How to get started with LinuxMCE

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First things first: start by understanding the architecture of LinuxMCE as explained in the User Manual. Then and only then, proceed with selecting your hardware and setting it up, installing LinuxMCE, and learning to use it.
Enjoy the journey!

Selecting the hardware

Select PC components necessary in a Core based on the Core PC hardware selection guide, and decide whether you would like a Dedicated Core or a Hybrid.

Setting up the 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. 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. Its 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 "". Set up your account and know your username and password before starting the install.

Downloading and installing LinuxMCE

There are currently two methods of LinuxMCE installation, each with different download requirements.

  • A DVD installation which requires a single installation disk.
  • An internet installation which can be done from a previously installed Kubuntu machine.

Learn the difference differences and selection criteria for these methods, where to get the files, and how to install LinuxMCE, by reading the Installing LinuxMCE page.


This troubleshooting guide assumes some basic knowledge of Linux. In LinuxMCE, everything is a device. In the LinuxMCE Admin Website, you can choose Devices, to see a list of all the devices in your installation. We recommend you don't make changes here - you can break things! The top level device is usually a computer, either the core or a hybrid or an orbiter. All the logs for the devices on that computer are stored in /var/log/pluto. You can ssh in to the core using the root password you chose, and from there, you can ssh to all the media directors-shared keys were automatically setup.

All current activity is logged in the file that ends in ".log". At bootup, certain device logs are archived into /var/log/pluto/*.log.*.gz files

All DCE devices are running in separate screen sessions. Type "screen -ls" to see all active screen sessions, and "screen -r PID" where PID is the id you saw in the -ls list to attach to the screen session. There is not much for you to do or see though since all the output on stderr and stdout is going into the logs. DCERouter is running the same way on your core or hybrid.

If you're a programmer, you can also check out our Programmer's Guide. If you want to learn about writing DCE Devices, see the DCE.

Configuring LinuxMCE

See Configuring LinuxMCE.