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"Turnkey" distro for MythTV

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I've been working on a "turnkey" distribution for MythTV for a while. It's intended for a specific hardware configuration but should work on any system meeting the following requirements

1) AMD-64 processor (probably also Core 2 Duo)
2) nVidia video card which is included in the non-legacy driver set from nVidia.
3) ATSC/NTSC hybrid card supported by V4L/DVB project (it's intended for a pcHDTV 5500 card)
4) Otherwise compatible with Ubuntu Edgy, on which it is based.

The idea is you load the distro, and all the software is already installed and partially configured. When you reboot, mythtv-setup runs and you can set up your channels. Then you quit and from then on, mythbackend and mythwelcome/mythfrontend runs on boot.

Partitioning is currently not automatic, and must be set up as one / partition (I use 10GB), one swap partition (I use 2GB), and one /myth partition (XFS or JFS recommended).

On the initial setup, it may complain that mythbackend is running. That's just a race condition that I haven't ironed out; ignore it.

The .iso is located here:


and the repository (including source, as required by the GPL) is here


Kernel is 2.6.20 with the -ck patchset and recent V4L/DVB drivers.
post #2 of 37
post #3 of 37
Thread Starter 
Once it's going it just looks like MythTV.
post #4 of 37
I have a pchdtv 5500 with nvidia fx5200. I found your distro and downloaded it. Since i am newbie to linux and mythtv i thought this was perfect. I had a feeling it would give me an error since you stated 64 bit. =( However i am using a athlon XP 3200+ barton.

What would be the easiest or fastest way for me to get your distro running? Can I edit the iso and maybe replace the i386 directory or something?

post #5 of 37
Thread Starter 
Basically a 32-bit version would be a complete re-compile of everything. There's no easy way to do it, sorry.
post #6 of 37
Well i appreciate you trying to make something easier for everyone. If you could maybe post to links that might walk me through setting it up that would be great.
Right now i tried mythdora but kept getting error running transaction during installation so i tried knoppmyth and now i have it booting up. just pretty clueless on getting it all working.

Also if you get more time to make your distro universal 32-bit and 64-bit that would be awesome too. =)

post #7 of 37
Is there a specific gain in going with the x64 kernel, etc. in this application?

It eliminates a lot of "old systems just sitting around" where folks might want to play with this.

My system has a 754 Sempron and an ATI card (actually, wrong HDTV tuner too) so it's a no-go. Which doesn't bother me in the least, just kinda thinking out loud.

Regardless, there're folks out there that will be happy as heck to have something like this.
post #8 of 37
Wow! Thanks, I'm downloading it now. Yikes! Who is paying for your bandwidth? I'm surprised you don't have this set up as a torrent.

I have the following hardware. Let me know if I'm wasting my time:

AMD 64 3400
ATI x800xt
kworld atsc 110

I will report back on how it goes.
post #9 of 37
Thread Starter 
It's limited to the hardware I have on hand, which is the reason for 64-bit. I don't have another development system handy to do a 32-bit build. I don't have any ATI cards either, so I can't be sure if they will work. I think perhaps not; I seem to recall having problems compiling the drivers for those cards. But I may be able to do something about that.

I started off with Knoppmyth, and was unsatisfied with the HD performance. Switching to 64-bit makes a BIG difference for HD playback. I'm also using a custom kernel (the -ck kernel from Con Kolivas) which improves HD performance by allowing the playback thread to have real-time priority.

It should work with the ATSC 110; my main HTPC is running one ATSC 110 and one pcHDTV 5500 (obviously that required some modifications from the base configuration). I believe this version of the driver is set up so you get analog and QAM on one connection and ATSC on the other connection, same as the card works in Windows.
post #10 of 37
Well, I tried but did not have success.

Everything seemed to install just fine, but when I rebooted I get an error about X windows not starting.

If I could make a constructive criticism, Nybbler, since you worked so hard to put this distro together you should type up some proper instructions on now to install it.

When you write the instructions assume that the reader knows absolutely nothing about computers or Linux. I can partition hard drives on a Windows box all day long, but I have NO IDEA how to create the three partitions you discussed.

Thanks for your hard work and let us know when the latest revision is out.
post #11 of 37
Thread Starter 
Sounds like you got the results I'd expect; the ATI drivers are not in there. I'll try and get them in a new revision. The results may not be satisfactory; common wisdom is that nVidia beats ATI hands down on Linux.

As for instructions, alas, I'm a programmer by trade and technical writing is a very foreign discipline to me. I've been intending to put auto-partitioning for a while, though, which should solve that issue at least.
post #12 of 37
It loaded just fine for me. I'm afraid I am new to Linux and I am struggling to change my login to include admin rights so I can run the updates module.

But it's looking very nice

AMD 2.2
939 board
7600 nvidia vidieo card
post #13 of 37
Thread Starter 
The mythtv account does not have admin rights, but the account you created during system setup does. If you CTRL-ALT-DEL to restart X, you will get a chance to log in as that other account.

Don't run a distribution upgrade, though. That's guaranteed to mess up the system. Individual packages that I haven't mucked with (those which have 'mtr' in the version number) should be OK.
post #14 of 37
Hi nybbler,

I was wondering if you have given a name to your distro yet?

I am giving a demonstration of MythTV and HDTV to my local Linux Users Group. I am going to list the pre-made MythTV distros like MythDora and KnoppMyth. What do I call yours?

How about nybuntu or NybMyth?

post #15 of 37
Thread Starter 
It's not really named (marketing = not my forte either), but I usually call it mythmtr (MTR = my real initials) if I call it anything.
post #16 of 37
My hardware is supported by mythmtr, so I tried it.. And so - few thoughts.

1) Installation is perfect. In my opinion there is no need for any improvements (automatic partitioning - could be easier for someone, but in my opinion, If you want to start messing up with MythTV [and Linux], you should know how to partition your hard drive), was able to get it running on dualboot with Fedora Core on one system in no time.

2) Configuration of MythTV is like configuration of MythTV. Nothing to say really, If you know what is MythTV and how to deal with it, there should be no problems. Only one thing - In welcome screen I can't find reboot/shutdown button [I suppose it would be logical, if they would be there]..

3) Should be this distribution RAM hungry? As far as I can see, running mythfrontend and backend in one system ates all my ~ 448 MB RAM and in addition ~ 350 MB of swap. OK, OK, I can go and buy another 512 MB module, but still. Why did you choose GNOME system as base? Couldn't Xubuntu (XFCE desktop) be less resource hungry?

But all in all - great work. Some minor things exist, of course, but perfection is near! Congrats!
post #17 of 37
Thread Starter 
On the welcome screen, pressing "M" will get you a menu from which you can reboot, that's standard mythwelcome (maybe not the best interface). From anywhere in the front end, ALT-F4 should get you to the welcome screen. I have the "off" button on my remote set to send ALT-F4 to mythwelcome. Then I have the automatic-shutdown feature of mythbackend (which is set up but not enabled by the installer -- I'm not sure how robust it is so it isn't on by default) turn off the machine after a period of inactivity.

I always figured the RAM usage was just because HDTV uses a lot of RAM. I never really thought to check usage before doing anything. My original idea was an Xubuntu-based distribution (back in dapper) but I ended up in prerequisite-hell trying to get anything done, so I backed off that idea. If something other than MythTV is sucking up vast amounts of memory, perhaps it has to go.
post #18 of 37
Thanks for your response. I hadn't messed with mythwelcome screen, so I'm rather unfamiliar with that.. Will check it out.

About RAM - these were stats, shown in MythTV status page, just after I configured MythTV trough mythtv-setup. But I'll definitely check, what is eating all that amount of RAM...
post #19 of 37
Huh.. Haven't had much time to mess up with my HTPC-setting-up-project for a while.. But now I'm back and again - some thoughts...

About RAM usage - checked that, and it seems MythTV frontends' system info reports wrong value of taken RAM. Dunno why. But if at the same moment, when MythTV says - all 480 MB taken, system info from gnome panel show that only ~ 370 MB is taken.. And mythfrontend + mythbackend = ~ 200 MB.. That looks good to me. And the rest is taken by system (GNOME and other stuff).

Second, my suggestions to improve visual look:
1) Maybe kernel could be compiled with splashy included? Or other advanced kernel boot splash software? I think that PC intended to be used as HTPC should be able to display more than 800x600 256-color boot up screen... I tried to do that, but because of my little experience with ubuntu I didn't succeed to compile kernel.
2) Get rid of mini-screen which shows how parts of GNOME is loading. It seems to me quite useless as for HTPC machine.. I did it quite simple - just replaced the base image with empt one. And the result was - no "nautilus loading..." etc.
3) Unite MythTV theming with ubuntu. It could be like - when change theme in MythTV, it changes Ubuntu background image also and maybe even Xserver background color. Shouldn't be too hard to include in MythTV source some kind of simple script, that would create link to appropriate background image or add few lines in Xserver configuration file. But again - due to lack of deep knowledge about Ubuntu and coding, couldn't figure out, how to do that...

Of course, this is all my personal thoughts.

EDIT: Forgot this one. Is Ubuntu default console is sh? In my opinion more appropriate would be bash, as it is handier than sh (TAB completion etc.) and takes less than 1 MB of RAM...

But all in all - it is working like charm. As I mentioned in previous post. However, I forgot to post my hardware, on whitch it is up and running:

ASUS M2NPV-VM with onboard GF6150 and onboard nVidia HD sound
AMD Athlon64 3800+
Hauppauge WinTV PVR-150
40GB HDD (yet)
512 MB RAM (yet)
post #20 of 37
Download links are dead.
I'm sure your bandwidth got eaten up quite fast.
How about **********?
being the Linux guru I'm sure you know how to do this but I thought I'd post a how-to.
Anyway really would like to try this.


post #21 of 37
I think mythdora already provides much of that functionality :-(
post #22 of 37
Thread Starter 
Nothing happened with my bandwidth; it's unlimited, for certain values of unlimited. That is, it's not hosted but on a machine on my DSL line. The poor thing even took a minor slashdotting without a blink (not mythmtr, but compilable old 'advent' (by Will Crowther) source code. Thankfully quite small). I just went on vacation and took the machine down.

I'll probably be upgrading it to 20.2 soon, though I won't be using Schedules Direct myself so that part will be untested.

I'm not inclined to spend a lot of time with the splash screen and load screen; you don't see them that often and last time I messed with the splash screen I managed to create unbootable images.

The default shell for ubuntu is bash but for reasons I can't remember, the mythtv user gets created with /bin/sh. I should fix that.
post #23 of 37
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post

1) AMD-64 processor (probably also Core 2 Duo)
2) nVidia video card which is included in the non-legacy driver set from nVidia.
3) ATSC/NTSC hybrid card supported by V4L/DVB project (it's intended for a pcHDTV 5500 card)
4) Otherwise compatible with Ubuntu Edgy, on which it is based.

Anybody successfully run this on a Core 2 Duo? I've been researching building a Myth box with a Core 2 Duo 4300 and 2 pcHDTV5500s. I like the idea of a turnkey system so I can be assured it will work right away. I'll tweak later if need be, but to spend all this money on Myth hardware that won't work for a month or more until properly configured and compiled. I did a bit of initial research about 6 months ago, then got busy and just re-started up my reading of threads here - please excuse any of my newb questions.

Can you explain "nVidia video card which is included in the non-legacy driver set from nVidia"? Is there a list of Myth supported nVidia cards? I still don't have much of an idea of what nVidia card to buy.

Is Mythdora 32 bit? I wasn't aware of the performance hit with KnoppMyth being 32 bit until you mentioned it.
post #24 of 37
Non-legacy driver set from NVidia is driver, with disabled support (not included) for older NVidia GPUs. Supported cards can be found there http://www.nvidia.com/object/IO_18897.html, but in short - anything newer than GeForce FX series will work.

About Core2Duo - dunno, but theoretically it should work. As nybbler already said.

And yeah - MythDora is i386 aka 32bit.
post #25 of 37
I am getting in error during install. It happens between configure packet manager and select and install software.


[!!] Configuring mysql-server
Installation step failed
An installation step failed. You can try to run the failing item
again from the menu, or skip it and choose something else. The
Failing stepis: Select and install sofware

I can not install GRUB or LILO without that part.

Any ideas?

Does it matter if I have an SATA and an IDE in there? The SATA comes up as HDA.
post #26 of 37
Odd... Could you please discribe a little bit more about what you did - like if you installed this on clean system or you tried to set up dual-boot. And your hardware specs would be great addition.

I installed in PATA (IDE) hdd but I can't think of any reason why SATA wouldn't work. But SATA in Linux /dev directory is created as sd* (aka sda, sdb and so on). hda is usually for CD/DVD-RW (If it's PATA, of course).
post #27 of 37
Thread Starter 
It was developed on a SATA system, but my SATA comes up as sda.

I'd need a more detailed error message to have any idea what's going on there; offhand I don't remember how to get one, but I think it might be on one of the other virtual consoles.
post #28 of 37
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post

It was developed on a SATA system, but my SATA comes up as sda.

I'd need a more detailed error message to have any idea what's going on there; offhand I don't remember how to get one, but I think it might be on one of the other virtual consoles.

I will try again when I get home. I had switched to a Knoppmyth custom setup that would not install unless I took the SATA out, installed, then add it back on.

I will check this one with that configuration.
post #29 of 37
Thread Starter 
I've updated the repository with the 20.2 version (for SchedulesDirect support)

You'll need to add

"deb http://www.russotto.net/~russotto/umyth_rep edgy mythmtr"

to your /etc/apt.sources list, make sure edgy-backports is disabled, and run

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get myth-turnkey

Answer "yes" to the questions, then reboot when the upgrade is finished.

Yes, this is a little rough at the moment; hopefully I'll have the repository pre-set-up and the public key installed in the next CD release. And be able to avoid the reboot.

New ISO is not yet available.
post #30 of 37
I have been keeping an eye on this thread while slowly put together my htpc. Thanks for all your work AND then sharing it.
Anxiously awaiting the next "CD" release.
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