Tuesday, January 31, 2012

HTPC problems...Fedora related

A few days ago I decided to try to re-set up my HTPC, which I built a while ago. Initially, I had it running Windows XP, almost solely because Netflix requires Silverlight, but now I decided to say "screw it" and go Linux.

There are 5 basic goals I want to get accomplished with this HTPC, which is essentially two things merged: a file server fused with an HTPC. An HTPC-S?
  1. Amahi Server
    • SSH/FTP server
    • Samba network
    • Local webserver toy
  2. Gaming
    • Retro gaming via emulators
    • Desura/Steam
    • Misc. Linux games (Wesnoth, etc)
  3. Local Video (Movies and TV)
  4. Local Music
    • Possibly synced over Samba with rsync
  5. Full web
    • Full-screen Chrome accessible via XBMC

So I go ahead and download an outdated version of Fedora (the outdated DVD iso), and install it, and for a while, all seems well. But, as usual, things do not go as planned. Some of this is just limitations I was not expecting, other parts are just Fedora being retarded.
  1. Amahi just....isn't working. I haven't toyed with it too much, but it may seem very different than I thought. But it is installed, so that is good enough for me, for now.
  2. Samba (apparently) doesn't play nice between GNOME and KDE. I've had massive issues with it on KDE before, but on GNOME it's just as bad.
  3. RomCollectionBrowser, the plugin I was going to use for XBMC, is really a piece of crap. When it's not crashing XBMC, it's taking forever to fetch information and then failing to show all your ROMs (even though they are imported).
    Launcher is another alternative, but I really liked how RomCollectionBrowser was layed out and that you could have things such as fanart, but the core functionality (i.e., working correctly on the most basic level) is missing.
    On top of that, it used to use an XML file to store the database so I could actually write a shell script to just create my own, but it has since switched to MYSQL, which I know very little of so I've even lost manually creating the DB.
  4. SUCCESS! XBMC was running extremely slow, which I learned was a result of the nouveau driver, but after figuring out how to disable it so I could install the nVidia one, it works wonderfully.
  5. Fedora lacks a driver management software. I never realized how wonderful Jockey is on Ubuntu or Mint.
  6. Fedora fails at starting NetworkManager. I know this is tiny and insignificant, but it is very, very annoying. I see some errors when booting about some wi-fi config file, but after I'm booted and start NetworkManager manually, it works fine. It's just ridiculous.
  7. Fedora fails to use my wi-fi dongle. Unfortunately, the wi-fi on the mobo is a bit underpowered so until I can get an external antenna, I've been using a USB dongle on Windows, but apparently Fedora doesn't have the drivers for it. Ugh.
  8. Fedora (apparently) has absolutely no graphical package manager. Either that or I am completely and utterly blind. I mean seriously, how can it even be considered a modern distro without even something resembling Synaptic? I've been getting along just fine, but I'm still hella annoyed, especially since I don't know the names to RPM packages since I haven't used it almost at all.
  9. Fedora fails to properly connect to my HDTV. This is the kicker for me. I do all this work in XBMC (which has been great, after fixing the driver issue) on my LCD monitor via HDMI, bring the box downstairs, hook it up, and no signal. I've sunk hours into trying to get to the bottom of it, and I've finally got it to at least work with 640x320. Apparently the EDID is wrong or something.
    But what really pisses me off about that is that I grabbed my Linux Mint 9 Live-CD, popped it in, and it worked just fine. I think it must have something to do with the version of the kernel in Fedora, or at least something outside of Xorg, because Fedora can't even use it during bootup before Xorg starts.
This is just so massively pissing me off. I have a lot of work to do to get this HTPC box where I want it, like setting up the SSH server, setting up Samba, setting up a dozen emulators, fetching the info for dozens of games, making sure I have a solid wi-fi connection, and just tweaking the theme in XBMC. But I can't do any of that yet if I can't get my goddamn display to work, and if it's working in Mint without the nVidia drivers, it should work in Fedora with them.

If I didn't say something my brain was going to explode. I'm very close to just ditching Fedora for Mint, even if it means sacrificing Amahi.
-Bry

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