Author Topic: Appliance vs Package vs Distro  (Read 10290 times)

rstuart

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Appliance vs Package vs Distro
« on: November 29, 2007, 05:01:33 am »
I came across LinuxMCE a few months ago now after reading an article about a ex-microsoft employee thinking about jumping ship because of DRM. I have been using it ever since and have been quite satisfied with it. Recently, i decided i wanted my core to also be a server for my house, handling mail, hosting websites, running java web applications, handling PPPoE and all the rest of it.

I found the distro used by LinuxMCE to be very tightly controlled and specific. Installing new software meant changing the sources list, getting pppoe working meant channing a database, all users created by LinuxMCE had their shell point to /dev/null etc. In short, it was very appliance like.

So what i am here to ask is this. Is the vision of LinuxMCE to literally be an appliance or was this something inherited from pluto? Is there any interest in the future to turn LinuxMCE into an OS Distro of its own (MCEbuntu anyone?) or perhaps even just creating a LinuxMCE package that can be installed from ubuntu server edition. I think it would be great if i could install ubuntu server and then the LinucMCE package and have it all work. For now i'm left with changing everything LinuxMCE has put in place to get it to operate like a server.

Am i the only one with these desires?




DeadPenguin

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Re: Appliance vs Package vs Distro
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2007, 05:42:59 am »
No I don't believe you are alone.
I would like this very much also. I have to believe this is one of major reasons for the "fork". To utilize the power of the base OS and make it accessible from the LMCE package.
see here: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/History

I think LinuxMCE is still in its infancy. In the few months I have been watching it has evolved very much. There are a lot of great people here putting a lot of time and effort to make this better. I think a lot of the focus is still on the Media side since that is the shiny part everyone comes here for. I think the true power of LinuxMCE is in the consolidation of a lot of good projects that work together in harmony.  I think once adding stuff becomes easier LMCE will blossom. I am very happy with some of the very recent annoucements -Mplayer as the media player. I have never been a fan of XINE.
Stay tuned its only going to get better.

Regards,
Blair

rstuart

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Re: Appliance vs Package vs Distro
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2007, 06:16:16 am »
Thanks for that, hadn't come across that page yet but it spells it all out just they way i hoped it would. So it looks like Paul has the same idea for LinuxMCE as i do, which is great. But as you say, most of the work seems to be around the media at the moment. Is anyone actively working to get it into a package (standard add-on) form? The announcement that KDE is getting on board is obviously a good one but just wondering if any progress had been made and if there was anything that needed doing?

totallymaxed

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Re: Appliance vs Package vs Distro
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2007, 02:23:47 pm »
I am very happy with some of the very recent annoucements -Mplayer as the media player. I have never been a fan of XINE.
Stay tuned its only going to get better.

Regards,
Blair

Just wanted to correct a misinterpretation above regarding mPlayer; mPlayer is only used for HD playback in 0710... Xine is still used everywhere it is currently in 0704

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tschak909

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Re: Appliance vs Package vs Distro
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2007, 04:15:23 pm »
I really don't know why everyone is all ga-ga over MPlayer, the code-base is terrible, and a lot of things had to be grafted back into MPlayer for it to have the functionality that the Xine_Player wraps directly around libxine...but I guess people really are sheep...

*hmm*

totallymaxed

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Re: Appliance vs Package vs Distro
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2007, 04:51:20 pm »
I really don't know why everyone is all ga-ga over MPlayer, the code-base is terrible, and a lot of things had to be grafted back into MPlayer for it to have the functionality that the Xine_Player wraps directly around libxine...but I guess people really are sheep...

*hmm*


Well... if you want to play back HD content etc then mPlayer is really the only viable route at the moment. Xine is still doing the job it does now (and very nicely too!) for SD content.
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rrambo

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Re: Appliance vs Package vs Distro
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2007, 06:39:43 pm »
I can tell you one reason I like mplayer over other players...  have you looked at cpu utilization during video playback with mplayer versus other players?? On my machine, the same video file played with mplayer versus xine results in almost twice the cpu usage with xine...

There's a reason why Geexbox uses mplayer...  low cpu utilization..  great video playback and support for basically any video file..  I've had video files on my system that xine won't play at all come up and play perfectly in mplayer..

I'm actually disappointed that xine is still going to be used in 7.10

tschak909

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Re: Appliance vs Package vs Distro
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2007, 06:41:09 pm »
regardless, the code-base is a MESS, and riddled with all sorts of workarounds.

-Thom

teedge77

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Re: Appliance vs Package vs Distro
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2007, 06:45:27 pm »
ha...so mplayer seems like it should fit right in...most linuxmce installs are a mess, riddled with workarounds.
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darrenmason

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Re: Appliance vs Package vs Distro
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2007, 10:44:01 pm »
Just a question, I thought one of the original reasons Mplayer was not used was due to lack of support for DVD Menus - which Xine supported.

I assume this must of changed, anyone know.

btw. I agree with the problems with all the code workarounds. There seems to be an excessive amount of code that looks like;
if (device == A PARTICULAR DEVICE TYPE)
{ Do something special }

This sort of code appears in devices that are meant to be oblivious to the contained devices, effectively compromising the design.

It will be interesting to see if Mplayer needs all the same workarounds that Xine_Player seemed to be subject to.

Mind you, its good to see the code base progressing.

rstuart

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Re: Appliance vs Package vs Distro
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2007, 01:06:17 am »
Does LinuxMCE still need to fill the appliance space? Does pluto not already fill this void?

I'm a fan of working hard after the 710 release to get LinuxMCE in a package form. I think the admin site needs to be completely re-written (it should be an optional plugin for the package version), we need to get rid of the mysql database (at least the parts that have to do with system config) and get rib of all os specific stuff like the boot scripts. The package version should care about firewalls, remote access, ssh keys or any of that stuff. Users should be based on the OS users and the list goes on.

Then if people feel there is still a need for an appliance version, we can pick an OS, and do much like we do now. Except, the website would be installed by default, we would care about firewalls, ssh etc. In fact it would be very similar to now, but the appliance stuff should be very low maintenance. The majority of work would lie in the package.

Is this the feeling amongst the community or have i taken it further then what people were expecting?

dopey

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Re: Appliance vs Package vs Distro
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2007, 08:35:37 am »
I'm a fan of working hard after the 710 release to get LinuxMCE in a package form. I think the admin site needs to be completely re-written (it should be an optional plugin for the package version), we need to get rid of the mysql database (at least the parts that have to do with system config) and get rib of all os specific stuff like the boot scripts. The package version should care about firewalls, remote access, ssh keys or any of that stuff. Users should be based on the OS users and the list goes on.

Then if people feel there is still a need for an appliance version, we can pick an OS, and do much like we do now. Except, the website would be installed by default, we would care about firewalls, ssh etc. In fact it would be very similar to now, but the appliance stuff should be very low maintenance. The majority of work would lie in the package.

Is this the feeling amongst the community or have i taken it further then what people were expecting?

We can't get rid of the database, but I do agree that the system configuration stuff should be cut out. If LinuxMCE wants to do system configuration it shouldn't duplicate the config in a database and then modify the config files. It should just read and write the config files. In fact, I think any configuration for another application should use the that specific application's configuration files. I just gets really annoying... Of course re-writing this is a major chore...

I too am a big fan of the packages and the 0704 release was a big step in that direction. There are still some issues to work out, however.

I do think that the website should continue to be installed by default... it's currently the only way to configure many things... of course, you're right, the website could use some improvement... but I also think there are bigger issues that need to be tackled first.

bulek

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Re: Appliance vs Package vs Distro
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2007, 08:43:14 am »
...
I do think that the website should continue to be installed by default... it's currently the only way to configure many things... of course, you're right, the website could use some improvement... but I also think there are bigger issues that need to be tackled first.

I agree. My vision is to go in direction of making web portal with also other services like blogging, Galleryv2, some light groupware etc... And web admin could be integrated in such portal... Afterall, we're making this system as home/family integrated server...

Regards,

Bulek.
Thanks in advance,

regards,

Bulek.

tschak909

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Re: Appliance vs Package vs Distro
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2007, 02:21:00 pm »
if you're going to do things like that, the user interfaces have to be melded together to seem cohesive.

One thing I have not heard from ANYONE on this forum, or on the lists, or on the wiki, is an emphasis of an overall aesthetic and vision. That's okay, most of you are programmers interested in functionality....

I want something more....

The threat of breaking apart the appliance aspect of the system is that an overall consistent vision may very well be lost in the process as the entire system is cannibalised, and if that happens, I _am_ going back to Pluto.

The whole point of a smart home system is to have something transparent, and fluid...if the system architecture does not go in this direction, it will always be this nuisance to use, and configure. In the end, I want something I can install, set up, forget. and I could give a flying FUCK about what distribution is used, what programs are underneath, so long as the system is consistent, and if I have to bulldoze my way through everyone to show you all what a consistent system is, so be it.

(yes, I _am_ being instigatory, programmers are not the best people to do user interface work.)

-Thom

teedge77

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Re: Appliance vs Package vs Distro
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2007, 03:38:55 pm »
instigatory?  :D
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