audiophile fanless laptop

sh4
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sh4
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Joined: July 21st, 2013, 7:32 am

July 21st, 2013, 7:32 am #1

Hi!

I've a fanless laptop (10" panasonic toughbook cf-m34 with touch screen) that I'm using as hi-fi souce playing FLACs through a USB dac.
It also has a Compact Flash Card instead of an Hard Disk Drive, to be completely silent.

My actual OS is Debian (woody).

Because it's a Pentium III 700 with 256MB of RAM, Debian takes 3 minutes to boot and it's incredibly slow opening the audio player (from the power button to the listening it can take even 10-15 mins) and even browsing folders (I usually put one or two albums on the CF from an external NTFS USB drive) and it's very frustrating comparing it with the CD player (3 seconds to press power, press OPEN, put the CD, press play, listen).

Once booted and loaded, it sounds great and I'm very happy with it but I really would like to have a faster and more responsive source to play my music. Sometimes I keep listening the same album to avoid the frustration of selecting another one.

Searching for small and fast OSes I've found MenuetOS.

I'm here to ask if this little big OS will:

0) play FLACs
1) boot on my laptop
2) run my DAC (Generic USB Audio based on burr-brown PCM2902E)
3) run the touchscreen (Gunze AHL/M serial model), I can live without it but it will be great.

to install Debian on it I've followed this guide: http://users.libero.it/hpstr/cfm34-linux.html (exactly the same hardware of the guide except for the CPU an RAM).

I hope you'll be interested in my project and with your knowledge you'll help me to save some own-testing time and frustration.

thank you very much!
 
Last edited by sh4 on July 21st, 2013, 7:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MustardMan
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Joined: January 6th, 2014, 10:31 pm

January 6th, 2014, 10:30 pm #2

I am indeed surprised that you say your laptop is fanless! All the laptops I have seen have a small fan in them which only runs every so often, and is usually fairly quiet. But that is off topic...

I too am into playing audio and have scrounged a true fanless PC to run my stuff on. My criteria...
1] Quiet - no fans.
2] Quick start - waitiing 3 minutes for the OS is just NOT acceptable!
3] Persistant OS - the OS must not write to the media (HDD, flash) during operation
4] Able to be turned off at the power point.

I really hate the way the user must 'instruct' a computer to shut down, then patiently wait to see if the computer decides it is going to do what you ask. Windoze seems to make up its' own mind as to whether you were serious or not, and at times just ignores your request!!

I found that a 2.5" hard disk was pretty quiet and when the computer was in the stereo cabinet and had its' lid on, I could not hear it. Recently I purchased an SD/IDE adapter to put everything onto an SD : the thing then emulates a true IDE hard disk. SD cards have finally reached a size where I can fit most of my collection, even if it is maiinly MP3 files. Prior to about 2010, my only option was hard disk.

I really liked MenuetOS as an OS that had nearly all the features I wanted, except it has no decent audio player. "MPlayer" is the only one available, it costs 10 euros, and only does MP3. Very dissapointed. MP3 players are FREE for every other OS out there - why not menuet?

DOS 7 was (unfortunately) the only OS that could come to the party, even so, long file name support sux badly. Several FREE MP3 players (and other audio format too - I use APE) are readily available, even with source code if you so desire! I use MPXplay, but was very tempted by DAMP. I chose MPXplay because it remembers where you turned the power off, and starts playing from there when you turn it back on again. I believe it is also the only one still being actively maintained (2013).

My system boots from cold in about 15 seconds, of which about 10 of those are the BIOS fooling about, 2 seconds for DOS, and about 3 seconds for MPXplay. I used to run it on an old 486/100, and it really peaked out the CPU. The PC died & I went to a Pentuim 250MHz, and now I have a Pentium 500.

I bought an "IR to PC" gadget that plugs into the serial port and I configured the PC to accept commands from an old remote I had. It works great!

MenuetOS now has DOSbox - it didn't when I first set my system up. The soundcard support for DOS programs is pretty weak, and it sounds (no pun intended) that your sound device is pretty specific. Perhaps you could use MenuetOS -> DOSbox -> MPXplay ?

I would very much like to port MPXplay to MenuetOS, but my programming is very rusty. I really hate running anything micro$oft, even if I get it for free, so I use DOS 7 very reluctantly.

MM
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MustardMan
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Joined: January 6th, 2014, 10:31 pm

January 6th, 2014, 10:34 pm #3

I am indeed surprised that you say your laptop is fanless! All the laptops I have seen have a small fan in them which only runs every so often, and is usually fairly quiet. But that is off topic...

I too am into playing audio and have scrounged a true fanless PC to run my stuff on. My criteria...
1] Quiet - no fans.
2] Quick start - waitiing 3 minutes for the OS is just NOT acceptable!
3] Persistant OS - the OS must not write to the media (HDD, flash) during operation
4] Able to be turned off at the power point.

I really hate the way the user must 'instruct' a computer to shut down, then patiently wait to see if the computer decides it is going to do what you ask. Windoze seems to make up its' own mind as to whether you were serious or not, and at times just ignores your request!!

I found that a 2.5" hard disk was pretty quiet and when the computer was in the stereo cabinet and had its' lid on, I could not hear it. Recently I purchased an SD/IDE adapter to put everything onto an SD : the thing then emulates a true IDE hard disk. SD cards have finally reached a size where I can fit most of my collection, even if it is maiinly MP3 files. Prior to about 2010, my only option was hard disk.

I really liked MenuetOS as an OS that had nearly all the features I wanted, except it has no decent audio player. "MPlayer" is the only one available, it costs 10 euros, and only does MP3. Very dissapointed. MP3 players are FREE for every other OS out there - why not menuet?

DOS 7 was (unfortunately) the only OS that could come to the party, even so, long file name support sux badly. Several FREE MP3 players (and other audio format too - I use APE) are readily available, even with source code if you so desire! I use MPXplay, but was very tempted by DAMP. I chose MPXplay because it remembers where you turned the power off, and starts playing from there when you turn it back on again. I believe it is also the only one still being actively maintained (2013).

My system boots from cold in about 15 seconds, of which about 10 of those are the BIOS fooling about, 2 seconds for DOS, and about 3 seconds for MPXplay. I used to run it on an old 486/100, and it really peaked out the CPU. The PC died & I went to a Pentuim 250MHz, and now I have a Pentium 500.

I bought an "IR to PC" gadget that plugs into the serial port and I configured the PC to accept commands from an old remote I had. It works great!

MenuetOS now has DOSbox - it didn't when I first set my system up. The soundcard support for DOS programs is pretty weak, and it sounds (no pun intended) that your sound device is pretty specific. Perhaps you could use MenuetOS -> DOSbox -> MPXplay ?

I would very much like to port MPXplay to MenuetOS, but my programming is very rusty. I really hate running anything micro$oft, even if I get it for free, so I use DOS 7 very reluctantly.

MM
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MustardMan
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Joined: January 6th, 2014, 10:31 pm

January 11th, 2014, 4:10 am #4

Hi there - I have no idea why my previous post appeared twice, perhaps some kind administrator could remove one of them?

Anyway, I tried MPXplay with DOSbox on KolibriOS (which may be a dirty word around here?). I can't run MenuetOS 64bit on my laptop, or any PC I own for that matter - no long mode (which translates to no 64bit processor - why not just say that?).

Continuing, I was using a Pentium III, 700MHz, and told DOSbox to run at maximum speed. MPXplay could not keep up, and skipping (video) frames made almost no difference. My laptop soundcard was not working, but MPXplay saw the emulated SB16 and did its' stuff. I guessed it was running about 70% of real time.

MPXplay would not run in DOS on the same laptop because if it does not see a soundcard it can use, it just bombs out.

So, in upshot, unless you have a really fast laptop - DOSbox will not solve your problem. And I doubt you have a fanless laptop at a GHz!

Waiting for a free MenuetOS MP3 player...!

Cheers,
MM
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villemt
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villemt
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Joined: April 25th, 2004, 8:29 am

January 11th, 2014, 12:41 pm #5

Menuet media player is available at a price of a few coffee cups.



http://menuetos.net/mtv.htm
http://menuetos.net/0995.png
http://menuetos.net/sc0011.png
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MustardMan
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Joined: January 6th, 2014, 10:31 pm

January 12th, 2014, 9:21 am #6

Hi Ville,

Thanks for taking the time to reply to me. I checked out 'media player' for Menuet as you suggested. Unfortunately, according to the page that talks about it (http://www.menuetos.net/mplayer.htm), it requires M64, which won't run on any of my computers.

I am impressed with Menuet, even when I first saw it many years ago. It couldn't do much, just look good and boot fast. That was about the time when M64 was just becoming reality, and M32 was going strong. From reading about the advances with M64 - M64 has come a long way since then.

I have read about why the Kolibri fork happened (or at least one individuals point of view on it), and have also heard that M32 is starting to lag behind M64 as far as development effort goes. I don't quite get why the latest M32 (0.85C released Aug 13) is so much lower in version number to M64 released earlier than it (0.98.99 released Jan 13)?

Everybody's goal is diffferent - for me it is small, fast and workable with old hardware. I can see that your goal is completely different, as 64 bit processors are certainly not (yet) considered old hardware! And 64bit processors would also be unlikely to run sub-GHz, where speed is really needed to do things such as DSP and rendering! May I ask why "you" (ie: the Menuet team) have decided to go 64bit? Or a pointer to somewhere where "you" (the team) say why?

I really applaud your efforts at making such a small OS! To be honest, I would rather donate money to the MenuetOS development team than to a third party maker of mpeg decoder software - seeing as pretty much no-one else on the planet seems to be worried about charging for licencing a decoder! I fail to see why the 'Avangate' decoder is so special - unless they offer the full source code with it.

I have heard that 64bit programming is significantly different from 32bit programming (it was probably you on another thread actually), which is why M32 and M64 are no longer kept even. I was under the impression that 64bit programming was only about byte alignment? Mind you, I gave programming away 20 years ago in search of another career, so I am way out of touch.

It seems a bit strange that Menuet is "advertised" (promoted?) as being able to fit on a single floppy, but that it is only useable on 64 bit processors. I really had to scrounge hard for a floppy drive, and eventually had to settle for a USB incarnation of one. Even some of the crappy old hardware I have seems to have phased out FDD interfaces altogether, and floppy drives themselves have been long gone. It is hard to get even 1GB USB pen drives now.

Don't get me wrong, I really admire the effort, dedication and commitment to produce a full GUI in the same space (less actually) than Micro$oft could produce a command prompt in DOS! Personally though, I would like to see M32 get the attention that M64 seems to be getting.

Cheers,
Owen.

 
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