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Thread: So Linux then?

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb So Linux then?

    Hello all, first post by a new user but had been toying round with building an in car pc since before the days of mp3 players...

    Just decided to take the plunge, hinging on one crucial aspect....OS / software.

    I see the adoption of XP as a very messy, cumbersome and 2nd rate solution - I would have thought a large communiuty would have produced a dedicated solution such as using XpE or CE but apparently not!!

    I know nothing about Linux but have always heard good things.

    Whats important to me is just a very simple media player car pc, based around a small processor and large HD.

    Can anyone tell me how they find the Linux solution - id want a pretty near instant boot time (def sub 10 seconds). Simple interface and absolute reliability.

    IMHO its just not worth all the expense if their isnt great software to support it, otherwise i could buy a DVD headunit or use an IPOD and jack.


    Many Thanks, Would really appreciate some informative answers! Andrew

  2. #2
    Self proclaimed spoon feeder TruckinMP3's Avatar
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    Try searching and reading the FAQs. I have read several threads on Linux and other distros being used.
    TruckinMP3
    D201GLY2, DC-DC power, 3.5 inch SATA

    Yes, you should search... and Yes, It has been covered before!

    Read the FAQ!

  3. #3
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    thanks trucking. I tried not to repost but i searched all last night and did not find any good summaritive information on the best simple solution. Is it just XP or Linux. If so it would be a useful sticky to give some information on a abasic linux set up and what to expect - eg compaitlbe software, and more important usibility, boot times.

    Im sure the info is spread throughout differnt convos but to have some concise info if sub 5, 10 sec boot times are possible would be great.

    This is the linux forum and be nice to get some good stickys going?

    thanks

  4. #4
    FLAC TheLlama's Avatar
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    I'd recommend installing linux on a home PC (or just burn a Knoppix CD) to get used to linux and to the environment. Learn how to use essencial console commands: cd, ls, cat, echo, rm, mv, piping, etc.. Trust me, if you are not familiar with some of the crucial differences then there is a good chance your system will mess up or "just barely work".

    The Linux thread doesn't have any/many stickies because there isn't really a One-size-fits-all player like in Windows. There are some on the drawing board (like my player). There are others that are already out: PyCar or IntuitionSystem's SilverWolf. No offense to the authors, but they still have some work left on them.

    You don't have to write you own frontend, however. The more Linux enthusiasts there are; more authors will put time into their frontends.

  5. #5
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    You've got a *lot* more control over boot times under Linux than you do with Windows, but you almost need to be a Linux and guru to really take advantage of them.

    The first thing you'll want to do is to compile a custom kernel that contains support for only the hardware and kernel functions you actually need. Next, you'll want to strip all the services in /etc/init.d you don't need. And finally, if you don't need to run any X11 apps, then you can avoid having to start X.

    Do all that and the Linux phase of your boot times will be easily under 10 seconds, and you *might* just be able to shave it under 5. But you do still need to worry about BIOS startup times, which can be anywhere between 5 and 20 seconds depending on motherboard, and over which you don't have a lot of control.

    -g.

  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate intuitionsys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLlama
    I'd recommend installing linux on a home PC (or just burn a Knoppix CD) to get used to linux and to the environment. Learn how to use essencial console commands: cd, ls, cat, echo, rm, mv, piping, etc.. Trust me, if you are not familiar with some of the crucial differences then there is a good chance your system will mess up or "just barely work".
    This is probably the most important step. Get familiar with the environment you'll be using. I SSH into my car alot to do some of the more involved upgrades, and without solid command line knowhow, I'd be hooped.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheLlama
    The Linux thread doesn't have any/many stickies because there isn't really a One-size-fits-all player like in Windows. There are some on the drawing board (like my player). There are others that are already out: PyCar or IntuitionSystem's SilverWolf. No offense to the authors, but they still have some work left on them.
    I'm offended. Just kidding Silverwolf would probably be alot more popular with touchscreen support, easier installation, and less reliance on specific hardware (within reason).

    As for boot times, I'm consistently getting about 15 second boot times (maybe a bit less) with swsusp2 on a gentoo-based system running 2.6.13 kernel.

    There are several gotchas wrt hibernation but most of them can be worked around in the frontend or with modification of some scripts.
    Silverwolf 2 is dead.
    Silverwolf 3...?

  7. #7
    FLAC TheLlama's Avatar
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    As far as boot times go, I get around 8-10secs on a 667mhz running Gentoo (no X, and I load network support AFTER music is playing). However, I would like to see try out a RTLinux (an RTOS) installation and see if I can use that to increase performance at several levels. I'm also contemplating a LinuxBIOS install to help speed up the POST procedure.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLlama
    As far as boot times go, I get around 8-10secs on a 667mhz running Gentoo (no X, and I load network support AFTER music is playing). However, I would like to see try out a RTLinux (an RTOS) installation and see if I can use that to increase performance at several levels. I'm also contemplating a LinuxBIOS install to help speed up the POST procedure.
    It is important to understand what a realtime operating system is (and is not) before going this route. A RTOS does not do things faster than a non-ROTS system (in fact, it generally does them slower) it simply does them in a specified period of time.

    RT-Linux is a particularly interesting beast since the entire linux kernel and all it's associated processes runs as a single process under a hard RTOS. It's a beautiful system, but not of much utility for your average CarPC.

    -p.

  9. #9
    FLAC TheLlama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnomad
    It is important to understand what a realtime operating system is (and is not) before going this route. A RTOS does not do things faster than a non-ROTS system (in fact, it generally does them slower) it simply does them in a specified period of time.

    RT-Linux is a particularly interesting beast since the entire linux kernel and all it's associated processes runs as a single process under a hard RTOS. It's a beautiful system, but not of much utility for your average CarPC.

    -p.
    Yes, and being a RTOS would help me with interfacing my VFD screen. I wrote a kernel module that interfaces the screen (and provides several IOCTL calls and memory mapping for the display). However, I could potentially be able to interface with strict timing while running in an RTOS. The kernel wastes alot of time doing context switching when my display triggers an interrupt (every 8 pixels) and there are some places I am forced to do polling.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLlama
    Yes, and being a RTOS would help me with interfacing my VFD screen. I wrote a kernel module that interfaces the screen (and provides several IOCTL calls and memory mapping for the display). However, I could potentially be able to interface with strict timing while running in an RTOS. The kernel wastes alot of time doing context switching when my display triggers an interrupt (every 8 pixels) and there are some places I am forced to do polling.
    Yup, that would certainly be a candidate for RT-Linux, but personally, I'd solve that problem with a dedicated microcontroller for the VFD.

    -g.

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