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Boston Linux Meeting Wed, July 15, 2009 Another Look at MythTV and MythDora

Jarod wrote:
> what exactly do people planning to attend most want to hear about?
> VDPAU? The HD PVR? New and interesting things in the world of LIRC?
> Potential commercial ventures utilizing MythTV?

Yes, VDPAU[1], and a related discussion of what are the latest trends in 
recommended front-end hardware (such as the NVIDIA ION platform 
mentioned on the list here not long ago).


How about talking a bit about the MythTV support community. For example, 
there's lots of good info on the users mailing list, but it is nearly 
impossible to actually follow it on a regular basis. I imagine this 
impacts the ability of knowledgeable users to respond to questions. I 
find there's a good chance that postings will go without response. 
(There seems to be a sweet spot for the size of open source communities. 
Too small and there aren't enough contributors. Too large, and there's 
too much noise, unless you can subdivide.)

Related to support, it's also worth noting that MythTV devs have a 
policy of rejecting bug reports that don't come with patches. It seems a 
lot of valuable information gets tossed out in the guise of keeping the 
bug database small.

Any thoughts or experiences with LinuxMCE[2], which can wrap MythTV, and 
provide a broader range of functionality, including home automation.


Have you ever seriously considered and investigated any of the 
alternatives to MythTV?

As this is the third or forth talk we've had on MythTV, how about 
supplementing the 101 topics with a few 201 topics, such as:

As a MythTV contributor, how do you manage the problem of keeping a 
stable, usable system while doing development? Do you run the SVN 
version  everywhere, and find it stable enough? Do you have dedicated 
development hardware? Do you switch back and forth? (The tight coupling 
between the client and server makes it difficult to mix client/server 

As a developer, how do you feel about the architecture of MythTV. I've 
never studied the low-level pieces, but the larger components seem to be 
fit together poorly. (Fairly obvious that the code evolved as a 
succession of hacks, with not quite enough refactoring.) For example, 
there's the tight client-server coupling I mentioned earlier. Not only 
does the back-end have to talk the same protocol version, but the schema 
has to match as well. By most standards it's considered a major layer 
violation to have the client talk directly to the database, bypassing 
the back-end server.

There are also large sections of MythTV that should be far more 
"plastic" than they are, which slows development and adds barriers to 
contributions. Almost the entire system is implemented in C, but the UI, 
and things like commercial break analysis ought to be implemented with 
an interpreted language and be more capable of end-user modification.


Tom Metro
Venture Logic, Newton, MA, USA
"Enterprise solutions through open source."
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