Back to vanilla MythTV - Part 2: Fiddling

Oliver Brown
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

After installing MythDora, there were a few extra things I had to do that took a while to figure out.

Upgrade to mythtv-trunk from ATrpms

I figured I just enable the “bleeding” repository and then do yum install mythtv. This worked fine. But nothing was different. It seems that “mythtv” is a meta package that just says you have Myth installed without actually containing anything. So then I tried yum install mythtv-frontend mythtv-backend mythtv-setup mythweb mythplugins. This worked up until a point but then failed a transaction test. The actual failure was a mismatch between themes that different parts provided. I decided this was unimportant but couldn’t force yum to install. So I installed apt (yum install apt) and used that (apt-get install mythtv-frontend mythtv-backend mythtv-setup mythweb mythplugins and it all went fine.

Import old recordings

This was easier than I expected. Simply replace the database with your old one (make sure you stop mythbackend before you do). I had previously copied all my old recordings to my FreeNAS box and dumped the database (mysqldump -u _username_ -p mythconverg > mythconverg.sql). So I deleted the mythconverg database and imported the SQL file (mysql -u _username_ -p < mythconverg.sql. You could also just copy the mythconverg directory in the MySQL data directory directly. The next time you start mythbackend it will update the database schema (if necessary) and everything will work. Apparently if you had slave backends on your old system you might have problems but I didn’t so I’m not entirely sure what they are…

Automatically mount a remote file system

To get MythTV to save on my FreeNAS server I obviously needed to mount it at start up. This was simpler than I expected (although I did it using a terminal). Open the file /etc/fstab and add the line: _server_:_/share_ _mount_point_ cifs defaults 0 0. server is the IP address of the FreeNAS server, /share is the folder on the server mount_point is the name you want to access it with locally (this directory should already exist - you normally make a sub directory of /mnt. After adding this run the command mount -a to force the system to mount all the file systems (it does this automatically at start up). Then run MythTV Setup, select storage groups and add the mount point you chose as a directory.

Back to vanilla MythTV - Part 1: MythDora Rocks

Oliver Brown
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

Well I tried LinuxMCE but didn’t really get very far.

After deciding everything was too much of a hassle, I downloaded MythDora 4.0 and installed it. I have to say that unless you have a specific reason otherwise, MythDora is definitely the way to go for a MythTV installation. It was really easy and actually worked (something that seems not to have happened a lot when I’ve tried Linux). One of the big advantages of using MythDora is since it’s Fedora based you can update (usually) painlessly from ATrpms. It has MythTV packages based on regular SVN checkouts. Importantly for me it also has packages from from mythtv-trunk (the latest version). Although they’re marked as “bleeding” they are usually stable.

The reason I needed the latest version is for storage group support. Without storage groups MythTV is limited to storing recordings in a single directory, storage groups allows you to specify multiple storage groups, each containing several directories. MythTV then use some clever load balancing to spread things out across available drives. This is important for me since I was planning on keeping most of my recordings on my new FreeNAS server, at least in the long term. The recordings aren’t tied to a specific storage group by the way - you can move them around freely (so I record to the local hard drive and then move them to the FreeNAS server later).

Once it was installed I did have to do a bit of fiddling, and it’s the sort of fiddling other people may have to do, so I’ll explain in part 2.


Oliver Brown
— This upcoming video may not be available to view yet.

In an effort to get more storage to share between the three computers at home (two Windows and one MythTV) I setup yet another machine running FreeNAS. FreeNAS is a small (about 30MB) operating system based on FreeBSD designed just to be a NAS (Network Attached Storage). You add hard drives to it and it makes them (optionally) available in several different ways, including:

  • CIFS/Samba
  • NFS
  • rsync
  • HTTP
  • FTP

After a few minor problems setting it up (like a power cable breaking and installing from an old CD-ROM drive that didn’t work) it works great. Copying a large (~40GB) chunk of files to it at once took a while but writing to and reading from it at more sensible levels isn’t noticeably slower than using local files (on a gigabit network).

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