What Linux am I looking for? Does it even exist?
April 21, 2008 9:44 AM   Subscribe

Help me find a linux build for my media PC.... please!

I've a PC (1 gig RAM, Athlon 2.4 ghz, 500 gb hd, using integrated NVidia GeForce 6100 graphics) I built initially running Puppy Linux for use as a music and movie player. As much as I love Puppy, what I really want to set up is a "fire and forget" OS that upon powering on boots straight into a media center interface.

The main focus for this is music, so I'd like it to have robust MP3 library and playlist editing, along with some nice (but not overly graphics intensive) visualizations. For video, I'll be playing XVID or DIVX encoded video files. Pretty much all the media will be stored locally on the hard drive, so I don't require streaming features.

After looking through the numerous threads on Metafilter about HTPCs and Linux, along with general Googlry, here's what I've tried so far:

Geexbox - this is closest to what I had in mind for doing with the computer-- just booting right into the media center control panel. However, it seems the focus in Geexbox is more on video than audio. MP3 playback is a simple "play one track" interface, which just doesn't cut it.

Knoppix - decent, loads fast, but I'd like to go straight into a media center... I'm really hopeless at a command line without step-by-step instructions.

Ubuntu with Elisa - it might be my computer (or Puppy has spoiled me) but Ubuntu runs too sluggish for my taste. Elisa looked promising, but it would not on my system's integrated video.

So the 'tl;dr' of it is: is there a version of Linux out there that will make my computer a user friendly music and video jukebox? I'm not against using any of the distros I mentioned, as long as I have help tweaking them the way I need. Thank you!
posted by Dr-Baa to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
KnoppMyth is good for playing the video files. It does have a MythMusic plugin which I used, but it was very limited when it came to playlist editing. It might be better now.

posted by spynotebook at 10:25 AM on April 21, 2008

Have you looked at MythBuntu

Its ubuntu but explicitly built for MythTV. Most media PC's I've seen are more video focused so I'm not sure its exactly what you need.
posted by bitdamaged at 10:53 AM on April 21, 2008

I was going to ask this very question last week (just music though, not video). I found some interesting suggestions in this thread at the Ubuntu forums. In the end, I went with windows and Media Jukebox. (I highly recommend Media Jukebox, and it's totally free). I'm still interested in a Linux solution, maybe in a different room. Let us know what you choose and how it works out!
posted by Otis at 12:13 PM on April 21, 2008

If you have a bit of spare time, the best thing would be to install a light and stable distro, and then setup whatever you need. So, go with a distro like Debian (stable enough to slap-on-and-forget), install none of the server packages on it, perhaps a light GUI like fluxbox. Then, simply setup applications for your needs. If it's video, go with something like MythTV. For music, you can't go wrong with Amarok.

Once that's done, setup stuff like Bemused (control your media players using a symbian s60 phone) or Jinzora to keep yourself happy when you're feeling lazy.

Debian is stable and light enough to run well on your hardware, and you will have enough support from the community to get everything working fine. You will be spending about a week getting everything just perfect, but after that, you can look forward to a great experience.
posted by cyanide at 7:22 PM on April 21, 2008

How about:

posted by charlie7691 at 11:23 PM on April 22, 2008

Response by poster: Okay, at the moment, I'm doing some further testing with Elisa (a friend gave me some pointers to get it running). I'm torrenting the linuxmce CDs, and I'm hoping to try it out within the next few days. If that doesn't pan out I'm going to research working with Debian (I am still a relative Linux noob).

Media Jukebox does indeed look promising, but I'm going to go with a non-Windows solution on this, as I don't have any free XP licenses to work with.

Thank you everyone for your responses!
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:53 AM on April 25, 2008

« Older How to make new sneakers look old   |   Can I buy a trike that morphs into a bike yet? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.