mythtv update

Apparently I never posted about the latest changes. Most of this was back in September before fall TV started up…

My Knoppmyth installation was getting a little old and decrepit, even after the update for Schedules Direct. These days I use Ubuntu on all of the servers, so with the second release of Mythbuntu available I decided it was time to switch the PVR.

The first upgrade was relatively painless. I started with Mythbuntu 7.10, because it used the same MythTV version as my Knoppmyth install. First I installed onto my spare 160Gb drive; I have two, because I was originally planning to use RAID-1 on the PVR. Alas, the extra CPU and I/O required was too much for my wimpy PIII-933, so now I have a spare.

I was able to copy and/or merge most configuration files from the old setup to the new, since they were based on similar Debian releases. There were a couple of problems with TV-out on my ancient Matrox G400 card; once again vesafb was loading and blocking the Matrox drivers. At least this time they were both already modules, so I did not have to recompile the whole kernel! Then I restored the MySQL databases from backup and copied the video files over (that took a few hours). I tested the machine for about a week, and it was working fine.

Unfortunately, the upgrade to Mythbuntu 8.04 did not go as well. For some reason, the latest kernels would not boot on my old Compaq Deskpro! I never did figure out why. Since the cooling fans in that machine were dying anyway, I decided to swap in the old Baltimore Dell workstation that Andrzej gave me last year. I happened to have a spare CPU in the parts box, so I now have a PVR with two PIII-933 CPUs, making the box a little snappier when watching TV while recording.

Of course, about a week later, the Dell fan started chirping (as I posted about previously). Then my cheapo UPS died, and the Dell kept shutting itself down until I plugged it directly into the wall. Now everything is stable (and cool) again, and I’m quite happy to be running the same linux version on all six servers! (I don’t have that many computers at home; four of those “servers” are virtual machines, two of them at hosting facilities in Atlanta GA…).

So, that’s it until next spring, after May sweeps, by which time Mythbuntu 9.04 will be out :-).

Update 2009/05/28: 1) the upgrade to 9.04 was uneventful. 2) My old server died, so I had to buy a new (old) computer. In the process of swapping hardware around, I had the “would not boot” problem again. I eventually discovered that my earlier problems with kernels not booting was not caused by the motherboard, but by the particular Matrox G400 that was in the old Compaq Deskpro. That was a day wasted, trying to get the right combination of hardware into one machine :-).

posted at 5:01 pm on Thursday, October 30, 2008 in Personal, TV | Comments (2)


  1. James says:


    I wondered if you could give a little more information on what you had to do to get the G400 card working. I’m trying to set up a Knoppmyth (or Mythbuntu; I’ve been thinking about switching too) on a system that has a Matrox G450 in it, which is very similar. It’s been giving me no end of grief and I haven’t gotten any help from the Knoppmyth forums so far (the solution seems to be ‘buy an NVidia’). This is the first time I’ve come across anybody describing a solution.

    What did you have to do to get rid of the vesafb problem? Just unload a module?

    Thanks very much!

  2. chk says:

    I edited the file /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-framebuffer and added an entry for vesafb. That stopped that module from being loaded at boot time. I also modified /etc/modules and added:


    To make sure that those modules did load at boot time, so that any later probe for a different framebuffer driver would fail. (Also, the probe for matrox_w1 was causing problems, and this fixed it). The combination of the two worked for me.

    In /etc/rc.local I run the following to bind the TV-out properly.

      /usr/bin/matroxset -f /dev/fb1 -m 0
      /usr/bin/matroxset -f /dev/fb0 -m 3
      /usr/bin/matroxset -f /dev/fb0 -o 1 2

    Finally, every time X starts or resets I run a script from /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc called tvcenter that adjusts the framebuffer position and brightness on my system:

    /usr/local/bin/fbset -fb /dev/fb0 -left 32 -right 8 -upper 70 -lower 20 -hslen 40
    # set black level, white level, hue
    /usr/local/bin/matrox 0x0e 0x3f
    /usr/local/bin/matrox 0x1e 0xbf
    /usr/local/bin/matrox 0x22 0x76

    (fbset and matrox are programs that came with the Matrox drivers I found).

    I hope this helps!

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