Mar 25 2013

News - Linux Gets Plasma Media Center from KDE

Linux users have a new media center frontend option in the form of Plasma Media Center, a new release from KDE, the development team behind one of the more popular graphical desktop environments for Linux. PMC provides unified access to movies, photos and music across PCs, TVs, tablets and other devices capable of running KDE. The 1.0 version can access local files and network files, as well as access photos from Flickr and Picasa. PMC also includes a plug-in framework for developers to create custom plug-ins to extend PMC's functionality. The intial release might look a little barebones next to something like XBMC, but I suspect it will be a media center application worth watching.

Plasma Media Center

There is a new Media Center system for Linux users called Plasma Media Center. It’s from KDE the graphical desktop for Linux and is built on KDE’s Plasma and KDE technologies and is designed to be a rich media experience. KDE say the aim is to unify media experience on the PC,tablets, netbooks and TVs running KDE.



Apr 13 2012

News - XBMC Accepted into Official Debian Distribution

XBMC and Debian

XBMC has always had a strong connection with the Linux community and been well supported across the major distros. Indeed, the recent 11.0 "Eden" release came with a big change-up in the Live CD version, which is now called XBMCbuntu and offers a complete Ubuntu desktop installation lurking in the background for anyone interested in leaving the warm embrace of the XBMC frontend. XBMC has also been included in several major distros such as Mandriva and Gentoo. The XBMC team has arguably scored their biggest win to date with the announcement that XBMC has been accepted into the official Debian distribution. Though Debian itself doesn't necessarily capture a lot of attention from casual Linux users, it is a major force if only because of the many popular distros that are derived from Debian. Users of distros that stay synced with the Debian repositories will no longer need to turn to the XBMC PPA. It is exciting to think that the next time I get a hankering to play with Mint, XBMC will only be an apt-get away.

Linux users rejoice! Thanks primarily to the hard work of Andres Mejia, XBMC has been accepted into the official Debian distribution! In the past we have been unable to make it into Debian as the sheer size and complexity of XBMC made the review process so difficult, so Andres, an XBMC developer who was working to become a Debian Developer already, volunteered to maintain it himself.


Apr 10 2012

News - MythTV 0.25 Released!

It's finally there.  As of late last night/early this morning, MythTV 0.25 is finally available officially.  After a mere "516 days (that's 1 year, 4 months, 30 days)" according to the developers, a new version is available.  This update has been long awaited in the MythTV community and it sounds like a lot of work went into it.  I look forward to testing out the new features and when I do you can be sure to find a write up here.

MythTV version 0.25 includes several significant new features. A few key items to point out - new video acceleration capabilities such as VAAPI and DirectX Video Acceleration 2; expanded and improved audio capabilities including E-AC3, TrueHD, and DTS-HD support; Control your TV and other AV components via CEC (Consumer Electronics Control); enhanced and integrated metadata management capabilities for recordings and videos, and a fully functional API for third-party apps to build upon that can interact with both the frontend and backend - including a HTTP Live Streaming capabilities for delivering video content, in real-time, via the API.

Also noteworthy - MythMusic has been completely re-written and MythVideo is now directly integrated rather than being distributed as a separate plugin. Additionally, MythThemes is no longer maintained as a separate repository – all themes, including third party themes, can now be downloaded directly from the frontend theme chooser.


Mar 05 2012

News - MythTV 0.25-beta Released

It looks like the MythTV dev's are sticking pretty close to their proposed release schedule.  Posted on the Mythtv home page is an announcement that the MythTV Beta is now available.  The proposed schedule indicated March 4 and the announcement was on March 5.  Not bad.  If this keeps up, we'll see a new release of MythTV next month, at the beginning of April.  The current version of MythTV (0.24) was originally released in November of 2010 so this release has been long awaited.  There have been minor increments since then (0.24.1 in May, 2011 and 0.24.2 in Jan, 2012) but this is the first major increment in a while.

At long last, we are releasing 0.25-beta. This is the first stage towards a full release of 0.25 (with a target date of April 2). There have been many changes made since the 0.24 releases. For a list of changes, see the Release Notes.


Feb 22 2012

News - Adobe Announces Plans To Abandon Flash On Linux

Well, I hope that all of you Linux users like to use Chrome.  It looks like Adobe is cutting off Linux Flash support after 11.2.  It appears that there is an API to do Flash support but right now only Google has implemented it.  It appears that Mozilla has previously stated that they will not support it on FireFox.  While I don't often use Flash under Linux all that often, it is still something that I like to have around so I install it on all of my MythTV boxes.

Adobe has issued a statement this morning that they will effectively be abandoning Flash Player support on Linux. After Flash Player 11.2 they will no longer be providing updates for Linux users but just maintaining the 11.2 release. Google is expected to take over with a Flash Player implementation based upon a new API, but only for Google Chrome-based web-browsers. 


Feb 16 2012

News - MythTV Is Now Forked As Torc

Well this is interesting news.  It appears that one of the MythTV developers is splitting off the MythTV project with his own branch of code.  It look like the idea is to drop a lot of the legacy support in order to modernize the project more quickly and easily.  One of the things that I liked about MythTV is the ability to run it on older hardware.  At one point I had a MythTV server with three analog tuners running on a Pentium II 400MHz CPU. I thought that was impressive.  However, that was a number of years ago and at this point I have to say that I fully support the desire to drop support of older systems in order to bring in new features and bling.  It will be interesting to see where this project goes and I will be sure to keep an eye on it.

From an anonymous Phoronix reader I received the following message: 

Oct 20 2011

News - OpenELEC Version 1.0 Released

Version 1.0 of OpenELEC has been released to the public. OpenELEC, or Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center, is a Linux distro built from the ground up to serve one purpose: to run XBMC. Version 1.0 of OpenELEC has been released to the public. With Linux stripped down and rebuilt to serve the needs of XBMC, the OpenELEC team are promising an appliance-like experience with minimal hardware requirements, a diminutive storage footprint, and super-fast boot times. They are also offering customized builds to take advantage of specific hardware configurations.


OpenELEC runs on most Intel and AMD 32-bit and 64-bit machines, but specific builds are available for Intel-based, Nvidia ION-based and AMD Fusion-based systems. Additionally, a specific build has been designed for the Xtreamer Ultra platform in collaboration with OpenELEC’s partner, Xtreamer LTD. OpenELEC supports many wireless and most wired network cards as well as most graphics cards including many of the most bleeding edge GPUs. 


--Complete Press Release After the Break-- 

Sep 20 2011

News - GeeXboX Hits 2.0 with a Shot in the ARM

Many moons ago, when I first got started playing with HTPCs, I spent a lot of time vacillating between various Windows front-ends and media-centric Linux distros. The Linux distros in particular always intrigued me because most of them were available as Live CDs. One of those distros was GeeXbox. GeeXboX development has always been on a slow burn and I personally haven't taken GeeXboX for a spin since before development on the 2.0 release was started a couple of years ago, so it was a nice surprise to see GeeXboX making headlines again.

When last I spun a GeeXboX disc, the distro was built largely around MPlayer, but with 2.0, GeeXbox seems to have settled in behind XBMC. The most interesting feature is support for ARM SoCs. I think ARM SoCs have a lot of potential in media streamers and set-top boxes, and I would love to see more projects with similar support.

Last time we heard about GeeXboX, Palm was ushering out its first webOS phone, Google was putting the traditional navigation model in the grave and unlimited Skype calling over LTE was but a figment of our imagination -- two years later, and the aforesaid distro is finally reaching version two dot oh.


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