The Ultimate Linux Home
Well, let's just say that “Mom & Pop”, my world-famous technophobic parents, probably will never set up a LinuxMCE system themselves.
Even if they do manage to get the components out of the boxes, wired and set up, a lot of tailoring still has to be done for the whole system to run correctly. Floor plans have to be inserted, lighting fixtures have to be located, and a lot of data has to be imported or entered to make the whole thing work together.
Fortunately, a very complete and systematic Web server also is built in to the system that lets you set and change almost any facility of the system remotely. In the case of Mom & Pop, once I visited their house, plugged in all of the systems and noted the MAC addresses of all the components, I actually could “tune” the system from my house in New Hampshire (and this is a blessing, believe me). Or, if I were a professional installer of this type of system, I could help customers by tuning their systems remotely.
Now that you are all drooling and asking, “Where can I get it?”, we continue with the rest of the story.
Coming up with the right hardware definitely is half the issue. Building one of these systems from cast-off hardware probably will be less than satisfying.
The CPU probably will be used mainly for encoding and decoding video, particularly if you are interested in high-definition TV. If you have hardware encoders for this, a lot of the work is taken off the main CPU, but if you are using software encoders, you can expect to need about 1GHz of processing power (whatever that means these days) for every stream of video.
Hardware encoders, such as the Hauppauge PVR series, unload quite a bit of CPU utilization and allow a single CPU to encode multiple streams at once. This would be useful if you wanted to record one program while watching another or record two programs at one time. On my system, it recognized my Hauppauge PVR-150 with no problems.
If you are building the system yourself, be sure to study the LinuxMCE Project's documentation and the pages of MythTV's documentation that discuss hardware.
Pluto, as I stated previously, is aimed more at pre-packaged boxes with specialized hardware. The LinuxMCE Project is aimed more toward generalized hardware, with free and open-source software, and it uses no licensed, proprietary software at all.
As such, a goal of LinuxMCE is to be as portable across all distributions as possible, so all distributions can include it. Therefore, a significant amount of work had to be done by the development team, even if the Pluto people helped out a lot (which they did).
The software is now going through testing to put it into V1.1 status, and even though it is only V1.1, the amount of functionality is staggering.
In the beginning, it is prudent to understand that not every peripheral or video card will be supported and to try using only the hardware the testers in the forums have tested and found compatible. However, because the system is using major subsystems that have been around for a while, these projects do support a fairly well-known set of peripherals.
Likewise, some of the installation and integration is not intuitive, even in the second beta test of version 1.1. On the other hand, if you purchase a box pre-installed, this won't be an issue, and at least one company is planning to offer pre-installed and supported systems (the support will be available by e-mail and phone).
LinuxMCE is a large and complex project, but with a reasonable architecture to allow it to become a staple in the Free Software world. There are still a couple of rough edges, such as a missing editor to allow room diagrams to be inserted into the system easily, and (of course) the ever-necessary step-by-step documentation, but it has huge potential to help make free software more prevalent in the homes of average people.
In my own LUG, we normally have 15 to 20 people show up at a meeting. When we recently had a MythTV meeting, 55 people showed up. LinuxMCE and similar projects move free software and Linux from computers to consumer appliances and make people more familiar with it.
Although LinuxMCE still may not be “baked” enough for most people, I encourage the developers and the readers of this magazine to help move it forward.
Jon “maddog” Hall is the Executive Director of Linux International (www.li.org), a nonprofit association of end users who wish to support and promote the Linux operating system. During his career in commercial computing, which started in 1969, Mr Hall has been a programmer, systems designer, systems administrator, product manager, technical marketing manager and educator. He has worked for such companies as Western Electric Corporation, Aetna Life and Casualty, Bell Laboratories, Digital Equipment Corporation, VA Linux Systems and SGI. He is now an independent consultant in Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Business and Technical issues.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
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.View Now!
|The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database||Jul 29, 2016|
|Stunnel Security for Oracle||Jul 28, 2016|
|SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager||Jul 21, 2016|
|My +1 Sword of Productivity||Jul 20, 2016|
|Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!||Jul 19, 2016|
|Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)||Jul 18, 2016|
- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- Google's SwiftShader Released
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