Sounds like an interesting project, I would be glad to help but I
donï¿½t think I have the skills for that. Maybe we can talk more about
If you get interested in what its all about, drop me a line here or
privately and we can chat about it. It's half about learning how to
build the software from the ground up, half about actually producing
Yes, I would like to stick to the existing distros. Are Ubuntu and
Android fully working on BeagleBoard? What about MythTV?
I've played with these but I'm no expert with them. I'll pass along
what I know (or think I know).
Ubuntu seems to be working moderately well, Rob Nelson has some
additional tweaks he makes to get it running with custom configs, I
believe. Possibly some additional hardware support (like SGX).
"Fully"? Not sure. Don't know if there is SGX(3D) and DSP(video)
support in off-the-shelf Ubuntu. Rob's versions may have them, however.
I also don't keep track of newer features (built in networking, for
example) in the xM version as my only board is a C4 rev. I've seen
various versions of Koen's Demo images that seem to have support for
Android has a couple of projects around. I tried one version (though I
can't remember where it came from) and found it lacking for my needs -
it's targeted at handhelds and not set top boxes. You'd have to muck
with the UI to get it to be more targeted, I think (IMHO, of course). I
wouldn't run Android on an S-Video port though the DSS2 branch for the
kernel does seem to be in much better shape there than the older DSS
branch. HDMI seems clean in either case. The Android 3D accelerated
demos I tried flipped the display on its side with my HDMI monitor. I
got a kick out of that. Interestingly, I believe the Android images
worked with my PS2-to-USB keyboard/mouse while Koen's images did not.
So no solution is perfect.
MythTV? Not sure. I remember hearing about a port of it but I don't
know its public status. There was a Google Summer of Code project for
XBMC that apparently went well. Still, I haven't tried it either.
Narcissus (an automated image builder for the Angstrom project) has a
MythTV option you can select but I never got it working, not that I
tried overly hard.
I've built XBMC myself in the past so if I have a need for that I may
work on it myself. But my project has a much simpler near term goal -
just play internet video (Surf w/WebKit and the new Flash player for
ARM) without all the bells and whistles of an XBMC or MythTV. Tools
like that carry a lot of extra weight. Since I'm not looking to pull
from backend servers or play local DVDs or anything, I don't have those
features in my architecture. But I may add them later. I think MythTV
is on the wish list (something to consider down the road) since I use it
heavily at home to manage ripped videos.
It would be the second option... wait for regular boot and then launch
This is pretty much the state of existing distributions. You can build
your own "infrastructure" version via Narcissus, but I worry that
rebuilding it from source may not be so easy. Still, it's a good way to
get the underlying components in place quickly so you can focus on
user-space applications. Or you can tweak the Ubuntu or Android
distros. Ubuntu (to me) would be easier to tweak, unless they continue
ripping out all the stuff that used to work and replacing it with more
stuff the "kids" think is better (sorry, I'm just gettin' old).
But if it possible to put the box on a "stand-by" process to take
less time during power-up, that would be great.
There are multiple ways to do that. The simple one is screen blanking.
Looks like its off, but its not. The harder one involves power-saving
mode, which is more hardware intensive. I haven't researched that for
the BeagleBoard and frankly don't remember many conversation here about
it. So I don't know its current state, or if its even possible. Then
again, saving state to flash is going to be slow so coming out of power
state may not be a significant improvement. Hard to say. Check
eLinux.org - they have lots of info and may have pointers to help track
that one down.
Well, I have a Media Center remote, which works with a USB receiver.
Under Windows, the receiver driver replaces keyboard and mouse. Maybe
there is a similar driver for Linux. ?
If the device acts like a keyboard and mouse via a USB receiver, then
you're all set. BeagleBoard and Linux don't care - it's just a USB
keyboard and mouse. What you might have some trouble with is "special"
keys. That may require some mapping. Under X I use xmodmap and
xbindkeys to use those special keys (function keys,
Webcam/Email/Favorites/etc.). But that doesn't necessarily work all the
However, if you use a USB receiver for the keyboard/mouse you will
probably want to use an external power supply. Don't try to power it
from the USB OTG port. I'm no EE but something tells me that may not
Let me know what you choose. I"m interested in seeing how you're