nmon/topaz/ganglia, RRDtool with Perl, Tivoli, and so on...  There are lots of great tools out there; in this case, I think what's most important is that the logging, data warehousing, and graphing are all like Lego blocks.  Parts that can be re-used as common infrastructure consistently throughout the LMCE architecture.

My $0.02 CDN before HST...


Users / Re: OMG, why do you make this so difficult?
« on: September 06, 2011, 03:36:22 am »
I'm going to contribute some thoughts for discussion, from the viewpoint of someone looking in from the periphery of the project.  I think that one factor in the recurrence of people coming forth offering their services as a project manager type may stem from the appearance that the project doesn't have a sense of direction.  Some end users might see some of the threads in the forums, and the resultant activities in Trac and SVN, as a sign that the project is simply a bunch of people throwing code they like into a domotics system, and that the project is a barely contained anarchy, ruled  by a Darwinistic approach of "he who writes the code wins".  

Now, some may find that offensive, but it's not intended to be;  it's intended to portray the possible viewpoints of someone who's seen the various YouTube videos, have come on by the community and started looking around.  I've been following the project for couple of years now, so I've seen more of an evolution of the project and the dynamics involved, and I know things are more complex than that, but I'm trying to convey the views of newbies coming across the project.  If someone is going to commit their time to rolling out LMCE to control their home, their safe and comfortable castle, they may feel more comfortable knowing that it's going somewhere, and is going to be around for the foreseeable future.  So, if they're excited enough about the system and the project, they volunteer their services so that they can guarantee that both will be around.  

Because of this perception that the project lacks direction, it appears that there may be a deficiency in the project's communication plans, one that can be easily remedied by the same refresh activities going on with the wiki and the website.  Maybe an "officially documented" steering committee and processes can be put into the wiki, detailing who's governing the project, and what the goals are for the next release.  This may exist informally already, like discussions in IRC, but if it were to be put into the wiki with some kind of roadmap, that may also help those who wish to contribute.  Something along the lines of pain points, features intended to be incorporated into the next release, platform and infrastructure changes or directions, that kind of thing.  That way, those who wish to contribute can work in the same direction as the core devs, rather than working on code which may be at odds with the planned directions of the project.

My other concern is a process concern, which may help with the perception that the project is a barely contained anarchy, ruled  by a Darwinistic approach of "he who writes the code wins".  For example, right now there's a somewhat animated thread in the feature request forum on the topic of monitoring.  This has been repeated in the past in other threads, where animated and heated discussions about what technology/projects/code should be implemented, and he who writes the code wins.  While it's obviously necessary to have code written to get features implemented, my concern is less of the "what" and more of the "how" things make it into the project.  I, like many others, have my favorite projects/tools, etc., which I will defend and debate vigorously.  My concern, and recommendation, is that there be a process for getting code or functionality into LMCE, one that takes into account a requirements analysis for the immediate need, consideration for how it can be extended upon or repurposed for other needs, and a wholistic approach to how it fits into the overall LMCE architecture.  Thom's concerns about duct-taping on code and hacks are valid, and should extend to other modules/frameworks that go into the architecture.

Thom's made comments in the past about the huge size of the LMCE codebase, and all the challenges that have been faced since LMCE came about from PlutoHome.  I've had similar issues at my workplace, re-platforming other group's "lost turds" where some project had engineered a solution carte blanche,  without giving due consideration to existing infrastructure, supportability or lifecycle management. It's not a fun place to be in, and I expect that the devs don't want a repeat of the PlutoHome re-platforming experience some time down the road.  That's why I am suggesting a steering committee and a process for vetting new and current code/functionality, plus an organizational approach that seems to work well...

Maybe some or all of the core devs can take a similar approach to that of the kernel dev team (given that LMCE is in some ways as complex as the Kernel!).  I'm suggesting subsystem maintainers... Those devs, deeply knowledgeable about the subsystems under their purview,  can shepherd those of us who wish to contribute code or functionality to the project, as they would know all the aspects of those subsystems, and can recommend ways to implement new code and functionality without duplicating effort or technology.  This would also give new contributors a contact with whom they could learn from (think mentoring), and eventually spread the development load across a broader base of developers, all working towards a common set of goals. It may also take some of the pressure off of Thom and some of the others who have carried the weight of LMCE on their shoulders, freeing them up to look at the bigger architecture and feature sets.

None of this is meant to ruffle feathers or be construed as criticism.  Rather, take it as an indicator of your success, of a job well done in showing people what a domotic system can be capable of.  People want to contribute; the challenge is communicating where the help is most needed, and harnessing people's enthusiasm and skills.

Speaking for myself, I'm not a programmer; I couldn't C++ my way out of a wet paper bag, so I won't be coding any wonderful new features anytime soon.  That doesn't mean I don't plan to contribute to the project.  My day job has me sys-admining Linux systems running on pizza boxes to mainframes, and a variety of hypervisors to boot.  So, I'm going to bring the mentality of someone charged with maintaing a highly-available, secure, stable, and supportable hosting environment to any contributions I make to LMCE.  If there are pain points that are taxing the core devs, I'd need to know what they are before I could even hope to help.  I'll post to that effect in a separate thread on the dev forum.

Hopefully this provides some food for thought as LMCE goes through it's growing pains approaching 8.10 gold...


Users / Re: Help with Insteon, please! (merkur2k and/or Aviator?)
« on: June 27, 2011, 06:10:48 am »
Thanks for the quick response!

I'm having enough issues with 10.04 that I think I'll blow it away and re-install with 8.10, and then try again with template 1932.  I've tried it with 10.04, and all I get is mangled data.  I'm also having trouble getting 1-wire working, so I'm hoping both will work better on 8.10

Thanks for your help on this!


Users / Help with Insteon, please! (merkur2k and/or Aviator?)
« on: June 26, 2011, 04:45:52 am »
Hi Folks!

I'm hoping merkur2k and Aviator are monitoring... I've got a 10.04 install running, that I'm trying to migrate over my 2412S PLM from Misterhouse to LMCE for control.  I've looked through Trac tickets 1115 (Insteon PLM work) and 1112 (Insteon PnP detection), and tried implementing both.

I've set up an interface using Template 2103, and I put the PLM detection script from Trac#1112 in /usr/pluto/pnp (which I also symlinked from to, to correspond with the Wiki instructions for Insteon).  So far, I'm not having any joy...

From the logs, I get this...

Code: [Select]
1 06/25/11 21:57:09 /usr/pluto/bin/ 54 (spawning-device) 17376 Dev: 54; Already Running list: 15,16,18,19,29,30,37,21,22,23,26,32,27,51,49,53,
1 06/25/11 21:57:09 /usr/pluto/bin/ 54 (spawning-device) device: 54 ip: localhost cmd_line: Insteon_PLM_DCE
0 06/25/11 21:57:09 54 (spawning-device) Entering 54
========== NEW LOG SECTION ==========
1 06/25/11 21:57:09 54 (spawning-device) Starting... 1
1 06/25/11 21:57:09 54 (spawning-device) Found /usr/pluto/bin/Insteon_PLM_DCE
05 06/25/11 21:57:09.867 Connection for client socket reported NEED RELOAD IP=, device 54 last error 2 <0xb77db6d0>
05 06/25/11 21:57:09.867 The router must be reloaded before this device is fully functional <0xb77db6d0>
05 06/25/11 21:57:09.870 void ClientSocket::Disconnect() on this socket: 0x807e0a0 (m_Socket: 5) <0xb77db6d0>
05 06/25/11 21:57:09.877 Connection for client socket reported NEED RELOAD IP=, device 54 last error 2 <0xb77db6d0>
05 06/25/11 22:03:54.274 Got a reload command from 0  <0xb63d8b70>
05 06/25/11 22:03:54.535 void ClientSocket::Disconnect() on this socket: 0x807e310 (m_Socket: 7) <0xb77db6d0>
Return code: 2
2 06/25/11 22:03:55 54 (spawning-device) Device requests restart... count=1/50 dev=54
Sat Jun 25 22:03:55 EDT 2011 Restart
========== NEW LOG SECTION ==========
1 06/25/11 22:04:05 54 (spawning-device) Starting... 1
1 06/25/11 22:04:07 54 (spawning-device) Found /usr/pluto/bin/Insteon_PLM_DCE
05 06/25/11 22:04:09.027 Connect() failed, Error Code 111 (Connection refused)) <0xb77f36d0>
05 06/25/11 22:04:10.028 Connect() failed, Error Code 111 (Connection refused)) <0xb77f36d0>
05 06/25/11 22:04:11.029 Connect() failed, Error Code 111 (Connection refused)) <0xb77f36d0>
05 06/25/11 22:04:12.031 Connect() failed, Error Code 111 (Connection refused)) <0xb77f36d0>
05 06/25/11 22:04:13.033 Connect() failed, Error Code 111 (Connection refused)) <0xb77f36d0>
05 06/25/11 22:04:14.034 Connect() failed, Error Code 111 (Connection refused)) <0xb77f36d0>
05 06/25/11 22:04:15.039 Connect() failed, Error Code 111 (Connection refused)) <0xb77f36d0>
1 06/25/11 22:34:31 /usr/pluto/bin/ 54 (spawning-device) 14314 Dev: 54; Already Running list: 15,16,18,19,29,30,49,
1 06/25/11 22:34:31 /usr/pluto/bin/ 54 (spawning-device) device: 54 ip: localhost cmd_line: Insteon_PLM_DCE
0 06/25/11 22:34:31 54 (spawning-device) Entering 54
========== NEW LOG SECTION ==========
1 06/25/11 22:34:31 54 (spawning-device) Starting... 1
1 06/25/11 22:34:31 54 (spawning-device) Found /usr/pluto/bin/Insteon_PLM_DCE
05 06/25/11 22:37:58.951 Got a reload command from 0  <0xb63c9b70>
05 06/25/11 22:37:59.632 void ClientSocket::Disconnect() on this socket: 0x99f5310 (m_Socket: 7) <0xb77cc6d0>
Return code: 2
2 06/25/11 22:38:00 54 (spawning-device) Device requests restart... count=1/50 dev=54
Sat Jun 25 22:38:00 EDT 2011 Restart
========== NEW LOG SECTION ==========
1 06/25/11 22:38:09 54 (spawning-device) Starting... 1
1 06/25/11 22:38:09 54 (spawning-device) Found /usr/pluto/bin/Insteon_PLM_DCE
05 06/25/11 22:38:11.036 Connect() failed, Error Code 111 (Connection refused)) <0xb77396d0>

I'm presuming merkur2k has only recently started working on the DCE device for the PLM, given the recent date on the trac ticket.  Could you help me out with this?  I can provide testing info for you...



Users / Upgrade path from 8.10?
« on: March 11, 2011, 03:46:06 am »
Good day folks!

Are there plans for an LinuxMCE upgrade path from 8.10, or will it be a "blow it away and re-install" type upgrade?

Just curious, as I'd like to get an idea of how much effort I should put into the 8.10 environment I'm presently kicking the tires on vs the 10.04 environment I plan on setting up.

Thanks for your time!


Feature requests & roadmap / Re: Grocery List
« on: May 10, 2010, 04:27:31 am »
You might want to tie into the whole "Landing Page Thread".  There's some discussion about using some CMS software to manage some additional "household" type content.  There's a Recipe module for Drupal here: and there's some discussion on that site as to how to implement a shopping list.  That might give you a starting point...

Hope that helps!


Users / Sambahelper, unix and pluto users, and home dirs.
« on: January 03, 2010, 05:49:00 am »
Hi Folks!

First of all, Happy New Year to all!  All the best to ya for 2010!

I'm plodding along with my setup and testing LinuxMCE in KVM, and trying to understand some things so I can properly merge my existing environment with my future LinuxMCE environment.  One of the things I'm wanting to leverage is the NIS (Network Information Services) for centralized user management, as I'm wanting to have Unix user logins/homes available.  Here's how NIS and the various user types appear to be configured in LinuxMCE based on poking around my systems:

UIDs 0-999: root and Normal Linux service accounts, generally no shell/login for service accounts
UIDs 1000-9999: Unix User accounts, shell and login, merged into NIS passwd maps.
UIDs 10000+: Pluto User accounts, no shell or login, merged into NIS passwd maps.

So, generally it all makes sense, and is a normal Linux environment.  The pluto users don't get login capability, and their homes will never fill up with Unix stuff like dotfiles.  Now, here's the problem or what I don't understand.  A user gets created on the core called "sambahelper" that gets the next available UID in the Unix users range, and it gets pushed into the NIS passwd map.  That same "sambahelper" also gets created on MD's using the first available UID, which may not be the same as the one on the core, or in NIS, as it appears that the user is created using the useradd command without the -u switch.  

Here's what my install looks like right now...

CORE: /etc/passwd
mkbrown:x:1000:1000:Michael Brown,,,:/home/mkbrown:/bin/bash
sambahelper:x:1001:1001:Pluto Samba Share Helper:/tmp:/bin/false

MD: /etc/passwd
sambahelper:x:1000:1000:Pluto Samba Share Helper:/tmp:/bin/false

NIS: (ypcat passwd)
mkbrown:x:1000:1000:Michael Brown,,,:/home/mkbrown:/bin/bash
sambahelper:x:1001:1001:Pluto Samba Share Helper:/tmp:/bin/false

So, when I ssh into an MD as mkbrown, I end up with the following:
sambahelper@moon31:~$ id
uid=1000(sambahelper) gid=1000(mkbrown) groups=4(adm),20(dialout),24(cdrom),46(plugdev),112(lpadmin),119(admin),120(sambashare),1000(mkbrown)

Would it not be better to have this "sambahelper" user set to a lower UID, like 999, so it's not pushed into NIS?  This could likely cause a lot of problems with file permissions, but I'm not familiar with the role of the "sambahelper" user...  Should "sambahelper" even be in NIS?  Seems more like a service account to me... Should I file a bug report to set it to something like UID 999?

I also noticed that the mythtv user was not getting the same UID on the MD as was on the core, but was sharing the same home directory?  Problem?  Bug report?

Now, a question about home directories.  The pluto user homes (user_#) are obviously for Samba shares for Windows users, and are primarily for media storage (especially for personal media when you enter your PIN into an Orbiter/MD.  If I create Unix users and want to avoid duplication, could I add my Unix user to the pluto_user's group (or vice versa) and symlink the various media folders to the other home directory?  Would this break anything?  I know Thom doesn't want us fighting the system, so I'd like to figure out how to work with it without duplicating effort or damaging anything!

Thanks for your time!


Feature requests & roadmap / Re: Calendar/Groupware Integration
« on: November 19, 2009, 04:23:17 am »
Ok... although it's not going to happen anytime soon... still kicking the tires on a not-fully-functonal 8.10 VM.  I've got an existing MythTV system that the wife and kids view as a production system, so I've got to work everything out on LinuxMCE in the background first.

I'll also be standing up a Zarafa VM to kick the tires on (and port my existing mail server over to), and will look to see if there's an easy way to link the two products together using API's.  So, maybe something in 9-12 months with maybe some baby steps along the way...  (I'm a sysadmin, not a programmer!)



Users / Dallas Semiconductor 1-Wire Questions
« on: November 16, 2009, 03:41:52 am »
Hi Folks!

I'm presently kicking the tires on LinuxMCE, and I have some questions regarding 1-wire support.  There isn't much in the Wiki on 1-wire support, so I'm hoping to be able to flesh it out with what I find out...

How is the 1-wire support implemented?  Is it direct into LinuxMCE as a DCE device, or via something like the 1-wire file system (OWFS) or digitemp?

What devices other than thermometer chips does it support?  Does it support the 1-wire switches for a switched 1-wire network?  Does it support A/D and GPIO type devices?

Is the 9097U serial adapter supported in addition to the 9490R USB 1-wire adapter?

Are you able to input a calibration offset amount into the configuration that gets applied to the individual sensors?  Due to where most of my sensors are located (phone jack height), I offset those sensors by a degree C so they jive with what my Thermostat reads.

I remember some past forum discussion about data logging not presently existing or about to be implemented... so I guessing that in the 8.10 beta there isn't any way of graphing or otherwise recording temperatures... is that correct?  I'm presently feeding a bunch of 1-wire sensors throughout my house into the 1-Wire Weather (OWW) daemon, which feeds that info into Misterhouse, which generates RRD graphs that I can use to analyse tweaks made to the HVAC system.

Thanks for your time!


Users / Insteon questions
« on: November 16, 2009, 03:19:20 am »
Hi Folks!

I'm new to LinuxMCE, and am presently getting to know it via a KVM VM on my existing system.  I'm also presently starting to build out a mixed Insteon and X10 network.  I've got a few questions relating to the existing documentation on the Wiki...

Is it still necessary for the 8.10 beta to build out the PLM template with the Ruby codes that are in the WIki?  Source page:

Is it possible to create Insteon scenes in LinuxMCE and have them pushed into the link tables on the devices themselves?

Is the Insteon driver itself still considered beta?  Is the X10 support information on this page still accurate?

Thanks for your time!


Feature requests & roadmap / Re: Use Google Contacts
« on: November 15, 2009, 10:20:54 pm »
What about looking at integrating an existing open-source project to handle contacts and syncing, like one of the groupware projects?  That could allow LinuxMCE to leverage work and technology that is constantly being developed for that purpose, and LinuxMCE would only need to be concerned with the integration.  I started a thread about Calendar/Groupware integration.

Hope that helps!


Feature requests & roadmap / Calendar/Groupware Integration
« on: November 15, 2009, 10:16:51 pm »
Hi Folks!

I'd like to suggest Calendar and groupware integration as a Feature to round out LinuxMCE's feature set.  Integrating groupware like Zarafa, Zimbra,, php/egroupware, or another similar groupware package to leverage it's calendar, tasks, contacts and integrate that functionality into LinuxMCE.  Plus, you could leverage a mobile sync solution like zpush (Open-Source ActiveSync implentation) or Funambol (SyncML), would allow for the integration of mobile devices with the same datastore as in LinuxMCE (and vice-versa).  The idea would be that calendaring/task/contact and sync functionality would be handled by their respective projects, and LinuxMCE would wrap it's functionality much like MythTV or Xine, either with wrappers or API calls.

Usage cases:

You wakeup to an LinuxMCE alarm.  The system reads you your daily appointments as you get ready in the morning.

Your mobile device is synced against the DataStore shared with LinuxMCE. Contacts you have just added to your mobile device are now available to the Asterisk Telephony system.  Birthdays listed in your contact's information are announced a predefined period of time in advance.

LinuxMCE's behaviour is modified by categories or keywords found in your calendar.  For example, you set an earlier wakeup time in your calendar due to attending a seminar, so LinuxMCE automatically starts your morning wake-up routine at the earlier time, rather than at the regularly scheduled time.  You have a party at home, so LinuxMCE automatically engages entertaining mode.

Hopefully this is some food for thought...


Just to add to the list of people with a black screen on Internet install.

My install went ok till the point where it tried to "install" pluto-orbiter (packages were already installed).  I end up with the same black screen on the core with white mouse pointer.
 F7 doesn't do anything.  Core appears fully functional otherwise, but I wouldn't trust it as being properly installed. I'm not sweating it at this point, as I'm just kicking the tires right now, and plan to burn it down and rebuild later as I'm sure I'll be making lots of mistakes as I poke around under the hood.

Host: Debian Sid/Squeeze  Kernel 2.6.30-1-686-bigmem via KVM, AMD64 processor
Guest: KVM VM, default Cirrus Logic virtual graphics adapter, Kubuntu 8.10 install from CD, LinuxMCE install via Internet.

Installed via instructions here:  problems occurred at the step ./  I didn't get the actual output, but it basically kept trying to install the pluto-orbiter package every 30 seconds.

Hope that helps!


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