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TOPIC: OpenELEC Server - Summary of a brainstorming session and more

OpenELEC Server - Summary of a brainstorming session and more 6 years 9 months ago #1

  • einhänder
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Hi all,

I'd like to sum up the results of our brainstorming session from last night. In addition I extended the report with some things that came into my mind while I felt asleep and I used to use on my personal server setup.
Thanks @durando, gilphilbert, therio, stombi and sraue for sharing your ideas last night. :)

Basic idea:
Development of a server counterpart to the existing OpenELEC Media Center Distribution (Client). For convenience in regards to development and user experience fork the existing OpenELEC codebase.

Basic characteristics:
  • headless system (no Xorg)
  • easy installation process
  • autoupdate
  • lightning fast boottimes
  • secure
  • energy saving as far as possible
  • note: mostly hardware dependent
  • note: fall asleep if there isn't any network access/harddrive activity after a certain period of time.
  • note: wakeup on certain network access (send magic cookie automatically while access a network ressource within xbmc)
  • WOL (Wake-On-Lan)
  • WLAN doesn't make sense in HD era
  • administration via webinterface
  • maybe administration via a xbmc addon (personally i'd opt that out)
  • share XBMC home directory via nfs and autofs across the local area network for multiple clients (personally i'd opt that out)
  • share XBMC skins via nfs and autofs across the local area network for multiple clients (personally i'd opt that out)
  • share media thumbnails via nfs and autofs across the local area network for multiple clients
  • share MySQL database across the local area network for multiple clients
  • data security (raid)
  • encryption of storage devices
  • central distribution of OpenELEC client updates across the local area network
  • some kind of handshake functionality that would let the client automatically detect the server counterpart and its available services



  • Functionality/Features:
    • lightning fast boottimes: systemd
    • network: static, dhcp, bonding, local dns
    • filesystems: xfs, ext4, ZFS-FUSE, btrfs, (fat, ntfs)
    • raid: none, 1, 5
    • encryption: Truecrypt, DM-Crypt, LUKS, FLUKS
    • fileserver: nfs, samba, netatalk, ftp, sftp, (upnp/ushare)
    • database: MySQL
    • local radio station: icecast( / shoutcast)
    • itunes sharing: mt-daapd
    • (telephony: asterisk)
    • (playstation 3 sharing: PS3 Media Server)
    • pvr backends: tvheadend, vdr, mythtv
    • handshake: populate available services and certain/fixed/static hostname via zeroconf (avahi)
    • autodiscovery: again avahi. an alternative would be to define an ip address or hostname within oe. then this address will be crawled for certain services.
    • real autodiscover vs half autodiscover (user has to enter ip/hostname)
    • webinterface: adjust webmin, fork wrt* (e.g. tomato) webui system, create own webui (apache vs. lightweight httpd, php vs. python, mysql vs. sqlite)
    • (package management: ?)

    Links:

    I guess that's it for now.

    Cheers,
    einhänder
    Last Edit: 6 years 9 months ago by einhänder.
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    The following user(s) said Thank You: sraue

    Re: OpenELEC Server - Summary of a brainstorming session and more 6 years 9 months ago #2

    • xe
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    I am extremmely keen on this idea and have went on record before that this is the way to go.

    I have to brief this now as I am at work however some food for thought:

    Also be an OpenELEC update server. For home with many OE installs this will reduce update bandwidth requirements and allow for centralised control of what version is run.

    For the forseeable future we will need X. XBMC needs to be part of this so that the central server can scrape new content. At teh current time there is no way to do this without a full XBMC install

    We have to be clear that what we are building is NOT a NAS box. A NAS box on the face of it seems like its part of this role but thats a whole R&D task in itself. We cannot compete with things like unRAID and there are so many NAS technologies like ZFS etc we will never be able to do all of them well.
    This would be a media distribution server and not a media storage server.

    We can also potentially do cool stuff like scraper proxys. Its not a huge step to have proxys code specific for IMDB, TVDB etc This way users could give friends a helping hand by say uploading 4GB of TVDB art and XML to your server
    #################################################
    I collect Karma points feel free to contribute :)
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    Re: OpenELEC Server - Summary of a brainstorming session and more 6 years 9 months ago #3

    • therio
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    I like the idea, and as said before by Xe, this would be a server for OpenELEC only. As it will not be a NAS storage system, but a combined system that stores your media, we could take a look at NAS devices and if it would be possible to make a plugin for it that runs this system could run. The pro's of this will be energy efficient and already running the most tasks for sharing/downloading the media. Not every NAS would be able to do this, but the well-known brands that produce quality NASses will do. Con for this is that it would require different plugins for different brands. Another option would be an ION based system (or other architectures that are known for their energy efficiency), also because the architecture is already well known by OpenELEC.
    A thank you is nice, but a donation is more needed ;)
    Thanks in advance!!
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    Re: OpenELEC Server - Summary of a brainstorming session and more 6 years 9 months ago #4

    • lofty40
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    Hi,

    Have you ever heard about Vortexbox ?
    Automatic ripping of CD,DVD's.
    Great future, perfect addition for a server.

    In my opinion, the system should be easily adjusted to install additional tools/programs, based on a not too small, fast bootable base like the OE-client.
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    Aw: OpenELEC Server - Summary of a brainstorming session and more 6 years 9 months ago #5

    • THaase
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    Hi,

    include XBMS Protocol.
    Much less overhead than SMB.

    Not needed if you are wired .....
    but could save your ass then you are using WLan.
    Even if you mentioned before that WLan isn't the right choice for HD ....
    But maybe you want to stream SD

    cu,
    Thomas
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    Re: OpenELEC Server - Summary of a brainstorming session and more 6 years 9 months ago #6

    • therio
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    lofty40 wrote:
    ....
    In my opinion, the system should be easily adjusted to install additional tools/programs, based on a not too small, fast bootable base like the OE-client.

    So the system must be more open than OpenELEC client (which has a read only part which sometimes doesn't let you run add-ons that require a modification in this part)? It will be risky, as some add-ons are still buggy. Otherwise these programs could be included while building the image, so it's by default installled. But this will only be done with enough requests for it.
    A thank you is nice, but a donation is more needed ;)
    Thanks in advance!!
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    Re: OpenELEC Server - Summary of a brainstorming session and more 6 years 9 months ago #7

    • torana
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    Seems similar to the Open Media Vault project. I was hanging out for OMV to be released until I read the above! OMV looks very polished not sure if the devs have heard of it but worth looking at.
    cheers
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    Re: OpenELEC Server - Summary of a brainstorming session and more 6 years 9 months ago #8

    • robadub
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    Having found this thread from another discussion I have one comment if I may

    I agree that open extensibility has potential issues and that it is wise to have some quality checks/restrictions but I think that for the majority of users this has to allow for sabnzbd+, sickbeard, etc. to run on the same server if it is to be truely a one-stop media shop

    Overall though the idea is fantastic, I pulled the xbmc repo recently to see how hard it would be to daemonize the media library functionality but pesky work got in the way...

    - R
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    Re: OpenELEC Server - Summary of a brainstorming session and more 6 years 8 months ago #9

    • steb79
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    Just adding my 2 cents.

    I would like to see the pause and resume of video (movies and TV shows) and music from one Media Client to another (eg you start watching a movie downstairs in the Living Room, then you want to carry on watching this in the Bedroom).

    This is possible already with the LinuxMCE project. I like the functionality of LinuxMCE (central server doing all the work and diskless clients just showing the media) but love the media interface of XBMC (especially being able to change skins).

    I have been using XBMC (XBMC Live) for a few months now but keep having problems with my media being on a seperate hard drive on the same box. Going to install OpenElec later in hope it will solve my problems.
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    Aw: Re: OpenELEC Server - Summary of a brainstorming session and more 6 years 8 months ago #10

    • jd
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    Hi,

    you can do this already with XBMC. Just read this article:
    How to synchronize your XBMC
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    Re: Aw: Re: OpenELEC Server - Summary of a brainstorming session and more 6 years 8 months ago #11

    • gilphilbert
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    Thanks jd - yes, you can.

    It's one of the first features that would be added to the hub/server, if created.
    OpenELEC.tv - the future of XBMC...
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    Re: Aw: Re: OpenELEC Server - Summary of a brainstorming session and more 6 years 5 months ago #12

    • Evanrich
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    jd wrote:
    Hi,

    you can do this already with XBMC. Just read this article:
    How to synchronize your XBMC

    Took a look at that guide, wouldn't you still need to go and select the video to play on another media center? it wouldn't show the same content across all your devices. I'd still have to go pick TV shows -> tv show -> episode to continue where i was right?
    HTPC: Zotac ION-A-U with 4GB ram & 32GB SSD
    Build box/File Server: W2k8 R2, AMD x3 455, 14TB RAID 5 with 2TB Samsung HD204UI drives.

    Too lazy to roll your own builds? take mine: http://www.mediafire.com/openelec
    Want to check my build status? check here:EvanRich's Jenkins CI server
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    Re: Aw: Re: OpenELEC Server - Summary of a brainstorming session and more 6 years 5 months ago #13

    • cityblue2001
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    Rather than build a plugin for a NAS, wouldn't it make more sense to include this additional "server" functionality in the standard OpenELEC build, then allow the user to nominate one OE device as a "master" (that serves all the services, as well as functioning as a standard OE client) with all the other OE devices as clients?

    This would mean you only need to support the hardware you already support today. Downside it would mean bloating the standard build with additional services, or alternatively you create two builds - OE Client and OE Master (Client + services). Or there's a third option, create the OE Client package as you do today, then create a separate "OE Master" package that can be applied by the end user on top of OE Client to add the sharing services for those who want the "Master" functionality.

    Trying to create "plugins" for a multitude of NAS builds is going to be a total nightmare. If people want this, leave it to others to port the "OE Master" package to the respective NAS builds - you don't need the headache.

    Personally speaking though I'm really against sharing thumbs over the network - this is going to result in significantly reduced performance. It's what Syabas (Popcorn Hour) are currently doing with their Network Media Jukebox and performance sucks badly - moving the media library from the NAS to local storage is pretty much the number 1 enhancement request from users.

    I do however think a "centralised" media library is a great idea, but only if the updates can be synced (pushed) from the master to the clients so that the clients can store a local copy of the library on their USB/HDD storage (as they do today). This would then ensure optimal performance with minimum support overhead - just update the media library on the master and updates will be pushed to each client the next time they connect (or immediately, if they are already connected).

    It's technically trickier to implement, but trust me - media libraries shared over the network from a NAS are not pleasant to use, OpenELEC will slow down as it waits on the network for resources. Media Walls and other fancy skins will slow to a crawl.

    All your hard work will have been for nothing, as users actively shun the concept.

    Then again, maybe it will would be possible to offer the choice of syncing OR sharing on a client-by-client basis, in which case users can have optimal GUI performance when the client has local storage, or they can run diskless clients and take the hit on GUI performance.
    Last Edit: 6 years 5 months ago by cityblue2001.
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    Re: Aw: Re: OpenELEC Server - Summary of a brainstorming session and more 6 years 5 months ago #14

    • therio
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    cityblue2001 wrote:
    Rather than build a plugin for a NAS, wouldn't it make more sense to include this additional "server" functionality in the standard OpenELEC build, then allow the user to nominate one OE device as a "master" (that serves all the services, as well as functioning as a standard OE client) with all the other OE devices as clients?

    In fact, you could read others minds ;)
    This is also an idea we have. To me it looks more logical, only has to be worked out a bit further.
    A thank you is nice, but a donation is more needed ;)
    Thanks in advance!!
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    Re: Aw: Re: OpenELEC Server - Summary of a brainstorming session and more 6 years 5 months ago #15

    • gilphilbert
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    Evanrich - you're quite right. The idea isn't to stream the same content to all machines at the same time - instead we want users to be able to manage a single library across all of their clients and for it to work seemlessly. So if you've set up a server and install a client it 'just works'. After that, additional machines that are installed later will automatically talk to the server and configure themselves to pick up the library automagically :)


    cityblue2001 - We have to do one of two things: either have NAS mounted thumbnails or have some way to synchronise the thumbs across all clients, otherwise only the client that scrapes the files will have the thumbs. I run a shared thumbs over wireless and don't have any performance issues. There is also a new feature in XBMC that allows for shared thumb locations by default via advancedsettings.xml so we might be able to use that.
    OpenELEC.tv - the future of XBMC...
    Last Edit: 6 years 5 months ago by gilphilbert.
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