[mythtv-users] A positive comment - Commercial detection

Dewey Smolka dsmolka at gmail.com
Mon Feb 25 02:26:28 UTC 2008

>  And the commercial detection is working like a charm.
>  Very impressive.

This is really a killer feature, and it's one that works well and
never fails to impress. Just don't talk about it too loudly or some
folks might be angry that our eyeballs are somewhat less for rent than
they had imagined.

>  Yes, MythTV has legacy to clean-up. Yes, it has ugly sides. Yes the
>  interface and setup can be quite scary.

Considering the number of iterations that Myth has gone through, it's
not surprising that some cruft has piled up, and some features have
been tacked on where it might have made more sense to integrate them
more directly and more elegantly in the code. But that's a pitfall of
community-developed software. The folks that are making MythTV want it
to work without having to rewrite everything every time, and most of
us users understand that. And most of us are extremely grateful with
how well it works and how rapidly it is improving and expanding.

>  Yes, Elisa looks very cool. Yes other projects are attractive. Yes,
>  there are other great projects out there.
>  But they are all motivated by MythTV, they all have quite a way to go
>  before they provide the level of features, functionality and
>  adaptability that MythTV has today.

Competition is always a good thing. But I think there is a great
misunderstanding about the nature of competition in the software
world, mostly brought on by the legacy of Microsoft. The conventional
wisdom seems to suggest that in any particular niche one player will
become prohibitively dominant, and so anyone developing software in
that area should strive for prohibitive dominance. This worked for MS
in OSs, productivity suites, and so on.

But open-source is quite a different animal. The 'competition' is not
about who can control a given market but about who can make the best
program. When you have parallel projects working towards the same end,
that means more people working in more directions, and a shorter time
to find the best solution for everyone. MythTV doesn't need to become
the dominant software-based PVR application. And the more people put
together different approaches to the same problem, the faster all the
projects develop. In open-source the rising tide really does lift all

Threads like the one the parent is referencing can be helpful, but
it's important to keep some things in mind. Before spouting off on
what the problem is, think of a solution. When managing people, for
example, it tries my patience when people come to me with problems and
expect me to figure out a solution. It's so much easier and smoother
when people come to me with solutions to problems.

We all know (heck, I've known since 0.14 when I started) that the menu
structure, particularly the Setup menus, are not ideal. I've done some
fiddling with the menu xmls to try to come up with a better
organization but I haven't really been able to come up with anything
better yet. Granted I haven't spent much time on it, but menu
structures are something that anyone can change quite easily withhout
having to worry about trickier bits of programming and recompiling.

It's a good thing to talk about where MythTV can improve, but it
doesn;t help much just to say 'X sucks'. It's far more helpful to say
that 'X is problematic, and a possible solution is Y and/or Z'.
Ideally one can say that 'X is a problem, but I've solved it with A,
B, and C. Here's the patch/script/howto'.

Here's a definite hats-off to all the developers, and a big thank you
for where Myth is today. I'm not just looking forward to .21 and .22,
but to 1.0 and 2.0.

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