Mythbuntu 9.04 Vs. 9.10

So, as you may or may not know, I run Mythbuntu on my homebrew living-room DVR. I was really excited about the big improvements that Mythbuntu 9.10 appeared to offer, which includes VDPAU video decoding, MythTV 0.22 (including the MythUI updates) and the general speed improvements that Karmic was to offer. However, after upgrading my DVR, I was quickly confronted with a cold reality: 9.10 sucks for MythTV.

Here I will contrast a few of the differences. Things that work in 9.04:

– Scanning for channels on the backend

– No crashing, even during month-long periods without reboots

– Easy installation and configuration

Now, things that don’t work in 9.04:

– The program guide, if opened during Live TV playback will eat 100% CPU, meaning you have to manually kill the frontend and restart. However, pausing the TV before opening the guide solves this.

– If using an HDHomerun tuner, the backend starts before the HDHomerun is discovered, so you have to restart the backend before you can watch TV.

Things that work in 9.10:

– No additional features that aren’t already available in 9.04.

Things that don’t work in 9.10:

– Installation is buggy and often requires you to repeat steps and try alternative choices to get things to work.

– HDHomerun still isn’t discovered before the backend starts.

– The frontend has some sort of apparent memory leak and will crash randomly, and at other times, hog CPU during menu navigation.

– Channel scanning during backend setup is BROKE BROKE BROKE!! The “new and improved channel scanner” doesn’t even approach useable. Its confusing, and can take hours to get set up correctly. I’m baffled at how this was even allowed to be included in a public release. This was ultimately one of the reasons I went back to 9.04.

– VDPAU video decoding is extremely jittery and unstable. On my setup it seemed like every other frame was being dropped, and occasionally my frontend would crash, although that could have been the general unstable nature of the frontend. Software decoding of video playback is the only useable solution with 9.10. And no, I don’t want to hear it blamed on the nVidia drivers. Maybe upgrading to the new ones makes it work, but since they’re not available in the public repositories, there is no argument here.

So, sorry for the extreme technical nature of this post, but I am livid at the state of Mythbuntu 9.10. I realize that its a very fine line to walk for volunteers to make a nice OS like Mythbuntu, but I would have rather saved time by having them not even release 9.10 in the state its in. I spent 3 days building and rebuilding my DVR while my wife watched me. I also realize that part of the blame falls upstream to the MythTV guys, as they’re in a big state of transition at the moment, so part of it could just be timing.

And one final note, sorry for the negative nature of my post, but I just don’t see an easier way to do this. For an OS thats supposed to be stable and able to run on a living room DVR, 9.10 gets a 0 for WAF (wife-acceptance-factor.) 9.04 has its shortcomings, but my wife can at least handle it.

Here’s looking forward to 10.04, and a more positive DVR experience.

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