I was planning on using Linux and using IRMP3, mpg123, LCDProc, and LIRC in Linux but I have questions on how I would transfer my files from my windows box to the linux machine and how I can get these programs to autostart when linux starts? Also does straight turn off's of the computer damage the drive in Linux?
Probably the easiest way to make the linux box accessible to a PC is to install Samba on it. Samba is basically Windows filesharing for unix/linux.
Simply turning off any operating system can cause a drive's directory and such to become corrupted. However such a shutdown will never physically damage the drive.
Samba is the way to go.
Most programs have an init script that will start it. If not you can add your own to the system.
Most drives will not be physically damaged when shut off. The problem comes from drives that are mounted. This can cause data corruption. One way is to set the partions to read-only. This solves the problem of fsck when starting backup. This does cause a problem with samba. Something to remount the drive in read-write mode when car is plugged into the home network would be nice but I have yet to see a solution to this.
Or as anther solution is a shutdown controler which see to be popular around here.
Anyone have a sample smb.conf for this fellow? That can be a little tricky or intimidating the first few times.
If you are using a Red Hat or Red Hat-based distro (ie..Mandrake) your startup scripts should be in /etc/rc.d look at the docs for that or ask someone with more experience to help you with a startup script.
to avoid fsck, you can also try installing ReiserFS or (if you are really brave) XFS. These are journalling filesystems and do not require lengthy scans to maintain filesystem integrity in case of improper shutdown.