Jul 032010

So I’ve been pondering the prospect of building a Linux HTPC using MythTV. Unfortunately, the HD picture looks…bleak.

From what I’ve been able to find out from browsing the MythTV wiki, you can get Linux-supported cards that can read an unencrypted HD signal; but service providers encrypt everything but your local channels. So what’s the fucking point?

It appears that one’s options are to either get a Windows PC equipped with a CableCARD, or TiVo.

Well, I’m not setting up a Windows PC for this. No way.

I’d been idly wondering how TiVo manages to stay in business these days; but now that I look at what they’re offering, it’s not a bad deal. They charge for the box less than it would cost me to build an HTPC that I’d be satisified with. Their box is probably smaller, too. And I see it has an eSATA port; so hopefully that means that it can record to an external drive. Their service fee is a bit less than what Verizon wants to charge me for their DVR. Now, Verizon has waived their DVR equipment fee for the first year; but after that year, TiVo’s deal will look even more attractive.

Dec 262008

I started using Linux with Red Hat 5.0. When that distribution morphed into Fedora, I continued using it. And I’ve eagerly installed each new version within days of its release.

In the past 9 years of using Red Hat/Fedora, only my attempts to get Red Hat 5.0 to work with some on-the-motherboard SCSI hardware rivals the pain I’ve experienced installing Fedora 10. While there was some self-inflicted pain described in my previous posting, it was quite mild compared to what I was walking into unwittingly.

Bug 466607 was my first, and biggest, problem. Now, after finding this bug report, the problem isn’t too difficult to work around: there’s a kernel parameter that can be passed at boot time that would get things working. But until one has managed to find this bug report, life sucks.

Then there is the relatively well known problem that NetworkManager—the magical take-control-of-all-your-network-interfaces-and-everything-will-Just-Work system service—actually doesn’t work very well at all with static IPs. Turning it off, one is then bound to run into bug 469434. This one isn’t a show-stopper by any means; but it’s also something that’s clearly a simple goof somewhere that’s bound to be trivial to fix. And yet, even though it was reported back at the end of October, it made it into Fedora 10. Bug 466607, which is much more severe, was reported earlier in October and it made it into Fedora 10, too.

Both of these bugs are, fortunately, now fixed. But my impression is that Fedora release managers need to be more willing to hold up a release to fix bugs that are outright showstoppers for users or simply instances of an egregious lack of polish.