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- 07-03-2014 #1
- Join Date
- Jul 2014
- Milwaukee, WI
Choosing a Linux Distribution + Software for a HTPC
Specs: Intel Core Duo 1.8GHZ, 2GB Ram, 80GB 2.5" 5400rpm hard disk, Panasonic slot loading DVDRW. They are expandable with two mini pci-e slots. One has installed antenna cables for adding a WIFI module. The other has a installed cable for connecting to a TV tuner. I haven't touched those ports yet. External ports include DVI, 4 USB 2.0, Ethernet, Firewire, SVideo. Standard audio jacks like audio in, mic in, audio out. Media card reader in the front. Originally shipped with Windows XP.
I would like to set these up with some form of Linux and then media playing software like XBMC/Plex. I'd like this to be as automated as possible. I don't want to have to exit the interface and go back to a Linux desktop to install updates manually if I don't have to. I'd much rather have the software setup in a way that it detects updates and installs them automatically, with me rebooting if necessary. I'd like to configure them in a way that someone using one only sees the XBMC interface 99% of the time, almost as if Linux isn't there. That way if I decide to gift these to family/friends, they don't need to become Linux Guru's in order to use them. Eventually, I plan on accompanying them with a DVI to HDMI cable for connecting to a TV.
So far I've tried XBMCBuntu Gotham, but overall it feels clunky/bloated. The first thing it told me upon booting into the XBMC interface was that my software was outdated and I should update it to the latest version. There seemed to be no clear way to do that. I went thru all the menus and saw nothing. I'm assuming I had to exit the interface and do it via command line.
I tried booting up OpenELEC in hopes that it would detect my hard drive and allow me to format/install it. Instead it halts and brings up a recovery command line I can't find a way out of.
I have been downloading x86_64bit editions if it makes a difference. Each unit has 2GB ram with the ability to upgrade to 4GB. I figured I would need 64bit versions if I eventually doubled the ram. Perhaps this is "Windows" thinking? Can 32bit Linux handle 4GB of ram? Maybe I need to start installing the i386 releases I see on the download pages.
My plan is to make 2 media center systems (one for me, one to possibly gift) and then a 3rd system running RetroArch so I can do some emulation. I found a plugin in XBMC that streams live Israeli TV that would be perfect for a friend of mine. I currently use Plex on a Roku 2 to stream video from my Mac.
Admittedly, my experience is in Mac OS X and Windows platforms. I dabbled in Red Hat Linux back in the late 90's\early 2k's. Things seemed to have changed quite a bit and it's a bit overwhelming.
Any suggestions would be great. Thanks!
- 07-03-2014 #2
- Join Date
- May 2014
- Hinesville, GA USA
Unless stated otherwise, 32 bit versions of Linux will have PAE capability to access RAM on the computer. I'd try a light 32 bit distro to give them a smoke test, something like Lubuntu or MX-14...
- 07-03-2014 #3
I'm running a couple HP/Compaq laptops with Core Duo 1.83GHz 32bit processors, 2GB of RAM and one has a 32GB SSD(my #1) and one a 80GB or 120GB HDD(depending on what I'm doing) and they both run great with Manjaro Xfce and Manjaro GNOME. Add Docky to GNOME and it looks for all the world like OS-X IMHO, the icons even jump around when you click them just like they did on my old iMac.
GNOME eats up a bit more RAM for the desktop then Xfce but looks a bit more modern so it's a fair trade off IMHO. Also, I find pacman to be quite a bit more powerful then apt-get(i.e. Debian/Ubuntu/Mint based systems) for working in Terminal.
I really don't see myself running anything else but Manjaro for the foreseeable future. It really is that great of a Distro as far as I'm conserned.No matter where ya' go, there ya' are.