Ubuntu Linux on ASRock Core 100HT

I installed Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) 32 bit on my ASRock Core 100HT, which I use as an “HTPC” (Home Theater PC) or “mediacenter”. For now I also use it as a NAS and a few other odd jobs. Everything I’ve tried so far worked out of the box, except infrared. I had to install the infrared driver in an inconvenient way, but it works too. This blog-post will mostly be about the remote.

What I have tested

The HTPC is connected to my TV by HDMI. It automatically chose HDMI output, and the right resolution for my TV (1360×768). I didn’t have any audio, so I clicked my way into audio settings and changed the output to “HDMI Stereo”, and then it worked like I wanted it. I haven’t tried VGA, optical audio out

It’s networked by WIFI (802.11b), no problems there. I haven’t tried 802.11n or wired network.

Reading DVD’s works. I haven’t tried CD or burning anything.

Infrared works with the supplied MCE remote. It probably works with almost any infrared remote, with a bit of work. I haven’t tried that yet.
My Logitech Harmony (programmable universal remote) works fine with the HTPC. I simply autodetected the MCE remote with the Harmony.

I can play 1080p h264 movies.

USB 2 works, haven’t tried USB 3 yet.

Oh, and I can turn the device on with the IR-remote.

Installing the infrared driver

ASRock has two Linux-downloads for the Core 100HT: Infrared driver for Ubuntu 10.4, and infrared driver for Ubuntu 10.10. The latter has a great manual, but there’s a lot of steps. The style in the manual is “click this, click that, type this, type that” etc., which I think is what most people want. I prefer a more terse syntax, with commands I can copy/paste to the terminal. Like this:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install lirc lirc-modules-source

        Remote control configuration: None
        IR transmitter, if present: None

unzip -d /tmp/ "IR(10.10)2.6.35-22.zip"

Install one of these, ignore errors:
32 bit: sudo dpkg -i /tmp/Ubuntu\ 10.10/lirc-nct677x-1.1.0-ubuntu10.10-kernel2.6.35.deb
64 bit: sudo dpkg -i /tmp/Ubuntu\ 10.10/lirc-nct677x-x64-1.1.0-ubuntu10.10-kernel2.6.35.deb

Again, ignore errors:
sudo dpkg -i /tmp/Ubuntu\ 10.10/lirc-nct677x-src-1.1.0-ubuntu10.10.deb 

cd /usr/src
sudo dkms remove -m lirc -v 0.8.7~pre3 --all
sudo dkms add -m lirc -v 0.8.7~pre3
sudo dkms build -m lirc -v 0.8.7~pre3
sudo dkms install -m lirc -v 0.8.7~pre3 --force
sudo dpkg-reconfigure lirc

        Remote control configuration: Nuvoton Transceivers/Remotes
        IR transmitter, if present: None
Test by running the command "irw", and push some buttons on the remote. It should output the name of the buttons you press.

Using the remote

After installing the driver and confirming that it works, the remote still didn’t do anything. I haven’t studied how this is supposed to work, but after playing around a bit I’ve learning that it’s probably something like this: LIRC (Linux Infrared Remote Control) receives the infrared signal, recognizes which remote it is and which button it is, and then tells about it to anyone who wants to listen. In my case, nobody.

I started XBMC and made sure it knows I have a remote that doesn’t send keyboard signals, and then it worked.

For now, I only want one more feature: Starting XBMC with the remote.

Warning: I tried to configure LIRC with an easy GUI. I don’t remember the name, but it didn’t work and it destroyed what already worked. I removed the software and reinstalled the driver. Please comment or email me if you have anything to add here.

I created the file “~/.lircrc” with this content:

begin
    prog = irexec
    button = Home
    config = ps -e | grep xbmc >/dev/null || xbmc&
    repeat = 0
end

In english, if I understand correct: “If the program irexec wants to know that Home (big green button with the ) is pressed, give it the string from the ‘config’-line.”

irexec then executes the command, which is “if xbmc is not running, run it”.

The final step is to start irexec when the machine is booting, I simply did that with the Ubuntu “Startup Applications” function.

LIRC names of the remote buttons

…as defined by the driver from ASRocks website.

Aspect Power
RecTV Guide LiveTV DVD
Record Stop
Play
Rewind Forward
Pause
Replay Skip
Up
Left OK Right
Down
VolUp ChanUp
VolDown Home ChanDown
Back Mute More
One Two Three
Four Five Six
Seven Eight Nine
Star Zero Hash
Clear Enter
Radio Music Pictures Videos
Red Green Yellow Blue
Teletext

Harmony names of the remote buttons

…in the configution it autodetected. You could make your own configuration with the LIRC-names or whatever you choose. There is a few duplicates and a few buttons not on the original remote.

Aspect PowerToggle
RecordedTV Guide LiveTV DVDMenu
Rec/Record Stop
Play
Rew/Rewind Fwd/FastForward
Pause
Replay Skip
Up
Left OK/ChannelPrev Right
Down
VolUp ChannelUp
VolDown Media/GreenButton ChannelDown
Back Mute Info
1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9
* 0 #
Clear Enter
MyRadio MyMusic MyPictures MyVideos
Red Green Yellow Blue
Teletext

Additional commands, not on the original remote:

Harmony LIRC
Audio BB3
MyTV TV
Subtitle Not detected

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