I have tried to switch to Linux earlier and one problem I had was that it was very hard to find information in a format that I could digest. Everyone that knows how to fix the problem insist on explaining how to download, compile and config from terminal when all you want to know is what button to press.
The other problem is that it is very hard to find a howto from start to end, you are often expected to know a lot of "basic" stuff that takes another day to figure out. I will try to explain all the steps. Please ask if I leave something out. The bad news is that already after two weeks I am shifting to do stuff in the terminal.
E.g. "sudo apt-get install" in terminal means install package and can be done graphically in the synaptic package manager found in /system/administration/ menu. Sudo means do as super user. ~/ means home directory. (possibly /home/xbmc/)
I will actually assume that you can handle this. It is very easy. I used the Ubuntu 8.04 standard desktop .iso. (8.04 is LTS Long Term Support)
I will try to use XUbuntu to create my final setup.
The only thing I did was to do the partitioning manually since I need to keep one of the old partitions. I created a /swap, a / (root) and a /home. I created the /home so that I can re-install without losing my notes on how to do the installation again. I used ext3.
I named the user created during installation "xbmc" and I am using it to run XBMC. It is probably better to create an admin user and later manually create the xbmc user with just enough rights.
Critical post install configuration
1)Install all updates. I do this in GUI. Do not know howto in terminal
2)install ubuntu restricted stuff. In terminal:
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
3=If needed enable the restricted driver for you graphical card and wireless.
b)Go to menu /system/administration/Software sources
Import key – browse to the keyfile created above.
Go to menu /system/administration/Software sources
Tab Third-Party software ADD :
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/team-xbmc-hardy/ppa/ubuntu hardy main
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/xbmc-addons/ppa/ubuntu hardy main
3) Install XBMC (in terminal enter:)
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xbmc
sudo apt-get install xbmc-eventclients*
sudo apt-get install xbmc-scripts*
sudo apt-get install xbmc-skin*
4) Make sure visual effects is set to "none" in menu /System/Preferences/Appearance
5) It should now be possible to start xbmc from /applications/ menu
or by entering xbmc in terminal. If you have not setup LIRC, use keyboard to control the menus.
6) I used the resolution setting in the XBMC/ settings/appearance/ menu to get a full screen. There is also a –fs (full screen) and a –standalone switch that I need to look into. I have only used the internal settings so far.
7) Connect an usb drive with a movie on or use "add source" to add a location with media.
8) If the movie is played in the upper right corner you need to:
I was already using Vista and xp MCE and I use that as reference.
Can do almost everything including TV time-shift & recording
Takes no time at all to setup if you know ms win. Works with remote and everything out of the box.
You have to do some advanced tweaking to enable multiple rdp sessions. Crazy.
It takes a lot of power. Vista is heavy by it self and if you start MCE it is very slow. You need a modern computer. (3GHz + 2-3G RAM)
You need to pay. You shall not steal? I if you do, it is extra work anyway.
The most known system. Very advanced, has a frontend/backend setup which I like.
It support PVR and all kinds of TV functionality.
I tried the Mythbuntu installation CD. It worked ok out of the box, but I did not like it much. E.g. you have to type paths, no browse available. If you are going to test it you should probably know that Mythbuntu does not read media files directly from disk by default, it relay on the library. Change this setting unless you want to figure out how to load the library before you know if you have sound & picture. I could not get it to delete files from disk. I was intending to test a manual installation to learn more but moved on.
I never tried the TV functionality.
I have not tested it. It has PVR / TV functionality.
Of course the name is from Tivo.
Gave it a quick test run only. It is a native gnome application and I think it could be very light weight. It is not finished yet and I could not get it to do much. Very easy to install since it is included in Ubuntu default sw sources.
Could be the way to go in the future at least if you are running on a desktop computer and do some tasks with keyboard mouse. I mean library maintenance etc.
XBMC is now ported to linux and ready for use. Pre-compiled runtime is available for ubuntu which is a pre-req for me for the moment.
It looks and works great! It is working better better than Vista. E.g. in Vista you cannot delete a folder, no problem in xbmc.
It does not have PVR / TV functionality though. I understand it is possible to integrate with mythtv, this is not a prio for me right now.
Compared to other applications it is working much better out of the box. However, you do not get the full package out of the box. Lirc has to be installed which is pretty easy if you know what you are doing but to get it to interact correctly with the OS takes some more work.
XBMC features not found in Vista
Resume video from where you stopped viewing
If playing video from a shared folder it works much better than in win. The player is buffering the file much better. On a good day it even works ok on wifi.
It is possibly a bit heavy on the HW but much less than Vista MCE and also a bit less than playing a video directly in the Vista desktop. It does get the fan going though. I think it rates somewhere between XP & vista (ubuntu gnome + XBMC compared to win without MCE)
Popcorn is the most popular pre-built consumer media center. I have not tested it, but maybe I should?
I am not sure that using a PC as media center is the best way to go. It is loud and uses a lot of power. It is also expensive and to get it silent is more expensive.
I have been using Vista Media Center for a while but I am now switching to a linux based system. I'm happy with Vista after some tweaks. (enable multiple rdp sessions etc). The problem is that if you for some reason do not want to pay, it requires some extra work and there is always the risk that the tweaks will contain virus.
I was also using winxp MCE on an old laptop but xp stopped working after Christmas. The laptop cannot not handle vista media center and barely vista by it self.
This prompted me to finally make the move to Linux.
The problem is that I do not know Linux. I used unix back at the university but only learned ls, cd and a few other commands. Luckily I know other computer stuff and I decided to give it a try.
I can tell you in advance it takes a LOOT of time if you are not an Linux expert. Yes, you can get Ubuntu to run in a hour, but to get to the level of vista mce out of the box takes a lot of work.
The good news is that the sw is great and I prefer it to vista when finally set up correctly.
Create an empty file named irxevent in ~/.lircrc It will contain the mappings for irxevent. I am not using it for the moment. I wanted to send ctrl-alt-Delete, but could not get it to work.
Add include ~/.lirc/irexec include ~/.lirc/irxevent to the ~.lircrc file
echo "include ~/.lirc/irexec" >> ~/.lircrc
echo "include ~/.lirc/irxevent" >> ~/.lircrc
The next step is to create the script files. Pick them up at http://xbmc.org/forum/showthread.php?t=30230. Worked fine for me, I replaced /home/youruser/ with ~/ when possible. I think the remaining hardcoded usernames can be removed by following the comments further down in the thread (pidof?). I guess killall would also do the trick.
To autostart the irexec (and irxevent) add /home/username/scripts/startIRexec.sh to system/preferences/sessions. NB: ~/scripts does not work here.
First test to start manually from terminal ~/scripts/startIRexec.sh
Run it twice and you should see that the script kills the old processes before the new is started. ps -C irexec should show one irexec process after two runs.
Now you should be able to start and kill XBMC. Kill should only be used when XMBC cannot be closed down the normal way I think. Please note that I have mapped Power button to shutdown, when shutdown is finally working it will make it impossible to use the Power button to exit XBMC without shutting down the computer. The mapping can be changed in the irxec file. I think it can also be fixed by using mode in the lirc files to separate the applications.
Now to the shutdown.. I use sudo /sbin/shutdown -h now in the shutdown script. We can't have the script asking for password and this is fixed by editing the /etc/sudoers file. It is edited with this command: sudo visudo.
First make backup cp /etc/sudoers /etc/sudoers.org
This is where we hit the wall. The correct way(?) to do this is to add the line youruser ALL=NOPASSWD: /sbin/shutdown at the end of the sudoers file.
It worksfine if you start irexec manually from the terminal. But after reboot and autostart shutdown does not work, everything else works fine.
I finally found a solution/ workaround. add %admin ALL=NOPASSWD: /sbin/shutdown
I am aware this is not a good setup, but it will have to do for a while. Can anyone help?
If you find this guide helpful let me know. I would be willing to re-write it with some quality if anyone needs it.