HTPC operating system recommendations? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
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I started out my recent HTPC build with Linux Ubuntu, but ran into problems with partitioning and had better luck with Linux Mint. After much trial and error, I had Mint mostly working the way I wanted, but now I've completely buggered it with a video card installation and am pretty much ready to throw in the towel. Half of my reason for setting up a Linux PC was to use it as my backup work computer and a test bed for whether Linux is mature enough to seriously contemplate moving away from Windows. That question has been answered with a decisive NO.

So, what recommendations do you all have for alternatives? All I really need is something that can run VLC, my USB IR remote and network adapter, and my TV-out video card. I have an old copy of Win 2000, but I don't know if I'd be able to get new enough drivers on it. I don't think I can use my abandoned Win XP licenses, as they're tied to the old drives. I'd rather not purchase a Win 7/8 license for $100, for such minimal needs. Anything else I should look at? I saw recommendations for MeediOS and the like, but I haven't explored them yet.

Dan
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 04:07 PM
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WOW .... real sorry to here your frustration with ubuntu . Quite surprised actually . Ubuntu is one of the easiest of the Linux distros to learn / manage. Their is a ton of community resources / forums surrounding Ubuntu . While response time is a lot slower than what you would typically find in a Windows community , their is still a LOT of help out there and there is a Linux forum on AVS as well . I am personally setting up a web server though 12.04 Ubuntu server addition right now . I am about 75% through it and although completely cli oriented I still find the Linux os very liberating and VERY powerful as well as the hands down best security built in just by the very nature of the os it self.

Truthfully , you really do need to bite the bullit and get the Win7 version if you switch back as any of the other ideas you had are going to cause you a "world of hurt" . More than Ubuntu ever thought of .
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post #3 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
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I agree, there's a ton of information out there for Linux Ubuntu/Mint. The problem is, most of it is outdated or incorrect, and as I've found out the hard way, following outdated Linux guides can have devastating outcomes. The community here is great (I should probably have stuck to jt for all my problems!), but far beyond "slower" on the Ubuntu/Mint forums. Some stuff garners a response, others a week goes by with nothing. Considering how much guesswork it takes to get anywhere with Linux, that really makes it tough to work with.

I've kept notes on most of the problems I've solved, so I suppose I could do a reinstall on a second hard drive and get everything back to working order fairly painlessly... Of course, the system is completely useless as a HTPC because I can't solve all the essential problems in Linux without breaking things, so I'm not sure that's even worth the trouble.

Dan
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post #4 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 06:23 PM
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http://debianhelp.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/to-do-list-after-installing-ubuntu-12-04-lts-aka-precise-pangolin/

This , after literally DAY'S of searching was the best info type blog that I found . It does a lot of hand holding and gives you the code itsy bitsy at a time . Look down the right side bar and there is a ton of links to other guides in his blog.

Completely agree with the outdated comment and I searched for a long time before I found a reliable source. You did use Ubuntu 12.04 LTS desk top version , right ?

As of your last effort , are the vid drivers the main issue ? If so, what brand is the card ? I mean verbatim .

One thing I found to be a real stress reliever with Linux is the ability to set it up on a test machine and then muck it up to your hearts content and LEARN . After all , it is free ! If you mess it up , you can reinstall till you turn blue and quite frankly, it installs very quick and the process is easier to me than Windows . Most people who have problems with Linux are die hard Windows users like u and me . It is a "frame of mind" and you need to loose the Windows wipes my butt for me thought process when dealing with Linux . This in itself is the POWER of Linux.

Another link http://beginlinux.com/desktop/linux-mint/
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post #5 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
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That looks like a nice site ... assuming it covers the info you're searching for.
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Completely agree with the outdated comment and I searched for a long time before I found a reliable source. You did use Ubuntu 12.04 LTS desk top version , right ?

That's what I started out with before switching to Mint 13.
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As of your last effort , are the vid drivers the main issue ? If so, what brand is the card ? I mean verbatim .

Yeah, if I could backtrack on the video driver stuff, I'd be back to a stable, working system. Albeit, not able to power the projector. It's a NVidia GeForce 6200TC (Turbo Cache) card which takes the v173 legacy drivers. I ran into all sorts of trouble with Nouveau supposedly interfering and nvidia-xconfig holding settings but not recognizing them, no X Server running, programs no longer functioning as a result of all that, etc.
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One thing I found to be a real stress reliever with Linux is the ability to set it up on a test machine and then muck it up to your hearts content and LEARN . After all , it is free ! If you mess it up , you can reinstall till you turn blue and quite frankly, it installs very quick and the process is easier to me than Windows . Most people who have problems with Linux are die hard Windows users like u and me . It is a "frame of mind" and you need to loose the Windows wipes my butt for me thought process when dealing with Linux .

That's why I used the HTPC build as a Linux test bed. smile.gif I've worked with Unix for years for web hosting, but I can never get over how user unfriendly the platform is in general. I think even the most ardent Linux developers have fully embraced the idea that it's really all about the GUI if you want wide-spread appeal. That's getting off-topic, though...

Dan
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I should add, the NVidia card is needed because the on-board graphics (or Linux, not sure which) won't support a low enough resolution for the projector currently in use. I wasted a week or two trying to get xrandr to add the needed resolution to the available options, but nothing I tried worked. The NVidia configuration looked like it would handle the requirements, but then everything was lost after rebooting and I can't even get into the configuration options because of the nonexistent X Server issue. Every tutorial I've found for both problems has proven to be a dead end.

Dan
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post #7 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by dkap View Post

I should add, the NVidia card is needed because the on-board graphics (or Linux, not sure which) won't support a low enough resolution for the projector currently in use. I wasted a week or two trying to get xrandr to add the needed resolution to the available options, but nothing I tried worked. The NVidia configuration looked like it would handle the requirements, but then everything was lost after rebooting and I can't even get into the configuration options because of the nonexistent X Server issue. Every tutorial I've found for both problems has proven to be a dead end.
Dan

Did not realize you were well versed in Unix . Suppose I may / could of offended you with the "Linux poetry" . I am all of a two week veteran:p of the server version of 12.04 and I like it a lot . Can't comment much on the gui version of 12.04. Personally , if I had "the stones" to do it , I would dump Windows completely . Getting real tired of getting crammed into tiny little proprietary boxes.

Suppose you already looked at this http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1986601 ?

Sorry i could not be of more help but it sounds like you have already ( through a lot of research) reached your own conclusion
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post #8 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 07:40 PM
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Don't waste your time. Ubuntu STILL doesn't support TRIM in 2012. You have to manually edit fstab, drivers are a pain too. Assuming the gpu drivers works and you won't have to reconfigure Xorg or the whole system breaks. Support for anything is patchy. Stick with Win 8. Click and play. Literally.
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 08:53 PM
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YMMV, but Windows doesn't have to cost $100: http://www.techspot.com/news/50875-loophole-enables-anyone-to-get-a-windows-8-license-for-free.html


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post #10 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 11:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by flocko View Post

Did not realize you were well versed in Unix . Suppose I may / could of offended you with the "Linux poetry" .

Nah, not at all. I share your desire to break free of Microsoft, but at the end of the day, Windows (and Office) just plain works. Of course, I'm still running XP Pro and hope to never have to upgrade it to a newer version of Windows, which is the reason for toying with Linux.
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Suppose you already looked at this http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1986601 ?

I actually hadn't seen that particular one. It doesn't quite describe the same problem I have (sort of concerns me, after recent experiences), but it's close enough that it's worth reading through the rest of the thread to see where it goes.
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Don't waste your time. Ubuntu STILL doesn't support TRIM in 2012. You have to manually edit fstab, drivers are a pain too. Assuming the gpu drivers works and you won't have to reconfigure Xorg or the whole system breaks. Support for anything is patchy. Stick with Win 8. Click and play. Literally.

I hear you about drives being a pain and patchy support! I definitely see the freedom and power of Linux, but I want to run a stable OS, not build one myself.

olyteddy, I'll see if that avenue still works for Win 8 if flocko's thread doesn't prove fruitful.

Dan
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post #11 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Reading through more of the first page of the ubuntuforums.org thread, I don't think that's going to work. Already I see references to outdated or non-applicable info, such as the "sudo service lightdm stop" command that doesn't appear to exist in Mint 13. That's been one of the repeated sticking points I've run across. Also, disagreement about which versions of the NVidia drivers the problem even applies to. Sigh, same ol' Linux troubleshooting procedures ... lots of shots in the dark.

Dan
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post #12 of 14 Old 12-11-2012, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post

YMMV, but Windows doesn't have to cost $100: http://www.techspot.com/news/50875-loophole-enables-anyone-to-get-a-windows-8-license-for-free.html

FYI, the download is for Win 8 Enterprise Edition and the Media Center key they send requires Win 8 Pro, so it's nothing more than a 90 day trial.

Dan
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post #13 of 14 Old 12-11-2012, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by dkap View Post

FYI, the download is for Win 8 Enterprise Edition and the Media Center key they send requires Win 8 Pro, so it's nothing more than a 90 day trial.
Dan
http://www.zdnet.com/how-do-you-get-the-best-deal-on-a-windows-8-pro-upgrade-7000006718/


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post #14 of 14 Old 12-11-2012, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
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I assume you're referring to:
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If you are currently using Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, you qualify for a $40 upgrade to Windows 8 Pro. [snip] And note that you do not have to use your discounted upgrade on the machine where you downloaded the code. You are free to snag the product key and the installer files and use them on a different qualifying PC later.

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