This Sunday was spent building a media PC using Fedora Core 5 and MythTV. Not fully operational but enough for a testing purpose. If it really works out well, I would consider getting better hardware than what I am using now.
Fedora Core 5
PIII 450 + Intel SE440BX2 + 256MB SDRAM
ATI Rage 128 8MB AGP with TV Out (SVideo and composite)
8GB Seagate HDD
Sound Blaster AWE32 ISA
LiteON DVD Writer
First time using FC5. Installed from the DVD which took over 60 mins for a minimal setup. Something is definitely broken either with the hardware or its a regression in the Linux kernel. Disk activity kills interactivity for some reason. DMA is indeed enabled and dmesg does not show any ACPI or ATA related problem. I dont think its the 8GB thats causing the problem, a cdrecord -blank=all is good enough to make the system “hung”. Needs major investigation tomorrow.
FC5 itself is quiet dull – yet another round of UI changes for god knows what reason. Installed e17 after first boot so god knows what uber cool features GNOME 2.14 and KDE 3.5.1 have. The only feature I want to check out is the Xen virtualization features in FC5. Otherwise /me thinks FC5 has nothing radical to compare with FreeBSD6. Xen for FreeBSD is going to be committed real soon now anyway. Yum is noticeably faster, this is a major improvement.
MythTV, the software which does all the media stuff is very impressive. Clean UI, fairly intuitive setup which just works. Rarely have I seen FOSS which is this straight forward. Too early to give a full review since I dont have a TV tuner and remote control. Played the Alias episode and a couple of music files as expected.
Tomorrow, I fix the stupid ATA problem which is killing the system. Also needs a BIOS update. Need to get the unused TV Tuner from cousin and get a soundblaster live with SPDIF digital output. The hiss on the ISA card is very pronounced at the volumes I listen in.
FreeVO is another application which needs to be evalued. Need something which will work directly from the FB and not require a X server.
Need to get the whole stuff cleaned up and then hook it up to the home theater this week.