[mythtv-users] What if...?

Joseph Fry joe at thefrys.com
Thu Sep 20 14:36:58 UTC 2012

> What if MythTV should be a backend only project?
> Yes i know it is maybe a stupid question, but think about it. If you do
> something shouldn't it be done better than everybody else? I think that on
> the backend side MythTV still is one of the best solutions you could have,
> but others is closing in fast and in some areas they have already passed
> MythTV.(I tried tvheadend and scanning for channels. I never thought it
> could be that easy to setup a backend pvr service, totally amazing. What if
> the MythTV backend could be that easy?)
> I know all about the comments when you "criticize" open source, all the
> "if you want it do it yourself", "we do this on our free time", "we don't
> get paid for doing this", and i understand all of those comments. But
> please don't answer this if you have any of those comments. Think more of
> how it would benefit MythTV if the few developer resources could be more
> concentrated on making the backend the best and leave all other far behind?
> I have used MythTV for almost 8 years now and it have been fun. I have
> always used the master version since i want to try the latest and help to
> find bugs if i can. Even though there have been progress in many areas, and
> i don't want to put down any ones work, but the frontend software is pretty
> far behind many other solutions, maybe even years behind. And finding
> developers with the time and skill is always hard. Is it really worth their
> precious time to try to make the frontend better? When it probably never
> will be the best, only good enough? Wouldn't it be better to make the best
> backend? Easy to setup, everything done through a browser, scheduling, epg,
> and so on. And then have a killer interface that other clients could use to
> controll the backend. Either for streaming or scheduling recordings or
> whatever the backend can offer.
> I recently got tired of the limited amount of features of the frontend,
> and even though there is some really nice looking themes, the frontend
> feels old. So i started looking around for other solutions, but since i
> knew that MythTV backend does a fantastic job i wanted some other client to
> integrate with the backend. I could probably be beaten up by saying this,
> but i started to look at XBMC. It is very advanced, good looking, many
> addons, skins and services you could install, it feels like what you always
> wanted mythfrontend to be. And it seems to be a lot more developers so you
> have many more things to choose from and can customize the client exactly
> how you want it to be. In recent development version they are adding a PVR
> interface, making it possible for developers to make plugins to backend
> services, like MythTV.
> That was when i thought about my original question. What if MythTV was
> only a backend project? It could be the best combination ever, and the
> developers time would really be used efficiently. Yes i know, XBMC is not
> perfect in every way either, but it is close.
> I know people do this because they think it is fun so it is not like a
> commercial project where you just rearrange the resources and tell them to
> concentrate on something else. But isn't it more fun to be the best, making
> the best backend in the Linux world? I know all the hard work that has been
> put down in MythTV, but maybe it is time to think a little different?
> There is some great developers in this project, putting down a lot of
> time, and i really appreciate all the work they do. So don't take this as
> criticism against all those people.
> If you have anything non constructive to say, please don't. Then just
> forget this mail and move on.
I think you underestimate just how different mythfrontend is than a typical
file player.  Additionally, it's not like the developers who work on the
frontend are neglecting the backend, in most cases the frontend developers
don't do much backend development.  So while choosing to eliminate the
frontend altogether might seem like a means to getting a better backend, it
simply won't for several reasons:

1. we would lose developers
2. there would be no way to test the more interesting features of the
backend since no other player supports them.
3. we would lose users who actually like the mythfrontend because it
integrates so well with the backend.

There are plenty of people using XBMC, and folks have been doing it for
years... and the api for connecting to mythtv is wide open... yet you still
can't skip commercials on XMBC as far as I know.  The idea that somehow
another project would fully integrate with mythtv has proven to be untrue
thus far.

Essentially, mythtv has never sought to lock people into it's frontend, and
many unique alternatives have come and gone, but none ever came close to
the capabilities of the mythfrontend.  I suspect that if XBMC or some
similar project were to come close, we would see more and more people
choosing to use it and eventually it would become the defacto standard
combination... just hasn't happened yet.
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