Author Topic: My (not great) experience with LinuxMCE  (Read 2278 times)

gsgleason

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My (not great) experience with LinuxMCE
« on: January 04, 2008, 01:22:39 am »
A long time user of newbielink:http://www.xboxmediacenter.com/ [nonactive], I decided it was time for a more powerful media center.  I picket up a media pc case for free from a friend and started looking around at various media centers. 

I first tried mythtv on debian etch.  The install went fine.  I had to do some tweaking to get X and nvidia working together nicely, which went fine.  I want a single interface that my girlfriend is capable of using for music and movies (like XBMC), but mythvideo and mythmusic weren't that great. 

After some googling, I decided to give this LinuxMCE a try.  I downloaded the DVD after verifying the md5sum, and I watched the demo video.  I must say, what a scam.  There is no way that is "just works" without knowing how to modify your xorg.conf and alsa setup, unlike what is preached on the home page.  I had to kill the X server (ctrl+alt+backslash) and debug the issues causing X to run incorrectly and my TV to show "unsupported mode."  It turns out that disabling the EDID is a bad thing in xorg.conf for my nvidia card.

Anyway, after that fiasco, the graphics kept disappearing while "Sarah" was talking during the initial setup.  I ran the AV setup again this time at 640x480 which kept the graphics on the screen, but afterward, I see that for some reason it's running its own dhcp server in stead of getting an address from the one I'm already running.

There is no option in the UI to change that, and since I don't feel like fixing it manually, since that is just going to be one of many more problems I'm sure (from the way things have gone so far) I am going to have to fix, I'm just going to scrap it for now. 

Again, that demo video is a joke.  There's no way a Linux novice could get this working.

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Re: My (not great) experience with LinuxMCE
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2008, 02:19:05 am »
i wouldn't say a novice couldn't get it working considering my 1st experience with linux was when I installed it, but I would agree the video is quite misleading IMO. Never the less, im the type that doesn't mind getting his hands dirty so it suited me fine.

as far as the whole dhcp thing, thats really a 'follow the instructions' deal.

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ddamron

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Re: My (not great) experience with LinuxMCE
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2008, 03:14:51 am »
The DHCP is an integral part of LMCE..  But you'd know that if you read anything ahead of time.. 

It needs to be the DHCP to sense devices being connected/disconnected from the 'lmce network'

Since you weren't aware of the DHCP, may I also make the assumption you aren't aware of really needing 2 nics?

You can have your DHCP running as long as it's outside the 'lmce' network..

like this:  ISP <-> router(dhcp server) <-> External nic on lmce

then ...

Internal nic on lmce (dhcp server) <-> switch (to all your devices)

HTH

Dan

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tschak909

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Re: My (not great) experience with LinuxMCE
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2008, 04:40:48 am »
I am one of many happy individuals who uses LinuxMCE on a daily basis.

The video is NOT a scam, you just need to follow instructions.

I have configured my setup like the one in the video, and I use all aspects of the system.

it's not perfect yet, but before your girlfriend sees you whining, maybe you should step back and pay attention when we make demonstration videos.

also understand, linuxmce is a whole house solution, not just a tiny media player.

-thom

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Re: My (not great) experience with LinuxMCE
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2008, 04:44:03 am »
Agreed, Also, pay attention to the video...

There are a lot of popups that show you the GOTCHAS.. pause on some of them so you can read them...

Regards,

Dan
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posterberg

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Re: My (not great) experience with LinuxMCE
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2008, 08:49:40 am »
Agreed, Also, pay attention to the video...

There are a lot of popups that show you the GOTCHAS.. pause on some of them so you can read them...

Regards,

Dan


The video does really want to state that it works right out of the box which it doesn't. LMCE supports a too narrow range of hardware to be able to even imply something like that. I think that part of the video is a scam.

I too don't mind getting my hands dirty, I love the system and playing around with it and learning etc. But I do think that the video is a bit of a scam...

So far LMCE is the best home entertainment system I've seen, none of the others even come close to it.

Hagen

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Re: My (not great) experience with LinuxMCE
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2008, 09:13:32 am »
A long time user of XBMC, I decided it was time for a more powerful media center.  I picket up a media pc case for free from a friend and started looking around at various media centers. 
Good for you

I first tried mythtv on debian etch.  The install went fine.  I had to do some tweaking to get X and nvidia working together nicely, which went fine.  I want a single interface that my girlfriend is capable of using for music and movies (like XBMC), but mythvideo and mythmusic weren't that great. 
Sounds like you really just want a media portal (http://www.team-mediaportal.com)

After some googling, I decided to give this LinuxMCE a try.  I downloaded the DVD after verifying the md5sum, and I watched the demo video.  I must say, what a scam.  There is no way that is "just works" without knowing how to modify your xorg.conf and alsa setup, unlike what is preached on the home page.  I had to kill the X server (ctrl+alt+backslash) and debug the issues causing X to run incorrectly and my TV to show "unsupported mode."  It turns out that disabling the EDID is a bad thing in xorg.conf for my nvidia card.
I didn't have any of those problems on any of the five PCs I have tried so far.

Anyway, after that fiasco, the graphics kept disappearing while "Sarah" was talking during the initial setup.  I ran the AV setup again this time at 640x480 which kept the graphics on the screen, but afterward, I see that for some reason it's running its own dhcp server in stead of getting an address from the one I'm already running.
The DHCP (as has allready been mentioned) is a key part for LMCE, and also the reason (in my opinion) why it isn't really suited for a single mediaportal installation (did I mention mediaportal above...)

There is no option in the UI to change that, and since I don't feel like fixing it manually, since that is just going to be one of many more problems I'm sure (from the way things have gone so far) I am going to have to fix, I'm just going to scrap it for now. 
That's what the webadmin tool is for, you can't expect all the small details to be on the 10' interface on a system this complex?
Remember this is intended as a media-server/file-server/router/controller/firewall+++
And you usually don't set the options in your firewall on your TV either?

Again, that demo video is a joke.  There's no way a Linux novice could get this working.
Not a joke, it worked for me when I followed the instructions, and I hadn't touched Linux before either.

ddamron

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Re: My (not great) experience with LinuxMCE
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2008, 10:08:20 am »
I do have to admit, when I followed the instructions, the video was true to it's claim.

HOWEVER, if I did NOT follow the instructions, then problems start...

I guess it boils down to RTFM... :-\

<toungue in cheek><no flame intended>

Dan
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gsgleason

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Re: My (not great) experience with LinuxMCE
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2008, 06:00:30 pm »
You're definitely right about the RTFM thing.  I read what I thought I needed but skipped over the DHCP thing.  I just it just perplexed me that a media center would be required to perform dhcp service as well. 

Hagen is correct that I am really looking for a media portal, not an all-on-one system.  I've never been a fan of all-in-one products.  Unfortunately I do not want a windows based media portal like the one Hagen mentioned, but it's nice to know it's out there.

My biggest gripe was with the video and that fact that I got no display whatsoever due to the oddities in the xorg.conf file that was generated by the AV wizard.  Once I fixed that, Sarah's walk-through didn't work either unless I went to a very low resolution. 

The homepage says "It is stable, easy to use, and requires no knowledge of Linux and only basic computer skills."  That is what I think is misleading.  If I didn't know how to kill the X server and manually tweak xorg.conf, I wouldn't have gotten as far as I did.

Anyway, thank you for listening to my rant, despite my lack of RTFMing and pointing out my issues with minimal flammage.  It's appreciated.   ;)

niz23

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Re: My (not great) experience with LinuxMCE
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2008, 06:54:52 pm »
gsgleason,

Hagen is correct that I am really looking for a media portal, not an all-on-one system.  I've never been a fan of all-in-one products.  Unfortunately I do not want a windows based media portal like the one Hagen mentioned, but it's nice to know it's out there.


I can confirm that as long as you follow the install methods it will work pretty fine as long as you use compatible hardware. Which pretty much mean you have to use hardware that is only compatible with north america since there is a couple of problem left to solve if you need to use a dvb based tv system (like in europe. sweden for example have no analog transmission anymore) for example.

Since you donĀ“t want a all-in-one system, then I can suggest mythbuntu which work very good, but lack some features like home automation etc. I have used mythbuntu myself earlier and it work flawlessly as long as you pay attention to the install instructions.
As with most linux based solutions there are compatiblity problems with a lot of pci-cards since most of them are made for windows and do not work as wanted in linux unless you havre some linux skills to make them work.
For example many dvb cards need a firmware (included in windows driver) but need to be downloaded separately for linux (not from the manufacturer site).

What system you should choose is really up to depending on what kind of functionality you want have available to you.

/niz23

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Re: My (not great) experience with LinuxMCE
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2008, 07:19:37 pm »
gsgleason: to clarify. The DHCP is required for the plug and play of network devices, such as IP Phones, Network Servers/SAN/NAS, and network based TV tuners such as the HDHomeRun. as well as networked audio players like SqueezeBoxes. We have to determine when one of these devices first enters the network.

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Re: My (not great) experience with LinuxMCE
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2008, 08:09:07 am »
Actually the defining reason for the DHCP server is the PXE boot. Its possible to sniff the network and figure out when something new is added. But no DHCP - no PXE boot - no diskless MD's. (Unless you want something only a bored network admin would enjoy.)

ddamron

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Re: My (not great) experience with LinuxMCE
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2008, 08:27:42 am »
I was thinking about that...  Technically, you COULD set up a syslog server, and get DHCP announcements..

But as you pointed out, the REAL reason is PXE boot.. (I doubt very many 'routers' support PXE booting, even IF you specify the tftp as another IP...)

I'm wondering if there is a way to set up an 'advanced' system with dual DHCP subnets...
possibly like the
'Router'
External IP: 192.168.80.254 (connected to  Internal Network of LMCE)
IP 192.168.79.1
subnet 255.255.255.0
gateway 192.168.79.1
DHCP set to 192.168.79.1-192.168.79.255

LMCE External IP: direct to Internet
LMCE Internal IP: 192.168.80.1
LMCE Subnet: 255.255.0.0
LMCE DHCP range: 192.168.80.129-192.168.80.253

Then, you have 2 networks, both internal, and the DHCP for the Router handles 192.168.79.x
and the DHCP for LMCE handles 192.168.80.x

I think you'd need to also set up a route in LMCE..

I haven't tested this, I'm just brainstorming here, and this might be in left field.

(I still haven't figured out WHY you would want to do this...)

Regards,

Dan

(FYI, this is WAY too complicated for a noob install)
The only intuitive interface is the nipple.  After that it's all learned.
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I'm out of my mind.  Back in 5 minutes.
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totallymaxed

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Re: My (not great) experience with LinuxMCE
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2008, 09:35:09 am »
A long time user of XBMC, I decided it was time for a more powerful media center.  I picket up a media pc case for free from a friend and started looking around at various media centers. 

I first tried mythtv on debian etch.  The install went fine.  I had to do some tweaking to get X and nvidia working together nicely, which went fine.  I want a single interface that my girlfriend is capable of using for music and movies (like XBMC), but mythvideo and mythmusic weren't that great. 

After some googling, I decided to give this LinuxMCE a try.  I downloaded the DVD after verifying the md5sum, and I watched the demo video.  I must say, what a scam.  There is no way that is "just works" without knowing how to modify your xorg.conf and alsa setup, unlike what is preached on the home page.  I had to kill the X server (ctrl+alt+backslash) and debug the issues causing X to run incorrectly and my TV to show "unsupported mode."  It turns out that disabling the EDID is a bad thing in xorg.conf for my nvidia card.

Anyway, after that fiasco, the graphics kept disappearing while "Sarah" was talking during the initial setup.  I ran the AV setup again this time at 640x480 which kept the graphics on the screen, but afterward, I see that for some reason it's running its own dhcp server in stead of getting an address from the one I'm already running.

There is no option in the UI to change that, and since I don't feel like fixing it manually, since that is just going to be one of many more problems I'm sure (from the way things have gone so far) I am going to have to fix, I'm just going to scrap it for now. 

Again, that demo video is a joke.  There's no way a Linux novice could get this working.

Hmmm... well as a company we install/test/configure around 10+ Core's per week and probably 15-20 MD's too on average. We would not be doing that I assure you if the system was in the state you describe. But we have been working with, enhancing, extending and installing Pluto (lmce's forerunner) and LinusMCE for 3 years now and we have the experience to make it do what we want it to. Someone walking straight into LinuxMCE doesn't - even in many cases if they have many years of Linux experience.

The Video does make installation and setup of LinuxMCE appear to be very simple... well thats marketing for you ;-). The video, make no mistake, is a piece of marketing and like all marketing it stretches 'reality' a little in places to make a point. But I don't think there is anything in the video that is impossible or untrue... its just in the 'real world' its not ever that simple! If the video was literally how every install went... then there would be hardly any thread on this forum... right? So the video is also i guess a statement of where things need to go in terms of the 'out of the box experience'... right now you'd need one of the many experienced LinuxMCE hackers from the forum sitting next to you to make it so.

One last point... if you try LinuxMCE and you find it lacking in some way then you can dig in and try and re-shape it into a form you think is right. Along the way others here might agree with you and join you in the effort. If you don't have the skill or don't feel strongly enough to want to 'fix' what you see as 'broken' then just walk away. Everyone here in this forum is here because they choose to be...

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posterberg

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Re: My (not great) experience with LinuxMCE
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2008, 10:28:56 pm »
I was thinking about that...  Technically, you COULD set up a syslog server, and get DHCP announcements..

But as you pointed out, the REAL reason is PXE boot.. (I doubt very many 'routers' support PXE booting, even IF you specify the tftp as another IP...)

I'm wondering if there is a way to set up an 'advanced' system with dual DHCP subnets...
possibly like the
'Router'
External IP: 192.168.80.254 (connected to  Internal Network of LMCE)
IP 192.168.79.1
subnet 255.255.255.0
gateway 192.168.79.1
DHCP set to 192.168.79.1-192.168.79.255

LMCE External IP: direct to Internet
LMCE Internal IP: 192.168.80.1
LMCE Subnet: 255.255.0.0
LMCE DHCP range: 192.168.80.129-192.168.80.253

Then, you have 2 networks, both internal, and the DHCP for the Router handles 192.168.79.x
and the DHCP for LMCE handles 192.168.80.x

I think you'd need to also set up a route in LMCE..

I haven't tested this, I'm just brainstorming here, and this might be in left field.

(I still haven't figured out WHY you would want to do this...)

Regards,

Dan

(FYI, this is WAY too complicated for a noob install)


I have the opposite here...

I have my 7 NIC firewall that runs with static addresses on 4 NICs and serves DHCP on 3
I have my normal computers (desktops) on 2 of those NICs, one of which wireless card, as the firewall also acts as AP on that card.
I have my LMCE core installed on the third DHCP served card, it serves the as DHCP for the LMCE core's external NIC, the core's internal NIC acts as a DHCP for all my multimedia devices like dreambox, xbox, ps2, md's etc.

The other static NICs in the firewall are the external interface connected to the Internet and the rest are DMZ's for different servers like ldap, mail, dns, db, www and an old asterisk install that I probably will trash and use the one in LMCE instead.

I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be possible to do as you suggest, I am positive that it would work. I don't think it should be that hard either, it should work more or less out of the box...


My reason, btw, is security... I like to have a segmented network... ;o) I guess that it should be quite good for performance as well to keep the media network traffic on a separate segment than the rest of your network...