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Advantages of Linux & Basic build info

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
My HTPC I just setup is a windows box, but I just found the Linux area and am intrigued.

What are the advantages of using Linux as a HTPC? Or is it just because it can be done, and is a challenge to setup?

Many years ago I tried RedHat, but failed miserably.

How would a Linux newb go about setting up his first Linux HTPC?

What computer specs are required out of linux to play 480p material and divx movies smoothly?

I have an old P3 733 with a Gforce4, 4400 graphics card and 512 of RAM, would this work? If so, how do I start!

Thanks!
post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmerman911 View Post

My HTPC I just setup is a windows box, but I just found the Linux area and am intrigued.

What are the advantages of using Linux as a HTPC? Or is it just because it can be done, and is a challenge to setup?

Many years ago I tried RedHat, but failed miserably.

How would a Linux newb go about setting up his first Linux HTPC?

What computer specs are required out of linux to play 480p material and divx movies smoothly?

I have an old P3 733 with a Gforce4, 4400 graphics card and 512 of RAM, would this work? If so, how do I start!

Thanks!

Welcome to the dark side! There's no turning back now. Your specs actually look pretty good for what you want to do. The big disadvantage in the Linux world is graphics, and your card is one of the best supported ones out there. I would definitely take a look at mythtv, and especially the mythdvd and mythvideo plugins. You should be able to play all your videos and also backup any dvds you may have. I always recommend knoppmyth for people starting out on Linux as well.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Knoppmyth is the easiest to start with then?

This box will be just for watching my dvd collection from hard drive because no discs is convenient, and I won't be putting any tuners in it, I dont have cable or satelite or anything like that.
post #4 of 16
Knoppmyth is a bootable cd so you don't have to install anything to see how it works. It will give you the option to install it if you like it.
post #5 of 16
As to your original question, Linux is exceptionally efficient when it comes to it's programs. The overhead is very low and it can handle a large amount of tasks that if you tried to get the same computer to do under windows it would bog down. Myth in general is a very good app that is good because it is network scalable so one backend could service an entire house/apartment complex/entire neighborhood (the last two take some really good hardware/storage). Also myth supports capture devices that windows can't use such as a lot of pci qam devices. There are not any viruses to worry about with linux so that is always helpful and there is no software cost involved. The last great thing about myth is that there is an extremely intelligent, helpful user base and mailing list/forums that always provide a great deal of knowledge and troubleshooting support.

Mythtv and the mythvideo plugin is what you want for that. Knoppmyth is an automatic install program for myth. The other alternate route is to use this guide and install fedora core 6. The option with fedora core 6 will teach you a lot of things about linux in general.

Fedora 6 guide - http://wilsonet.com/mythtv/fcmyth.php
don't forget the myth wiki: http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the infor & links, checking them out right now.

I think I will test out knoppmyth on my older box, while I keep my newer box up and running until I figure this linux thing out.
post #7 of 16
you might also want to check out the ubuntu distribution. It is deeply easy to set up and use. In fact, if I were microsoft, I'd be very concerned. A functional desktop system can be had on even a 5 year old PC.

I've use Fedora and Ubuntu and Ubuntu is A LOT more friendly to set up. A lot prettier, too.. In fact, I just fed the cd into the drive, answered some simple questions and got a really nice system.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
I will check it out, thanks philba.
post #9 of 16
I'm in the minority here, but I actually like Freevo http://freevo.sourceforge.net/. But I use it more as a player for my ripped...err...backed-up DVD's and CD's then recording TV has I already have a ReplayTV. It also has a live CD version here http://geexbox.org/en/index.html
post #10 of 16
There are so many distributions of Linux, I keep wondering which one to pick.

Ubuntu, Fedora or openSUSE.


I do not see discussions around openSUSE. Is it because it is huge? The image is ~4GB.
post #11 of 16
I haven't tried it yet, but Ubuntu seems to be the most newb friendly.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by bac522 View Post

I haven't tried it yet, but Ubuntu seems to be the most newb friendly.

That is a urban legend. The "core" is *essentially* the same in all (most) linux distributions. If you were to go with something like Slackware or BSD then there is a very shallow learning curve and is therefore more difficult. The majority of average users will not see a big difference between the many linux distributions except for their "package manager" and bundled GUI applications.

I would suggest going with MythTV for your back end/front end. It will provide you with MANY more features than you really need but it is one of the more stable Linux HTPC front end applications out there. It also has a large community of users for support.

The great thing is that IF you decide to add TV/PVR functionality in the future either SD(NTSC), HD-OTA(ATSC), HD-Cable(QAM) it is a very simple installation.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ptysell View Post

That is a urban legend. The "core" is *essentially* the same in all (most) linux distributions. If you were to go with something like Slackware or BSD then there is a very shallow learning curve and is therefore more difficult. The majority of average users will not see a big difference between the many linux distributions except for their "package manager" and bundled GUI applications.

Well, there are some things that you only have to do in some distributions. Like in ubuntu, you have to compile ivtv from source while in fedora or rhel, the atrpms provide prebuilt packages. But for dvd playback only, you probably won't run into these issues.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ptysell View Post

That is a urban legend. The "core" is *essentially* the same in all (most) linux distributions. If you were to go with something like Slackware or BSD then there is a very shallow learning curve and is therefore more difficult. The majority of average users will not see a big difference between the many linux distributions except for their "package manager" and bundled GUI applications.

That's true, but from a desktop perspective Ubuntu is the most friendly which is good if you are using Linux as a desktop, but since we are talking HTPC, I suppose the real question is which is the best HTPC distro, meaning they include most of the apps needed to preform the functions of an HTPC.

I use Debain only because of my past experiences with the distro and it came with a fair number of apps already packaged in for HTPC, but I had to also do quite a bit of tinkering to get everything working.
post #15 of 16
post #16 of 16
To answer the OP's question re: hardware, the hardware cited in the OP looks fine for an Ubuntu 7.04 or Myth installation.
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