Joy…after far too much worrying about it, I’ve got my MythTV box back up and running. I figure I’ll tell the tale, and get notes for my future self in the bargain!

I had a horrible crash back on the box back during the summer, and pretty much talked myself out of rebuilding it. I had all my notes, but with all the backtracking, tweaks, etc…I just didn’t want to deal with it. But guess what? As is so often the case, I remembered the bad alot more readily than the good. Most of my notes were, um…unneeded. Surprise, surprise.

First off, I realized about a week ago that I had been COMPLETELY stupid, and not checked my memory after repeated box crashes during the summer. I had previously convinced myself (sans proof) that the issue was the hard drive…but a quick dig around and test via the excellent memtest86 diagnostic tool last Friday confirmed the memory stick was indeed the culprit. (Hmmm…a test; fancy that. Repeatable, even.) And memory is even cheaper today than it was a year ago…

  • NB: check the memory!

After that, the machine was actually up and running remarkably quickly; I love Debian. Pretty much from install, I was running. Mostly. I had picture…but no sound. Second thing to remember:

  • NB: ALSA:default is frontend setting. Test ALSA quickly; if that isn’t it, check the card settings!

I spent way too much time spinning my wheels with ALSA settings that were correct the entire time. I had accidentally cleared the audio recording field when doing the initial card setup, and didn’t bother to re-check THAT setting for two days (in the meantime, I had tweaked ALSA about 200 times…). Lesson learned. (Hey, can’t a man dream?)

Finally…if you plan on running mythfrontend without setuid (ie, the way it’s set out of the box), turn OFF the realtime priority threads setting (which is ON by default). Otherwise, with no setuid and r/t priority on (which, as you may note, IS THE DEFAULT), watching live TV hangs the frontend and crashes the backend in about 10 seconds. With realtime priority threads turned off, there is joy. She works. Maybe someday I’ll play with setuid’ing the frontend just to see if it works better…but not today. (There may be something tricky going on here like Debian turns off the setuid for security reasons, leaving the settings wonky. I could be convinced of this. But still weird, and frustrating. Thus the note.)

  • NB: in case it’s still unclear; realtime priority is evil *grin*

That’s pretty much it! I’m up and running smoothly, with no crashes or hangs, and Battlestar Galactica set to record weekly. All is well with the world.

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