The Ultimate Linux Home
What started out as an article on the Ultimate Linux Multimedia System ended up being one on the Ultimate Linux Home—coming soon to a home near you, thanks to a project called LinuxMCE. What brought about this change of heart? When I was growing up, I was a big fan of magazines like Popular Mechanics and Popular Science that constantly talked about the Home of the Future. Such a home would manage lights, turning them on and off as you went from room to room. It also would control heating, automatically adjusting a room's temperature according to whether you were going to sleep, about to wake up or leaving for work.
The Home of the Future appeared even more frequently in science-fiction books—the home would wrap its arms around you and take care of your every need. It would read books to you and let you answer the telephone without needing to hold a receiver. These services would be available throughout the house, tailored to the occupants' needs.
During the years, such Home-of-the-Future qualities appeared again and again, mostly in concept homes. Small improvements came about through the use of interfaces, such as X10 for remote control of lights and heat, but the promise of anything like the true Home of the Future still seemed far away, except for some with very expensive systems.
About a year ago, I became aware of a project called Pluto (www.plutohome.com), which seemed to pull together elements of other projects, such as:
MythTV for recording TV programs, photos and music.
Xine for watching movies.
Asterisk for handling telephone calls.
It also added security cameras and lighting control, and it tied them all together, controlling them from a variety of hardware, including Bluetooth-enabled phones. Not only that, but it also could “track” you as you walked from room to room and make sure the media playing in the room you were entering was the same as the media playing in the room you just left. You also could access the output of your security cameras from your cell phone and talk through the speakers of your sound system if you wanted to scare a burglar. The Pluto people made a very nice animated video showing how the system would work if it was completely implemented and installed correctly (plutohome.com/index.php?). They also gave a complete listing of all things it could do. It was awesome.
Most important, Plutohome was FOSS! The people working on it encouraged others to join the project and take the code and put it on their own hardware or even to sell systems and services with Pluto software on them. They correctly pointed out that although there were people who would put their software onto “commodity” hardware, there were other people who wanted a complete and tested system, and they were happy to cater mostly to the second group while allowing the do-it-yourself people to use the software and help extend it. Although the functionality was interesting, I did not have the time to look at Pluto further, so I filed it away for future reference.
Then, in March 2007, I heard about LinuxMCE and saw the video on Google Video (video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4422887272477313460&hl=en).
At www.linuxmce.com, I read that Paul Webber, the founder of LinuxMCE, had been to CEDIA 2006, a consumer audio/video/home-automation tradeshow. There, he had seen a demonstration of Pluto, which by that time had been licensed to Monster. Paul was hooked, but when he was told that Pluto had all it could do to bring this technology to its own customers, Paul decided to work to make it more visible and more flexible for the Free Software community. The interesting part is that he did this with Pluto's blessing and support.
At the time of this writing, it is June 2007, and the project Paul thought “would take me a week” has been going on for five months, with Paul and another programmer “working on it almost full time”, but they are approaching a usable version. They have done a lot of work to make it operate on “generic” PCs on top of a “generic” distribution and to make sure users would continue to receive all the device support they needed. Closed, single-purpose systems are not their target.
Today, LinuxMCE is based on the Kubuntu distribution, with Aaron Seigo of KDE pledging to integrate it even better. The goal of the LinuxMCE team is to have additional distributions integrate and ship LinuxMCE. Imagine having a multimedia powerhouse as an option on every Linux desktop and notebook, and that every Linux desktop and notebook could optionally provide distributed, integrated multimedia capabilities.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide