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LinuxMCE


Built on the solid foundation laid down by Debian and Ubuntu, LinuxMCE (Linux Media Center Edition) is a free and open source media centered Linux distribution designed to allow a computer to act as:

- home theater PC (HTPC) for the living-room TV
- personal video recorder (PVR)
- home automation, lighting, and climate control system
- surveillance and security system
- VoIP phone system with support for video conferencing

Status: Active
Author: Paul Webber
Website: http://linuxmce.org/
Download: http://linuxmce.iptp.org/release/LinuxMCE-8.10-final.iso
Forums: http://forum.linuxmce.org/
Since: March 15, 2007
Latest Version #: 8.10 and 10.04
Latest Version Date: 02/23/2013
Architecture: Architecture Intro
 
LinuxMCE system is made of components:
 
1.The Core
2.Media Directors
3.Orbiters
4.Security
5.Home Automation
6.Telecom
7.Network Attached Storage (NAS)
 
LinuxMCE is divided in two parts: the Core (aka the backend) and the Media Director (aka the frontend).
 
The Core
 
The Core has no user interface other than an administration page (unless it is a hybrid). It provides processing services throughout the home, however. It acts as the central database that catalogues your media. It routes home automation messages and commands, and provides net boot images for the Media Directors. It can even act as your phone system. You only have one Core in the house because it is the central point through which all devices connect. Your Core is generally left on all the time. If it is turned off, LinuxMCE functionality everywhere else in the home stops working.
 
Media Directors
 
A Media Director (aka a Media Station) is connected to your TV. It is a PC running LinuxMCE, but you do not need to install any software on a Media Director, as long as you enable the Media Director to netboot LinuxMCE from the Core server.
Network booting is a capability that almost all PCs have. Through the BIOS setup on any PC, netboot can be enabled as the first bootup device. When this setting is chosen and the PC is rebooted, the PC will search the network for a boot image and boots that image as its OS (rather than the OS on the hard drive). In a LinuxMCE network, the Core provides the boot image over the network.
 
The local PC that functions as a Media Director is essentially a thin client to the Core. You can leave Windows, Fedora, or any other operating system you want on your PC's hard drive. When you want to use that PC as a LinuxMCE Media Director, enable netboot in the BIOS. When you want to use the OS that is stored on that PC's hard drive, reset the BIOS so that the hard drive is again the first boot device. (You can't do both at the same time.)
 
When LinuxMCE netboots, the software will not interfere with the software or operating system on the hard drive; it's like having 2 systems in one. You only have to install LinuxMCE software on one PC -- the Core -- and you can then have thin client Media Stations on PCs throughout the house. The whole process is fully automated and plug and play (whether or not you understand the concept of a netboot). The only technical thing you need to do is turn on netboot in the BIOS of a PC you want to use as a Media Director. Your PC manufacturer instructions should tell you how to change the BIOS settings.
 
It is possible for the PC that functions as the LinuxMCE Core to also function as a Media Director. This is known as a hybrid, and it can be used as a standalone Home Theater solution. Later, you can add other Media Directors (using the netboot method described above). A hybrid, like a standalone Core, will provide netboot images across a network. The UI (user interface) on all Media Directors looks exactly the same as the UI on the hybrid Core/Media Director. The hybrid should not be shut down, either, since it is acting as a Core. If you do, all the other Media Directors will stop working.
 
Orbiters

Orbiters are the control interfaces, or remote controls, for the system. Each Media Director has an on-screen Orbiter user interface. In addition, multiple devices, such as a Nokia Internet Tablet N810, web-enabled equipment, or mobile phones can be used as Orbiters. The Orbiter User Interface (stored on and accessed from the Core) can also be accessed from any web browser.
 
LinuxMCE and DHCP

It is fairly important that within your LinuxMCE home automation/multimedia network, the Core must be the DHCP server. The DHCP server allocates IP addresses to all the devices within your LinuxMCE automation/multimedia network. Generally you can only have 1 DHCP server per network. In most cases you will already have a DHCP server on your "external" home LAN, usually as part of your router. (If you don't have a router and you have a dynamic (changing) IP address from your cable or DSL service provider, the DHCP server is at your cable or DSL provider's central office.)
 
Features: LinuxMCE software components
LinuxMCE brings together a number of software components in an integrated environment. It is a collection of many pieces of open source software.

Each LinuxMCE installation is a custom mix made of a selection of devices, plug-ins, and other modules. LinuxMCE Home's primary documentation aims to explain how LinuxMCE works, how to install it, set it up, and use it, if you have a standard installation made with devices and plug-ins from the HCL. Please start with devices that are known to work with LinuxMCE, then move on to more advanced things.

Here is a list of the software components that make LinuxMCE run:
 
Functionality   Platform/software used 
 
Operating system   Kubuntu 
 
TV & video recording   MythTV / VDR 
 
Telephony  . . .  Asterisk 
 
Home automation   Pluto 
 
Surveillance camera recording   Motion 
 
Video plaback   Xine 
 
Each software module has a detailed section which explains how to use, configure, and program it. The LinuxMCE Home Software Sections is a menu that lists all the software modules included in LinuxMCE. You can use it to explore each of the software components that are part of LinuxMCE.

Since each of the software components have their own websites and development communities, you will find yourself at home with the ones that are familiar to you. Feel free to expand on what the community has already done by adding your contributions to this community effort.
Price: 0
Currency: USD
Trial:
Operating System: Linux
Open Source: Yes
Web Interface: Yes
Plugin Support: Yes
1-Wire: Yes
Weather: Yes
Cameras: Yes
Text-To-Speech:
Voice Recognition:
Scheduled Events: Yes
Triggered Events: Yes
Irrigation: Yes
Bluetooth: Yes
HVAC: Yes
RFID:
Protocols: DMX, PLC-BUS, X10-PLC, X10-RF, Z-Wave
Automation & I/O Controllers:
RF Interfaces:
Alarm Panels:
Scripting:
Touch Screen Client:
IR:
Audio & Video:
Energy Monitoring:
Plugins:
  • File Grids Plugin
  • General info Plugin
  • Climate Plugin
  • Datagrid Plugin
  • Infrared Plugin
  • Lighting Plugin
  • Orbiter Plugin
  • Media Plugin
  • Telecom Plugin
  • Event Plugin
  • Security Plugin
  • Plug and Play Plugin
  • Xine Plugin
  • MythTV Plugin
  • Game Plugin
Phone Interaction: Asterisk PBX
External Links:
Installation Notes:


4 Comments

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Dan (electron)
Aug 08 2013 02:08 PM

I noticed you set the status to 'Active', but is it really still in development?  I thought for sure it had been discontinued/forked.

Yup; still active.
 
Been in contact with one of the authors.  He originally contacted me to give his software a try. 
 
That and I am helping a bit with integrating DECT phone connectivity and Zigbee stuff on one custom client capacitance touchscreen client. 

 

I currently have the Openpeak 2.0 running a 2gb version of XBMC.  It is fine at streaming 1080 broadcast TV/recorded video.  I have another running HS HSTouch which works in Linux, Android or Wintel versions of OS on these boxes; also have the HAI Omntouch Pro software running on these boxes. 

 

Another Openpeak box is running an embedded version of 1 Gb OS Squeezebox player. 

 

Linux included base OS basic include number flash widget for all sorts of internet media and local connectivity.  Developed also base flash linux included DECT and Zigbee chip widgets around 2010 or so.  The Openpeak 2.0 also included a mini web cam attachement to the top of case / device.  I am currently looking modification of a mini USB webcam to attach to the top of the Openframe 2.0.  So far its only about $20 in parts. 

 

index.php?app=gallery&module=images&sect
This one above is known as the Openpeak 1.0.  It has Gb, wireless, DECT and a Zigbee chip in it.  It is an Atom based capacitance touchscreen which runs Linux, Windows and Android.

It has a PATA ZIF connector which I am using today with SSD ZIF drives (fits inside nicely).

 

index.php?app=gallery&module=images&sect

 

 

This one is known as the Openpeak 2.0.  It has a DECT chip and a Zigbee chip inside.  Traces on the board include a PATA ZIF (working), SD Card, SIM Card and working PCiE card slot.

 

LinuxMCE works right now with Z-Wave, X-10, KNX/EIB, EnOcean and Insteon.  RFXCom is being working on. 
 
Asterisk PBX, CCTV and security is also integrated into LinuxMCE.  XBMC like multimedia is also part of LinuxMCE.

 

Thinking I can continue to utilize my MythTV box for live video streaming and control via the LinuxMCE box.

Installed the LinuxMCE OS on another computer yesterday.  Installation was plugnplay.  It is an Ubuntu base.  A couple of concerns is that the base wants to be the center of my network.  I do not mind though that it uses DHCP for its remote devices called "orbiters".

 

That said may install it on a separate VLAN or better yet a separate network. 

 

Thinking I should turn this into a blog as it will be getting a bit involved.