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30 Days of GNU\Linux: Day 8

Credit: Comedy Central

As I sit here watching Tosh.0, trying to concentrate on writing, I can’t help but be at least very happy at my progress using only Linux at home.  As of this, I have installed Chromium Browser, which as of today as well, is using the VP9 open codec under the WebM project by Google.  Dang, did my online videos  speed up!  The once herky-jerky video that sometimes buffered even on my 8 year old HTPC (Core 2 Duo / ATI SFF 5400 series GPU), are now fluid and at least 720p quality now.  I am very impressed with this Open Codec. So, now that my online browser experience is nice and smooth what is left?  TONS!

I made good progress determining the proper Handbrake settings so that XBMC on my ancient Linux HTPC runs smoothly.  Aside from minor scan lines on some scenes, things are progressing well.  I at least got everything playing smoothly, and know the program well.  For those who don’t know, you must break the Blu Ray encryption first with MakeMKV.  Both of these are in the software section of this site.  The settings I had the most luck with, is 1280×720 (720p), MP4 format, H.264 codec, default decomb/deinterlace.  I made those changes after starting with the Apple TV preset for 720p.  Try different settings and see what happens!

Still searching for solutions to Amazon Instant Video, and if Linux teaches you anything, it’s DON’T GIVE UP!   Oh, yes Hulu and other online services play very smoothly now under Chromium Browser:

 sudo apt-get update 
 sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

30 Days of GNU\Linux : Day 7

UPDATE: After installing netflix-desktop on my Macbook (2010), video wasn’t perfect, but it was watchable.  So in a nutshell, it depends on your CPU/GPU I would guess, as my HTPC is a little dated…

Ran into some frustration today.  One thing is for sure, and you see it ALL over google and many Ubuntu/Mint forums, is Amazon Instant and Netflix.  I have used the method to install Netflix on Mint/Ubuntu.

Here is How to install the Netflix Desktop App on Ubuntu Linux. Open a terminal and run these commands:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop

On my paricular core 2 duo box runing Mint 15 Olivia, it worked, but with choppy video. This method uses Mono + Wine to emulate silverlight and the application layer itself.

My NEXT frurstration is Amazon Instant, which is HIGHLY annoying in its inconsistancy to work correctly on Linux, even easier distros such as Ubuntu/Mint. You would think we would get better support because we actually pay good money to watch instantly…nope. I have tried countless methods, from installing hal and lib hal1 (apt-get install libhal1 hal), as well as complicated manuvers such as this.

For now, I believe your best bet is running a Virtual Machine with XP/Win7 to get satisfactory playback. I will post my results on that process tomorrow.

Till Next time!


30 Days of GNU/Linux: Day 1

I wanted to revisit my Linux days from Highschool onward into College (~2004 to 2009)and really come back to what made using a computer so exciting to me: flexibility customization, a “build your own world” sorta idea. I wanted to see what had changed in the 4 or so years that I had left it, even from a so-so usability standpoint (I wasn’t using it full time, sans other OS’s). I am now quite satisfied on where it has went.

Back in 2004, I had known of some of the usual giants, Debian, Slackware, Gentoo,Fedora, and the like. I had been running Debian for quite some time, as well as dabbling in Fedora and OpenSuse among others. I then learnt of Ubuntu, and boy was that an exciting time in learning Linux. When Ubuntu came out, many were floored. It was new, much more usable from an everyday standpoint than most, and required less knowledge to get get going. I was instantly hooked. The software side was not quite so mature, with display drivers still heavily relying on open drivers for much of the grunt work, with support for propriertary video drivers (i.e. Nvidia/Ati) sometime flaky on many distributions. It was great when you got them to work, then again the lack of many games was a downside. That is when I discovered the emulation package Wine, as well as its paid cousin, Crossover. This provided some much needed support in transitioning over some of my Windows-heavy applications, and an outlet for Office 2003 formats I still had to dabble in for school. When the Steam games platform was emulated (can’t remember when), I was happy being able to at least play Team Fortress in college under Linux. Software alternatives existed, but some always had me wishing I was in Windows. Gasp!

I left college, the LAN Parties, and the group of cool people to talk with all the time, into the real world. Getting a real* job, and income, I left behind Linux. Now in 2013, I am revisting much of Linux, and after testing a few distros, landed on Linux Mint for home use, due to it’s wide package selection (Debian based), usability, and driver support. Problem was, one* of those devices was a Macbook pro, and as many know, that can be an iffy scene with Linux. After busting on Arch Linux on the Macbook (a distro I do very much love), and Fedora 18, I got the most upfront support from Linux Mint. It did take a few intalls, and tweaking of drivers to get all of the keyboard function keys working, but its up and running, albeit with occasional shutdown/startup hicups.

The desktop was an easy affair, much more so than the macbook of course. Tonight will come the HTPC. Software side this time on my devices, most things work great, and I have found alternatives to most things, aside from my usual go-to packages (VLC etc.). Blu Ray support is one thing I have found a few solutions on (MakeMVC + script + VLC), but of course I still have some fine tuning to do.