Why should I use the LinuxMCE platform for my project?
LinuxMCE is a collection of many different pieces from different developers. The focus of LinuxMCE itself is a) a friendly, skinnable, multi-language user interface that works on all platforms from pc's to webpads and phones, b) the development framework, or back-end, that allows the various user applications to work together seamlessly, c) an installation and configuration system that dealers and novice retail consumers can use.
The actual user applications, like the media player, the phone system, the PVR, and so on, are separate, independent open source projects, such as Xine, Asterisk and Myth TV. LinuxMCE is the 'glue' that enables them to work together as a cohesive unit.
For example, assume a burglar breaks into your home. LinuxMCE's security plug-in notifies the home automation module to turn on the lights, sends a message to the gc100 device to turn on the stereos, and forwards a message to the Xine media player to play a warning message through the stereo. It then notifies the homeowner on his mobile phone, which is also running the LinuxMCE framework, and instructs the surveillance cameras to stream live video to the homeowner's mobile phone so he can decide what to do. If he hits the 'talk' button, LinuxMCE wakes up all the media directors, causes the Asterisk phone system to generate a conference call back to the homeowner's cell phone, and patches the media directors in using Linphone. The whole house becomes a giant speakerphone allowing the homeowner to see the intruder and speak to him. This is the first time a homeowner can personally protect his home and not blindly rely on a monitored alarm company. It's never been possible before because it requires so many difference 'pieces of the puzzle' to work together in harmony. Only LinuxMCE enables this.
This makes LinuxMCE unique, unlike anything else offered for Linux or Windows. With Windows XP MediaCenter, Microsoft provided a unified front-end for the various media pieces: PVR, DVD, Music. But it stops there. It doesn't integrate home automation, security, or a phone system, and there are no 'smart' remote controls like web-pads and mobile phones. Sure you can get separate software to do those other tasks, but they will always be separate pieces of software that all have their own UI, and which do not work together as a whole and, therefore, cannot do what LinuxMCE does.
Although we're getting the ball rolling by building LinuxMCE DCE 'wrappers' for Xine, Asterisk, Myth, as well as lots of drivers, LinuxMCE is intended to be an open platform that anybody can add to. If you are a developer and have an open source project, there are a lot of good reasons to consider using the LinuxMCE platform:
- It's completely free, and the entire DCE Framework is GPL
- Using our DCE Generation wizard, in a matter of minutes you can define a new project, point-and-click to choose the commands you implement, events you fire and data you need. The wizard will create a ready to compile C++ project with gcc makefiles and Microsoft VS.NET project file: commented, with stubs ready for you to implement, and functions to fire events and get your configuration data.
- Depending on your device or software, it may be as little as a couple hours before it is 100% integrated.
- Once it is, an average end-user with no technical skills will be able to install it by checking off a single box. We have a simple installation wizard, and a self-booting, self-installing, kick-start cd. LinuxMCE is also self-configuring and self-updating. It targets a much broader audience than an open source project normally would since no tech skills, and no knowledge of Linux, are required.
- If you make hardware, we have our own very easy to use plug-and-play protocol and framework. Just register as a manufacturer, specify the range of mac addresses for each device, what device it is and any unique parameters it needs. That's it. Anytime a user plugs your device into his home network it will be automatically installed, configured, and ready to go.
- Your project will be controllable with any of our front-end GUI's for PC's, webpads, pda's and mobile phones, as well as an infrared remote control.
- You can use our Design tool to create your own GUI that is cross-platform, skinnable, and multi-language
- It will work seamlessly with all the other DCE Devices. It takes 1 line of code to send a command to any device. The framework is lean and simple.
- The end-user will be able to configure it using a simple, web based front-end. As a developer you don't need to do anything except specify what data parameters your device needs. The LinuxMCE framework does the rest.
- If you want, we can host it for you, providing an automated nightly build, weekly release, forums, mailing lists and online documentation.
- You can add a ton of functionality with very little effort, and do many things you couldn't otherwise do. Consider the above burglar example. If you make, say, a video surveillance project, how long would it take you to offer something like that? Without LinuxMCE it would be virtually impossible. With LinuxMCE, you could do it in a couple hours.