[mythtv-users] Thinking of switching distros - from Gentoo to Mythbuntu

Michael T. Dean mtdean at thirdcontact.com
Fri Jun 27 18:18:00 UTC 2008

On 06/27/2008 11:11 AM, Steven Adeff wrote:
> On Fri, Jun 27, 2008 at 10:48 AM, Michael T. Dean wrote:
>> On 06/27/2008 09:57 AM, Steven Adeff wrote:
>>> On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 10:31 PM, Norm Dugas wrote:
>>>> I've been running Gentoo since it pretty much came out but lately, I've
>>>> been thinking of switching distros.  I've run Kubuntu on one desktop for
>>>> quite a while and was quite impressed.  I'm thinking of switching both
>>>> my backend and my frontend to keep things in sync.  Besides making a
>>>> backup of the database, is there anything else that can come and bite me
>>>> in the butt?  The OS disk would get a complete reinstall and the 8 myth
>>>> disks would remain intact and be mounted in the same location they
>>>> currently are.
>>> be forewarned that Mythbuntu is not designed for *dedicated* frontends
>>> as it requires you to run a window manager
>> You should be running a window manager on /any/ system that uses X and
>> windows--that includes a dedicated MythTV box that never spawns any
>> external GUI applications, too, as MythTV uses windows.
>> Note that GNOME and KDE and xfce are /not/ window managers.  They are
>> desktop environments (and, really, there's no need for either of them on
>> a dedicated MythTV frontend).  IIRC, MythBuntu is running xfce, so I'll
>> agree that xfce is unnecessary, though when it comes to DE's, xfce is a
>> /much/ lighter-weight alternative to GNOME and KDE, so it's the lesser
>> of 3 evils.
>> I'd say, though, that even worse than choosing to use GNOME/KDE is
>> choosing to use GNOME/KDE with Compiz as the window manager.  (I guess I
>> could put a "on a dedicated Myth frontend" qualifier on that statement,
>> but it seems correct even without. ;)
>> Running with just RatPoison would be about as "clean" as it gets, but
>> it--or other pure WM's, like Fluxbox or Blackbox or twm or FVWM--may not
>> provide the "Ubuntu Experience" that the MythBuntu devs are trying to
>> preserve.
> My main frontend system (based on Kubuntu) does not run a window
> manager and works fine.

Read, "I haven't yet noticed any of the problems it causes."  (Which may 
just mean that you don't use the parts where the problems will 
occur--after all, about the only thing I do in Myth is watch recordings, 
so I wouldn't be using any of those parts, either.  That said, I still 
run a WM--after all, the 1MB extra RAM (300kB if using RatPoison) isn't 
that critical. :)

>  I don't mind running Xfce as Mythbuntu does in
> the background, but what I don't like is that if the frontend dies, or
> I have to restart it for whatever reason, it just drops me to the
> desktop with out respawning mythfrontend like I have it on my other
> dedicated frontend.

Shouldn't you be able to just edit some start script (.initrc or 
.xsession) and add a couple lines like:

# Start the window manager/desktop environment
xfce & wmpid=$!

# Start everything else...

if [ -f $HOME/.mythtv/autostart ]; then
    # Start mythfrontend
    mythfrontend -l /home/mythtv/log/mythfrontend.log
    # Wait for the window manager to exit
    wait $wmpid

> Granted, I *could* go through the setup that I did for my Kubuntu
> based frontend with Mythbuntu to get it running as a true dedicated
> frontend, and I'm ok with that. I just thought I'd give a little heads
> up that while Mythbuntu is nice, I don't find it any much better than
> going with a non-"Myth specific"distro.

Yeah, I have no experience with MythBuntu (or Kubuntu or any other 
*buntu--or, really, any other distro), so I'm not trying to argue your 
point about it.  I'm just trying to remind people that window managers 
are /not/ a bad thing.

> From what I understand, they do intend to have a setup option to run
> it as a true dedicated frontend, but the dev's have not had the time
> to get around to this.


>>>  and has some tie ins that
>>> require a keyboard/mouse be connected.
>> Though that shouldn't be required.  :)
> but it is. and that's the issue.

Yeah, though you may not have read it that way, the above was me 
agreeing with the fact that a dedicated frontend shouldn't require a 

> my main frontend has no keyboard or mouse attached to it under normal
> operating conditions, and the 4 people I live with, plus g/f's,
> friends, etc. that come over a lot have 0 problems using it (except
> for the occasional requirement to restart the frontend, which I have
> set up the power button to kill mythfrontend and X for these
> instances). I've had a couple instances with Mythbuntu where either
> I'll accidentally run the Mythbuntu control manager from the Myth
> setup menu and the only way out of it is to use the mouse or keyboard
> (and yea, it was not intentional, but when it happen, PITA), and there
> have also been instances were Myth loses focus and I have to Alt-Tab
> with the keyboard to get out of xfce focus and back to Myth focus.
> Both of which are not issues on my other dedicated frontend.

Well, the focus one won't be a problem on a properly-configured window 
manager.  Perhaps Xfwm (the window manager used by Xfce) isn't 
configured correctly on MythBuntu or perhaps it just doesn't have a 
focus policy that's appropriate for a Myth box.

I know what you mean about the control panel, though.  I used to use 
xine for MythVideo playback and would occasionally hit the screenshot 
button, which pops up a dialog saying, "OK, I did what you asked me to 
do.  Now I'm going to block the video playback for you until you find a 
mouse and click on the OK button below."  (Those may not be the exact 
words, but that was the message.)


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