Author Topic: Creating a new class of Media Director  (Read 2576 times)

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Creating a new class of Media Director
« on: August 31, 2005, 08:27:19 pm »
I haven't even thought about it much less looked into it, but what would it take to create a new class of Media Director? I'm thinking that it would make developing a custom diskless boot environment for the EPIA systems much easier if we had a "Media Director - EPIA" device. It'd be even better if we could have two additional classes, one for i586 cores and one for i686 cores. Even if these classes were only community supported, it'd be great.

PlutoHome folks - is this possible and how do I go about doing it?

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Creating a new class of Media Director
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2005, 10:31:48 am »
We're working on changes to allow different kernels for MDs. From where I'm standing, since it's only a kernel issue, I'll be adding a new DeviceData to the "Generic PC as MD" DeviceTemplate and change my scripts to use it. No other changes are needed for the base image. So its more a matter of script (see /usr/pluto/bin/Create_DisklessMD_FS.sh) and database changes.

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Creating a new class of Media Director
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2005, 10:39:47 am »
Well, it sounds interesting, even if I recall a post in another thread where it was stated that at the moment all Plut MD have to run the same core as Core.
In that post there was also a description of a workaround in order to make a epia MD with CMOV bug to be set up with a i386 kernel.
It was a matter of installing the core the normal way, then switch the core to a i386 kernel, setup the epia MD then switch back the Core kernel to i686.

Basically the trick is to change the base environment, from where the MD setup script copy all the needed stuff into the new MD structure in /home diskless/192.168.80.xx

If this is correct, a starting option could be this:
    1- setup an epia box with properly patched kernel, xserver, xine and everything that is needed to have a well tuned epia hw
    2- on top of this install a Pluto hybrid
    3- create a new MD

If my assumptions are correct, we therefore should get (besides a working diskless MD) something like a "template" for epia MD

Then we could get a snapshot of such template and use it more or less like a package.

For instance I recall that in the Pluto Setup Wizard, when you are asked info about your MD there is a drop down list where you have to select which kind of pc will be used as MD.
Up to now there's only one choice (General PC as MD), but here could be the right place to put something like "EPIA PC as MD". By selecting this option one could get the "epia template" package mentioned above. Some script tweaking should complete the job.

I'm not a linux guy so this may be a really silly option, and if this is the case feel free to correct me.

Anyway, I am about to clean up my M10K (Nehemiah) pc and install from scratch debian with all epia patches and then I will install Pluto hybrid on top of it.
So an epia optimized MD is likely to see the light in a near future.

If any Plutohome and/or linux guru is reading this I would like to have their impression, just to know whether this idea may in principle work or not.

Suggestions are also very much appreciated  :)

Regards
Marco

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Creating a new class of Media Director
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2005, 12:39:35 pm »
Well, currently "Generic PC as MD" unpacks a .tar.gz archive for the initial filesystem. Nothing system-specific at all. That archive was created with debootstrap and added some lessdisk stuff.

I'm thinking about the concept of "subsystems" so at install time if you selected a "Generic/Unknown" subsystem you get the system like you do now, but if you select a "EPIA i586"/"EPIA i686"/"EPIA-N" (not sure how to differentiate between EPIA flavors yet) subsystem, some scripts could tweak the X server driver for example to use the known-to-work driver instead of doing an autodetection (there is a case where the card was misdetected).

This idea with the hardware subsystems could also be implemented not per-platform but per sub-system, i.e. you can choose "I have this video card, this tuner parameters, etc.)

I'm still in research phase so stuff may sound inconsistent. Any kind of feedback helps.

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Creating a new class of Media Director
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2005, 08:09:43 pm »
Quote from: "radu.c"
at install time if you selected a "Generic/Unknown" subsystem you get the system like you do now, but if you select a "EPIA i586"/"EPIA i686"/"EPIA-N"


Excellent! For now I'm going to start my work by creating a new Device Template, etc and then re-build the required modules, etc.

Quote from: "radu.c"
some scripts could tweak the X server driver for example to use the known-to-work driver instead of doing an autodetection (there is a case where the card was misdetected).


Are the compile options used for each of the applications (MythTV, Xine, etc) available somewhere? I'd like the new packages to be as close to the official packages as possible.

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Creating a new class of Media Director
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2005, 09:34:37 am »
Quote from: "wschuller"
Are the compile options used for each of the applications (MythTV, Xine, etc) available somewhere? I'd like the new packages to be as close to the official packages as possible.

MythTV is downloaded from here: newbielink:http://dijkstra.csh.rit.edu/~mdz/debian/dists/unstable/mythtv/ [nonactive] already compiled and packaged :) Xine is from Debian. Most software is packaged by Debian and not modified by us unless really needed.

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« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2005, 05:13:31 pm »
From what I've tested up to now, Xine needs to be recompiled from sources in order to offer acceptable performances.

Standard package has strange behaviour when playing back MPEG4 files.
On my box the same xvid file was played smoothly with vlc, while was having audio/video sync problems with official Xine, with peeks of nearly 95% CPU load.

Another point that may be critical is that unichrome drivers seems to work fine only with Xorg (at least I was able to compile them only against a Xorg source tree).

After Xine recompiling the result is excellent, considering that actually unichrome drivers don't support MPEG4 acceleration offered by CLE266 chipset.
On a M10K board, Nehemiah 1Ghz, 512 Mb Ram a divx file is now played with no more than 60%-70% CPU load.

Of course this is not exaclty "close to the official package", but it is working well.

If anyone can find another "more official" solution let me know.

Regards
Marco

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Creating a new class of Media Director
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2005, 02:05:19 pm »
Hows the stuff coming to allow different kernels and drivers in the diskless systems? I've got two diskless clients that used to be used a mythfrontends until I discovered pluto!

I'm having a lot of trouble playing video on them (using the debian 386 kernel - had to to get them booted). Xine starts and then X freezes.

Cheers,

Darren.