Neutral Axis

Mythbuntu – First Try

by on Apr.04, 2009, under Uncategorized

mythbuntu_300x300I’ve made my first stab at installing MythTV, via Mythbuntu.  I figured that ought to have everything included, eliminating the need to go look for all the dependencies it needs.  It did, but getting it installed was no simple matter.  Like many Linux programs, there seems to be little effort on the part of the developers to make things simple for a novice.

I decided to go with Mythbuntu 8.10, which is Ubuntu 8.10 with MythTV 0.21.  I first downloaded and made a LiveCD of it and tried running from that but once it booted, all I had was a desktop with “Run Frontend LiveCD” and “Install Mythbuntu”.  Punt.  By the way, this post is basically from memory of what I ran through, so button labels, etc. may not be exactly as described here, but you’ll get the gist of it.

I then went to Windows on the same machine and found that there was an “Install from Windows” option so I gave that a try.  I knew from past experience that this option has some speed drawbacks but has the benefit of being easy to wipe clean through the normal Add/Remove Programs.  It also doesn’t require messing with partitions.  Seemed like a good temporary trial path.

The process went great and rebooted on its own and went automated through normal Ubuntu configuration screens, but hung on step 11 of 15 where it wanted login information about my Mythbuntu backend server.  Huh?  Isn’t that what I’m installing?  The only option on that page was a button to “test” the configuration and it failed.  No moving forward or backward from there, so I exited the process and was dropped at the same screen I’d seen earlier from the LiveCD.

I decided to try the “Install Mythbuntu” option at that point.  I assumed all the screens that the automated install had skipped were OK and proceeded through them without making changes.  Then I got an option I’d never seen before that let me choose what kind of Mythbuntu installation I wanted.  Choices were to do a combined backend/frontend install on the same machine and the other was for a remote backend.  I new from previous reading that MythTV is a two process system.  The backend handles the grunt work of tuning and recording while the frontend handles the user interface and output to the TV.  That lets you have a larger, powerful machine tucked away out of sight and a small “light-weight” machine at the TV.  The automated process was apparently choosing this option and assuming I already had a backend server installed elsewhere on the network.  I chose the combined system.

Forward … Forward … Forward …

After another boot, it dropped me at the frontend screen that you’d expect to see on your TV.  Now at this point, I have no video capture card, and I’m greeted with a notice that I need to sign up with a program guide service for $20/year.  I skipped over that and continued to see if I could access locally stored video.

Setting up the media library options was straight forward, and videos played smoothly.  Cool.

There’s more to do, but enough for day one.

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