What features in CF are important for you, and what hardware is your CarPC comprised of?
Oh right... So what would make OM a better choice than others? I personally use centrafuse (not the new one), it's never crashed on me, takes less than about 20secs to play music/videos from hibernation and imo it looks great with good expandability... It's not free to *legally* use the software, but it doesn't cost the earth either.
I haven't gone very far with free front ends because tbh Centrafuse was a doddle to setup compared to many I tried and looked much better than the majority.
Would OM realistically be competitive with something like Centrafuse putting cost aside?
I've got a Zotac 9300 ITX board with a fairly powerful intel dual core cpu on it. I understand Linux has presented some issues with these boards going by comments made by those using them for XBMC units. But I haven't bothered with Linux as I wanted to use Centrafuse. The rest of the system is as you'd expect. I don't have TV or Radio at the moment however as it sounded like more hassle than it's worth lol and to be honest, I'd rarely use it.
At the moment I use my carpc for satnav, music, video, gps logging, 3g internet, reverse camera and if I could be bothered maybe radio. I don't use any other functions at the moment, OBDII stuff but not often, rather plug it in to my laptop in the garage if I need too.
If I'm honest, I didn't need a carpc (as I'm sure most would admit quietly to! lol), but I'm a gadget freak... I'm also working on video recording with GPS for an insurance fallback- if there was a built in feature to any software for this it'd be worth its weight in Gold!
Here's how OM would work better for you:
the Zotac 9300 has the Nvidia geforce 9300 GPU on it (Have the exact same board with C2D E7200, currently peaks at 1% using OM). OM renders using full opengl hardware acceleration. CF doesn't even know the GPU exists. So you have a more than adequate board, but are handcuffing it by forcing it to use your CPU for everything. In the future you may consider adding multiple zones to your ride (to appease your gadget freakyness) for passengers. OM will allow you to use the Zotac to power every zone with GPU acceleration leaving the CPU to just do the calculations for each zone. With CF, your CPU will be working 3 times as hard, and performance is going to suffer, and may require you to install ANOTHER computer to support the zones.
OM currently supports multi-zone, Speech, embedded navigation, music, video, pandora streaming, cameras, contacts, wifi, radio, weather, etc... etc...
Bluetooth sync is written and will be implemented in a future release.
and its free and open source to the community.
Not at all. OM is very light, it just needs an OpenGL supported graphics card to get the maximum useability from. Unlike other front-ends, it doesn't rely on on other applications to make it useful, trimming the bloat. What I was suggesting above is using 1 PC, the zotac, to power the 3 zones. The zotac paired with a C2D is more than powerful enough to do this, and can easily be powered up to 320 Watts by an Opus, which is actually overkill even for this set-up in my opinion. Power 3 separate computers will likely draw more power and setting up virtual machines across them and maintaining complete integration sounds harder than it really should be.At the moment I do have touchscreen headrests connected to two independent pcs, but I'm looking at running both on one PC with VMWare or VB etc.
The thing is, those boxes aren't high powered or have a decent graphics card... Would that mean OM wouldn't be able to be used on them? If so, this is a major issue as the majority of users on this forum want cheap, low powered carpcs rather than anything flashy, expensive and power hungry (as the Zotac is compared to certain via/atom alternatives).
Just a few little things to add. You mentioned linux and while we are trying to support linux as best as we can, OM runs perfectly amazing under windows. Linux is just an attempt to support another platform.
Should you switch? At this point it comes down to what abilities you need. The plugins that have been created are heavily tested by the testing team are great and thoroughly checked. Props to those guys for a job well done. So if the plugins exist I can almost guaranty that are quality. Being a semi new project there are some rarer features that are in the works but not yet complete like ODB and fusion brain. If we are missing something that is a deal breaker then you may have to wait for a bit till it gets implemented.
My recommendation, wait till .8 is released *soon* and give it a try. It can be easily set up and run on just about any PC in minutes. See if what you need is available and proceed from there.
Also the premise that he will have to install a second system is completely wrong. Its only if you want to run a Dual Zone (shared by all) and Multi Zone (separate), where you will need two systems, which is why I have two of them. I am running 3D games on the main system in a shared environment and I don't want the multi zone users to suffer.
Also OM does have more features then when I tried to play with it, but the GUI isn't nice, its still lacking a ton of things CF can do, CF has a large 3rd party plug-in development base. No its not free, but it isn't that expensive either. $79.00 is a very reasonable price.
Again, he is right, trust me, I tried a 7 Car PC install. All though the tech was easy to fit, in the end the powering of all of it was a big pain in the @$$. It was easier to just design a PC that could do it all.
HiJackX1 UAMCB w/ The Tobiathin Core Android/Win 7 hybrid system!
4x 10inch Tablet
1x Win 7 / Rear Entertainment PC
ft/ Web Server Streaming
And we have a few skins in progress, screen shots of some have been posted in the skin sub-forum.
Minimum requirements are OpenGL 1.0 (standardized at the beginning of the 90's)... I would take a look at our plugins section after this weekend (compare it to any alternatives you might be considering) and decide for yourself.