developer assistance with LinuxMCE

Paul Webber webpaul1 at
Wed Apr 4 06:26:41 BST 2007

I started LinuxMCE (  A lot of people are having
installation issues, mainly due to my incomplete job of integrating
this with Ubuntu.  The project has potential; it's forked from a
commercial product that's already stable and has been called the "most
important" and "hottest" thing in this market (see:;jsessionid=ETXIWXUQBJ2MCQSNDLPSKH0CJUNN2JVN?queryText=monster+einstein).
 With just the right hardware it is very solid.  And there's a lot of
interest: the demo video was downloaded 130,000 times and the site had
over 1 million hits the first 2 days after I released it.  But I
really need to resolve the installation and Ubuntu issues so more
people can get it going, and am working on 1.1 based on Feisty.

Since most of the problems people have are related to left-over
scripts designed to 'take over' all the conf files, I am working to
redo them.  But I would like to do this the right way so eventually it
could become a mainstream add-on for Ubuntu.  So I was wondering if
any of the developers would be interested in lending a hand or some
advice.  Here are the main issues:

1. If someone wants to use Ubuntu as a home media pc connected to a
tv, there is the problem of overscan; consumer tv's crop off the
border around the image. How does Ubuntu intend to officially solve
this? Right now LinuxMCE has it's own method for doing this so the
LMCE UI is never cropped off, but when the user switches back to
Ubuntu's gnome desktop, the top nav bar is cut off if he's using a
normal tv and not a pc monitor. I'd like to have 1 screen adjustment
tool that correctly adjusts both the lmce desktop and the main ubuntu
desktop, so even when using the Ubuntu desktop on a TV, the top nav
isn't cropped.  Any ideas?

2. LMCE runs a 2nd X server. This is mainly because (a) the window
manager in ubuntu 6.10 didn't support compositing, and (b) on nvidia
platforms it always uses the 'nv' driver and doesn't allow anything
but three 3:4 pc resolutions (ie no 720p, 1080i, 1080p), and didn't
allow a friendly (as in no terminal, just point and click) way to
change drivers.  And due to a problem in the nVidia drivers, you can't
run 2 X sessions with hardware accelerated drivers, so it forces
Ubuntu to use vesa.  I'm trying to resolve this for 1.1 in a more
"Ubuntu-integrated" manner. So, I'd like to know from a Ubuntu insider
what is the correct way to let a mainstream end user change video
drivers and pick resolution, without doing complex stuff like editing
conf files?  Is displayconfig-gtk ( the best
approach, and likely to be accepted into Ubuntu?  Also, any ideas
about the best way to get XComposite extensions working in Ubuntu?  My
experience is xcompmgr is pretty unstable.

3. The LMCE scripts still take over the dhcp conf, samba conf, and so
on, because they were intended to be used in a black box environment.
It seems that in Ubuntu there is no easy way to change these files
without knowing how to edit Linux conf files. So, if I work on adding
the tools to do this, is there a way to do them that they would be
accepted into the mainline Ubuntu build?  Are Ubuntu's devs interested
in having such a control panel?

Since my goal is to get LinuxMCE integrated enough into Ubuntu that it
can be included in the Ubuntu distro as a standard media pc desktop
option, I'd like brainstorm with a Ubuntu insider about how best to do
this in an officially accepted Ubuntu-approved manner?

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