Author Topic: Brand New System ... can it do this  (Read 2498 times)

richard.e.morton

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Brand New System ... can it do this
« on: July 02, 2008, 11:33:48 pm »
Ok, before I start I have been intrigued by LinuxMCE for sometime and the community seems very helpful...

This is what I want to do; In a cupboard behind the lounge fit out the cupboard with all the AV equipment with AMP, LinuxMCE Hybrid / network fileserver and a few other bits of kit (PS3/WII?)

In the living room have a minimalist installation with just speakers and panel (and maybe an attached to the hybrid a DVD/Blue ray computer drive).

The hybrid will use lots of hdd I have lying around, sata and pata linked as RAID  -  I would love to use ZFS and ZFS but damn Sun releasing it under an incompatible license).

In other rooms I would like more media directors but it is likely that only a max of 2 playbacks would happen at once. Would Wifi be enough? for SD into a remote room, HD locally of course on the hybrid). Each MD would be controlled just via a wiimote.

So each room should be able to watch tv from FreeSat (with HD) or Freeview, play picture show, movies or music. playback via directory structure, playlist, search, filter etc.

So I'm in the lounge and I want to watch a movie, The TV needs to be turned on - via IR or RS232 as I'm not sure what TV I'll buy yet, and select the movie, Linux MCE also needs to turn on the amp of course and be able to control the amp volume (by USBUIRT from the hybrid) all by controlling the system easily  with just a wiimote.

The other rooms are simpler as I expect to use the inbuilt speakers on the tv.

I am watching tv and I wanna setup an alarm, it would be cool if I could set up an alarm on LinuxMCE media director and tell it to turn off. A few minutes before the appropriate time, the Core wakes up the relevant Media Dorector using Wake on Lan... and it boots into LinuxMCE of course ready to wake my up with the relevant music.

Now, my mobile devices. I have a SonyEricsson P1i which I use as media player and I want to use it as an orbiter as well (it supports WLAN and bluetooth)... I also use it for portable music which I fill via USB by mass storage device... unfortunately P1i only supports mp3 m4a and most of my collection has been ripped to 320kbps ogg vorbis... can Linux MCE empty and fill my device with music (transcoded to m4a) automatically with random _albums_ from my collection?, what about 4 and 5/5 rated albums from my collection based on meta tags? If I put a rating on a track/album on my P1i will that be replicated back into LinuxMCE when I resync?

The hybrid also needs to be my fileserver as well for the house with SAMBA/NFS shares.

now I know I am asking a lot... but this is my nirvana

suggestions welcome... thanks for reading my long post... well done for getting this far!

Rich

richard.e.morton

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Re: Brand New System ... can it do this
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2008, 11:37:06 pm »
Oh, I am not new to home automation after setting up a friends place with custom media centre based picture frame based on jrmediacenter.com, girder, netremote on a PDA

I did consider jrmc for this project but it is not lightweight enough, requires hard discs and although quite nice, doesn't have the comprehensive tv gui I hope to see in linuxmce.

Thanks again
R

tschak909

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Re: Brand New System ... can it do this
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2008, 04:36:18 am »
*deep-breath*

I am one of the developers on staff, so i will try to answer your questions as best I can.

I would suggest that you spend some time looking through the wiki, and looking at our demo video.

This system is far more than a media center, it's a smart home system. As such, you need to build at least two systems...one being your core, which will run all the system services, and media directors that attach to each TV.

LinuxMCE, unlike most other systems, can control your AV gear, and do so with varying devices from web pads, to cell phones, to ordinary remotes, all simultaneously, and all in synch. The media directors and core need to stay on, they currently do not suspend in any fashion, but we are looking for people to add this functionality in....

We have a comprehensive event system which bolts on top of our messaging system, which will do what you ask.

As far as file system, we suggest letting installing LinuxMCE on a small disk, (120GB or so), and setting aside a set of disks to be set up with LinuxMCE's RAID system.

We use Asterisk and FreePBX for the phone system, so you're covered there...

We do require that the core system be your firewallni and gateway and dhcp.. it's where all our plug and play power comes from. Please do not circumvent this.

I suggest doing further reading, but, you'll quickly find that this system, if you follow our recommendations, outclasses everything else that the free software community has to offer, and rivaling and besting systems from vendors like Crestron, Control4, AMX, etc.

-Thom

richard.e.morton

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Re: Brand New System ... can it do this
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2008, 02:48:12 pm »
Hi THere,

thanks for the reply.

I have read parts of the wiki and the demo setup video, I did that a while back but I have not seend answers to my questions. I have even looked for a list of supported "events" that can be used as triggers to no avail.

I suggested using a single hybrid with secondary rooms running as pure MDs but your reply says use a core and a second system, all very well and good, but why? You know having two pc's on is a little overkill when one should be sufficient. so can you explain why one is not sufficient as a hybrid?

You mention using LinuxMCE as a firewall, surely you don't right, you mean use it as a DHCP/DNS server... exposing LinuxMCE to the outside world is something I am not prepared to do... dedicated router/firewalls should be used for such tasks.

Why are we looking at two networks, internal and external? I want to use my laptops as orbiters and my phone, but these devices need access to files and media as well, so why can't I use my very lightly loaded network for both (I could implement QoS, does LinuxMCE support QoS?)

I will install LinuxMCE on a dedicated partition, but the media is going to end up on a bunch of drives mirrored or Raid5'd, surely linucmce can cope with multiple partitions as media stores?

Sambe server, is it built in as standard, can I just setup my shares in KDE and off we go?

I'm not too worried about Asterisk or Freeebx, I work in telecoms and know about these products and they are far beyond what I need in a two person household!

So, I guess my original questions stand as I can't find answers for them on google or on the wiki!

Thanks

Richard


Zaerc

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Re: Brand New System ... can it do this
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2008, 03:46:33 pm »
Instead of only looking at what you want, maybe you should be looking into what this system can provide, and how it needs to be setup to achieve that.  I doubt anybody here is interested in yet another pointless discussion of how everything needs to be changed around to suit your specific desires and/or situation.  Most (if not all) of your "questions" have been answered several times over in other discussions on this forum.
"Change is inevitable. Progress is optional."
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posde

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Re: Brand New System ... can it do this
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2008, 04:24:24 pm »
Hello Richard,

as Zaerc and tschak have pointed out, most of your questions are directly answered in the wiki. The only question that is not answered is regarding down- and uploading stuff from the P1i. Reason being, we currently have nothing implemented to do that.

LinuxMCE does what you want to do. Follow the guidelines, and chances are, you will like it. If you try to take a different route, while entirely possible with LinuxMCE, you are on your own.

One note: When you install LinuxMCE off of the DVD, it will wipe your ENTIRE harddrive.

rgds
Oliver

tschak909

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Re: Brand New System ... can it do this
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2008, 08:56:56 pm »
I have said this numerous times, but I will say it again....

LinuxMCE is not a media center.

It is a smart home platform.

It's intended to provide a wide set of services to the home in an appliance-like manner. As such, we use a central server, that you place in the closet, and you drop media directors on each TV you wish to use as both a house control and a media center.

In order to provide all the features that we do out of the box, we HAVE to be the DHCP, Firewall, and Gateway. It's the only way we can not only detect devices on the network, provide media director netbooting, but also provide plug and play Asterisk operation to handle the phones inside the house.

If you don't like this. Fine. We may not be for you.

Of course, you could help us support more use cases....

-Thom

perspectoff

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Re: Brand New System ... can it do this
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2008, 04:24:19 am »
Don't get hung up on the internal / external network distinction.

The "external network" can be as minimal as your DSL/cable modem, if you want.

In that way, your entire home LAN (except for the DSL modem) can be part of the "internal" network, which I'm sure is what you're asking.



schaferj

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Re: Brand New System ... can it do this
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2008, 06:49:17 am »
Rich,

Your core (/hybrid) does not have to be your ONLY firewall.  You may opt for a layered defense in depth.

For instance you could have the following:

cable -- cable modem --  IPCop firewall+  -- [lmce 'external' net] -- Core (dcerouter) -- [lmce 'internal' net] ...

you may or may not have additional devices on your 'external net'.  To operate as designed, your Core must have two NICs one for the 'external' and one for the 'internal'.

I like my core to be a hybrid and for a modest system, it may be sufficient, but if you have TVs in multiple rooms, you'll have an easier time if each TV has an MD (computer).

Best practice suggests that the core have a dedicate 'system' disk and that media be on a different device.

A medial file server could have ZFS.  For ZFS, you may want to look at Nexenta.  They have a Solaris kernel with Ubuntu on top and I like it for a file server.

All of your MDs & fileserver(s), etc are on your 'internal net'.

joseph

tschak909

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Re: Brand New System ... can it do this
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2008, 07:13:19 am »
people may not opt for such a complex setup, especially considering we've done a lot to try to keep things both simple and secure...

we still have a long way to go though...


as for the filesystem support, we'd love patches to support other file system types.

-Thom

skeptic

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Re: Brand New System ... can it do this
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2008, 06:39:53 pm »
Let me just add that dual nics are not absolutely required, just recommended.  If you run with a single nic like I do, the automagic install/setup will configure the required two IPs on the nic and a virtual nic (eth0 and eth0:0 in my case).  Eventually I'll be adding a 1 Gig nic when I get a switch that will support it but for now I haven't noticed any issues.

tschak909

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Re: Brand New System ... can it do this
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2008, 06:51:06 pm »
I keep having to explain the reasons why single NIC is a bad idea..

This will be the last time.

Long story short? you'll run into problems in three places:

(1) two DHCP servers running.. one on your existing router/modem, one on eth0 of your new single nic core
(2) net booting not working properly...again, as a side effect of the DHCP problem.
(3) network shares not being found properly....again, because we need our dhcp server to detect network shares.

*hmm*

-Thom
 

skeptic

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Re: Brand New System ... can it do this
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2008, 08:03:02 pm »
I keep having to explain the reasons why single NIC is a bad idea..

This will be the last time.

Long story short? you'll run into problems in three places:

(1) two DHCP servers running.. one on your existing router/modem, one on eth0 of your new single nic core
(2) net booting not working properly...again, as a side effect of the DHCP problem.
(3) network shares not being found properly....again, because we need our dhcp server to detect network shares.

*hmm*

-Thom
 
As I said, recommended, but not required.  I keep reading how lmce will not work correctly without dual nics, however the automated install configures a virtual nic if you only have one, and a number of people use it without issue.  Instead of telling people thay HAVE to have two nics or it isn't going to work right, why not tell them the real issue?   You can't have a second DHCP server on your internal network.

*hmm*

DHCP MIGHT be an issue depending on your network setup, but giving your eth0 a static IP (which I need to do anyway, dual nic or not) and not running another DHCP server and everything just works.  My home setup started as static IPs for the LAN and a WAP setup to give DHCP to wireless only.  It was this way long before I tried LMCE.  The only thing I have changed is to turn off the WAP DHCP, not because it didn't work, but because I wanted them on the same net and so the wireless laptops would have the additional lmce firewall.

I'm not ranting at you Thom, you're always very helpful give useful answers.  I just find certain aspects of LMCE frustrating.  I'd gladly give up some automagic configuration for a bit more flexibility and hardware support.  This dual nic issue just strikes me as a case where there is some flexibility in hardware configuration, but the LMCE "my way or the highway" attitude emphasizes doing things one way "just because" (dual nics) even though another option that works just about as well is known (no other DHCP servers).

richard.e.morton

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Re: Brand New System ... can it do this
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2008, 08:51:07 pm »
Hi All,

Thanks for the replies; I do really appreciate it. No, really I do!

I have stated my nirvana, and in the absence of information to the contrary it is what I would like to achieve, I am not saying that I unwilling to change my final solution based on what LinuxMCE can provide... As you say I am willing to give it a try and test, but I am no Linux whizkid... I have Kubuntu on my laptop, but that is a fairly new step for me - but it seems good and I have totally replaced Windows - except for one application which I have to use for work and that is in a VirtualBox VM.

anyway, we're getting off topic, I have stated what I would like to achieve and that has been moulded based on what I think I know that LinuxMCE can provide, with a few embellishments where I don't know cause I can't find the information.

It has been stated that LinuxMCE is an automation system and it is this area that I have the most questions... Using a Wiimote how do I press the power-on button for the TV, ok so the TV is controlled via RS232 or USBUIRT but I guess there needs to be a dedicated button on the wiimote that activates the TV and the AMP. Has anyone done this?

Assuming I can get SAMBA running on the system as well, then it should be fine as my housewide fileserver as well...

now to the networking issues that this thread has seemed to resolve around... I do understand a bit about networks... so I have no problem with linuxMCE being DHCP and DNS, in fact I think this makes a lot of sense, it's preconfigured with the options for netbooting and it knows what devices exist. I am a little concerned about having LinuxMCE - such a feature rich system - exposed directly to the net, so I was planning on putting a SPI NAT router between the LINUXMCE and Internet.

In the situation I just described surely just telling LinuxMCE what the default gateway with a single NIC would work flawlessly, but if the experts say otherwise I can chuck 2 NICs in there... I'm just running out of slots by the time I plug in a NIC (+one onboard), 2 twin tuners (Freeview and FreeSat dual tuners), SATA Raid Card, reasonable spec Graphics card... that's 5 slots (and the graphics card may take two!)

So, tschak909 in the above situation (one NIC) would that not work - if you say it wont work perfectly as intended I will use two NICs!???!

and the question about wiimotes and powering on the system from it (well powering on the tv / amp)?

Thanks for your patience

Rich

tschak909

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Re: Brand New System ... can it do this
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2008, 08:54:05 pm »
for your setup, please use two NICs.

-Thom