Installing LinuxMCE

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There are 3 methods of installation:

  • DVD installation: contains all the files necessary to install from scratch.
  • CD installation: for older version and older hardware, or if you do not have a DVD drive on your machine.
  • Internet installation: for manual/advanced installation on a computer already running Kubuntu with all required dependencies.


Regardless of what method you choose to use, there are 3 steps involved in getting LinuxMCE running on your computer:

  1. Getting Kubuntu running and updated
  2. Running LinuxMCE installation script (mce-installer) and Installing LinuxMCE
  3. Running the Configuration Wizards to configure the system.
If you plan on using a computer that already has the required OS and modules, you can start installing LinuxMCE directly if you have the Kubuntu files at hand - read "Using a pre-existing installation of Kubuntu" below.



Choosing an installation method

The method to use depends on whether or not you have a high-speed Internet connection, a CD/DVD reader, or, the skills necessary to prepare Ubuntu on your own. These methods only differ in how the LinuxMCE files are obtained, and how the installation scripts are started.


DVD method

With the DVD method, all the files are on the medium. It contains both Kubuntu and LinuxMCE. Once Kubuntu is installed, the scripts can be launched from the desktop.

The DVD installs both the Kubuntu OS and LinuxMCE at the same time, in about 20 minutes and with only 3 keystrokes. You pick the hard drive onto which you want LinuxMCE to be installed, and the installer will partition it, format it, and install everything with default options. It will even set your location and regional settings using an IP2Location service. The DVD installer copies a pre-configured image to your hard drive. It is therefore fast and easy, but there is little control over the installation process.
Note
The DVD installer erases all existing data from the selected hard drive. There is a new "keep settings" option which will preserve data in the home directory for most, but not all, installations. There are also some instructions on how to use the DVD Install with custom partitions.


Internet method

The Internet installation runs on an existing Kubuntu installation.

When you install Kubuntu from the LinuxMCE DVD, a shortcut to the installation script is placed on the desktop. When starting from your own Kubuntu install, you can download and launch the scripts manually. This is for advanced users who are familiar with Linux. If you are a beginner, you should use a dedicated machine and install using the DVD method.



CD method

The LinuxMCE CD installer comes on 2 CDs. It requires that the Kubuntu OS be installed first, using the Kubuntu Desktop Live CD (or using the alternate site for the Kubuntu Desktop Live CD). LinuxMCE is then installed on top of Kubuntu. The CD installer should only be installed on a Kubuntu installation that has not already been upgraded, since the LinuxMCE installer updates both the Kubuntu and LinuxMCE configuration files in parallel.

The CD installer gives you a lot more installation options. It takes about an hour or so to install, since everything is stored in .deb packages which must be decompressed and installed.

You can get Kubuntu 8.10 at Kubuntu 8.10.


Which is faster?

Installing from DVD is the easiest and the fastest since the files are on the DVD and do not need to be downloaded. Installing from CD .iso images located on your hard disk is the most flexible and the second fastest because hard drives are faster than CD/DVD drives, but remember that this requires you to install Kubuntu first.
Installing from burned CDs is slowest because everything is stored in .deb packages which must be decompressed and installed.



Downloading the necessary software

To downloaded all the necessary files, follow the Download Instructions.



Pre-installation preparations

Setting up the equipment

As mentioned in How to get started with LinuxMCE, setup your equipment.

Start with a plan for the location of your LinuxMCE components and wire each location that you can wire. The connections between the Core server and the Media Directors require significant network bandwidth for data transmission. Furthermore, netbooting (loading the operating system of the Media Directors via network connection to the Core, versus their own hard drives) is not easy accomplished through wireless networking. Network booting of the Media Directors is best done with a wired (Ethernet) connection. For this reason, it is recommended you have sufficient (in quantity and quality) wired Ethernet connections between the Core server and each peripheral Media Director.

Other devices, which do not have high data transmission requirements, such as Orbiter remote controls, may easily connect through a wireless access point within the LinuxMCE internal network.

Once you have a networking base, connect all your wires and ensure that you have internet connectivity from the location where your Core will operate.
Connect a monitor to the VGA port and plug in a set of speakers, a keyboard, and a mouse. This should be enough to ensure a successful setup.
We recommend using a monitor for the initial install. Monitors are better than TVs for adapting to a wacky resolution setting (it could happen). You probably don't want to mess about with xorg.conf on your first install. We also recommend using a VGA cable because that is the default setting when the LMCE wizard pops up. I'd specifically advise against using an HDMI cable and expecting it to pass video and sound to your TV. It might work, but more likely it will require extensive tinkering. It's easy to swap to a different display or connection after things are up and running.

Do not get too esoteric and increase your chances for potential problems. Get a basic system going, then over time, configure more from your working system.

If you have a TV capture card, it will be configured during the installation.
The wizard will ask where to get program guide information. In the US this is usually schedulesdirect.org. Set up your account and know your username and password before starting the install.


Connecting to the Internet

An active internet connection is required for the internet installation method.

The DVD install method does NOT REQUIRE an internet connection, but one is strongly recommended. Without an active internet connection, proprietary GPU drivers will not be installed. PCI IDs cannot be updated, and your install ID will become 1, though the features which require a unique ID are not currently implemented. Once you get to setup wizard, it will be difficult for many devices to be correctly installed without internet. The failure to install mythtv etc will take a very long time before you can start using the system etc. However all of this IS recoverable, except the install ID.

Understanding what to expect

Before installing, check out the Known Issues, and please read the FAQ. Because of the fact that it's a delicate installation small things make a huge difference.

The installation process does take some time. After you click on something, you will need some patience to wait for things to get downloaded and installed. Some parts of the installation can sometimes take hours. If in doubt, leave it overnight.
Don't worry if the system seems to stop at points or report what seems like error messages. This is normal since at places it will be testing drivers out, and is only there for the advanced Linux user. You will get a dialog box if something really does go wrong. And, understand this may take a very long time since it will in parallel be updating your Kubuntu system to the latest version. Just leave it for an hour or two and come back later[1].

LinuxMCE is an extremely powerful, fantastic piece of software; have no doubt about that. But, please bear in mind that it is a project, not a product.

Each LinuxMCE version is based on the corresponding Ubuntu version, which means that brand new hardware might not work out of the box. For this reason, if you are buying hardware specifically for your home automation system, you might want to use hardware that is a little older and save yourself some money at the same time. That said, in nearly all cases you will be able to get through any issues with a little patience and some help from the community. Unrecognised NICs is the most common issue.



Getting Kubuntu running and updated

Using a pre-existing installation of Kubuntu

You can install LinuxMCE on a pre-existing installation of Kubuntu.

If you would like to install Kubuntu on your own, you can read the old instructions for Installing from Kubuntu Desktop 7.10 LiveCD and make the necessary adjustments.


Note
The Kubuntu Desktop installation files are necessary during the installation of LinuxMCE. You you will need either a live CD, or a copy of the .iso file available somewhere on your hard drive.

The install process will partially overwrite your previous Kubuntu installation using configuration files from the Live CD which are known to be uniquely compatible with LinuxMCE. If you have previously modified your Kubuntu system (subsequent to its original installation), you may lose some of your configuration files because LinuxMCE modifies them to suit its own needs. Therefore, do not install LinuxMCE on a mission-critical PC if you don't want to risk this. LinuxMCE core server should be installed on a dedicated hardware.



Installing Kubuntu from the DVD

If you do not know how to install Kubuntu on your own, it is best you use the DVD method, which will automatically install and update it for you.
The DVD will install Kubuntu for you and bring you to the desktop of a fully functional Kubuntu Desktop.



Running LinuxMCE installation script (mce-installer)

Once the new Kubuntu installation has finished booting back up, check that your internet connections are working. If you have a NIC that is not plug-and-play (like the Intel gigabit card) then now is the time to install the driver and confirm operation.

From a pre-existing installation of Kubuntu

Mount the LinuxMCE installation ISO, or insert the LiveCD in the tray.



From desktop after DVD install

On the Desktop, you will find a on the "LinuxMCE" icon: double click on it. This will run the /root/new-installer/fullinstall.sh and install LinuxMCE on top of you updated Kubuntu installation.

Once the above process is complete - the AV Wizard should start (after rebooting).



Installing LinuxMCE

Note
when summary screen appears, take note of the default PIN, and, the user name and password for the administrative account.


Version specific installation instructions



Once you have decided on a version to install, you can use the links in the sections below to navigate to the installation instructions for the version of your choice.


Installation instructions for 10.04

Installing 1004
If you are brave and technologically adept enough, help us find and resolve the issues in this Beta release.
If you need help with this version, you can use the forum for some help.

Installation instructions for 08.10

Currently, Installing 0810 (Final) is the recommended option.

Other versions



Next: Configuring LinuxMCE


Upon reboot, you will not see Kubuntu. More software will load, then the AV Wizard will start. If you connected the display with something other than a VGA cable, the screen will go black. You will have to press a number on your keyboard (just the number, don't hit "enter") to tell the wizard what connection to use. The default value is 2: VGA.

 Keys for choosing a connector:

1: DVI
2: VGA
3: Component
4: Composite
5: S-Video
Q: DVI-2
W: VGA-2
L: LVDS

Then follow the wizards as described in the following links.

Tip: After LMCE is up and running, the LinuxMCE installation icon on the Kubuntu desktop becomes a hazard. Clicking it will begin a reinstall and ruin your day. Best to right click and delete the icon!