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Building an Ion-powered Linux Media PC

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Phil Rhodes 5th December 2009, 11:22 Quote
Quote:
Just because he didn't do it "The package manager way", doesn't mean you CAN'T do it "The package manager way".

So why didn't he? Because he's a linux user and he has an unquenchable need to prove how clever he is by doing everything in the most complicated and difficult way possible? Does he walk everywhere on his hands as well?

One of the main causes I find for advanced text-file hackery on Linux is doing exactly this sort of thing. In my experience in order to install anything the community has arbitrarily decided is "non-free" you end up "adding repositories", which involves adding things to various text files and typing commands beginning with "apt-get" which invariably fail. That's what I mean, and yes, yes, that is very much too complex for me just for the sake of installing a single program. Only someone who's been stuck on Linux for years could possibly consider this normal or appropriate.

I could spend half an hour describing the specifics of the grief and troubles I've had with the procedures necessary to play these formats on linux, but suffice to say it is most certainly not out-of-the-box. You can probably install windows 7 and VLC in the time it takes just to get VLC onto Ubuntu, and even then it won't be properly integrated and you'll end up typing all your filenames into shells in order to make it use the player you'd like it to use. My advice to new Linux users is to evaluate whether you can do what you need to do with the software that comes with the install, because if you can't, adding new stuff is an absolute nightmare. That "world of high quality free software" you were promised by the nerds may well exist but you won't be getting anywhere near it!

P
steveo_mcg 5th December 2009, 15:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
So why didn't he? Because he's a linux user and he has an unquenchable need to prove how clever he is by doing everything in the most complicated and difficult way possible? Does he walk everywhere on his hands as well?

One of the main causes I find for advanced text-file hackery on Linux is doing exactly this sort of thing. In my experience in order to install anything the community has arbitrarily decided is "non-free" you end up "adding repositories", which involves adding things to various text files and typing commands beginning with "apt-get" which invariably fail. That's what I mean, and yes, yes, that is very much too complex for me just for the sake of installing a single program. Only someone who's been stuck on Linux for years could possibly consider this normal or appropriate.
P
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
Phil since you clearly have no interest in using linux why do you bother coming in a trolling the threads regarding it?
Fact is there are menu options to do things in this distro but since the internet is text based its actually easier to read then copy paste text commands than it is to follow your way through a 4 level deep hierarchical menu to then follow a serise of click here do this click here do that sequence of help that if you miss a bit can land you even more confused.

Phil Rhodes 5th December 2009, 15:43 Quote
Well that's an absolutely piss-poor excuse, isn't it - are your GUIs really that badly designed (the answer is: why yes, they are!)
steveo_mcg 5th December 2009, 16:13 Quote
Cool what ever Phil your arguments have clearly degenerated in to going over the same ground over and over, when you have some constructive feed back to make to people i'm sure there will be some one willing to listen to your basically incoherent ranting but till then laters.
LAGMonkey 5th December 2009, 20:33 Quote
As ive said before on the forum, my Zotac ION is perfect for what i want and i run vanilla XBMC. Ive just upgraded to Karmac the new version of XBMC.
I would strongly recomend that anyone connecting via the HDMI to start learning about Mode Lines for the xorg.conf. Before i did this to my system i would get overscan on my samsung TV as well as never being able to achieve 1920x1080i at 24Hz. This would cause stuttering on some content.
Now i have three settings that the Zotac box will switch between depending on the content. 1920x1080@24hz, 1920x1080@30hz and 1920x1080@60hz. (these are interlaced resolutions as my TV can only do 1080i ).
Some other things in the xorg.conf are disabeling "TwinView" to reduce stutter etc. With Linux there are many many ways to skin a cat!

Id also recomend getting a Bluetooth remote for it. I use a PS3 remote for mine and since some very kind people on the XBMC forums (yea i know i look at other forums... sorry bit! ) have made it a LOT easier to get the remote working. As Boxee is a fancy facebook version of XBMC it will be easy to get stuff working.
As for my ION, its a single core atom with the power brick, it makes everything sooo much easier (not to mention smaller) and even with only 521Meg of RAM in it i can still play High Def content without problems. Hell itll even play the "Killa" sample! (44MBps video stream)
Phil Rhodes 5th December 2009, 22:13 Quote
Quote:
I would strongly recomend that anyone connecting via the HDMI to start learning about Mode Lines for the xorg.conf.

Sometimes you have to research your examples, and sometimes, well, they're just handed to you on a plate :)
steveo_mcg 5th December 2009, 22:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Sometimes you have to research your examples, and sometimes, well, they're just handed to you on a plate :)

indeed....

http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=178379
Phil Rhodes 5th December 2009, 22:43 Quote
Yes Steve.

That's Windows in a failure mode being about half as complex as Linux is as a matter of course.

I mean - what exactly is a mode line, and what would be an appropriate one for my Toshiba TV?
Burnout21 5th December 2009, 22:55 Quote
Phil your like an arrogant American on holiday, rather than learning the native language of the country your visiting you insist on screaming at the top of your voice.

So to carry this on the country your visiting (ubuntu) could be far better than your home (windows) at different tasks.

So quit trolling!
LAGMonkey 5th December 2009, 23:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Yes Steve.

That's Windows in a failure mode being about half as complex as Linux is as a matter of course.

I mean - what exactly is a mode line, and what would be an appropriate one for my Toshiba TV?

If you get Overscan issues (you cant see all the desktop) on your TV OR you cant get the screen to the correct resolution for your TV then you can fix these probles using Mode Lines which are initialised in your Xorg.conf file.

X is the window server so the Xorg.conf file tells X how to display your desktop on the screen youve chosen.
In my case, my samsung has a physical resolution of 1366 x 768 however the TV would never allow me to connect at that res!
Using This link I discovered all the resolutions that my TV can physically accept without blowing up etc.

To my pleasent suprise i found this...
Quote:
Validating Mode "1920x1080":
(II) Dec 03 17:23:02 NVIDIA(0): 1920 x 1080 @ 60 Hz
(II) Dec 03 17:23:02 NVIDIA(0): For use as DFP backend.
(II) Dec 03 17:23:02 NVIDIA(0): Mode Source: EDID
(II) Dec 03 17:23:02 NVIDIA(0): Pixel Clock : 148.35 MHz
(II) Dec 03 17:23:02 NVIDIA(0): HRes, HSyncStart : 1920, 2008
(II) Dec 03 17:23:02 NVIDIA(0): HSyncEnd, HTotal : 2052, 2200
(II) Dec 03 17:23:02 NVIDIA(0): VRes, VSyncStart : 1080, 1084
(II) Dec 03 17:23:02 NVIDIA(0): VSyncEnd, VTotal : 1089, 1125
(II) Dec 03 17:23:02 NVIDIA(0): H/V Polarity : +/+
(II) Dec 03 17:23:02 NVIDIA(0): Mode is valid.

So i entered the following line (as per the instructions in the link)
Quote:
ModeLine "1920x1080@60" 148.35 1920 2008 2052 2200 1080 1084 1089 1125 +hsync +vsync

A restart later (and adding in two more Mode Lines for the different frequencies i wanted) and i now have the resolution i wanted, with no overscan and smoooooth video.

Im no linux expert but obviously google is our friend, and i didnt mind reading. ;) Good luck tho. And My thanks to the XBMC bods who know a hell of a lot more than me!
If you want me to copy my Xorg.conf file and post it ill gladly do that if it helps :)
steveo_mcg 5th December 2009, 23:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Yes Steve.

That's Windows in a failure mode being about half as complex as Linux is as a matter of course.

I mean - what exactly is a mode line, and what would be an appropriate one for my Toshiba TV?

Compare and contrast...
Quote:

I had the same issue with a Dell optiplex 620 at work, use the xp driver, however when running the driver install/setup .exe file, make sure you set the copmpatability mode* to XP and that you run it as an administrator**, it should work.


*Right click on the .exe select properties, select the compatability tab, enable and select XP SP3.
**Right click the file and select "Run as administrator".
Quote:

Code Listing 3.2: Invoking alsaconf

# alsaconf

You will now see a neat menu guided interface that will automatically probe your devices and try to find out your sound card. You will be asked to pick your sound card from a list. Once that's done, it will ask you permission to automatically make required changes to /etc/modprobe.d/alsa.conf. It will then adjust your volume settings to optimum levels, run update-modules and start the /etc/init.d/alsasound service. Once alsaconf exits, you can proceed with setting up the ALSA initscript.

Yup that GUI is a real boon when things don't do exactly what one expects of them.

Emphais added to the required steps...
Phil Rhodes 6th December 2009, 16:37 Quote
Ah, yes, I see what you've done, there, Steve, you've carefully just missed out some of the required steps for the linux version, haven't you?

And what's more:
Quote:
If you want me to copy my Xorg.conf file and post it ill gladly do that if it helps :)

No thankyou I'll use professionally-written graphics software so that it works without any of this needless shenanigans...
LAGMonkey 6th December 2009, 17:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes

No thankyou I'll use professionally-written graphics software so that it works without any of this needless shenanigans...

Just to be clear, my system was working fine and dandy with the overscan issues. XBMC (as well as Boxee) have a GUI setting inside them that allows you to tell it where the edges of the screen are. Its elegent and nice and simple, i just wanted to play!
My graphics drivers ARE professionally-written by Nvidia. Im just telling those drivers how i want them to be run with MY samsung TV so that i didnt get overscan. A windows equivalent is going into the screen properties and choosing a different resolution.

I suppose i should go back into the basement but its a bit difficult when you live on the 18th floor.
Phil Rhodes 6th December 2009, 18:24 Quote
No properly-written user-oriented software solution will ever require you to type "ModeLine "1920x1080@60" 148.35 1920 2008 2052 2200 1080 1084 1089 1125 +hsync +vsync." nvidia didn't provide that "user interface", linux did (or rather: linux didn't bother, which is why you have to type code in manually).

This is a textbook example of the "magic string" thing. The information required to generate that line of stuff isn't even generally published by the people who make the monitors, and you're required to figure it out manually. Change something by a pixel, and "a restart later" you know whether it works or not. Repeat until frustrated. Even if you're reduced to this level in windows (which I have exactly once, ever, in a ten year career of working in video technology, to drive a high end digital cinema projector) you'll generally get a nice UI to do it in which you just click on arrows until everything lines up and you don't even need to care what a front or back porch is.

What I don't get is why it has to be this way. It is obvious - very, very obvious - that the manual creation of modelines is something that belongs to the 1970s. The nvidia UI for defining new screenmodes creates fundamentally the same information; it has to, to do what it needs to do, so it's clearly possible to provide a slightly less brutally hostile interface.
LAGMonkey 6th December 2009, 18:54 Quote
i understand your point Phil and yes it shouldnt be that way.
It was my TV that was causing the problem not nvidia.

As for the "nice UI" to adjust the screen. XBMC provides that and it dosnt require a restart. I didnt NEED to play about with Mode Lines i chose to, but then i suppose thats just my personality.

Back to topic.

Does tvcatchup.com provide tv programs like the Beep's iPlayer, or is it just "live" TV? Im tempted to sign up but id rather know if i can select a program from say 5 days ago or if its just watch now and be happy.
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