Multimedia for Dummies
I want to set up a multimedia computer for my mum, it has to be idiot proof, not because she is an idiot, but she's not a technology buff by any stretch of the imagination.
I need it to be able to take any CD or DVD and extract all the video and/or audio, removing any copy protection in the process, to build an always-available library of all her (legally owned) music and movies on the internal hard drive. DMCA is irrelevant, we're not in the USA, so copying these tracks is legal as long as they are only ones that she owns and the originals are kept once copied to the HD. It's just a convenience and ease of use issue.
Is there particular software or a combination of packages that can be used to do this easily and relatively automatically, and then provide the ability to access the music and videos easily from a menu system? i.e.: stick a disc in, the system automatically copies whatever is on it and files it in the HD, adds it to the index, and makes it available from the play library.
I will of course be setting up a remote access system, likely VNC over SSL, so that I can fix any problems for her and so on.
In your case I would install Ubuntu 9.04 for you're mom and you should run through the whole article listed in Howtoforge called "Perfect Desktop Ubuntu 9.04" there you go.
Afterwards you'll have everything she will need for the scenario you described.
The perfect desktop guides are a fine place to begin, but they do include an awful lot of redundancy.
The Perfect Desktop - Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) | HowtoForge - Linux Howtos and Tutorials
Here is some help on managing removable media in Ubuntu.
Manage the removable media on Gnome | Linux Operating System - Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo, Arch
You should be able to set options up there to auto-rip a CD/DVD.
You might be interested in XMBC as well.
Transform Ubuntu into a Media Center with XBMC | Tombuntu
I'll give it a shot, will this run on an Atom?
It should run fine. Might not be super responsive, but I'd think it would be ok.
Had a chat with some people who work with the Atom, I think I am going to go with a Celeron on microATX instead of Atom on miniITX, just for the relative power (mips) even on the low-power (watts) Celeron's :p
Other than the case, board and CPU I can pretty much scavenge everything else from my parts pile (HD, optical, remote, RAM, HDMI cable, etc.)