I'm very new to the Pluto concept and I have spent the last week reading as much as I can. I must say that what I have seen so far is impressive and I'm looking forward to performing my first install to see how it works.
It's nice to hear that. Welcome.
I have an old PC which I will be using as my core and another PC which I shall use as a MD. This initial setup will be run completely in a test senario so there will be no AV equipment involved to begin with. Is that going to be a problem? I'm assuming that I can view the results on the monitor that will be connected to the PC acting as the MD, are my assumptions correct?
You don't need anything special to see the interface. You need a color monitor that does 800x600@60Hz (for now this is fixed, in the future we may give the use an option to change the resolution and refresh rate - hints on the refresh rate are welcome), a keyboard and a mouse, all attached to the MD.
I have a lot of media on multiple machine which I will eventually want to relocate onto the core but I have found no information on achieving this, is it still "under development"? My Linux experience is limited but I'm again assuming that the media is placed within a directory and it will then be available. I have all my CDs contained within iTunes and would prefer to transfer them rather than having to re-rip them all again.
Any media that can normally be played by Linux can be played by Pluto too. The problem comes when you use encrypted or proprietary media formats, like encrypted DVDs and maybe the iTunes. I am not familiar with the iTunes format, but as far as I know it's not portable.
You should also be aware that our current releases are development releases. We are very careful not to break an upgrade between releases (which is done automatically) and currently we haven't got any reports on systems broken at upgrade, but it's still development.
Does Pluto perform lookups on IMDB and CDDB to retrieve movie and CD information, cover art etc. and is this automated?
Pluto doesn't currently query IMDB, CDDB or other content information sources. It is planned, but as an extra that will be included by the user himself because of licensing issues.
If my testing is successful I will then be moving to a purpose built core, which I'm planning to build. I was thinking of using a 3ware RAID card as the controller, are the drivers for these cards included within the installation CD? Does Pluto allow for RAID expansion? It would be better if an extra hard drive can be installed and it incorporated into the core automatically, rather than having to destroy the array and recreate it with the new drive. This allows you the option of creating a rather small core and then expanding it as the need arises.
The 3ware RAID controller is supported by the Debian system that we keep our system on top of. How you make your partitions and how you manage the array doesn't concern Pluto (yet). Pluto doesn't include any graphical partitioning and RAID management tools explicitly. But if it's in Debian, it's also in Pluto
You can use the tools provided by the GNU/Debian project
through their package system using apt-get/aptitude.
This does not mean that Pluto doesn't interfere with the Linux configuration. Pluto changes at boot time several configuration files using data from its databases, since most of its stuff is database-driven. There is no interference with the disc configuration though, so you can safely resize partitions and RAID arrays as you see fit and to the extent permited by the system tools as you would do in a normal Linux system.