Author Topic: linuxMCE is still not ready for real life!  (Read 15600 times)

Afkpuz

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linuxMCE is still not ready for real life!
« on: May 30, 2008, 10:51:15 pm »
I tried linuxmce last year (2007) and couldn't even get the thing started/installed.  So I gave up.  This year, I decided to give the new version a try (0710).  I was able to get it installed and I was psyched!  However, I quickly ran into several problems that are making me quit again.  Here are my reasons.  I've researched and asked on these forums, but to no avail.

1.) surround sound.
I have a cheap usb soundcard that gave me surround sound in ubuntu.  Tried it in linuxmce and I have front and rear sound, but no center/sub.  Also, linuxmce refused and I mean flat out refused to control my volume.  I went to the kubuntu desktop and told it to control the correct channel in kmix.  Well, kmix states that it is controlling the proper channel, but linuxmce doesn't change volume when I push the volume buttons/ use the gyro volume option.
 -1 for linuxMCE not being able to do what kubuntu and ubuntu are able to do

2.) ui2 w/ alpha blending
ui2 without alpha blending looks terrible and I don't want to use ui1.  But ui2 w/alpha blending has awful tearing during ANY video playback.  From digital tv to dvds, tearing occurs anytime the camera moves horizontally.  I read that this is due to the nvidia driver.  I also read that this has been around for more than a year.  If you want to get tear free playback, you have to use ui2 without alpha blending.  Unacceptable as this is a MEDIA CENTER!  This should be one of the main problems addressed.  I don't care about mame games!  I care about my media looking the way it's supposed to.  If we can't fix the nvidia driver, then we need a work around.  I would be so pissed if I had built a high definition linuxmce and found this tearing.  luckily, I tested on a regular monitor before splurging on an expensive tv and sound system for linuxmce.
-5 points for linux media center not play media correctly...ever

3.) problems with mythtv
there are certain things that mythtv can do, but linuxmce cannot.  This is very confusing to me...for example, I have an analog tv tuner and a digital tuner.  When I leave linuxmce and goto the kubuntu desktop, I close linuxmce and open mythtv by itself.  While watching tv, I can press "y" to change tuners.  It takes a second, but mythtv successfully changes cards and switches from analog to digital.  Ok great!  Try that in linuxmce and myth freezes.  Sometimes its just mythtv that freezes, sometimes its all of linuxmce, which requires a hard reset.
-10 points for linuxmce not being able to do what mythtv can do, even though it's supposed to be  "seemlessly integrated"

4.) random lockups!
This is the straw that broke my back.  I was ready to live without a center/sub channel.  I was ready to live without being able to control my volume via a remote.  I was also ready to sacrifice transparency and the ability to watch both digital and analog tv in the same sitting.  I read in alot of places that linuxMCE is stable.  Don't those people know that they shouldn't lie to prospectives?!  I cannot and I mean CANNOT leave my computer on for more than half a day without it locking up.  Sometimes, it just stops in mid playback, sometimes it freezes mysteriously overnight and I turn on my monitor to find some random pictures from flickr that won't budge.  I know it's not temperature as I have 4 fans in this case and have even just taken the panel off and set a box fan to blow into the case!  This is probably the most important thing to an "always on" media center: IT HAS TO BE ABLE TO ALWAYS STAY ON!  I could live with all the other problems, but freezing for no reason is just too much, especially since it seems to happen with no pattern.  I've also seen several others having this problem. 
-100 points for linuxmce not being able to run for more than 1/2 a day without dying. 


I've tried several different reinstalls and have all compatible hardware.  Yet, I get all these rediculous problems.  I'm going to install ubuntu and mythtv as I know that my surround sound will fully work, since I've done it before.  I also know that it won't randomly freeze as that was the system I used prior to linuxmce. 

Don't get me wrong, I really want to see linuxmce work.  I'm a huge fan, but I can't personally use it with the above problems.  With the exception of the surround sound problem, I don't think that any release of linuxmce could survive with even 1 of the above problems.  Devs, keep up the good work, but PLEASE make linuxmce stable.  I don't care about new features as much as making the current one's work.  I will continue to follow linuxmce news and will probably try each new release until the above issues are resolved, but I'm leaving.  I hope and pray that by the next release, I'll be able to come back and enjoy the sweetness that is linuxmce.  And please note, when it was working, I LOVED linuxmce.  It just couldn't hold itself together.  Sad day....

pcbastard

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Re: linuxMCE is still not ready for real life!
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2008, 06:53:55 am »
Afkpuz,
I understand your pain.  I completely agree that DVD media play back should work correctly --period!  A media center edition that cannot play media correctly is like buying a car that cannot roll. 
 
However, I have not had the same problem with lockups.  I have 2 boxes with different hardware that run all day without locking up at all.  I used the DVD install in both cases. 

I have yet to try surround sound and Myth TV to comment on them

LMCE been a major frustration for me since I found LMCE while searching for a DVD media server solution.  I was absolutely flabergasted when I found out it also did home automation (another project of mine for years that provided nothing but frustration).  It was a Zen moment for me and I have been excited ever since.  But, alas, frustration is still dogging me (but not as much as before).

But...

In the short time I have been playing with LMCE (a few months), I have seen significant improvements with some issues I had from 7.04.  This gives me hope that in the near future LMCE will get to the point of giving us everything for $nothing.  I will not give up on it like I gave up on my $200 Homeseer software that I could only get to open my garage door from a web interface!

So, hang in there.  There is an automated light at the end of the tunnel!  (dumb, I know).

totallymaxed

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Re: linuxMCE is still not ready for real life!
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2008, 08:52:59 am »
1.) surround sound.
I have a cheap usb soundcard that gave me surround sound in ubuntu.  Tried it in linuxmce and I have front and rear sound, but no center/sub.  Also, linuxmce refused and I mean flat out refused to control my volume.  I went to the kubuntu desktop and told it to control the correct channel in kmix.  Well, kmix states that it is controlling the proper channel, but linuxmce doesn't change volume when I push the volume buttons/ use the gyro volume option.
 -1 for linuxMCE not being able to do what kubuntu and ubuntu are able to do

Hmmm... well install a card or use MB that is supported. We are installing systems with 5.1 & 7.1 surround amplification for real customers and it works over Coax or optical.

Quote
2.) ui2 w/ alpha blending
ui2 without alpha blending looks terrible and I don't want to use ui1.  But ui2 w/alpha blending has awful tearing during ANY video playback.  From digital tv to dvds, tearing occurs anytime the camera moves horizontally.  I read that this is due to the nvidia driver.  I also read that this has been around for more than a year.  If you want to get tear free playback, you have to use ui2 without alpha blending.  Unacceptable as this is a MEDIA CENTER!  This should be one of the main problems addressed.  I don't care about mame games!  I care about my media looking the way it's supposed to.  If we can't fix the nvidia driver, then we need a work around.  I would be so pissed if I had built a high definition linuxmce and found this tearing.  luckily, I tested on a regular monitor before splurging on an expensive tv and sound system for linuxmce.
-5 points for linux media center not play media correctly...ever

Yes tearing with UI2 & Alpha blending is a problem still. But even if it was not a problem and there was no tearing we would still not use it. Our feedback from customers who have tested our systems with and without Alpha blending switched on has strongly favored leaving it off. Customers found it visually confusing and just did not like it - so our sense is that is 'form over function'.

So if you really care about your media looking the way its supposed too then just focus on great video playback quality... after all thats one of the key criteria any of our customers have. UI2 with Alpha blending adds nothing too that experience at all.

Quote
3.) problems with mythtv
there are certain things that mythtv can do, but linuxmce cannot.  This is very confusing to me...for example, I have an analog tv tuner and a digital tuner.  When I leave linuxmce and goto the kubuntu desktop, I close linuxmce and open mythtv by itself.  While watching tv, I can press "y" to change tuners.  It takes a second, but mythtv successfully changes cards and switches from analog to digital.  Ok great!  Try that in linuxmce and myth freezes.  Sometimes its just mythtv that freezes, sometimes its all of linuxmce, which requires a hard reset.
-10 points for linuxmce not being able to do what mythtv can do, even though it's supposed to be  "seemlessly integrated"

I cant comment on this one as we dont use MythTV in our installations and I have no experience of it at all.

Quote
4.) random lockups!
This is the straw that broke my back.  I was ready to live without a center/sub channel.  I was ready to live without being able to control my volume via a remote.  I was also ready to sacrifice transparency and the ability to watch both digital and analog tv in the same sitting.  I read in alot of places that linuxMCE is stable.  Don't those people know that they shouldn't lie to prospectives?!  I cannot and I mean CANNOT leave my computer on for more than half a day without it locking up.  Sometimes, it just stops in mid playback, sometimes it freezes mysteriously overnight and I turn on my monitor to find some random pictures from flickr that won't budge.  I know it's not temperature as I have 4 fans in this case and have even just taken the panel off and set a box fan to blow into the case!  This is probably the most important thing to an "always on" media center: IT HAS TO BE ABLE TO ALWAYS STAY ON!  I could live with all the other problems, but freezing for no reason is just too much, especially since it seems to happen with no pattern.  I've also seen several others having this problem. 
-100 points for linuxmce not being able to run for more than 1/2 a day without dying.

Hmmm... well we have multiple installations and we just dont see this at all with LinuxMCE-0710. Customers would let us know pretty damn quickly if this was happening - it just isn't. Look around this forum... if there was a general consensus that everyones installation was behaving like yours then I think you would very quickly see plenty of threads here!

So my suggestion is look at your hardware and debug it properly.

All the best

Andrew
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gazzzman

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Re: linuxMCE is still not ready for real life!
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2008, 11:01:21 am »
my USB soundcard gives 5.1 just fine...
but TBH I would not recommend using USB soundcards at all anyhow..
I do suffer breakup on sound.. and this is entirely a soundcard problem it is intermittent and very annoying!
to the point I am about to scrap the MD because the onboard sound is unsupported and I don't know enough to fix it (:
core stability is ENTIRELY hardware Dependant in a stock installation!
my biggest gripe at the moment is MythTV or VDR..
Myth is not set up to use in the UK (surprising considering at least one core Dev lives here (Mark))
the only REAL issue in the UK with Myth now is the XML grabber setup
40+ installs on.. (Lmce + MythDora + MythBuntu) I have not once got the EPG to work properly...
as to the Alpha blending.. it IS pretty but I cannot use it because several lists/menus I cannot read because of the background images!!
but really to end as I said earlier stability should really not be an issue!
try running the core on it's own for a few days...
have a great weekend everyone!!
Gazzzman


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Afkpuz

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Re: linuxMCE is still not ready for real life!
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2008, 04:48:25 pm »
Well, I'm using ubuntu now with mythv and it seems to be working great.  I really didn't know where to start looking for a hardare problem for the freezing.  All my hardware works in a normal kubuntu install, so I figured that linuxmce would have the same compatibility.  But the fact remains that ubuntu doesn't lock up randomly and regular mythtv can change my digital tuner to analog without freezing.  I'll come back and try the next release.  But when it does and if I still have the freezing problem, how do I determine which peiece of hardware is causing it?

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Re: linuxMCE is still not ready for real life!
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2008, 05:26:47 pm »
Hooray! Another "LinuxMCE ate my baby" thread.

Not sure what your point is, as I cant be bothered to read that much whining in one post.  But here at LinuxTag we set up a booth like a small apartment in only a few hours (in spite of several hardware issues), so...  ::)
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totallymaxed

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Re: linuxMCE is still not ready for real life!
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2008, 07:47:38 pm »
Hooray! Another "LinuxMCE ate my baby" thread.

Not sure what your point is, as I cant be bothered to read that much whining in one post.  But here at LinuxTag we set up a booth like a small apartment in only a few hours (in spite of several hardware issues), so...  ::)

Great... best wishes for LinuxTag ;-)
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gazzzman

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Re: linuxMCE is still not ready for real life!
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2008, 07:51:47 pm »
strange but true...
if we where discussing Vista MCE or XP MCE everyone would be saying..."it is because you are using crap software!)
I don't think LMCE ate anyones baby... just no one has any time to have babies due to all the time spent trying to find a combination of hardware that works!
people ARE having real problems... name calling on both sides are not helping to cure them!
chill people!
I understand that most of the Devs are working like hell for little thanks to get things done!
I also understand just how frustrating things get (especially if you where sold from some video and have never used Linux before)
and there ARE problems with LMCE that are outside the control of the dev team too.. and there will probably always be some!
and nobody gets paid to support anybody!
leave a nasty post you deserve what you get...
but while some of these "LMCE ate my baby" posts are annoying.. they do contain valid points!
(in some respects more than can be said for this post :)  )
it would just be nice to see people being nice to one another.. thats all :)
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jmcrtp

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Re: linuxMCE is still not ready for real life!
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2008, 12:07:37 am »
I'm a newbie although I've done about 20 installations now while demoing, and finally deciding to go with it and loading my current installation.  It does have some minor issues, but I'm sold on 0710.  There are a few things I want to see fixed but I am willing to wait.  Thanks to all the developers, you are doing a fantastic job thus far.  This is a very complex operating system, not a simple little program.  It is going to take time to get the bugs out. 

How often do new releases come out?  I'm running 0710 rc2, will there be rc3, rc4 or 07xx next?  Any ETA?  I'm just curious since some of my issues will likely get fixed in new versions.

Also I have had lockups, but not when I'm using the system.  Typically so far I have had it happen after a few days of operation.  The next morning I turn on the TV and can't get video from the Nvidia card.  I see HD activity on an off so the system hasn't locked up, just can't get video so I have to power cycle.  I did hit the connect button on my fiire chief and heard no beeps though, so that tells me something is not right with MCE.  I'll check the logs next time this happens.  Is everything contained in /var/log/messages?

Afkpuz

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Re: linuxMCE is still not ready for real life!
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2008, 02:17:59 am »
I'll admit that I was frustrated when I wrote my original post, but I will come back and try linuxmce again at the next release.  I'm pretty sure I didn't do any name calling either...  But I still haven't gotten an answer as to how I would go about checking hardware for compatibility.  Right now, I'm running ubuntu with mythtv installed ontop and set to run on startup.  Already, this setup has been on for longer than linuxmce ever made it without locking up.  It seems like I have linux compatible hardware, since ubuntu is running fine, but linuxmce didn't seem to like some piece of my hardware.  So how would I check compatibility?!

I should also note that linuxmce704 wouldn't even bootup on this rig, but 710 was able to get going and all, it just had the problems I listed before.  So kudos to the devs!  Like I originally said, I still really want to use linuxmce and will keep trying the new releases, but it's so hard to get help...

freymann

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Re: linuxMCE is still not ready for real life!
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2008, 04:55:19 am »
I'll admit that I was frustrated when I wrote my original post, but I will come back and try linuxmce again at the next release.

 I didn't have much luck [hell, any luck] with the 7.10 betas, and I haven't posted a peep since I left, but I'm actually in a position to try 7.10 release on a completely new, separate box before this becomes my new Mythbuntu 8.04 master frontend/backend. Should LinuxMCE actually run I'd be happy to go with it, but I'm not going to go dreaming just yet....

Quote
Already, this setup has been on for longer than linuxmce ever made it without locking up.  It seems like I have linux compatible hardware, since ubuntu is running fine, but linuxmce didn't seem to like some piece of my hardware.

 This was one of my main reasons why I had to give up on LinuxMCE.

 My equipment ran Ubuntu 7.10 just fine. Unfortunately, LinuxMCE locked up all the time. The exact same equipment ran MythBuntu 7.10 and now 8.04 just fine. Have NEVER had a lockup. I didn't understand that at all why the difference.

 I've learned a ton about MythTV over the last couple months. All 3 of my machines are working fine. I have even integrated X10 home automation into it... press one of 4 buttons on the remote and lights in the room do things. I want to swap out the master machine and upgrade it, but before I do, I'm planning on loading LinuxMCE onto the new box and play with it first, under circumstances where there's no pressure to get it working right away. I even have two NIC's this time ;-) I've run extra network cable and re-routed other cables and would have to reroute one final cable should things work out. At the same time, to provide diskless frontends with MythBuntu, the same network wiring scheme needs to be in place anyway.

 Should be interesting.

 If this doesn't go well (and I'm not expecting miracles) I will do what you're talking about. Check it out again after the next release, and so on, until it finally works. LinuxMCE was afterall what I originally wanted.

gazzzman

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Re: linuxMCE is still not ready for real life!
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2008, 12:42:33 am »
just as a point of interest really...
the box I tried to use for LMCE but had sound and networking hardware issues...
runs Kubuntu 710 fine out of the box (excepting the sound)
but won't run Mythbuntu at all!
either 710 or 804??
but is quite happy running Mythdora!!
still can't get any reasonable sense out of the EPG in the UK with ANY version of Myth
either using EIT or RT XML??
I DO wish TIVO would come back to the UK!
currently... "Sarah" is running the media side of things pretty reliably (with a few issues) but MythTV may as well not exist for the use it is to me!!
shame really!
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chrisbirkinshaw

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Re: linuxMCE is still not ready for real life!
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2008, 11:15:03 am »
I have been unable to get multichannel audio out working using an analog soundcard. When people say it works fine with optical/coax then they are correct, however you should be able to use a multichannel analog output like those found on most modern motherboards and have xine decode the 5.1. The LMCE AV wizard and the web interface both have a setting for multichannel analog output but it does not work. The xine config is always set to having a 2.0 speaker arrangement. Additionally many sound cards have non-standard names for the master output. Unfortunately there is no way to specify this in LMCE. As a result I am not able to change the sound level on any of my 3 MDs.

I have tried discussing these problems on the forms but get no answer so once I've had a bit more of a dig around and snooped in the code comments I'll probably file bug reports.

Chris


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Re: linuxMCE is still not ready for real life!
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2008, 12:31:06 pm »
Well guys,

As far as linuxMCE being ready for PRIME TIME, Our booth won TOP BOOTH at LinuxTAG!
We won a Nokia N810, then drew straws for it,
TSCHAK won the n810 (he deserves it)

they hinted at next year, us having 2 booths :)

well, if it's not ready for prime time, I'll eat my shorts.
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freymann

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Re: linuxMCE is still not ready for real life!
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2008, 01:54:30 pm »
As far as linuxMCE being ready for PRIME TIME, Our booth won TOP BOOTH at LinuxTAG!
they hinted at next year, us having 2 booths :)
well, if it's not ready for prime time, I'll eat my shorts.

 Perhaps "ready for prime time" is up for interpretation then.

 My understanding of that term means LinuxMCE will load and run on a wide variety of hardware quite nicely. Ubuntu seems to be doing a pretty good job of this on its own, so many of us think if our equipment runs Ubuntu it should be able to run LinuxMCE too.

 My previous experience, and from what I'm seeing in the forums past and present, proves this just isn't happening... yet ;-)

 I'm excited to hear you guys won top booth, and I congratulate all who participated! When you see LinuxMCE in action it is a very impressive thing. I haven't totally given up on LinuxMCE. I'll probably keep trying the releases with various equipment until it finally kicks in.