I just purchased a Zotac small form factor PC.  I mistakenly thought this would also record TV for me, what was I thinking?  It must have been that second glass of wine clouding my judgment!  After trying to get Linux MCE working on it I decided to just scrap that idea because it wasn’t working out, the KDE interface is clunky, I had video problems on my Vizio 26″ TV where the desktop was stretched too far on the edges and I couldn’t figure out how to easily reposition the start menu.  Not only that, Linux MCE’s latest release blew up my networking and I couldn’t easily configure it to get back onto my network.  It was truly a mess and I don’t consider myself a Linux Newb anymore, I’m not an expert but I’m savvy but trying to figure out everything Linux MCE blew up on my Zotac would have just taken too much time!

So with the recommendation of the posts on NewEgg about this machine I am giving Ubuntu and XBMC a shot.  I haven’t actually gotten to the XBMC part yet because I ran into an issue with allowing Ubuntu 10.04 to share files, also – XBMC’s apt-get install procedure isn’t working so that will take some time for me to figure out (God I hope I don’t have to compile from source!).  The option for file sharing is there but only Blue Tooth is enabled by default (What’s up with that Ubuntu?).  In the file sharing control panel it says “This feature  cannot  be enabled  because the required packages are not installed on your system“.  How irritating! That’s not the only irritating thing about Ubuntu 10.04, like there’s no device manager or system information installed. That would be equivalent to Windows not installing a device manager so you couldn’t look at your hardware, you’re flying blind. Now – back to the file sharing snafoo.

This has a simple resolution, after mucking around on the net trying to find an answer I thought, what if I just:

1 – Create a folder somewhere
2 – Share it

I did that, I created a “Media” folder on my desktop, right click it, left click properties, click the “share” tab then click “Share this folder”. Ubuntu 10.04 will squak and say you don’t have xyz thing installed but then prompts would you like to install it? It then goes out and gets the appropriate packages. A simple reboot and you’re set. You can now share your folders with the sharing tab + set permissions to those folders (or not).

I wish Ubuntu 10.04 would come with a few more standard options like a device manager and with file sharing packages ready to go.