Windows Vista, Linux and Mac OS X

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I have two computers at home, a mini PC in a Shuttle case with a TV card for my entertainment and storage and my Macbook Pro which I use for everything else. I recently became frustrated with trying to get Windows Media Centre 2005 to work properly with guide data in Australia and the correct daylight savings times, so I decided to dual boot it with Linux to see how the current distributions were going, and to give MythTV a shot.

I had heard a lot about Ubuntu but never installed it so I downloaded this first. Installation was fairly painless and it mostly detected everything I had in the box. The main issue was the USB wifi stick that I have plugged into that machine (MA111v1). I ended up having to use the ndiswrapper and Windows drivers but I couldn't get it to work on boot without unplugging it and plugging it back in again.

MythTV was fairly easy to install and seems like quite a good alternative to MCE. Things I liked about it:

1. I loved the web access to the guide and being able to program which recordings I want from my Macbook Pro is very handy.
2. I liked all the configuration options available and the concept of cutting out the commercials. Unfortunately I couldn't get this to work (with Australian TV).

Things I didn't like:

1. I didn't like the interface, it feels typically Linux, without any of the smoothness and slickness of MCE.

To enhance the graphical side of Ubuntu I decided to give Compix a go. Installation wasn't too hard and the new graphics were certainly fun to begin with, but all those shaking menus and quivering windows started hurting my head after a while. I'm sure there are lots of configurations that would ease this effect, but after a few hours playing with it I decided it wasn't going to be as easy as ticking a couple of boxes. Which leads me to my main gripe about Linux in general. Its still for people who like to spend hours tinkering.

I'm a person who loves playing with hardware and software, but Linux still takes too much time getting it just right. In the end I decided that after a couple of test distributions (Ubuntu, OpenSuse) I would stick with Microsoft on this machine.

1 comment

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J Surrey20.08.09 / 6AM

Linux can be difficult to get working, and the major problem do tend to stem from hardware drivers.
But you should persevere as linux boxes as media servers can be very good, i have built 2 for my home and they are excellent.