LinuxMCE (Linux Media Center Edition) is a free and open source software platform with a 10-foot user interface designed to allow a computer to act as a home theater PC (HTPC) for the living-room TV, personal video recorder, and home automation system. It allows control of everything in the home, from lighting and climate to surveillance cameras and home security. It also includes a full-featured VoIP-compatible phone system with support for video conferencing. The distribution it runs on is Kubuntu Linux.

    LinuxMCE is an amazing piece of software that can take the place of and improve upon systems already up and running. LinuxMCE works with a huge number of devices and that list is getting larger. Can even control it with a wii remote

    LinuxMCE works by having a central core and then some media directors, the core can also be a media director. The media director is just any device that connects to a tv or monitor. The central core takes control of the network at a low level and distributes boot images to media directors. So a pc can be used normally then rebooted into a media director. The core autamatically detects media across the network, it can get the media from various PCs or even a NAS (Network Attatched Storage). The core keeps track of the users location through bluetooth and other means, so if you're watching something in the living room and walk into the bedroom it will automatically switch to the right device.

View from an Orbiter (tablet interface)

    Check out the Orbiter, which is a tablet that works as a remote to the entire LinuxMCE system. Presented by one of the main LinuxMCE developers, they now have working versions of the orbiter on Android devices with IOS devices planned.

    In this video he demonstrates how it has become easier to navigate the interface with a gyro mouse
or wii remote.

    Don't like the way LinuxMCE looks but love the features, no problem being an open source community project anyone can create a new theme for the system, and there's a few good ones already out there to choose from, my personal favorite was the LCARS theme. Of course there's also some documentation on creating your own theme at

    LinuxMCE is an amazing chunk of software and will have an update to this article as soon as I set it up and use it for a couple weeks.

Here are some of the main features of LinuxMCE

  • Organize media with special metadata tags
  • View/Listen to media in any room
  • Media automatically follows you through your home
  • New media is automatically detected - even if it's on other devices like another computer on your network or Network Attached Storage (NAS)
  • Control all your A/V gear through LinuxMCE (using IR, USB, Ethernet, or RS-232) including automatically powering everything on and setting the proper inputs on each device
  • Monitor sensors and trigger events
  • Monitor security cameras
  • Use VoIP phones anywhere in your home with minimal setup
  • Voicemail, call forwarding, advanced caller ID
Network Management
  • Take the place of a standard home router
  • Advanced firewall
  • Advanced Quality of Service (QoS) to make sure your bandwidth is used effectively (especially important for VoIP)
  • Manage networked storage (such as NAS devices)
Home Control and Automation
  • Control climate and lighting throughout your entire home


    In addition to audio and video media, LinuxMCE can play games originally designed for many different game systems. LinuxMCE contains a copy of the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) to play arcade games, and the Multiple Emulator Super System (MESS) to play games meant for many home video game systems.
LinuxMCE currently can support the following game systems:
  • Arcade games emulated by MAME
  • Atari 2600
  • Atari 5200
  • Atari 7800
  • ColecoVision
  • Intellivision
  • Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Nintendo Famicom
  • NEC PC-Engine
  • SEGA Genesis
  • SEGA Master System
  • SEGA Mega Drive
  • SEGA SG-1000
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System
  • NEC SuperGrafx
  • NEC TurboGrafx-16
    With each game system, LinuxMCE presents integrated controls for all supported control methods, and provides a seamless way to import, catalog, and play all the games stored on your core or any attached storage device. Simply copy the ROMs into their respective system folders, and LinuxMCE will attempt to identify, and tag each one to the best of its ability.

To get started check out the projects' main wiki page