Talk about speedy!

How’s it going everybody?? Few days ago a friend of mine got me to throw on Arch Linux and give it a whirl, again.  So, I been away getting Arch Linux setup and running and remembering why I liked it the first time :).

I was running Ubuntu, as I stated previously, and I wanted to try out some DVD Ripping software so I could store all the DVD’s I own on a Hard Drive.  Ultimately, I would like to make a media center, but for now just having backups was my goal – and with the AAO having a 160GB HDD I figured why not?

Well, I tried all the big boys of course, dvd::rip, AcidRip, Thoggen, OGMRip, etc.  And while they all worked fine in Ubuntu I preferred dvd::rip the most because of it’s clustering ability.  Unfortunately, due to the completely flakey wireless on the AAO in Linux (using both ath5k and madwifi’s drivers it randomly disconnects on me), the clustering ability was out.  Mid-rip it would disconnect and cause all the nodes to die off cancelling the project.

I also quickly learned that ubuntu bastardized their ffmpeg and didn’t allow the use of the H.264 codec.  This was easily fixable in Hardy using Medibuntu, but Linux Mint and correspondingly Intrepid that it’s based on, requires a complete rebuild of ffmpeg and H.264.

Instead, I decided to try Arch and put on my old favorite: XFCE.  Here’s what it looks like currently:


Arch linux, for those that don’t know, is built on a philosophy of “Keep it simple, stupid”, or KISS.  That does NOT mean simple for you, it means simple for their packages.  There is no post-configuration needed when installing packages, it doesn’t automatically add the appropriate startup and shutdown services, etc.

While it has a truly nice package management system, pacman, that rivals both Yum and Apt, each of the packages will usually still require you to do manual things if you want them to start automatically.

As far as Arch goes, everything works flawless on the AAO.. and is very speedy when using the XFCE desktop since there is no unnecessary services running in the background.

Unfortunately, dvd::rip no longer works right.  Because Arch Linux is mostly bleeding-edge it has things like Transcode 1.1, and dvd::rip only supports up to 1.0.9.  It runs, but during ripping it hangs at 70% and the log says it finished.  If you try encoding it after you do that the audio is completely async.

OGMRip works fine, you can google around for it’s procedures, but I wanted a little more control.  AcidRip required me to modify some source code to get it to work with H.264, shown below:

#/usr/share/perl5/vendor_perl/AcidRip/ if ( $::settings->{'video_codec'} eq 'x264' ) { $menc{'video'} = "-ovc x264 -x264encopts bitrate=1500"; }

In my installation that was around line 227. There is an ‘nuv’ codec if statement right before it that I placed it after. It statically sets the bitrate to 1500, you can change that to whatever you wanted.  It allows AcidRip to work properly using the newer x264.

The quality of the rip was fine.. but I needed something  that worked with VOB files better so I could batch process.  Currently I’m copying the dvd’s to the HDD with vobcopy, which is very simple:

vobcopy -l -o /path/to/output

That gives me one large vob file to work with. I’m currently encoding a couple using a script I found here and also have another going using HandBrake. I am using an NFS share on my AAO to allow more than one computer to be converting vob files. I’ll let you know the quality of these videos when they finish. I connected my AAO to ethernet for this due to the wireless problems mentioned above.

Well, that’s all I got for today, two very interesting GUI’s I have found for linux that I will be reviewing in my next post are Hyper Video Converter and WinFF. Both of these are frontends for ffmpeg, and in the case of HyperVC it even shows you the command line before you choose to encode so you can run it yourself.. perfect when using multiple machines through ssh.

So far, I’m loving my AAO as a complete Laptop Replacement for me.