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Ubuntu for Home Media Server?

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July 6, 2008 4:49:50 AM

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/253139-31-possible-ho...

If I do decide to go through with building that, I was thinking of running Ubuntu. I currently have the .iso for "ubuntu-8.04-server-i386.iso", but have not yet burned it to a CD. If I go ahead and do this, will I have any compatibility issues?
July 6, 2008 5:23:21 AM

Check out http://www.mythbuntu.org/, http://www.mythdora.com/ http://mysettopbox.tv/knoppmyth.html, ubuntu 8.04 desktop and Fedora 8/9

Try them all and see which one you like best :) 

You probably shouldn't use Ubuntu server, it is designed for servers ( not ideal for home theater ).

Make sure all your parts are Linux compatible and supported by your distribution before you commit to a motherboard, CPU and VGA.

The onboard audio, video and LAN can sometimes cause issues regardless of what operating system you pick be it linux, winblows, or whatever ;) 

The atom is pretty new and this may cause compatibility issues.

GL :) 
July 6, 2008 5:39:21 AM

You might have a situation where distroA works flawlessly, distroB doesn't even boot, distroC works but several devices are not be recognized and distroD works perfectly but a single yet important device, such as the VGA, has issues.

Fortunately most desktop distributions patch / upgrade quite frequently so something that doesn't work today may work in a few weeks.

Then again if the hardware vendors are not being cooperative it may take a bit longer.

Hey at least you won't be subjected to windoze driver hell ;) 
Related resources
July 6, 2008 8:05:37 AM

linux_0 said:

The atom is pretty new and this may cause compatibility issues.


The atom retains the same integrated graphics, audio, lan and etc. of the 945 series ie. there's a GMA 950 there... I don't think there will be many issues with it...
July 6, 2008 6:08:31 PM

Well I'm considering going with Ubuntu, but Fedora 9 is also being considered. I've tried both, so I'm just trying to figure out which I like better. Ubuntu is looking more likely right now though. Is there any reason I should choose one or the other? Or is it down to preference?

linux_0 said:
Check out http://www.mythbuntu.org/, http://www.mythdora.com/ http://mysettopbox.tv/knoppmyth.html, ubuntu 8.04 desktop and Fedora 8/9


How does Mythbuntu/Mythdora/Knoppmyth differ from Ubuntu/Fedora/Knoppix?
July 6, 2008 8:33:00 PM

I imagine looking at the proposed parts, you plan on making a system for serving up media to other machines over the network, correct? If so, what are these machines like (i.e. are they full PC's, set-top media "receivers" like those from ASUS, other)?

Basically, how are you going to be pushing data around (streaming it, sending over SMB/CIFS, sending over NFS, other)? For a traditional media (storage) server, this machine is more than capable and a traditional or server-oriented distro is a fine choice. If you choose to use this as either a HTPC (what I think linux_0 was going with) or as a "streaming" server, this setup will likely need some bolstering to perform how you're expecting it to, but also would favor a "myth" distro. For information on MythTV, check out the MythTV homepage.

And as amdfangirl pointed out, the early releases of the Atom systems will use Intel 945/ICH7 combos (which is kinda odd since they're fairly power-hungry, especially when compared to the consumption of the processor itself, but I guess that's what was needed to get it out there and get mindshare for the product), so Linux support should be fine.
July 6, 2008 9:16:41 PM

bmouring said:
I imagine looking at the proposed parts, you plan on making a system for serving up media to other machines over the network, correct? If so, what are these machines like (i.e. are they full PC's, set-top media "receivers" like those from ASUS, other)?


For now (now being key) I plan on just using it as kinda a PVR for my TV, but eventually (once I move out in a couple years) I'm planning on having all of my (and probably room mate's) computers able to get media (movies, music, etc) as well as use it as a PVR.
July 6, 2008 11:47:59 PM

^ Then I suppose a Myth-based installation would be the easiest. Myth-based are just the popular distros with Myth TV installed. That's all (that I know of).
July 7, 2008 3:47:06 AM

amdfangirl said:
^ Then I suppose a Myth-based installation would be the easiest. Myth-based are just the popular distros with Myth TV installed. That's all (that I know of).


Confirmation?

EDIT: With the MythTV program, can you use it as a PVR also if you were to have a TV Tuner card?
July 11, 2008 2:28:43 AM

Okay, some more thought has gone into this, and I'm thinking of just installing Ubuntu (I have a CD for it at home) and then installing MythTV (have the .iso on my flash drive here). With Mythbuntu, can you use it as you can with Ubuntu, or is it just the MythTV part that is usable (sorry if this isn't making sense, worked all day and have a few beer in me :p )? Thanks.
July 11, 2008 2:49:12 AM

Mythbuntu is MythTV installed on Ubuntu... can't help you out much more (my knowledge of this is too small)
July 11, 2008 3:59:53 AM

The *myth distributions have myth pre-installed and configured, most regular distributions do not.

MythTV is great but it may be a little tricky to install from scratch if you haven't done it before.

Theoretically all you have to do it "apt-get install mythtv" or find it under Add/Remove Software.

But you may need to do more to get it work the way you want it to.

GL :) 
July 11, 2008 7:06:42 PM

Ahh, alright. So it would just be easiest to install Mythbuntu instead?
July 11, 2008 11:53:14 PM

^ yes, it would be about as easy as installing ubuntu...
July 15, 2008 1:35:37 AM

Alright, few quick questions:

1) What exactly is the "i386" build of Mythbuntu?
1.5) What is the difference between "Direct Desktop Download" and "Direct Desktop md5sum Download"?

*Irrelevant Question Warning*

2) What is the difference between Ubuntu, Xubuntu, and Kubuntu?
July 15, 2008 2:58:22 AM

<geek>

0.

i386 is the 32bit version

amd64 is the 64bit AMD64 and x86_64 version, amd64 and x86_64 are usually interchangeable.

The 64bit version is faster than the 32bit on all AMD64s and I believe all non-P4 64bit Intel CPUs. On P4s with 64bit support 64bit is actually slower.

The amd64 version can run both 32bit and 64bit software. 64bit will run faster than 32bit, 32bit will run as fast as it normally would on all platforms with proper 64bit support.

If you are going to run on an AMD64 CPU or an Intel Core* then you are better off running 64bit and installing both the 32bit and 64bit libraries.

Some proprietary software only comes in 32bit versions, this includes flash player and most windows codecs so you will need a 32bit firefox and media player software with support for 32bit codecs.


0.5 "Direct Desktop Download" is the ISO CD image that you can burn to CD to install from.

"Direct Desktop md5sum Download" is the md5 checksum used to verify your ISO was not corrupted during the download and that it is the genuine ISO and not an altered one.

The md5sum does not actually contain the ISO just the checksum.

Normally you would download both the ISO and the md5 and sha1 checksums and the accompanying PGP/GPG signature file.

Some distributions make the md5, sha1 checksums available along with the signature for better security.

Checking the sums and the signatures only takes a few seconds on Unix / cygwin and is a very good idea.

To check the md5sum / sha1sum and signature if one is available on Unix systems you would run:

  1. md5sum filename.iso
  2.  
  3. sha1sum filename.iso
  4.  
  5. # missing step download and import the PGP/GPG key following the instructions provided by the distribution
  6.  
  7. gpg --verify filename.sig filename.iso



On windows http://www.openoffice.org/dev_docs/using_md5sums.html the firefox plugin may not work with the new versions of firefox also you can use cygwin on windows to install the open source md5sum, sha1sum and gpg.


1. If I am not mistaken Ubuntu uses Gnome, Xubuntu XFCE and Kubuntu KDE.

http://www.gnome.org/

http://www.xfce.org/

http://www.kde.org/

These are different GUIs / desktop environments for Linux. Linux is all about choice and there are others as well so you can customize your system to death if you are so inclined. http://xwinman.org/ has some neat examples of what you could use.

On Redhat and Redhat like distributions you can easily install all 3 at the same time and they will coexist peacefully. Ubuntu decided to split them up although you can still run Gnome apps on KDE and KDE apps on Gnome, etc.


GL :) 

</geek>
July 15, 2008 3:10:15 AM

Wow! You. Are. The. Best. :) 

EDIT: (Oops, was too amazed with your vast knowledge to ask yet ANOTHER question:) ). So, even though I am running a Core2Duo, it would be more beneficial to run the AMD64 version over the i386 version?
July 15, 2008 3:32:33 AM

Hehe, thanks :) 

Definitely! Core2 has much better 64bit support than previous intel CPUs.

If you had a 64bit P4 the answer would be no, unless the 64bit benefits outweighed the performance penalty which is about 5-10%.

Ubuntu calls their 64bit version "amd64", whereas most other distributions use "x86_64" to identify their 64bit versions, this can lead to some confusion.

As I said earlier amd64 and x86_64 usually mean the exact same thing.

For some historical background, AMD developed the 64bit x86 architecture and called it x86_64 aka amd64. Intel later adopted x86_64 and their marketing department originally called it EM64T and later renamed it Intel 64 in an effort to match AMD.

This is where is gets confusing! Intel also has IA64 which is a completely different architecture and should not be confused with x86_64. IA64 and x86_64 are not compatible.

If you see IA64 downloads avoid them they are for the Intel Itanium CPU.

GL :) 
July 15, 2008 3:45:00 AM

Thanks for the clarification!:) 

Man, I should just write all these questions down and post them at once, I keep getting more!

Since I am currently running Windoze (*sigh*, it's for gaming, as I've been telling myself.), will I be able to download all the codecs I need to play the movies? Because they are the general Windoze formats, so I'm just worried about compatibility with Linux. Thanks again for all your help :) 
July 15, 2008 4:01:33 AM

mplayer, VLC and various other media players support most windows codecs.

If you have videos that will not work you can always re-encode them ( from a bad proprietary format to an open one ), use a windows install on a Virtual Machine ( VMWare, QEMU, Win4Lin etc ), use virtualization ( Xen, KVM, etc ), , try WINE ( WINE is not an emulator, it is the windows API implemented on Linux ), or dual boot.

Obligatory links http://www.mplayerhq.hu/design7/news.html http://www.videolan.org/

mplayer and VLC also run on windows and are quite handy to have.

GL :) 
July 15, 2008 4:11:20 AM

I forgot to mention VLC supports video streaming over LAN and the internet so you could stream video back and forth between a Linux machine and a windows machine or any other supported OS like all the BSDs, Solaris, Mac OS X ( sorry Zorak :)  ), etc.

On a gigabit LAN you can stream like crazy!

GL :) 
July 15, 2008 5:02:12 PM

Question! :D 

So I just realized my network switch is only 100mb/s, but the motherboard I am getting http://www.motherboardpro.com/DFI-LanParty-LT-P35-T2R-M... has 2 gigabit LAN ports, so I purchased a gigbit LAN card for my Media server, would it make sense to run it into my computer, or into the switch? (I'm probably not making sense :D . Just woke up.)
July 15, 2008 8:32:17 PM

It would make more sense to run gigabit to gigabit NIC to NIC so that you would get gigabit speeds. If you go through your switch it will throttle you down to 10/100.

Just setup a private LAN between the two gigabit NICs so that you can stream audio and video faster and move data back and forth at higher speeds.

You can use your onboard 10/100 NIC on your media server for internet access.


for example

10/100 NIC on the media server 10.0.0.2 ---------- switch ------------- gigabit NIC on your pc 10.0.0.3 gateway 10.0.0.1 ( your router )

gigabit NIC on the media server 10.0.1.1 ----------------cable----------- gigabit NIC on your pc 10.0.1.2


you'd use 10.0.0.0 for internet access and 10.0.1.1 as athe private LAN.


GL :) 
July 15, 2008 9:14:23 PM

You're right on, that's perfect :) 

What kind of card did you order?

Some cards don't work together too well, other cards have driver issues on windows and Linux.

Also many cards cannot do anywhere near gigabit ( 125MB/sec theoretical max without overhead ) but on average you can usually get 20-40MB/sec.

An alternative configuration might be to invest 25-50 bucks in a 5-8 port gigabit switch.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E... 115010988 1150210242&bop=And&Order=PRICE

They have the LINKSYS EG005W 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Workgroup Switch - Retail on sale for 25 bucks with free shipping which is pretty dang good.

Newegg doesn't ship to Canada but you should be able to find one as cheap in your area.

GL :) 
July 15, 2008 9:29:47 PM

Alright. That was a typo, I meant to say I was PLANNING on odering one, I have not ordered anything yet (out of the province until the 26th). I was just looking at http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=15691&vpn=EG...
Because it's cheap, but now I am wondering if it would be more worthwhile to buy a Gigabit switch (although I already have a switch) or just a card for the Mediaserver. I am thinking the switch would be better, just for future planning when I do finally move out so that I can run everything off of the LAN. http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=12957&vpn=GS... This is the cheapest one of the site. So now I've just completely thrown myself off :D . I might just get the card for now, as I just have my computer, and will have this media server, so the diagram I drew would be more than adequate. I'm tihnking I may just wait until I move out, as there is no point in investing money in a nice switch when I may not need to. Unless you suggest doing so? :p 

Sorry for being so confusing :p  My mind wanders, I'm a very confusing person haha.
July 15, 2008 9:37:07 PM

They want that much for a NIC? :shocked:
July 15, 2008 9:41:08 PM

It would appear so! Also, "mythbuntu-8.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso" is downloaded. Does it matter if I burn it to a CD or DVD?
July 15, 2008 9:42:39 PM

You should be able to get a generic, yet decent, Linux compatible gigabit NIC for about 10-15 bucks.

Make sure they have a good return policy in case it doesn't work and you have to get another one.

GL :) 
July 15, 2008 9:46:10 PM

You'll need a good old fashioned CD-R for this one :) 

The Ubuntu people distribute CD ISOs.

The Fedora and Redhat people distribute DVD and CD ISOs.
July 15, 2008 10:02:18 PM

That is an RTL 8169 based card and should work great :) 

Some newer or strange revisions of the 8169 are not picked up by the 8169 driver however I think Ubuntu has that covered :) 
July 15, 2008 10:05:16 PM

I'll try one of those NICs today or tomorrow on Ubuntu and let you know :) 
July 15, 2008 10:05:19 PM

w00t! I'm excited :)  Now I just need to get home and order everything. *Evil Grin* *Maniacal Laughter*
July 16, 2008 12:17:18 AM

Do not order that card just yet, Ubuntu 8.04 amd64 is not recognizing it.

I'll let you know if I get it work :) 
July 16, 2008 12:23:25 AM

Alright :)  Thanks for being so prompt with this information :)  If you wish, I can get a list of the 3 or 4 cards I was considering, if it would help.

I just found this card http://www.zonetusa.net/DispProduct.asp?ProductID=218 which NCIX is asking $17.26 for, and their website claims Linux compatibility.

Quote:
Network Operating System Support : Windows 98SE/ME/NT4.0/2000/XP, UNIX/LINUX, Netware (Bindery/NDS)
July 16, 2008 1:06:18 AM

The TEG-PCITXR does not work on Ubuntu 8.04 amd64, DSL-n, Fedora 9 x86_64 Live or CentOS 5.

This is rather surprising since if something does not work on Ubuntu it usually works on the latest version of Fedora about 90% of the time. Conversely things that do not work on the latest Fedora usually work on the latest Ubuntu about 80% of the time.

The TEG-PCITXR and the Zonet ZEN3301E use the same RealTek RTL 8169SC chipset however the chip ID numbers on the TEG-PCITXR and the ZEN3301E do not match.

The Zonet ZEN3301E should work however I do not actually have one to test.

This is quite puzzling, I must have used a couple of hundred 8169s over the years and this is the first time I have had so many different distributions not recognize the card.

I am not quite certain if the PCI ID programmed into the TEG-PCITXR is not found in /usr/share/hwdata/pci.ids, if there is a problem with this revision of the card or chipset or if there is a problem with the rtl8169 driver.

If I figure it out I'll let you know :) 
July 16, 2008 1:08:15 AM

Alright, thanks a lot :)  I'm not going to be placing my order until the end of the month at the very earliest, so it's no rush.
July 18, 2008 10:26:35 PM

***TEMPORARILY POSTPONED DUE TO FINANCIAL ISSUES***

Hopefully this doesn't last too long. Some things came up, will bump the thread once I finally get to go through with this.

:( 
July 19, 2008 1:54:26 PM

Aww... and I was just about to give you a 'Most enthused new linux user in a good while' bonus.
July 19, 2008 7:17:23 PM

Damnit! :(  Well hopefully this doesn't last too long. Pretty much I just gotta wait until I can get a job (which is just whenever I get off my ass). Should only be a month, unless I crack and decide to just build it before then (MUCH more likely). :D  But I will keep you all updated.
July 23, 2008 2:29:02 AM

Kind of a bump, just as this has been making me think a lot lately. That specific motherboard only has one PCI slot on it. This is fine for my original plan. But (ya ya, I know I need to make up my mind) I decided I want to *eventually* put a TV Tuner card in it. But this serves a problem, as I need to put a gigabit NCI in it. So what could I do about this problem?
July 23, 2008 5:57:33 AM

The small form factor may be attractive but I think you should look for a board that has at least 3 slots. Having only 1 PCI slot will severely limit what you can do with it.

Basic analog tuners start at $15. A basic hauppauge wintv PCI purchased online / google / ebay will work fine as an entry level card and won't ruin your budget :) 
July 23, 2008 6:30:30 AM

There is a slight problem in Linux_0's plan... HDTV signals will phase out analog eventually... but I think it simply depends on where you are, as countries (and states) are switching at different rates =)

I would rather recommend a ~$30 HDTV card...
July 23, 2008 10:10:27 AM

Well, from what I have seen, the hard deadline as set forth by the FCC in the USA is that in March of '09 all signals sent on television sets will be digital. They are offering $40 rebate coupons for people who have older TV sets so that they can buy DACs and not have to buy a whole new TV if they don't want to. So basically the moral of the story is that if you haven't already purchased analog equipment for watching TV, don't bother because they will be switching soon.

-Zorak
July 23, 2008 3:34:16 PM

Zorak said:
Well, from what I have seen, the hard deadline as set forth by the FCC in the USA is that in March of '09 all signals sent on television sets will be digital.


Ah right, forgot about that. Well I'm in western Canada, and I'm prettyyy sure the time they're doing it here is February '09.

linux_0 said:
The small form factor may be attractive but I think you should look for a board that has at least 3 slots. Having only 1 PCI slot will severely limit what you can do with it.


The small form was only about half the attractiveness. It was the fact that I could build a tiny little computer for such a LOW price. This thing will end up being under $350 with tax/shipping all included. I considered getting something slightly larger such as, say, a MicroATX, but again, price. That's the thing that sold this build for me, it wouldn't bend my wallet over and.. Well you know :D 
June 3, 2009 8:42:04 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I was looking at using this machine as a home media server myself. I am going to add a video card so I can hook it up to my tv. I got two questions, which I hope you can help me on. The first being if this machine is capable enough to do the job. The other would be how I can get this machine as server to play video to my tv. I am kind of new at this. Forgive me for my noobness. lol
June 3, 2009 9:05:54 PM

It'll run but probably not very well.

It doesn't have dvi and only has 1 dimm slot which I think is SODIMM.

The intel board is a little better but the fan and HSF absolutely blow.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Still no dvi, only one dimm but it is 240pin DDR2 which is better than SODIMM. Some versions of the Intel board have TV out.

The onboard intel GMA graphics sucks on both boards.

I think the nvidia version of the atom board has much better graphics.

Good luck :) 
!