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Revision as of 23:16, 3 November 2010 by Zaerc (Talk | contribs) (ASUS P6T Deluxe i7 920 moved to User:Friesian: userpage hardly describes the mainboard at all)

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Version Status Date Updated Updated By
710 Unknown N/A N/A
810 Unknown N/A N/A
1004 Unknown N/A N/A
1204 Unknown N/A N/A
1404 Unknown N/A N/A
Usage Information

Currently running LinuxMCE 7.10rc 32bit DVD install- Previously ran 64bit, but I decided to switch to 32 when I botched up the install attempting to upgrade Nvidia drivers. I was careful to follow the directions and spent several hours looking for a solution and experimenting- Not sure if this is an issue with this hardware, or somehow I screwed up... Core/Hybrid Install was easy. Almost every thing works OOB. Spdiff and optical audio do not work OOB with 64bit (not tested yet with 32bit).

  • Main System core/hybrid, dual boot Nlite vista:
    • Asus P6T deluxe i7
    • 6gb DDR3 (3x2gb sticks) Oz platinum @1800mghz
    • Intel Core i7 920 @2.66ghzX4
    • Patriot warp v2 32g SSD (root drive)
    • 3x WD 200gig hd's -xfs file system
    • 1.5TB segate sata drive -xfs
    • Light-on Blu-ray sata drive (rom) (blu-ray's do not play OOB, but will rip- dvd's rip/play fine.)
    • Generic 3.5 floppy
    • Nvidia GTX280 (not working... haven't put much time into trying to get going)
    • Nvidia 7800GTX (works OOB! -driver update attempt on 64bit failed)
    • Zailmen ZH 1000HP power supply
    • Silverstone TJ-07 case
    • Westinghouse 22" lcd monitor

  • Network:
    • Gbit D-Link DIR-655 router/wireless
    • 2wire 2701HG dsl/router/wireless
  • Orbiters:
    • Hp tx1000 tablet (Works well as an orbiter with vista "must install as administrator")
    • Sony clie peg th-55 pda? (I tried, but the old clie just couldn't handle it...)

This wiki page is intended to document my install experience in hopes that it may help others trying to work with similar hardware/experience level. This is the first LinuxMCE system I've set up, and in general I have very little experience with Linux. Linux Code/terminals scare me! (working on that) lol... So if I can set up this hardware, most anyone probably can do the same if they have the time and patience- advanced linux users will likely not find much in here that's a help as it will mostly be about my own mistakes and ignorance of how the system works. Unfortunately I had already purchased this hardware when I discovered LinuxMCE- I wouldn't have bought such high end equipment had I been thinking of the system I am now, I would have done much better to spread my money around on more components, but it will come together as time and money allow. Before starting I read allot on Linuxmce, probably spent 5-6hrs reading and searching, I recommend any new users do this as well as many many questions you have are likely answered in the wiki and user forums.

Right now I'm just testing things out and trying to get a feel for how everything works; I hope in the future to expand the system for house wide integration and make use of all the subsystem's functions. I'll update this wiki page as I progress- oh- this is the first wiki I've created, so forgive if it's not standard, learning this as well.

Install: Install of 64bit LinuxMCE went very smoothly overall. I first went into BIOS, turned off the raid and switched the drives to APCI (APIC?) mode. (edit- this is required as far as I can tell, and means no 'easy' dual boots w/ vista- must adjust bios) I also returned my over clock settings to factory settings for stability, and selected (edit: this is not required, and probably not the right way to do it) "non Plug and Play aware OS". -not sure if that was the right thing to do, but I felt that would ease the installation as the mother board would then handle more of the hardware. (I've since put this back to "plug and play aware OS" and installed that way- everything seams to be working.) The first attempt was with the GTX280 card- I really didn't expect it to work, so it was no surprise that it didn't; the first screen w/install options came up but after I picked install the screen went black and never came back. I turned off the system and put my old 7800GTX in- started installing, no problems. It may be possible to get the 280 working with a driver update, will save that for later. (edit: driver update failed to work with either card- ui1 only on 7800gtx worked @ <1080p, signifigantly decreased performance.)

I considered installing on a standard HD rather then one of the Patriot SSD's for the sake of simplicity but I thought, what the hell... I did notice that 3 of my 4 SSD's where not showing- this is likely because I previously had them raided, and their partition tables are still messed up. I'm sure it's not a big deal, seams like I've had to fix the same thing on standard drives before after separating an array- can't seam to remember the process though. The SSD doesn't seam to have any issues with the install. There are tweaks I need to look up for this- as I've heard Linux is less then optimal for the way it uses SSD drives in terms of long term drive life (something about too much/frequent hd activity). The system installed and I chose the most basic GUI settings to ensure it wouldn't muck up the install. (edit: second install revealed I can pick UI2 alpha without causing problems) The setup was easy since I didn't have much to configure, the sound worked as was immediately apparent from video of the attractive lady guiding me through the set up. it detected the one standard Hard drive in the system and I told it it could use it, it detected the dvd and said it was configured, detected the bluetooth and said it was configured- then it generates the scenarios and orbiters, and next thing I know I'm looking at the interface. I noticed my dsl lighting up as it downloads software- hey, I have internet! Wow- nice! Can't believe it was so easy! Now what?

Looking at the menus was slightly discouraging, they were rather bland, and of course- I don't have anything linuxmce can control, nor did I have any media cataloged. After fumbling around the interface a bit I found the KDE desktop, and entered it- from the launch manager I changed the interface to the UI2 w/ alpha blending, after a quick reload- wow, big difference, that's more like it. I popped in a DVD to see if my blu-ray drive was really configured- it said, 'blu-ray, hd dvd detected, would you like to rip it?'. I wasn't sure where it wanted to rip it, and didn't think there'd be enough space on the SSD (does riping BR's re-encode? nope) so I chose no; I waited, hoping it would play, but it didn't. Will have to look into that... (edit: 64bit 7.10 does not play blue rays unless they're ripped to disk, 32bit may?, ripping does not re-encode standard dvd's or blurays- they save in ISO formate, with the extention .dvd -standard DVD file size is up to 8.4GB, bluray up to 50GB.) I popped a regular dvd in, and was pleased when it did start playing after asking me if I wanted to rip, I also noticed it knew the title of the movie. I started the movie, and was rather disappointed with the quality- it was a bit grainy and just off. Something else I need to look into... (edit: have since played dvd's back to back vs windows- no difference, just was an older movie.)

I decided I wanted to watch an HD movie off the hard drive and see how that would look, so I plugged in my 1tb iomega usb drive, a min later it was configured, and I told it NOT to use it unless specifically told too. (didn't want to risk anything being overwritten, though that's hopefully not a realistic concern- edit: it's not, and I should have told it to use the drive...) then looking in the orbiter, hmm, no media listed... I figured maybe it needed time so I went away and came back in an hour- still nothing. So I went into the admin page, to try and fix things, only it wouldn't let me log in with the user/pass I'd created during set up. A quick search revealed that the correct User AND Pass is actually the first family member name you enter, NOT the user pass you set up- (edit: that's only used for sudo terminal commands) confusing, but ok whatever... got in admin and found the check box for 'use this drive', checked it, saved- went away, came back, still nothing... (edit: the box aperently doesn't work, lol.) At that point I shrugged it off and thought I'd try and get my network going- then maybe I could access it through the other com on the network. So I plugged in the router, and the two com's, and then curiosity got the better of me so I tried to netboot the second box. That didn't work... so I loaded up windows xp and logged into the (eth1 external- dlink) router, found two problems- #1 the router had it's own dhcp server going. #2 the access logs showed something about 'dcerouter' (the core) trying to access from the wrong subnet 'ip spoofing' it said.

So I turned off the dlink's dhcp server and changed it's subnet to (the same subnet as the core- I remember reading somewhere that this address was hard coded in certain areas of linuxmce and that changing it (on the core) would cause problems.) I restarted the router, Tried to netboot again, still nothing... oh well- back on track, back into XP, this time to see if the network was working- dcerouter showed up, but no user/pass seamed to work. hmm... I went back to the linuxmce box, XP wasn't even showing up. It was at this point I realized, I'd disabled file sharing services, and basically butchered and streamlined this XP install to the point where it probably wasn't going to be remotely easy to get networked- this has always been a single machine, no need for networking beyond internet access. I do have an additional full XP install on this machine, but working with it consistently leaves a bad taste in my mouth... So, back to the netbooting task... (yes... I do have a bit of ADD :P )

I Started searching the wiki and discovered that on 710 the core has to be told and prepare itself before you can netboot an MD- ahh ok- so I followed the instructions on how to do that and tried again- Viola! the MD netbooted successfully and installed; I couldn't see the video of the pretty lady- it said 'file not found'- but that's a small gripe, everything else worked... It detected and configured all the drives attached to the MD, though again I told it not to use any of them. Again I waited to see if the media would be detected- at this point it had access to about 1.2tb of media (yes, it's all legal by current 'fair use' standards- I've got racks of retail cds/dvds to prove it)- it didn't seam to be doing anything with it... So some more searching revealed you have to use 'synchronize media' in the admin panel. (edit: not if it's set up right. ie: tell it to use the drive, use the pluto folder structure, and then move your media into the correct folders)

At this point I decided I was over complicating things by trying to make it stream through the network, so I just moved the two usb hard drives and plugged them directly into the core. K.I.S.S. EDIT: Please tell me your not using this as any sort of step by step instructions- if you are, you probably shouldn't be, and you should know what I did next I now suspect screwed up my database So I found the 'synchronize media' in the admin panel and found what appeared to be one of the hard drives in the menu- hit synchronize and... nothing... it seamed to synchronize a file that had the same name as the hard drive- this file appeared in the orbiter... A bit more poking around revealed that I was in the wrong menu (on the left- home/public/data... edit: That IS the right menu/folder), and the menu I was looking for was a bit hidden- to get there I had to click switch to mnt/upnp and then click 'up one level' and then devices, and then click the hard drives/folders I wanted to synchronize- the hard drives where listed under numbers that I remembered seeing when they where first detected/configured during install. That worked! It started the process of cataloging. (edit: incorrectly... exactly how I told it too)

The movies which is the bulk of my media went quite quickly- the mp3's took a long time (due to tags and album art/lyrics etc). So I go back into the orbiter, and finally- I've got media! But what a disorganized mess! I've got allot of work to do on my tagging... the movies especially (none of them where tagged- I've always just browsed my organized folders and loaded them through windows explorer)- the mp3's I've been much better about tagging and keeping organized, but if a file is missing a particular field (like genre for example, or far worse TV show) they don't show up with the search filters/organization; result: all my tv shows are mixed in with my movies- this won't do... need to find a solution, hopefully one that doesn't involved edited each file individually- I'm not sure I have the patience for that...

To be continued: Next- streaming through the netbooted media director.

...umm... Oh noes! linuxmce ate my baby! (edit: nope.)

I lol'd when I read that on the user forums- written by a dev I think, regarding peoples propensity to blame the OS for any and every problem they encounter. Honestly I don't know if linuxmce truely 'ate my baby' - it's probably a hardware failure (running a mem test as I type this.) , maybe it's something else- Whatever it is, it's most likely my fault... All I really know is 'my baby' seams to be dead today. 'My baby' being the nlight XP install on my MD system (not the core/hybrid); this is the system that's got my life on it... it is, of course, backed up. Still, there few things more frustrating then seeing a bsod on boot- That sinking feeling that your about to have to reinstall your OS and all your programs, fish numerous files out and move them back where they should be, all to get back to where you where before- And of course to be reminded, that you should really have figured out a better back up system by now, with all the options out there... I am kicking myself for not unplugging the HD that had the install on it- though who knows, it probably wouldn't have made a difference anyway. -I remember telling the MD setup NOT to use the drive that had my xp OS on it- so that couldn't be the problem, right? Oh well.. The bsod specifically said 'this system is not fully acpi compliant'; hmm, that's news to me- smells like a hardware failure. Still can't help worrying a bit that my other HD's could somehow be getting screwed up. For now, I've unplugged them (when the sys was shut down) just to be on the safe side.

So... what happened is, this morning I tried to netboot the MD, too my surprise it wouldn't boot- it appeared to be netbooting correctly but then hung on 37.673410 eth0: linkup . just stopped there, and didn't seam to be doing anything else, I waited 10 min and then restarted. same results. I tried to think what on earth was different... hmm..

  • I'd unplugged the MD (when it was running) from the back of the dsl modum (2wire dsl/wireless- previously both the MD and the core where plugged into it) because the modem was complaining (loading it's own little information page rather then opening the web pages I requested) about there being a router behind the router (multiple dhcp servers) that was conflicting, after unplugging the MD from the modem everything seamed to work, the MD still had internet access and no more complaints from the modem.
  • The media database had changed (it was empty when I'd last netbooted the MD)
  • I shutdown the MD to concentrate on getting my media to show up in the core/hybrid.
  • I got the media to show ((incorrectly) as described previously)
  • I'd made some playlists- watched a movie- and read several pdf's.
  • I changed the time format for the KDE desktop to 12hr (and discovered there is no option to do that in the orbiter).
  • Then the system (core/hybrid) was powered down last night -everything seamed normal when I booted it back up...
  • I'd moved the usb drives from the Core to the MD, and back again.

So- at this point, this definitely seams like a network problem . I suck at network stuff- there, I admitted it; I know it's mostly simple stuff, I think I've got the basic understanding that I should be able to work with it (and usually after fumbling a bit I can get it to work) but it's just like I've got a black cloud over my head when I try to get a network going. It either works and it's simple and easy, or it doesn't, and I feel lost as too why. Somehow, having this problem didn't surprise me at all- even though I'd followed the install directions to the letter. The surprise, was yesterday, when it seamed I'd fixed the problem so easily, and things where actually working. Now- this router behind a router message confused the hell out of me... Yes- I do have TWO networks, and two network interfaces (on board both motherboards) on both systems- My internal network (eth0) links the core/hybrid to D-link router which then links to the MD; My external network (eth1) links the core/hybrid to 2wire modem/router & MD to 2wire. I didn't actually intend to set it (the linuxmce network) up this way- if you recall, I first attempted to netboot on a whim, and the network was then set up to be separate from the core/hybrid- my xp OS needed a direct internet connection- I neglected to unplug the box from the modem when I did successfully netboot and install it as an MD. So now, the core/hybrid was seeing the MD on both the internal and external network (the 2wire modem also acts as a router). I've not seen a network schematic that shows this configuration, so I'm assuming it may be a problem (edit: now I have seen it set that way, so I think it should be ok that way if the routers are set up correctly) From what I understand this router behind a router the 2wire complained about is about their being two dhcp servers on the same network- both trying to dictate to the other devices on the network who they are (their ip's and the ip's of the other devices on the network)- so I think what was happening is that my 2wire was arguing with my core about who had the right to name the IP of my MD on the external network (eth1) (edit: nope, it was about internal eth0). The reason this is very confusing, is that as far as I know the core/hybrid isn't supposed to be running a dhcp server on the external network, rather it is supposed to listen for and accept the demands of the dhcp server it already expected to be on the network (the modem)- and since it had internet access, it must have been doing that successfully? How could it both be receiving and obeying commands, and trying to give them on the same network? I'm probably missing something here, but my thoughts at this point was that somehow, since the core is seeing the MD through both the internal AND external network, that it was getting mucked up and confused- something was looping and mixing up the networks- the simple solution seamed to be to unplug the MD from the 2wire, and instead let it access the internet through the Core/hybrid via the internal network- that's how I've always seen it in the linuxmce network schematics online. This worked- I think... (edit: seams coincidental, the modum just happened to reach it's nusence level at that point and gave up badering me with the router behind the router message.)

At this point I'm thinking- ok, so the MD was setup, with a direct connection to both the internal and external network when it was installed- I wonder if it will boot if I plug it back into the external network. (ie, maybe the networks physical layout isn't a problem and the system can adapt- it's just the modem that can't, I could turn off dhcp in the modem more easily then reinstalling the MD.) So I plug it back in and this time rather then hanging on 'link up', it goes farther, and then restarts itself; I let it cycle once more and get the same thing, so I turn it off. Ok then... what now? I decide to remove and reinstall the MD from the core/hybrid. I go through the process- delete device- add device- wait for it to install- setup diskless MD- quick reload router- try to net boot, same results. I start to load win XP to check the settings of both routers- and then- crap, Bsod on windows boot. I'm at a loss for what to do next, other then restoring my XP system, and having a close look at the admin configuration to see if anything pops out at me.

hmm- think I may have found something. -Desktop is labeled as a device in admin. 'Desktop' is the network name of my XP setup. -looks like the core might be trying to deal with two different machines, that are really one and the same- ie trying to set up a network share, and netboot a machine at the same time.

To be continued...

After deleting the 'Desktop' from the core/hybrid admin panel, the MD successfully netbooted and reinstalled- I'm typing from it right now. but somethings not right... it's pausing frequently, loading and doing things painfully slow. and 'Gasp' I don't have a spell checker working. weird. this can't be right. the network seams to be going almost constantly- though I'm not sure what it's doing... there's no feed back. -my two computers are having a private conversation- they're probably making fun of me :P Oddly the message from the modem saying router behind the router appeared again- this time I selected 'disable' (I assume that means disable the modems dchp- edit: no it doesn't, it means disable the warning and allow the other router (the core/hybrid) to handle the dhcp for the MD on eth0); this was the choice it said to pick if I wanted to continue to use the router behind the router. Why the router 'is' considered to be behind the modems router, I'm not sure I understand- time to look at the network settings again. seams like one of two things is happening- either the core is running a dhcp server on eth1 (edit: NO) OR the modem is some how sensing that it's running it on eth0 as it should be (edit: YES- because the MD was connecting through the core, the modem wasn't able to assign the MD an ip, ergo the core/hybrid dhcp server on the internal network IS behind the router on the external network from the perspective of the modem). I'm lost and confused... resisting the temptation to ask for help- maybe I can figure this out yet...

So- I've re-netbooted the MD and am typing from it again. Seams to be ok now- whatever that private discussion my MD and core/hybrid where having earlier, it must have been important. running smooth as silk now, and booted up very quickly- running diskless seams feasible again :). course- using my ssd's would probably be faster :D . Only bad thing I notice is I still don't have a spell checker- arrgg. Earlier I was trying to read my logs from the core- I'm wondering if they're broken, or I'm doing it wrong, or what- I clicked the logs tab on the launcher application- selected the dcerouter log (thought it'd be fun to have a look where all the action is -least where I assume it is from what I understand.) and selected 'view log'- it opened in a tiny window, with merely a dozen lines of text- mostly things repeated. The log file size would have made me think it should be a huge tomb of marvelous geeky code that I'd have little hope of understanding- but no- just this tiny window...

So- I've done a couple experiments now. First I tried to stream some media; hmm, no sound- yea, duh, the speakers are still plugged into the core! but hay, that shouldn't stop me being able to hear the music- just tell the core to play it! so I picked the room that the core was in, and told it to play Mark Knopflers 'trawler mans song'- viola! let there be music- it worked! kewl! My first network commanded media play. Next I wanted to stream video to the media director, so I picked the room that was in and selected American beauty in 1080p- '<home/public/data/hd name hd number/filename> File not found' hmmm...errggg.. ok- so that's a different path then I remember seeing in the admin panel when I synced my media- there it was mnt/device/hd number/folder/filename (I think)...

Ok, so back to the core- and a quick spell check ;) you'd thank me if you knew :P. anyway, lets see- is American beauty available at the core orbiter? No... no it's not. That's odd, I watched it last night on the core. hmm somethings fishy. So I open up the Dolphin file manager, and try to play movies from both HD's directly- no problems. It appears I have a database problem- for some reason the orbiter is not finding the correct location of the files. -another thing, there's duplicates for some files, that weren't there before. I'm at a loss as to why that would be. Unfortunately after ALLOT of searching- I'm still at a loss as to how to fix it. I could just resynchronize the media folders like I did last time- but based on what I've read, that would create duplicates of all the entries?- it's already far too messy to go and do something like that; not to mention it'd probably just break again. I think I've done something wrong here, somewhere. a bit more searching- then it's time to ask for help.

Starting Over...

I have to give a hearty thanks to TKmedia on the IRC chat for metaphorically holding my hand and walking me through the process of reseting the database- he showed great patients with my unfamiliarity with Kubunto/linuxmce and working in a terminal. I should note, I was told this is NOT a recommended procedure- I'm not sure why though. We did successfully get the database reset- I had saved the conversation, and was going to post it here for all to see, but in frustration I reinstalled without thinking to back up the file. Doh! A quick search on what code from it I do remember reveled this thread with instructions though: Surprised I didn't come across that before.

The bottom line was I'd screwed up the install too much by this point- for some reason the system was not re-cataloging my media- I was right back to where I was before I got the stuff to catalog by doing things the wrong way... after two hours there was nothing listed in the orbiter. and the media that had appeared before by searching, was now gone... wtf? enough of this- it'll be easier to start fresh, and it would help my sanity... Lets recap the mistakes I think I may have made so far, to emphasize why I decided to reinstall.

  • I was too impatient when first installing- biggest mistake here. I jumped right into netbooting an MD before I'd even got the core straightened out- then I didn't even let the MD finish whatever it was doing (it was probably trying to catalog the usb drives that where connected to it for one...) before turning it off and later moving the drives.
  • Installed with bios in 'non plug and play aware OS' mode. (I'm not sure exactly what effect this has, but might be important/better for the OS to have control- maybe the reason linuxmce was not adapting to me moving the drives, was because the bios was configuring them rather then letting the OS do it?)
  • Installed with the USB drives plugged in to the MD- and then moved them to the core before they synced, and then manually synced them.
  • Network was improperly configured- dhcp servers where running on both routers and the core when I started, the internal network was on a different subnet then the core, and both core/hybrid and the MD had direct access to the external network. (this may have cause a misconfiguration somehow? -edit: shouldn't have and actaully may have been the only reason the MD was able to boot- the marvel yukon eithernet is not well compatable with 64bit, needs a driver update or it drops out during net boot.)
  • Tried to network to a VERY hacked up XP install that was lacking many services required to network. This setup a netshare, and a MD for the same machine.
  • Created and deleted MD in the admin multiple times (it says 'not recommended' by delete no idea why- edit: actaully that's for the core/hybrid, was remembering wrong)

(edit: told the system not to use the drives my media was on, then tried to change the setting in admin panel (not supported), then manually synced them from /mnt...)

more to come when I think of them? To be continued...

K.I.S.S. it should really be a motto to live by... It seams I've been fighting this the whole way, trying to push, prod, and poke the system into doing what I want, getting impatient when I don't immediately get the results I'm looking for- being a windows power user has probably made me like this, I've come to expect being able to get results by doing quick searches, critical thinking, and all else fails just plain poking around and experimenting. Of course with windows- I know how things work, I know what to be careful with, and I usually know how fix things if I muck something up. With Linuxmce, I feel like I'm in a foreign country, trying to learn not just a new language, but a seemingly radically different culture and customs- one that seams to not be very forgiving of my silly foreign ways. In short, I haven't been going with the flow- I haven't taken time to insure every things right before starting things- I didn't give the OS time to do what it needed to do, cause it wasn't telling me what it was doing and I was frustrated with the lack of feedback. I've been expecting the OS to correct and adapt to my mistakes. If I really knew the system, I bet it would have been possible, maybe even simple to fix the mess I'd made of the install- but for now, I need to walk before I run...

Continuied at