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Messages - jamo

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Installation issues / Re: Advice on new installation
« on: November 04, 2010, 02:58:57 pm »
Just found this other thread which hits some of the issues I was asking about:

Thanks for the response, BW.

From reading these responses, it sounds to me as if my core should be a dedicated machine that I build for that purpose- so I don't sit down at that one to check my mail, I sit down at the core to set things up in MCE etc etc.

For my desktop computing, I should use a media director, but one that is decently spec'd so it can run all the "office type" apps and things I want to do. The only difference between it and a normal desktop linux machine (my current setup) will be that it will pxe boot and use the HDD attached to the core (although it could use its own as well?)

Here're my thoughts, if someone cares to comment, I'd appreciate it:

My current machine (FC13 installation) is a Dell dual core pentium with about 300Gb HDD and a video card and 2x NICs that seem to be compatible with LinuxMCE (from my first installation attempts).

I was planning to turn this into the core/hybrid and then build media directors as required as I expand my MCE empire. But then I was imagining using the core to do my computing tasks - check mail, balance my finances, plan world domination etc.

Now I'm thinking I should build a dedicated core machine that runs the whole time, has all the supported h/w and is used primarily for setting up and administering MCE. Then just plug in my Dell desktop and let the DCErouter set it up as a media director (pxe boot). Then I can use it's reasonable resources to do my desktop computing as normal and also use it to show / drive media if necessary but if I'm doing desktop stuff it won't be hampered by the core resource load which will be handled by DCErouter.

I guess I could even leave the FC13 installation on there if I wanted with a dual boot option and/or access the storage on the hard drive either from FC13 when I boot to that or make the same storage available to the MCEnetwork?

Feel free to comment/ advise/ criticise.


Installation issues / Advice on new installation
« on: November 04, 2010, 11:32:30 am »
Hi All

Sorry if I'm posting in the wrong forum, please advise if so.

Obviously the MCE project is all about home automation and media serving but I was just wondering if someone could advise where the normal desktop computing part fits in best. I've experimented a bit with MCE and I'm keen to try it properly once construction on my home is complete but currently I'm just using my machine as a stand-alone desktop computer (fedora 13) to do the normal stuff - intenet, e-mail, office stuff etc.

When I go to MCE, at present my plan will be to use this machine as the core/hybrid. Where would the desktop computing aspect come in? Would I use the kubuntu stuff on the core/hybrid and just serve that to media directors which become terminals? Or should I have a separate machine to do this stuff and just connect it up to the MCE network to share drives and other resources?

I realise the project is obviously focussed around home automation but I just wondered where /how best to integrate the normal existing computing aspects while I experiment and learn with this exciting concept.

thanks in advance, and sorry for the clueless newbie question.

Thanks for the link Kramden. Tried those steps from the thread (re-install of radeon drivers) but still no dice- same results on boot of MD.

Will have to dig a bit further into the logs. My strategy remains to try to get an appropriate xorg file for the MD and get it to read that when it boots up, rather than the default which overwrites each time.

Installation issues / Re: Beta2 Installation Problem and solution
« on: September 21, 2010, 10:13:19 am »
I'm having issues with getting X working on an MD (see and am also heading towards the sort-X-out-first approach of Kevin below. His was on the core, whereas mine is on an MD and what I'm struggling with at the moment is getting the relevant xorg.conf file to be used... as you will see from my post, in my situation, stopping from changing the file isn't enough... once I've done that, somewhere in the reboot the xorg.conf file seems to be deleted and then the X-server startup is falling back on some default settings.

May not be a problem for you but something to watch out for.


Thanks for the link Zaerc.

Still tinkering through but it's getting late and I need my beauty sleep. What I have discovered is how to stop the relevant xorg.conf.pluto.avwizard file being overwritten every time the MD boots up... sounds like a no-brainer in the wiki - force exit from usr/pluto/bin/ but you have to get the *right* there is one for the relevant MD as well in /usr/pluto/diskless/XX/usr/pluto/ !! (where XX is your MD number).

However, it still isn't quite right... seems now to be deleting my customised xorg.conf.pluto.avwizard when the MD boots (rather than overwriting) and then falling back to some defualt settings. Hmmm....

Anyway, I'll tinker more when I get more time.

To clarify on the standalone install thing, what I mean is that I disconnect the MD from the whole MCE thing and just install stock standard Kubuntu 8.10 on it as if it is a simple PC. Then I go through the X configuration and setup on that, and if I can get X working I use the settings / config files from that setup to tinker with the setup once I reconnect it to the MCE system.

That's my idea, anyway.... we'll see what happens. I'll post here the results. Please feel free to put in suggestions or comments if anyone else can think of anything to assist or clarify.

OK, some more info. //rubs eyes red from lack of sleep//

The MD I'm trying to setup is an IBM Thinkpad T30 2366 RG5. As such, it has, yes, an ATI graphics card. Specifically, ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 chipset. Gulp.

So... obviously if I buy new hardware I will make sure it is NVidia, but it would be nice to use this old notebook for something. I know ATI cards aren't well supported in MCE but I wouldn't mind tinkering and *trying* to get it working to some degree. Any suggestions?

BW, you mentioned a /nosplash or something boot? How exactly do I do that with an MD and what is the advantage? It does boot up and I am able to ctrl-f2 log in via the text interface. Presumably, the fact that X can't start means that I can't setup AV at all, which means at the moment all I have is a PXE booted text terminal?

In order of preference I'd like to be able to
1) Have a fully fledged MD capable of driving video, audio and acting as an orbiter
2) Have a half-baked MD capable of driving audio and being used as an X-terminal to the core
3) Have a quarter-baked MD capable of driving audio

So I'm going to keep on keeping on trying to set up the X side of things and then look at the other options if that fails.

Moving on:

To try to sort out the X issue-

Should I try to do a standalone install of Kubuntu 8.10 on the MD (forget the pxe boot story for now) and see if I can get X setup to work on it..... and then if that works, try to force those settings into the MD files so that X will work when it PXE boots? Does that sound like a plan?

Thanks for the quick response, BW.

Core has two NICs as required, and MD NIC seems to be fine as the MD can boot (at least the Kubuntu part) without a problem.

Will try to figure out what the video card is for the MD but most probably not NVidia. I know this is wrong but since I have the darned thing I would like to try to get it working. Will post what it is as soon as I know.

<background blurb>

I have searched this quite a bit on the forums and elsewhere but perhaps I know too little to search effectively.. be gentle with me. I am patient but still at barrier-to-entry stage.

I'm busy setting up my first MCE ever. Very exciting. At the moment I'm trying to set things up with the hardware I've got and then when I get the hang of things I'll expand/ rebuild the system as required. Don't want to go and purchase a whole lot of hardware before I know what it's all about.
</background blurb>

Anyway, Have setup the core/hybrid OK so far, I think. So my next step was to try to PXE boot an old IBM thinkpad as a Media Director just to test the concept and see if I could get it to work. If I can, it may become a media director or something in my final system.

PXE boot worked fine but gets to a point where screen is blue and a text box entitled "AVWizard" gives the message "Failed to setup X". There is an OK button but pressing enter or clicking or anything is unresponsive.

I am able to ctrl-f2 and log in to the machine via text login.

Some questions:

I'm assuming that this machine is now trying to do what I did on the core with the first reboot- go through the AVWizard choosing screen resolution, sound options etc? Is that correct? But it isn't able to even start the X-server to get the basic graphics up and running to do that?

Before anyone asks, I doubt the video card is NVidia and I'm prepared for the fact that the old and incompatible hardware could be a problem. Still, I'd like to at least try to resolve what is up.

How do I start debugging this? Is there some background reading I need to do?


Installation issues / Re: Network switch - cupboard location?
« on: September 15, 2010, 02:22:55 pm »
Thanks, BW, so it sounds possible. I'll see if the built-in-cupboard people can accommodate me and hopefully a new switch will have low energy and hence heat dissapation requirements.

Installation issues / Network switch - cupboard location?
« on: September 13, 2010, 04:17:17 pm »
I'm trying to plan the layout of my installation and have the idea that the core will reside in a room that is supposed to be study/ guest bedroom. My plan is to customize the house to fit my installation, wiring, needs etc but try not to make the place unsellable to someone that isn't keen to setup home automation/ networking in the same way.

It would be great to get some advice or tips on some of my design plans.

So I was thinking that I will need (at some stage) a decent sized (12+ port) switch to handle the neworking to the various components. My idea is to house that in the cupboard (closet, cabinet) in the same room. I just want to put it on one of the shelves, then I figure if each shelf has a decent sized hole in it, all the network cables can go up through that hole in a bundle into the roof (the cupboard will reach to the ceiling, where we have a similar hole). Then all my cables are neatly out of the way.

I figure I can have holes in each shelf pre-drilled to the required size and then capped - place a rubber or plastic cap in the whole so the cupboard can be used for purposes other than networking - ie socks and underwear - by the next owner if required. A similar cap could be installed in the ceiling hole.

I would even have an AC power outlet put in one of the shelves to power the switch.

It seems like a neat, workable solution to me... but is it practical?

I guess my main concern is heat and ventilation? Does anyone have any idea how much heat a unit like this (switch) needs to dissipate? I suppose if there is a power supply that will be at least one source of heat and then from the switch itself. The problem will be if I leave the unit humming away in the closet with the door closed, will it overheat?

Any suggestions as to how to combat that or other ideas? I suppose I could have a door put on that has ventilation - sort of a lattice work or something as appears sometimes on vegetable cupboards but of course that is extra cost and quite difficult to undo if someone wants to use this as a regular cupboard later on.

Any comments/ suggestions welcome.


Cool, thanks for the responses. Sorted out my network config issues on Kubuntu and install has gone smoothly from there. Now if I could just get the AV set up.... but that's another post.

Hi Everyone

Tonight is my first foray into the wonderful world of linuxMCE. I will be patient... please be patient with me.

Trying to install 8.10 from DVD.

I select "LinuxMCE Install" and run that, clicking all the boxes. The only glitch is a minor issue when install is complete and wants to reboot it asks to eject DVD, close tray and press enter. I do all that but enter (and any other key) has no effect... message just stays on the screen. Eventually I have to power down manually. I presume this isn't serious. Kubuntu comes up on startup no problem (it seems, I'm new to Ubuntu... been a Fedora man in the past).

OK, now I'm logged into Kubuntu and the install instructions say to run

"apt-get update" and then "sudo apt-get dist-upgrade" before running the MCE installer icon.

My question is - must I have an internet connection up and running before doing this? Because it isn't  :( and I'm not sure why but I guess if that's required, I'd better sort that out first.

Thanks in advance

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