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Thread: How many run Linux on their car PC?

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    Maximum Bitrate eugenen's Avatar
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    How many run Linux on their car PC?

    I am thinking of switching. Currently running XP resuming from hibernation. After I saw the mini-box, I have decided to switch to the mini-itx and shrink my system down to close to that size basically starting revision 2 before version 1 is complete I noticed the minibox comes with Linux and boots from a cf card. I'm thinking that would be a good idea too. I have played with Linux before, I installed slackware a few years ago on a 386 after I upgraded my main system to a 486. Were running redhat at the office running netsaint/nagios for our network mgmt system. So I have some questions to all running Linux currently.

    1. What mp3 players are out there currently? Since I have not kept up with the linux side I don't know.
    1a. Are any of the current mp3 players able to be controlled from a keyboard like winamp with the lcd plugin.
    2. What dist are you running? I don't really care for redhat, it seems too bloated anymore.
    3. GPS? Any linux packages. I currently have the crappy Delorme, but when I get to the point of having gps on my player I want to get something better.
    4. Ability to mount USB storage. I have a 20G laptop drive that I can swap between my desktop and laptop that holds mp3's and vmware's. Can I plug it in to the linux box and auto mount and read the mp3's from there easily?

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    Re: How many run Linux on their car PC?

    Originally posted by eugenen
    1. What mp3 players are out there currently? Since I have not kept up with the linux side I don't know.
    There are a few available
    1a. Are any of the current mp3 players able to be controlled from a keyboard like winamp with the lcd plugin.
    There is a winamp clone called XMMS that does the same
    2. What dist are you running? I don't really care for redhat, it seems too bloated anymore.
    I run a linux From scratch distro with self-written software
    3. GPS? Any linux packages. I currently have the crappy Delorme, but when I get to the point of having gps on my player I want to get something better.
    As I said above, I use self-written software. This does my GPS and Ogg (no, I don't use MP3) playing tasks.
    Current features are GPS tracks storage and rendering (moving map of where you've been so far), compass, satellite positions and basic info.
    In the music playing front, it currently plays the files you have in a random manner (I am more interested in the GPS features)
    http://sxpert.esitcom.org/project/navsys
    4. Ability to mount USB storage. I have a 20G laptop drive that I can swap between my desktop and laptop that holds mp3's and vmware's. Can I plug it in to the linux box and auto mount and read the mp3's from there easily?
    That's a given, and only depends on your kernel (2.4.20 can do that)
    I don't need no stinkin' startup-shutdown controller... That's what journalized filesystems are for...
    NavSys, the ultimate navigation app
    http://www.navsys.org/

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    Low Bitrate jospfh's Avatar
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    --------------------------------
    1. What mp3 players are out there currently? Since I have not kept up with the linux side I don't know.
    --------------------------------
    XMMS (GUI) and mpg123/ogg123 (console).

    --------------------------------
    1a. Are any of the current mp3 players able to be controlled from a keyboard like winamp with the lcd plugin.
    --------------------------------
    Yep plenty of modules for XMMS I believe. You could also use an infrared remote easilly with lirc and a module for XMMS.
    I use mpg123 that communicates via stdin, stdout and stderr with my custom program.

    --------------------------------
    2. What dist are you running? I don't really care for redhat, it seems too bloated anymore.
    --------------------------------
    alcas linux, itís custom built by me and based on slackware 8.1. Linux from scratchs is a good guide to build your own linux.
    I just kind of stripped slackware but used busybox and tinylogin instead of the normal bash and other basic tools.

    --------------------------------
    3. GPS? Any linux packages. I currently have the crappy Delorme, but when I get to the point of having gps on my player I want to get something better.
    --------------------------------
    There are some open source projects I believeÖ..

    --------------------------------
    4. Ability to mount USB storage. I have a 20G laptop drive that I can swap between my desktop and laptop that holds mp3's and vmware's. Can I plug it in to the linux box and auto mount and read the mp3's from there easily?
    --------------------------------
    Yes, linux perfectly supports USB mass storage devices. Donít even need the newest kernel (2.4.20). I think you can use any 2.4 kernel.

    About the CF-card, I use one. Pretty fast stuff, I can really recommend it!
    Must stuff I have done is documented on my website. And of course there are a lot of HOWTOs that provide answers.

    Jospfh
    Free circuit designs at www.circuitdb.com!

  4. #4
    Maximum Bitrate eugenen's Avatar
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    Thanks for the ref to linux from scratch. I think I will go that route, downloading slackware now since that is what I'm most familiar with. Its been a while though, back when you had to mount drives.

  5. #5
    Low Bitrate jospfh's Avatar
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    Its been a while though, back when you had to mount drives.
    That's what you still need to do... although there is a so called automounter by now.
    Free circuit designs at www.circuitdb.com!

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    Maximum Bitrate SiGmA_X's Avatar
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    jospfh - What do you mean by customizing the Slackware? I was planning on just running flat Debian, with upgrades of course (Kernel, software, etc). I use Debian on my comp system.. How did you go about installing your OS on a 8MB CF card?

    sxpert - Can you toss me a URL to your GPS software?
    1993 BMW 325is - 15.2sec

  7. #7
    Maximum Bitrate eugenen's Avatar
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    There is a project out there dealing with a minimal install, I'll look for my link to it.

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    LFS or Gentoo if you have the patience. Only install what you need.

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    Maximum Bitrate SiGmA_X's Avatar
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    I really like Debian.. I am planing on looking into Gentoo in the near future. [B]LFS looks nice but I dont want to manually collect it's packages

    I would like to go with Debian, as I know it REALLY well

    Thanks eugenen!
    1993 BMW 325is - 15.2sec

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    Good news 'cause you're using an Mini-ITX!

    Freepia is a distro made specifically for the VIA Mini-ITXs, with a very recently upgraded kernel that's compiled specifically for the Nehemiah. It uses mplayer, the defacto standard for Linux multimedia handling-- it even works on DVDs!

    The entire system weighs in rather lightly, and can be put onto a 128MB CF (I think even a 64MB would do.). It uses the freevo front-end ( created as a front-end for television/media boxes, to control all the programs) to control all the media applications.

    Anyway, I'll respond to your questions, in case you decide to go with your own custom distro.

    1.) Yes. XMMS, a winamp clone that can use winamp skins; and mplayer both play mp3, ogg, etc. In my opinion, mplayer is a million times better. However, mplayer is the kinda system that only a linux fanatic could love. The GUI is thrown on as an afterthought, it's all text controlled, oodles and oodles of man pages, etc. But don't let that scare you because the documentation's excellent and will have you watching multi-stream DVDs in no time.

    If you want a simple program and don't care too much about playing DVDs, XMMS is much easier to use and has a pipe written for it that makes it easy to display ID3 data et al on your custom interface.

    2.) I'm running Debian and am perfectly happy with it. However, I'll be switching to freepia just as soon as I get my RAM for my Nehemiah. Freepia uses RedHat 7.3, which seems a little yesteryear for a distro recompiled last week, but apparently it's got the best VIA support right now.

    3.)There are a couple opensource Linux GPS packages out, GPSDrive being one of them. They are lacking in that none of them support navigation(!) and thus are only good for showing you where you are on a general topography map.

    There is one company that makes a Linux package, but there are only western European maps. You're on your own for finding the company because I forget their name.

    4.) Ditto on what everyone else has said. You shouldn't have any problems.

    Good luck and have fun! Just make certain that you buy a Nehemiah and not an Eden M10000. VIA, in one of the stupidest moves since the Edsel, released two products with identical names, packing, etc. (Check out threads on how to identify the difference between the two.)

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