[mythtv-users] Ubuntu / Kubuntu

Rod Smith mythtv at rodsbooks.com
Tue Jan 23 15:48:49 UTC 2007

On Tuesday 23 January 2007 05:22, Damian Surr wrote:
> What's the difference between the server install and the desktop? I
> assume I want the desktop as I think I'll need the backend and front end
> on the same machine. Would the Ubuntu server OS be better?

Assuming it's a dedicated MythTV system and not something that doubles as a 
desktop computer, there's a lot of stuff in a typical Linux "desktop" install 
that you won't need -- word processors, e-mail clients, etc. The same is true 
of a "server" install, but the specific programs are different. For the most 
part, this extraneous cruft won't do any real damage, though; it'll just chew 
up disk space. An exception would be if you install stuff that runs 
automatically. If you install a desktop system and don't properly reconfigure 
it, you'll probably end up running GNOME or KDE, which will just steal RAM 
from MythTV. If you install a server system and don't properly reconfigure 
it, you could end up running servers that could pose a security risk.

IMHO, it's best to start with a minimal install and add tools only on an 
as-needed basis. The install guide I referred to in my last post does that, 
using the Ubuntu "alternate" installer as a base.

> Also, how would you format a 300Gig drive? I've read that the usual
> formats aren't good for Myth because of their poor performance deleting
> large files.

The usual recommendation is to use either XFS or JFS for the partition that 
holds the MythTV recordings. I've also read that ReiserFS should definitely 
NOT be used in this role because it tends to cause corrupt recordings. The 
default Ubuntu MythTV installation puts recordings in various subdirectories 
of /var/lib, so you'd put /var/lib on a separate partition and format it for 
XFS or JFS. You could put everything else on a single partition of 5GB or so 
(10GB if you want to be very generous). This root partition could be anything 
you like, but the conventional wisdom is that ext3fs or ReiserFS works best 
in this role. You'll also need a swap partition of about 1.5-2x your system's 
RAM size (I recommend putting it between your system and recordings 
partitions on the disk). If you want to get advanced, you could add more 
partitions and/or use RAID or LVM features; however, the Ubuntu installer (at 
least, the one for the version I used) doesn't give any RAID or LVM 
install-time options, so using these features will be tricky. If you don't 
know, RAID lets you link together multiple hard disks for improved speed 
and/or reliability. LVM lets you create "logical volumes" instead of 
partitions, the advantage being that it's easier to resize logical volumes or 
even extend them across multiple physical drives. LVM used to be recommended 
for MythTV because all the recordings had to go in a single subdirectory, so 
LVM's ability to extend an existing filesystem across multiple disks was 
handy when adding new disk space. The latest version of MythTV is more 
flexible in this respect, but I'm afraid I'm still foggy on the details. (I 
just installed my MythTV a few days ago, although I'm very experienced with 

Rod Smith

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