HOWTO: Ubuntu 9.04 Media PC/ HTPC install and MythTV setup guides - AVS Forum

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HTPC - Linux Chat

Rgb's Avatar Rgb
08:19 AM Liked: 19
post #1 of 33
03-19-2010 | Posts: 6,893
Joined: Apr 2000
EDIT 100907- rather than update this post for 10.04, I plan to make a new HOWTO for 10.04 separately. This procedure was not changed- I only removed references to 10.04.

10.04 procedure

Here is the procedure I follow to install Ubuntu 9.04 from the boot liveCD with preferred media apps and most known audio/video codecs on a new media PC build, or desktop/office/general purpose OS install from scratch.

Includes Java, Flash, Adobe PDF Reader, MP3, DVD decrypting (DeCSS) and playback with menus, the current openOffice (v3.2 as of 3/2010)- the whole 10 yards (I wouldn't short change ya ). 10.04 has OpenOffice v3.2 preinstalled- one less thing to do

The procedure assumes use of the 32bit "i386" version of the base Ubuntu with Gnome (the default, "standard" Ubuntu). If you know why you want 64bit, then you don't need this procedure

This procedure may be "dumbed down" for some of you experienced in Linux or OS installations, but it is meant for Linux noobs or people who may have installed Windows from scratch but not Linux.

At minimum, it's a nice checklist/reminder list what you need/want when installing from scratch, regardless of your experience level.

You can print a nice formatted copy of this thread to use while motoring through the install/setup without a browser open. Use the "Thread Tools" drop down at the top right of this thread, next to the "Search this Thread" menu.

This procedure further assumes all your hardware is supported by Ubuntu 9.04 (i.e. hardware driver support/compatibility "out of the box"). You will have to do the research (Google,, these forums, etc) to find out if your motherboard, sound chip, GPU, Ethernet chip, wifi card, etc are supported by Ubuntu 9.04. Start another thread if you have driver-specific issues. This procedure is meant for known-Linux compatible (or at least Ubuntu 9.04 compatible) hardware. Don't let this put you off- most common PC's and motherboard components released through early Q1 2009 (9.04) or Q1 2010 (10.04) should work fine with Ubuntu 9.04. WiFi PCI/PCIe cards and USB adapters that are Linux compatible are cheap and easy to find at the's and's of the world now (use the Customer Reviews or specs to check Linux/Ubuntu compatibility), as well as PCI/USB sound cards and low cost Nvidia PCI/PCIe video cards, if needed to resolve a compatibility or performance issue.

While I admire the work of the Linux Mint (based on Ubuntu) guys, I have been disappointed with the last couple of releases- misc glitches/bugs and even though they include Flash and some codecs, you still need to install/update a large portion of what is documented here, so you may as well stick with the base Ubuntu, IMO.

EDIT: I have not tried Mint 9 Isadora yet, which may have redeemed itself based on my early experience with 10.04

If you want the Mint "look" for your Ubuntu load, use the Shiki-wise theme, part of the shiki-colors package in Synaptic-
(install "shiki-colors")


This procedure is what is needed to get a PC up to "water level" from a boot liveCD install disk (which start below "water level") , equivalent to what I used to do years ago installing XP Pro from its install boot CD, which also didn't have all the plugins, addons, codecs, media/DVD players and audio/video apps needed from scratch. Windows was actually worse because there were no default worthwhile apps, drivers or Office suite on the typical install CD. I don't know the state of Vista or Win7 when installed from their boot CD from scratch, and don't plan to try them.

Following this procedure, you will end up with a HTPC load functionally superior to the last XP Pro HTPC loads I used through early 2008.

Updated and expanded with MythTV install on top of the base Ubuntu 9.04 install in the second post of this thread. This base procedure includes XBMC, another excellent Media Center front end.

This is a painstaking click by click, option by option step through, so even Windows refugees can follow it . Minimal terminal window use- just copy/paste a few lines when needed, just enough to at least be exposed to the terminal as a reminder that you still have control of your own computer .

You don't need to do all of this in one sitting, but the total process should only take an hour or so (not counting download times), less time than it would take downloading and installing similar codecs, apps, updates, drivers, and patches, plus de-crapifying a typical Windows load (assuming you bought a retail PC with Windows preinstalled, filled with useless trialware, adware and borderline malware) .

If you follow this procedure all the way through, you will have gained experience in all the common methods for installing software in Ubuntu and other Debian based Linux's- repositories (PPA's), .deb point/click installer packages, Synaptic and basic terminal use- all except compiling, which is usually just typing "make" then "sudo make install" or similar basic terminal commands.

For a map/"family tree" of most known Linux's, showing which ones are Debian related, see:

Click on "Current version"

Debian compatible versions of Linux *should* be able to share .debs for point and click installation, in general (there are always exceptions), and have compatible sources to compile and repositories, as well as sharing the same filesystem structure and conventions (mountpoints, system file locations, nomenclature, etc)

You will have also gained experience in hard disk partitioning and imaging, two fundamental skills in PC building and OS installation, maintenance and security.

I believe it is complete- if something is missing, I probably just forgot to write it. There may be typos or other errors/omissions we can correct going forward.

It is written with the intent of installing Ubuntu 9.04 as the only OS on the PC- I don't dual boot Windows, though I do multi-boot several Linux's for testing/evaluation purposes. Until you are experienced, I recommend using an old spare hard disk or buy another hard disk to install Ubuntu 9.04 to, without disturbing your current OS hard disk- unless you don't mind overwriting and destroying your current OS load, quite cathartic and therapeutic for long time Windows users .

I would have updated for Ubuntu 9.10, but based on my negative experience with 9.10, corroborated by,2484-13.html

I skipped 9.10 until 10.04 matures. Since 10.04 is a Long Term Support release (LTS), it *should* be more tested and stable than the interim releases- I am confident it will be, at least after a couple months of patches/updates/bug fixes. I am getting up to speed sooner than expected with 10.04 based on a positive install experience on an oddball laptop, the HP tx2500 touchscreen tablet.

Moving forward, the procedure should be similar for future Ubuntu versions and/or other Debian based Linuxes, so motoring through this for Ubuntu 9.04 should enable you to handle future Debian-derived Linux's. Specific details will change, of course, based on GUI/dialog changes and other improvements moving forward.

From 10.04 onwards, it appears the repository Addition procedures are simplified in 10.04, with automated repository key addition and simplified PPA additions, as well as the new Software Center which appears nicer GUI-wise than Synaptic, though I don't see the ability to Mark multiple apps for installation all at once in the new Software Center applet.

Don't be intimidated by the terminology at this point (PPA's, Synaptic, repositories, etc)- just motor through this procedure in sequence and you'll "get it" by the end...

Download and burn Ubuntu 9.04 liveCD


ubuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso or

Burn at no greater than 8x speed on Verbatim blank CD-R, or other 1st Class media rated at:


for .iso burning HOWTO

Be sure to verify with md5sum:

Partition drive beforehand with Parted Magic

You can also use these instructions to partition during the install wizard, though I recommend the Parted Magic Method:

Parted Magic method:

Download, extract the .zip file and burn the .iso to a blank CD like the Ubuntu liveCD you did earlier.

(Version 5.40 current as of 9/8/2010- version is updated every month or two)

WARNING- Resizing any existing partition (OS or data/storage) may destroy the OS or data and make your PC unbootable! Backup your OS partition with Clonezilla (FOSS), Ghost or Acronis TruImage before doing ANY partition work

Clonezilla HOWTO:

Boot with Parted Magic CD
-> Run from RAM
-> Xvesa mode (if asked- don't need to know what Xvesa means, just pick it)

Click on the Partition Editor icon on the left.

Create the following partitions. You may have to first Resize your current OS partition to make room:

To create a partition:

-> right click on available empty space in the hard drive partition map (long bar) graphic at the top of the window
->Add New

1) OS 'root' (/) partition less than or equal to 30GB
This is the partition for Ubuntu install, mount to / (root).
Make this sda1, the first partition you create in order, on the left.

2) swap partition 1.5-2x installed RAM size

3) rest of free space for Data/storage partition (downloads/video/audio files and recordings, data created from apps, Clonezilla backup images, etc)

(I revised my recommended partitioning above to only 3 partitions- OS (/), swap, and data. No need for a dedicated backup Image partition since I switched to Clonezilla from Ghost/Acronis. The last versions of Ghost/Acronis I used could not write to ext3/4 partitions, plus the images they write are locked in proprietary containers and Ghost/Acronis aren't FOSS, i.e. aren't free speech).

I like to make a label for each partition:

-> right click on each partition
-> Label

Label the OS (root, /) partition 'ubuntu904', the swap partition 'swap', and 'data' (or similar) for the storage partition.

Apply changes (it chugs through the changes you defined)
-> exit Partition editor
-> shutdown from the menu in the Parted Magic GUI ("Start" menu).

Installation of Ubuntu from LiveCD

You may have to go into your PC BIOs at startup to make your PC boot from CD- this varies by BIOs/motherboard/PC make/model. Set the Boot order to CD/DVD first, then Save Changes and reboot.

Boot from Ubuntu 9.04 liveCD
-> select language
-> (enter)
->(down arrow once)
-> Install Ubuntu -> (enter)

It will take about 2 minutes to boot the liveCD to the Install wizard screen

Install wizard

select language (english) -> Forward
Click on world map graphic to select your city for timezone, or use pulldown -> City (Region) -> Forward

Keyboard layout -> Suggested: USA (or your preference) -> Forward


Specify Partitions manually -> Forward
-> (Scanning discs)

(WARNING: "Automatic" install will erase what is on your hard drive, destroying your current OS and/or data!)

-> Right click on empty OS partition (sda1) created earlier in Parted Magic (should be left-most partition)
-> Edit Partition (near bottom)
-> (Leave "New Partition Size in Megabytes" alone, do not change)
-> Use as: ext3 journaling file system (I won't use ext4 until late 2010 to ensure stability)
-> Check "format partition"- not really needed because we formatted in Parted Magic, but doesn't hurt.
-> Mount point (pulldown)
-> /
-> OK
-> (Swap created in Parted Magic will be automatically used by the OS, no need to select.)
-> Forward

-> "What is your name?" (enter a username)
-> "What name do you want login?" (same as above)

I use a generic user account name 'user1' or similar, as then it is easy to use the OS image for someone else, another machine, etc.

-> Choose password -> (type password for account 'user1')
-> What is the name of this computer? (I use 'ubuntu904' or 'htpc1', 'htpc_den', etc)
-> Log in Automatically
(personal preference- you may use a password, which you'll have to enter every time the PC boots)
-> Forward
(password complexity warning if applicable)
-> Continue
-> Install
-> ("Installing System..." dialog appears)
-> (Wait until "Installation Complete" dialog box appears.)
-> Restart Now
-> (Remove CD when ejected, close tray)
-> Enter
-> (Your PC should reboot and boot from the hard disc with your new Ubuntu OS.)
-> (ignore the grub menu message)
-> (Your PC should continue booting to the Ubuntu desktop)

First time at desktop, install All automatic Updates, which should popup from the taskbar/system tray within a minute or two, or go to:

System->Administration-> Update Manager and Apply all updates.

You need to enter the password you created in the setup for the user account to install the Updates.

You need an Internet connection for this. 270+ files download for update as of Q1 2010 .

Note: there is a button to upgrade to 9.10- ignore.
Popup asks to restart now or later, pick now.

Applying updates may take 10-30 minutes depending on your ISP speed.

Ignore the Restricted Drivers popup for now.

After updates are installed, reboot.
(Shows Grub boot list with Ubuntu as default when booting after restart)

Video Driver Install

NOTE: I HIGHLY recommend upgrading to an Nvidia 8200/8300/8400GS/Ion/210/220/240 video card or motherboard, which offer the best video playback performance and driver support under linux.

At minimum, you want an ATI, Intel or Nvidia video chip (GPU)- these are supported with the simple point and click Hardware Drivers applet in Ubuntu. Any GPU other than ATI, Intel or Nvidia is unsupported by this procedure.

Upon return to the desktop after reboot,

->Hardware Drivers
->(select "Recommended" driver)
(Recommended driver could be : ATI/AMD proprietary FGLRX graphics driver, Nvidia driver or Intel, depending on the video chip in your PC)
-> Activate -> (enter user password)
-> Authenticate
-> ("Downloading and installing driver")
-> ("You need to restart the computer...")
-> Close-> upper right taskbar
-> username pulldown/power icon -> Restart -> Restart

Disable Compiz desktop compositing effects

Desktop 3D effects interfere with smooth video playback (tearing, etc), the point of a media PC. Turn them off.

System->Preferences->appearance->Visual Effects->None->Close

Disable Auto Updates

Applying updates later can break a working system. We are going to turn them off. No need to fear security issues/etc- the benefit of waiting several months (in our case, a full year) after the OS release is that most of the important/big patches/updates/security issues have already been fixed, and we've applied them all earlier You will be secure enough for at least a year, when you'll want 10.04 or greater anyways .

-> Administration
-> Update manager
-> Settings
-> (uncheck Check for Updates)
-> Show New distribution releases -> Never (pulldown)
-> Close

-> Preferences
-> Startup Applications
-> Startup Programs
-> (scroll down)
-> Update Notifier-> (uncheck)
-> Close

Web Browser Security/Privacy-

Install the following Add ons:
(Just click the big "Add to Firefox' button on each Addon page)




Adobe Flash & PDF Reader

Unfortunately, the web is (currently) almost useless without Flash (until HTML5/CSS/SVG/AJAX/etc. replaces a good portion of its functionality), so you need to install Flash.

No issues with Flash based web apps like per my wife's testing

There are many good free (speech and/or beer) PDF readers out there, but the Adobe PDF Reader ensures you can read all those problem pdf's and documents with complicated forms, the annoying corner cases and encypted PDF's. Fortunately, the current Adobe Linux PDF Reader is less bloated and faster than the current Windows Adobe Reader.

Go to
-> Get Adobe Reader on middle right
-> Different Language or Operating System
-> "Select an operating system" pulldown
-> Linux x86 (.deb)
-> download to desktop.
(The popup also has an option to use GDebi package installer. Use the .deb instead )
-> Get Adobe Flash Player (mid right)
-> Different operating system or browser?
-> Select an operating system
-> Linux
-> Flash Player 10 for Linux (.deb)
-> Agree and Install Now
-> Save file to desktop

Double click each .deb, Install
-> enter user password
-> complete installation.

Java/MP3 and other copyrighted/patented (non free-speech) stuff :

System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager
-> (enter user password)
-> Quick search "restricted"
-> right click ubuntu-restricted-extras
-> Mark for installation
-> Mark -> Apply -> Apply
-> (Changes Applied)
-> Close

Do the same Synaptic procedure, but Quick Search sun-java6-plugin and install

Synaptic is like an "app store" (for Apple fanbois ), except all the apps are free (most speech, all beer )

Other restricted (non free-speech) Audio/Video codecs (DVD CSS, wmv, etc):


Open terminal and copy/paste and Enter each line below
(enter user password if requested , copy/paste everything between the tags, without the ):

sudo wget --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list$(lsb_release -cs).list && sudo apt-get --quiet update && sudo apt-get --yes --quiet --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get --quiet update

sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2

sudo apt-get install w32codecs

Audio/Music players/manager Apps

While in Synaptic, install audacious (Winamp Classic 2.x clone), audacity, banshee for audio playing/editing.

Might want to try the Decibel or Aqualung audio players if you used foobar2000 on Windows:

Video media players:

Videolan 1.0+
Best DVD disc/VIDEO_TS player on Linux

Go to

Click "Not using Ubuntu 9.10 (karmic)?"
-> Choose your Ubuntu version pulldown
-> Jaunty (9.04)
-> copy/ paste this line:

deb jaunty main

System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager
-> Settings
-> Repositories
-> Third-Party Software
-> +Add
-> APT line:
-> (paste line above)
-> +Add Source

Leave Software Sources dialog open and go back to

click below "Signing key:" 1024R/7613768D then 7613768D

or click direct link below:

Copy/ paste everyting between the and tags.

Version: SKS


mI0ESdc1+AEEAKibnE7EdVVPswVACuZZnaQaAS9YwQ1bSJkJZ4Mw3fc3qRZf pqJM9zPSJ14k
EeSpPA681R6IJmgMOYz6MdVwRPuXVl2khyjU1eKYINKxfdPQAIrWljMhdECM mqiL9j1Ow9kt

into a new empty text file called "vlcKey" or similar.
Right click on the desktop->Create document->Empty File.
Filename doesn't matter.
Double click on file you just created to open text editor (default is gedit for Ubuntu 9.04)
(paste above key into file)
Save file.
Close editor

Add the key file you just saved in the same Software Sources dialog
-> Authentication tab
-> +Import Key File
-> (navigate to the key file you saved)
-> OK -> Close -> OK

Then click Reload button at the top row in Synaptic to update with the newly added repository.

Quick search for vlc in Synaptic.
Vlc should now be the current version 1.0+ and not the v.99 in the default Ubuntu 9.04 repo.
Install as usual.

Install SMplayer using the same procedure as the VLC install using the following repositories and keys:

SMPlayer is the MPC (Media Player Classic) of Linux, for Windows HTPC folks.

mplayer backend media player

(repo site link for reference only- just copy/paste following repository deb... entries into Software Sources like above and +Import keys as before using direct key links- copy/paste into separate files for each key as before)

deb jaunty main


smplayer frontend GUI-

deb jaunty main


DVD Authoring

ManDVD (Synaptic)

DVD Styler (use Synaptic)


and QDVD Author- try 'em all and stick with the one(s) you like.

I still like using Tmpeg DVD Author 1.6.x in Wine, but will probably switch to one or several of the above soon. I like DVD Styler and DeVeDe.

For DVD transcoding (shrinking) or re-encoding to xvid/x264, install (Synaptic or .debs)

(You may prefer to use DVD Shrink under Wine for shrinking DVD's)

Handbrake (xvid/x264 mkv encoding)

Video editing/capture

install from Synaptic:
(Note: you may Mark for Installation all these before Applying/installing)


Kino appears best for DV cam capture over Firewire, while Pitivi and Avidemux are best for basic editing jobs.

Install K3B for an alternative CD/DVD burning tool if you don't like Brasero, pre-installed with 9.04.

If you used Nero of Windows, NeroLinux is excellent
(commercial- doesn't hurt to support companies doing good things for Linux):

Photo/image Management/Viewers

For photo management/viewing, Picasa is tough to beat-

deb, for Debian/Ubuntu i386:

and double click to install

Other people like digikam (synaptic) or f-spot (already installed in 9.04) for photo management.

More picture viewers/slideshow apps:

In Synaptic, install geeqie, gthumb, gqview, gpicview, gimageview, ristretto and mirage- try them all and see which image viewer you like.

Desktop/Office/general purpose apps to install while in Synaptic:

Thunderbird (I use webmail services, so I don't use a local email client like Thunderbird)
Dia, Scribus, Inkscape, mtpaint, rgbpaint

Also highly recommended- Google Gadgets

Install google-gadgets-gtk in Synaptic.

Google gadgets gives you desktop widget "apps", like Plasmoids on KDE or the desktop widgets in OSX or Win7/Vista. They could be calculators, dictionaries, snow globes, weather apps like WeatherBug, clocks, games, etc- hundreds to choose from in a systray menu or sidebar, which can be hidden.

Enable SPDIF Output on your Soundcard

Needed to allow Dolby Digital/DTS and PCM audio to pass to your processor or receiver via Coax or Optical SPDIF. If you don't know what SPDIF is and/or plan to simply use analog audio, you don't need to do this.

(right click on Speaker icon in task bar systray, upper right)-> Open Volume Control
-> Preferences (near bottom right of dialog)
-> (check all options labeled "IEC 958", the electrical engineering term for SPDIF)
-> Close
-> Switches tab (appears after you enable the IEC958 options in Preferences)
-> Check all IEC958 (SPDIF) checkboxes
-> Close

If you need a coax SPDIF output bracket, build one-

Update Openoffice to v3.2 in Ubuntu 9.04:

Needed to read/create random .ppt/pptx's, doc/docx's, .xls's etc


Firstly, go to the OpenOffice website:
and download the Linux 32bit DEB package for your language (on the left).

1 - Once you have done that, extract the .deb file (right click on the .deb.tar.gz-> Extract here),


Then you'll see a folder named OOO320_m12_native_packed-1_en-US.9483

2 - Remove the existing version of OpenOffice if you wish with this command:

sudo apt-get remove openoffice*.*

3 - Copy and paste OOO320_m12_native_packed-1_en-US.9483 onto the desktop (unless you downloaded it there or extracted there already) then open Terminal and paste this command:

sudo dpkg -i ~/Desktop/OOO320_m12_native_packed-1_en-US.9483/DEBS/*.deb

4 - Then paste this command:

sudo dpkg -i ~/Desktop/OOO320_m12_native_packed-1_en-US.9483/DEBS/desktop-integration/openoffice.org3.2-debian-menus_3.2-9472_all.deb

Once you've done that you'll find OpenOffice 3.2 in Applications-> Office.

Linux Games

There are 100's (probably 1000's) of free games for Linux, and many commercial ones.

If you count all the games that work under Linux-native console & arcade emulators (SNES/Genesis/PS1/N64/3DO/Mame, etc), the number of games you can run under Linux goes over 10,000.

Browse Synaptic -> Games and Amusement

or download the .debs at

and point/click to install.

Browse the Linux gaming thread for other ideas-

Install current Wine

Wine lets you run many Windows apps in Linux. Search the Wine appdb to find which apps work under Wine and how well- many apps run well enough to get the job done, with minor glitches or quirks.

The version in Synaptic is always a couple of versions behind the current one in the Wine repository.

Follow instructions at

which should be simple, as you are now familiar with adding repositories

Cited here for convenience:


Add the repository's key to your system's list of trusted APT keys by copy and pasting the following into your terminal:

wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -

Next, add the repository to your system's list of APT sources:
(instead of copy/paste into Synaptic->Repositories as before, this method just uses the terminal)

sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/winehq.list

Once Wine is installed, you install Windows apps by just double clicking their setup.exe, install.msi, etc- you may have to right click on the installer and select "Open with Other Application..." and pick Wine in the list to associate .exe's with Wine

Currently, I use DVDFab, IMGBurn, DVD Shrink, and IrfanView regularly. Also Print Shop 6.x and Paint Shop 7.x occasionally, though the latest GIMP is replacing the Paint Shop, and Scribus can do many of the page layout/desktop publishing stuff the old Print Shop did.

AVISynth, hdtv2mpeg2, and virtualdub all work under Wine, too.

K3B and Brasero are fine for native Linux disc burning.

Also great for random little apps for accessing devices like the Beta Brite sign I use in my basement theater, which uses a little Windows app to edit messages on the sign via a COM serial port.
(link here for example)

...and of course, Windows games

Wives/Moms/aunts/kids are addicted to Gamehouse/Popcap style (Flash-like, though most don't actually use Flash) games- over 85% (maybe higher) of the 100's of Popcap/Gamehouse games I've tried work fine under Wine.

Online web based Flash/Java games like, Runescape, and other web games listed in the Linux Games sticky thread work fine without Wine in Linux native Flash/Java, of course. links are provided because some apps need tweaks or specific install methods to work under Wine, documented in the comments for each app at Winehq, usually only a few extra clicks in the Wine config GUI or adding a different .dll file easily found on the web or linked in the Winehq comments (DVDShrink and Irfanview)

DVD Shrink




Top Windows games compatible with Wine

Make Ctl-Alt-Del bring up System Monitor (like Windows Task Manager)

This is optional, but it has become a "standard" for people coming from Windows

->Keyboard Shortcuts
->(scroll down)
->Log out
->(click on Ctrl+alt+Delete)
->(press Backspace key on your keyboard)
-> "Disabled" is shown

->Name: ThreeFingerSalute (or whatever you want to call it )
->Apply ->(click on shortcut column)
->(press Ctrl, Alt, Delete keys on your keyboard at the same time)

You may want to assign Ctrl-End keys to the logout/Shutdown shortcut. Repeat procedure above.

Media Center Front end with 10ft GUI

If you want a 10' "media center" style interface for photos, music, videos, etc, the easiest/best bet right now is XBMC, assuming you don't have TV tuners to control and record with. Tuner control and recording are handled by MythTV (Mythbuntu on Ubuntu), which can be installed alongside XBMC. A separate guide will cover MythTV installation on top on Ubuntu 9.04.

Now that you are an expert at adding repositories and installing via Synaptic , just follow the instructions at

Cited here for convenience:


Adding the XBMC Repo

Adding the XBMC Repo tells your system where to look for xbmc for installation and future updates

* From the Desktop, click System -> Administration -> Software Sources.
* Click the "Third Party Sofware" tab.
* Click "Add" for each of the following. For the Apt line type the following, substituting "jaunty" for your version:

deb jaunty main

(next line not needed for most users- its the repo for the source code for technical users)

deb-src jaunty main

* Click "Close". If you see a PGP Error upon closing the window, not to worry. That will be handled in the next step.

Adding PPA Keys

These packages are signed with a unique key for added security. Synaptic needs to know this key in order to verify the packages' authenticity.

* Click below to view the PGP key

* Select the text from the beginning of the keyblock to the end (including those lines)
* Copy that text to the clipboard (Edit -> Copy)
* Open your text editor from Applications -> Text Editor.
* Paste the key contents (Edit -> Paste)
* Save the document in your home folder as xbmc-ppa.key
* Reopen Software Sources, this time choosing the "Authentication" tab.
* Click "Import Key File" and choose the newly created xbmc-ppa.key and press OK.

You can also combine all these steps into a single command-line command:

sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver 0x6d975c4791e7ee5e

Installing XBMC

Now that the repo and key have been added, install XBMC like any other program.

* Click System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager
* Click "Reload"
* Search for "xbmc"
* Mark xbmc and xbmc-standalone for installation and mark additional changes when prompted.
* Click "Apply" and agree to the changes after reading them.

XBMC is now installed and ready for use.

Make an OS partition backup image

After doing all this, you probably want to image the OS partition for backup purposes, to easily restore it to the same state in case your hard disk fails, an update or software install breaks something, etc.

Also good to replicate the load across other machines in your house or for friends/family members- you don't want to have to do all of this for each and every machine. Just *Try* this with different make/models PC's/motherboards with Windows, and have fun with a day full of reboots, driver installs, WGA and Authentication, etc - if it works at all

You do not need to do the following if you plan to only use the image to restore on the same hardware you made the image from:

BEFORE making a backup image, go to System->Admin->Hardware Drivers and de-activate any proprietary video driver. If you restore to another machine with a different brand GPU (ATI vs Nvidia, for example), the wrong proprietary driver pre-installed will muck things up. After restoring the image, simply Activate the appropriate video driver in Hardware Drivers after first boot after you've restored the image.

Use Clonezilla, Beginner mode and it steps you through a wizard.

Clonezilla HOWTO:
Rgb's Avatar Rgb
01:39 PM Liked: 19
post #2 of 33
03-19-2010 | Posts: 6,893
Joined: Apr 2000
MythTV setup on Ubuntu 9.04 Procedure 100329.1440

This procedure assumes the following:

- Ubuntu 9.04 was installed successfully per the procedure in the first post of this thread.
- A successfully installed Hauppauge 1250 HD tuner card, or other Linux supported tuner card for OTA HD reception
- Video driver installed/activated per the Ubuntu 9.04 procedure
- You have set up a Schedules Direct account at

There may be free alternatives to Schedules Direct- others can chime in on those. I consider it a good deal, and no issue in supporting them, as schedulesdirect is run by FOSS supporters in a non-profit manner. If you grew up in the 60's-80's and bought the Sunday paper for the weekly TV Guide book, then the $20/year for SchedulesDirect is cheaper than a year's worth of TV Guides back in the day

At minimum, try the 7 day free trial and/or the $5/two month deal to see how much you use the schedule/recording functions.

You can still use MythTV without TV guide data and program recordings by manually inputting day/time like old VCR's, as well as the DVR Live TV pause/rewind functions and to just watch your tuners.

This procedure is appropriate for MythTV noobs, whether you've installed a Media Center before or not. It places the Myth front and backends on the same PC, of course, to simplify things for new users. When you become more experienced, you can experiment with multiple front and backends.

I do not recommend installing MythTV unless you have tuners to control. If you want a Media Center front end without tuners, just use XBMC per the procedure in the first post of this thread.


MythBuntu is MythTV pre-configured for use on Ubuntu and includes the useful MythBuntu Control Center applet for configuring MythTV.

System menu
-> Administration
-> Synaptic Package Manager
-> (enter user password)
-> (click on Search field, upper right)
-> (Search for "mythbuntu")
-> right click mythbuntu-desktop
-> Mark for Installation
-> Mark
-> Apply (at the top)
-> Apply (in the dialog box)
-> (download dialog appears, takes 10-30 minutes depending on ISP speed)
-> (Root Account dialog)
-> Forward
-> Forward
-> Forward
-> "Configuring Mythweb" (I do not password protect Mythweb, the web based MythTV interface)
-> (Check exclusive to Mythweb)
-> Forward
-> ("installing software")
-> "Configuring mysql-server-5.0"
-> Forward (don't change)
-> Forward
-> "Configuring MythTV-common"
-> (write down mysql password in case it's needed later)
-> Forward
-> "Configure lirc" (remote control software)
-> (pulldown menu, select supported remote if used.)
(I use the classic Packard Bell FastMedia IR remote with COM port serial IR receiver, all over the net for a few bucks)

-> Forward
-> (enter serial port receiver is connected to, /dev/ttyS0 in my case)
-> Forward
-> "Installing software"
-> "Changes applied"
-> close
-> Close/exit Synaptic

System menu
-> Administration
-> MythTV Backend Setup
-> (First time you run it: "Incorrect Group Membership" -> OK)
-> OK (Restart)
-> Log out
-> Options (lower left)
-> Shutdown -> Shutdown
-> (PC powers back up)
-> (Mythbuntu splash screen)
-> "Welcome" login screen
-> Session
-> Gnome (switch back to default Ubuntu 9.04 desktop, since MythBuntu installs Xfce as default)
-> Change Session
-> Username: (enter username you setup when you installed Ubuntu 9.04)
-> (enter password for username)
-> Enter
-> System menu
-> Administration
-> Login Window
-> (enter your password)
-> Security
-> Enable Automatic Login
-> User: (pulldown, select username)
-> Close


MythTV is divided into a Frontend media center style media player and a Backend, where the low level hardware setup and configuration (and database management) is done, equivalent to the "firmware" of MythTV. Think of the MythTV app as a dedicated set top box (though it won't interfere with your normal browser and other desktop apps)- the Backend Setup is like the Setup menus you'd see on a set top DVD player or DVR, or the "BIOs" of a PC.

In the Backend GUI, you use arrow, Tab, Enter and Space keys to move around and select options. Use Esc key to exit a screen.

System menu
-> Administration
-> MythTV Backend Setup
-> ("Myth backend must be closed" dialog)
-> OK
-> "Prescaling Theme Images" (takes 10-20 seconds depending on speed of your PC)

1) General (press enter)
-> Next
-> Channel frequency table
-> us_bcast
-> Next (8 times)

2) Capture cards (enter)
-> (new capture card)
-> Card type: DVB DTV capture card (v3.x) (for Hauppauge 1250 card and most PCI/PCIe OTA HDTV tuners)
-> Finish
-> Esc

3) Video Sources (enter)
-> (New video source)
-> "Search for installed XMLTV..." (wait)
-> (arrow up) Video source name:
enter a name for your TV Guide data source, I use Schedules Direct, so I call it schedulesDirectOTA or similar
Yes, the naming of this option is poor- it should be called "TV Schedule Data Source" or similar instead of "Video Source"
-> Listing grabber: North America (Schedules Direct) (unless you want to use something else)
-> userID (enter your Schedules Direct userid)
-> Password (enter your Schedules Direct password)
-> Retrieve Lineups -> (enter)
-> "Fetching lineups..."
-> Data Direct Lineup (the field should show your listings you set up at
-> Channel frequency table: us-bcast
-> Finish (enter)
-> Video sources screen (press esc back to main backend menu)

4) Input Connections (enter)
-> [DVB:0](DVBInput) (press enter)
-> (arrow up) Display Name: (enter a name for the tuner which will be displayed on screen while watching TV, like "Tuner1")
-> Video Source: (select the TV Guide schedule source you created in #3)
-> Use Quick Tune: LiveTV
-> Unencypted only (leave checked, no encryption used OTA- yet )
-> Allow Audio Only (uncheck- can cause problems or lockups while tuning/watching)
-> (ignore Dishnet pick)
-> Scan for channels
-> Scan type: Full Scan
-> Frequency table: broadcast
-> Modulation: terrestrial 8-VSB
-> Channel separator ( select your preference- I use a dash)
-> Existing Channel treatment: Minimal updates
(be sure your TV antenna is connected to the tuner card on the correct connector for Over the Air ATSC)
-> Finish
-> "Scan Progress" (scans channels and locks on to what it can find)
-> Finish
-> Starting channel (set to a known good channel or the front end media center might have an issue)
-> Next
-> Finish (defaults)
-> Esc

When you leave the Backend setup, Myth will throw a dialog asking if you want to run mythfilldatabase. Do it. This will connect to your schedulesdirect account and grab the next 2 weeks of guide data for your channels. It can take 5-10 minutes.

To try your new uber Linux Media Center PC, launch the Myth Front end at Applications-> Sound and Video

It will do the scaling theme images thing (only the first time you run at a new resolution), then come up with the media center main menu.

Select Watch TV (enter), and if everything's right, live TV should come up fullscreen.

For further MythTV usage guides and docs, see
didadi's Avatar didadi
01:46 PM Liked: 10
post #3 of 33
03-19-2010 | Posts: 68
Joined: Sep 2009
Super ! thanks
Rgb's Avatar Rgb
02:10 PM Liked: 19
post #4 of 33
03-19-2010 | Posts: 6,893
Joined: Apr 2000
Any help in debugging/improving the procedures is appreciated
Mac The Knife's Avatar Mac The Knife
02:29 PM Liked: 24
post #5 of 33
03-19-2010 | Posts: 4,903
Joined: Oct 2003

- swap partition 1.5-2x installed RAM size

I've never been able to get hibernate or suspend to work, but from what I've read you have to set the swap to exactly the same size as your RAM for them to work.

Does anyone know if that's actually true or not?
shane2943's Avatar shane2943
08:10 PM Liked: 10
post #6 of 33
03-19-2010 | Posts: 775
Joined: Mar 2009
Rgb, I don't care what anyone says, you're a stand-up guy and a valuable contributor to AVS!
mythmaster's Avatar mythmaster
12:27 AM Liked: 10
post #7 of 33
03-20-2010 | Posts: 2,142
Joined: Mar 2008
Originally Posted by shane2943 View Post

Rgb, I don't care what anyone says, you're a stand-up guy and a valuable contributor to AVS!

Seconded. Thx, Rob
Rgb's Avatar Rgb
05:52 AM Liked: 19
post #8 of 33
03-20-2010 | Posts: 6,893
Joined: Apr 2000
Originally Posted by shane2943 View Post

Rgb, I don't care what anyone says, you're a stand-up guy and a valuable contributor to AVS!

Aww, shucks

Yous guys are the reason I keep coming back here

Rgb's Avatar Rgb
05:57 AM Liked: 19
post #9 of 33
03-20-2010 | Posts: 6,893
Joined: Apr 2000
Originally Posted by Mac The Knife View Post

I've never been able to get hibernate or suspend to work, but from what I've read you have to set the swap to exactly the same size as your RAM for them to work.

Does anyone know if that's actually true or not?

Can't speak to the swap size issue, but the 10.04 beta released yesterday supposedly improves Resume from suspend due to the removal of HAL. Might want to try it-
Rgb's Avatar Rgb
07:32 AM Liked: 19
post #10 of 33
03-21-2010 | Posts: 6,893
Joined: Apr 2000
To noobs/anyone motoring through the procedure in the first post- if something is unclear or confusing, post here with your issue and I will update the procedure for corrections/clarifications/etc.
Rgb's Avatar Rgb
11:37 AM Liked: 19
post #11 of 33
03-23-2010 | Posts: 6,893
Joined: Apr 2000
Posted MythTV install/setup procedure in second post in this thread-
exeter's Avatar exeter
12:42 PM Liked: 10
post #12 of 33
03-27-2010 | Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2004
Thanks for the step-by-step and list of required apps, rgb. I went to the
Ubuntu site and wasn't sure whether to get the i386, or, amd64-bit versions.
I have the Intel i530 processor which supports 64-bit operations. Any advice
would be appreciated.

Rgb's Avatar Rgb
05:36 PM Liked: 19
post #13 of 33
03-27-2010 | Posts: 6,893
Joined: Apr 2000
Originally Posted by exeter View Post

Thanks for the step-by-step and list of required apps, rgb. I went to the
Ubuntu site and wasn't sure whether to get the i386, or, amd64-bit versions.
I have the Intel i530 processor which supports 64-bit operations. Any advice
would be appreciated.


My procedure assumes the "i386" 32bit version- 64 bit Linuxes may still have issues with Flash, specific drivers and some apps, so for noobs, going 32bit is the Right Way for now. I say "i386" because I believe a large portion of Ubuntu is actually compiled for i686, which means generally for Penitum II and higher (and if not, it should be at this stage of the game, since the practical low end cutoff for a useful current working machine as of 2010 is about 1GHz, and only P3's and higher are >=1Ghz, beyond all the PII's)

If you know why you want/need 64bit and are aware of app/driver/plugin issues with x64, then by all means, go for it and post your own procedure with any 64bit caveats, gotchas, etc that you find

But then, if you know why you want 64bit and are able to do the equivalent of this procedure, then you're too experienced for this thread
Rgb's Avatar Rgb
01:29 PM Liked: 19
post #14 of 33
03-29-2010 | Posts: 6,893
Joined: Apr 2000
Updated for typos and misc clarifications.
exeter's Avatar exeter
12:14 PM Liked: 10
post #15 of 33
03-30-2010 | Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2004
Well, I was leaning towards 64-bit because my hardware could handle it and I expected
to get better performance. However, if there are app/driver issues with the 64-bit version
then I'd rather not deal with those. As this is a new install, I guess I'll try the 64-bit
route and if I run into many problems then drop down to 32-bit. Last night, I partitioned
my disks using Parted Magic. However, I wasn't able to create the swap partition by
selecting the linux-swap FS type. I created an ext3 partition and called it swap. From
the 1st post, I wasn't sure if all partitions (root, swap and /home) should be ext3.
I also have a second disk (640GB) and I plan to make that a single partition. Should I
make that an ext3 as well ? Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance
mythmaster's Avatar mythmaster
06:13 PM Liked: 10
post #16 of 33
03-30-2010 | Posts: 2,142
Joined: Mar 2008

You don't format the swap partition with a filesystem, you just create the partition with a type of Linux Swap. It's easier to let the distro installation CD handle this: just tell it to use the whole drive, and it will set up partitions and filesystems for you.

For the second drive, assuming that you will be storing media, etc. on it, format it to JFS or XFS. Most people use JFS because it deletes files faster.
exeter's Avatar exeter
12:39 PM Liked: 10
post #17 of 33
03-31-2010 | Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2004
Thanks, mythmaster, for this info
Rgb's Avatar Rgb
12:46 PM Liked: 19
post #18 of 33
03-31-2010 | Posts: 6,893
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Originally Posted by exeter View Post

Thanks, mythmaster, for this info

Yeah- thanks for fielding his question.

Hopefully others can help field future questions- I'm busy writing and editing HOWTO's
Rgb's Avatar Rgb
09:04 AM Liked: 19
post #19 of 33
05-26-2010 | Posts: 6,893
Joined: Apr 2000
Began updating the HOWTO first post for 10.04 specifics. Might take a couple of weeks to complete.
zimdba's Avatar zimdba
07:41 PM Liked: 10
post #20 of 33
06-03-2010 | Posts: 219
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Originally Posted by Rgb View Post

To noobs/anyone motoring through the procedure in the first post- if something is unclear or confusing, post here with your issue and I will update the procedure for corrections/clarifications/etc.

At what point did you install the Hauppague drivers? Or did they auto-install when you installed Ubuntu?
Rgb's Avatar Rgb
07:46 AM Liked: 19
post #21 of 33
06-04-2010 | Posts: 6,893
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Originally Posted by zimdba View Post

At what point did you install the Hauppague drivers? Or did they auto-install when you installed Ubuntu?

Drivers for most common Hauppauge tuner cards are included and automatically active in Ubuntu 9.04 and higher.

Sometimes you might need to update the tuner card driver to resolve a bug or compatibility issue (research) (or if the tuner card driver is not installed in your particular distro by default), which is generally simple using the v4l-dvb driver set at-

The v4l-dvb drivers are a complete package of drivers for most Linux compatible tuners. It is technically possible to install just the driver(s) you need from the complete v4l-dvb set, but it's simpler to just install the entire v4l-dvb set if needed.

HOWTO quoted here for convenience:


Public CVS and Mercurial Access

The V4L/DVB repository is available at

The dvb-apps repository is available at

Individual developer repositories are available at

Follow this procedure to download a tarball containing the latest sources via the web interface:

Open in your favorite browser.

Click on the "tags" link, to display a list of the current tags

Click on the "tree" link on the topmost line, "tip"

A source tree will be shown. You will see links for "gz" and "bz2". Click on one of these to download a tarball containing the latest revision.

To download a tarball containing older sources via the web interface:

Browse through the Changelog for the last wanted changeset, and click on it.

Details for the changeset will be shown. You will see links for "gz" and "bz2". Click on one of these to download a tarball.

Checkout V4L-DVB or dvb-apps

As of 2006-01-30, V4L and DVB kernel modules are available via Mercurial.

To acquire the latest sources, you must first have mercurial* installed.

(EDIT Rgb: For Ubuntu, just install mercurial from Synaptic if needed)

Some Linux distributions already include it. If yours doesn't, you can download a binary package or retrieve the source.

To retrieve the v4l-dvb source tree:

hg clone

To update the sources later on:

cd v4l-dvb
hg pull -u

To retrieve the dvb-apps source tree:

hg clone

*requires python-2.3 or later.

How to build the v4l-dvb kernel modules

The v4l-dvb tree is backwards compatable against recent vanilla kernels. Kernel version 2.6.10 or later is required to build the dvb modules, and version 2.6.12 or later is required to build support for hybrid devices.

Change into the v4l-dvb directory:

cd v4l-dvb

Build the modules:


Install the modules:

make install

If you get errors in relation to unresolved symbols, please try to reboot before filing an error report.

htpchalp's Avatar htpchalp
08:01 PM Liked: 10
post #22 of 33
07-01-2010 | Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2010
Hey !

So I have chugged through 10.04 install and it is going great.

This might be really simple, but I went to move some media files from an external hard drive and I can't find my other partitions. I have a 1TB hard drive but I can only see the 30gb OS partition.

When I go to "Computer" I see my 500GB External HD and "File System" which is only 30gb.

Where in the world is my other partition?
newlinux's Avatar newlinux
08:05 PM Liked: 17
post #23 of 33
07-01-2010 | Posts: 1,607
Joined: Oct 2006
maybe it's just not mounted.

what do

df -h
sudo fdisk -l

Is the other partition set to be mounted in /etc/fstab?
htpchalp's Avatar htpchalp
08:10 PM Liked: 10
post #24 of 33
07-01-2010 | Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2010
Yeah looks to not be mounted ...


Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1 29G 3.8G 24G 14% /
none 1.6G 316K 1.6G 1% /dev
none 1.6G 332K 1.6G 1% /dev/shm
none 1.6G 88K 1.6G 1% /var/run
none 1.6G 0 1.6G 0% /var/lock
none 1.6G 0 1.6G 0% /lib/init/rw
none 29G 3.8G 24G 14% /var/lib/ureadahead/debugfs
/dev/sda3 880G 200M 835G 1% /data
/dev/sdc1 466G 431G 36G 93% /media/My Book


Disk /dev/sda: 1000.2 GB, 1000204886016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 121601 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00001b3a

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 3825 30720000 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 3825 4909 8704000 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda3 4909 121602 937336832 83 Linux

Disk /dev/sdc: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x44fdfe06

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdc1 1 60801 488384001 c W95 FAT32 (LBA)

I literally don't even know how to mount the partition, I am severely new at this.
newlinux's Avatar newlinux
10:06 PM Liked: 17
post #25 of 33
07-01-2010 | Posts: 1,607
Joined: Oct 2006
actually, it looks to be mounted as /data

/dev/sda3 880G 200M 835G 1% /data

I'm assuming that 880G partition is it. What happens when you do


ls -a /data

Do you get output? Seems like it's mounted, not sure why it's not showing up in whatever file browser you are using (nautilus?).

What happens when you type in /data in the address bar of nautilus?
htpchalp's Avatar htpchalp
06:37 AM Liked: 10
post #26 of 33
07-02-2010 | Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2010
Yes, I have 3 partitions.

30Gb for the OS, 8.5GB for Swap, and the remainder of the 1TB for Data.

ls -s data
shows a value for "lost and found."

I assume that is some files or folders placed there by the OS on install.

I am not familiar with nautilus, I just go to click on Computer and it shows all my drives. There is no address bar of the browser of Computer.

I typed /data into Firefox and it showed the same "lost and found."

Kinda of strange, thanks for your help btw.
newlinux's Avatar newlinux
07:57 AM Liked: 17
post #27 of 33
07-02-2010 | Posts: 1,607
Joined: Oct 2006
Originally Posted by htpchalp View Post

Yes, I have 3 partitions.

30Gb for the OS, 8.5GB for Swap, and the remainder of the 1TB for Data.

ls -s data
shows a value for "lost and found."

I assume that is some files or folders placed there by the OS on install.

I am not familiar with nautilus, I just go to click on Computer and it shows all my drives. There is no address bar of the browser of Computer.

I typed /data into Firefox and it showed the same "lost and found."

Kinda of strange, thanks for your help btw.

Yep, lost and found is a folder put in their by the system. If you are using gnome as your desktop, then when you click on Computer you are actually using Nautilus (Click on the Help->About menu). Click Ctrl-l to get a location bar you can type a location in. Do you see "data" as one of the drives on the left navigation bar in Nautilus?

Sounds like it's there as /data and everything is fine.
htpchalp's Avatar htpchalp
10:48 AM Liked: 10
post #28 of 33
07-02-2010 | Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2010
I can access Data through /data in Nautilus.

BUT I do not have permissions to copy anything to the drive??????
htpchalp's Avatar htpchalp
11:05 AM Liked: 10
post #29 of 33
07-02-2010 | Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2010
I just went through this tutorial and I can now use the partition !

Thanks for you help !
newlinux's Avatar newlinux
04:06 PM Liked: 17
post #30 of 33
07-02-2010 | Posts: 1,607
Joined: Oct 2006
Originally Posted by htpchalp View Post

I just went through this tutorial and I can now use the partition !

Thanks for you help !

Glad you got it working!

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