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Hi everyone! I'm new to the forum. I feel like I'm not the only one with this question so I tried using the search but didn't really find what I ...
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  1. #1
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    A Simple Autio-Streaming Computer


    Hi everyone! I'm new to the forum. I feel like I'm not the only one with this question so I tried using the search but didn't really find what I was looking for. If this question has been answered somewhere else, let me know.

    I've been looking around a lot lately at devices like the Chumby, the Sony Dash and the Livio. I think they're all great looking devices that I would have a lot of use for, but the price range seems a little ridiculous (~$100-$200), especially since I have a perfectly good, albeit older, laptop lying around.

    For those of you that aren't familiar with these devices, they're pretty much glorified alarm clocks that connect to a wireless network and stream services like Pandora, Shoutcast, locally-hosted media and/or other various services. Many of them even appear to be based on the same linux-based "chumby" firmware. <url pending>

    I was wondering if there is a distro or even a software package that would be fairly stripped down and lightweight enough to run on limited hardware while giving me a straightforward interface like one of these devices. I've looked into LinuxMCE and a few other apps but haven't really found what I've been looking for. If I could just use the "chumby" software, I would be okay with that, (the source code is available at <url pending>) but I'm not sure how it would work with a mouse and keyboard interface.

    My experience with computers is extensive, but my my experience with Linux is limited. I've installed and used several of the user-friendly distros (ubuntu, kubuntu, opensuse, fedorea) but my expertise with the terminal is minimal at best. If you're recommendation is just to install the Chumby software, I would also really appreciate some direction for how to install from source code, because I've never even touched on that before.

    Thanks!

    (Sorry for all the "url pending" tags. I didn't realize I needed 15 posts before I could add them. I'll update as soon as I get there.)

  2. #2
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    Looks like installing the "chumby" software on a PC is out of the question, actually.

    <forum.chumby.com/viewtopic.php?id=3258>

    Still interested in hearing your thoughts though.

  3. #3
    Linux Newbie previso's Avatar
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    What model laptop? Specs?

  4. #4
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    Pentium M 1.5GHz
    768 MB RAM
    NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200

  5. #5
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    That's plenty of RAM and processor + video to run any current Linux version, such as Ubuntu. You can easily stream audio with normal Linux media player software, such as VLC. In fact, I do that all the time on my system. I'm streaming jazz from WGBH in Boston right now, even though I'm in the Chicago area.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  6. #6
    Linux Newbie previso's Avatar
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    From the specs, any Linux flavor will fit. I'd stay away from eye candy (Compiz desktop enhancements). The easiest, in my experience, to start with, has been Knoppix. ( I use Suse now that I've gotten my feet wet)
    My favorite site for music is Last.FM, my daughter prefers Pandora. AOL radio and Live365.com are good, and Shoutcast.com has the widest selection.
    Let us know which version you choose and any questions about it.

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    Thanks for the tips. I was envisioning that there would be some 'media center only' distro out there that might fit my needs, but I'm actually a little excited about trying something that's a bit more versatile. I could use the extra linux experience anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by previso View Post
    From the specs, any Linux flavor will fit. I'd stay away from eye candy (Compiz desktop enhancements). The easiest, in my experience, to start with, has been Knoppix. ( I use Suse now that I've gotten my feet wet)
    My experience with Linux is definitely limited, but I've tinkered with both Ubuntu and Suse enough to at least do a few basic things. I see that Knoppix is debian-based. What makes it different/easier to use than Ubuntu? I've always been under the impression that "easier" was synonymous with "more graphical", but Ubuntu seems to do that pretty well.

    Also, why did you decide to make the jump to Suse? I know Suse is not debian-based and I know that was definitely tough to me to get used to with the experience that I did have being in Ubuntu.

  8. #8
    Linux Newbie previso's Avatar
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    LinuxMCE and XBMC are media-oriented packages. My first experience with Debian was back when there were no dependency resolution algorithms, making package installation a royal nightmare. You didn't know it would not run until it didn't. RPMs (as in user pioneer Red Hat) was more mature in addressing newbie obstacles. I got in to Suse with 9.0 and have stuck with it. It has just gotten better since Novell bought them out.
    I've always tried distros on live-cd first, and Knoppix just works out-of-the box. Having spent so many years with Windows, the KDE desktop is more comfortable for me. (There is a kubuntu, you know)

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    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
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    For a simple http audio stream, also check out MPD. It has built-in http streaming since version 0.15, and while there's no GUI setup tool, the config file is well commented and it isn't very difficult to get going.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
    For a simple http audio stream, also check out MPD. It has built-in http streaming since version 0.15, and while there's no GUI setup tool, the config file is well commented and it isn't very difficult to get going.
    Interesting. I'll definitely have to play with that. For right now, however, all of my media is stored on NAS, so I'm not sure how useful it will be.

    I installed Kubuntu 10.10 last night, turned off all the desktop effects and started playing around with streaming from Pandora. All was well until I started installing updates, and then the system started to get bogged down pretty heavily. I was even noticing a stutter in playback here and there. Should I be using Gnome for performance purposes? Are there any daemons I could turn off to speed things up? CUPS maybe?

    I feel like turning things off might also have a positive effect on my boot time. This isn't a huge deal. I was actually pretty pleased with how quickly Kubuntu booted considering my past experiences, but I feel like there is a lot I could trim away considering I have no intentions for using this as anything other than a media player.

    And if you think there's something I could be turning off, how would I go about doing that?

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