mythbuntu + gnome or ubuntu + mythbuntu?

June 15, 2008

I need to upgrade my old MythTV box (that is my desktop too), today a Fedora Core 7 (no more ugrades now). Fedora change too fast (probably good) and lost support too fast (bad), so I want a distribution with a medium/long term support for my production MythTv box. I have a small maintenance window because the family want the TV and desktop working.

So I’m give a try to Ubuntu. However I found two/three options: Ubuntu+MythTV, Ubuntu+Mythbuntu and Mythbuntu+gnome (or even KDE). I don’t found a clear comparision between this options, so I decide to make a simple try before the upgrade.

I run this lab on VMWare, so I will just install the systems as frontends, because the capture hardware will be not available inside virtual machine.

The test was conduced with two (virtual) machines, and it was installed at (almost) the same time, so I compare step-by-step the difference between it.

Mythbuntu 8.04

The instalation program are the same (once that mythtuntu is actualy a flavor or ubuntu), the 6 initial steps are the same, after that Ubuntu transfer the packages to the disk, but Mythbuntu go foward and start to make MythTV specific questions and configuration, as if the box will be a primary/secondary backend, frontend or both. I choose just as a frontend, select plugins and themes to install. I do configure the access to my current box mysql server. I skip the remote control step, but it appear to be very simple to a novice (lirc) user, it have a option to remote control and one for IR Blaster (IR transmitter).

I don’t have a specific video board inside virtual machine, but I see the options for automatic install of proprietary video drivers, it seen very easy to new users to setup a box when using Nvidia graphics. I don’t see the option to install gnome, kde desktop environment, it’s possible that I make different choices, but I’ll need to install it after boot.

After this the system was booted.

After the first boot, a simple desktop show up and a “mythfrontend.real” ask me for my preferred language, so it show me the MythTV frontend, however I need to fix my current mythbackent to listen in IP address from ethernet and not in loopback (127.0.0.1) interface, after that I have a working (almost) MythTV frontend. Really easy.

But this will be my desktop too, so I need to install a full desktop environment like KDE or Gnome. To do this I open the Mythbuntu Control Centre and in the System Role, I mark to be a Desktop Role, Ubuntu Desktop, after a download of 453 packages it was ready.

Ubuntu 8.04

The Ubuntu instalation was almost equal to Mythbuntu, except by the Mythtv, proprietary drivers and LIRC configuration. After the first boot I receive a login screen, where I logged with the user created at instalation time. Now I have a gnome desktop, but no MythTV, so I start do install Mythbuntu over Ubuntu by following http://mythbuntu.org/existing-ubuntu, what was a 100 packages download. During the mythbuntu install, a setup was launched to configure the LIRC (Remote Control), that I skip.

After packages install I launch the Mythbuntu Control Centre to make the configuratiuon like in a Mythbuntu full instalation. When selection options like Mythtv plugins before change to new option the setup download the packages needed, what consume some time. After that, I setup the system to logon automaticaly in Art and Login Behavior, and enable some proprietary codecs, and reboot.

The systems boots up in XFCE environment! I not expect this. To change to GNOME I need to logout and logon again but selecting gnome um session menu at logon screen. The mythfrontend startup automaticaly here too, and startup with different theme G.A.N.T. (but this is simple to change).

Conclusion

Actualy I see no diferrence between they both, probably the advice of mythbuntu project are a good option, mythbuntu to new system (like mine) Ubuntu+mythbuntu for current Ubuntu users.