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Best Linux distro for PyTivo/HTPC?

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Joined: 02 Jan 2009
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:45 pm    Post subject: Best Linux distro for PyTivo/HTPC? Reply with quote

Hi all,

I've got the parts sitting out now for my new HTPC. I'm been a Linux/Unix sysadmin for about 10 years, so user-friendlyness and GUI-fication are not prerequisites for me.

What distro seems to have the best support for transcoding out of the box? I run Ubuntu on my laptops because it works so well with new hardware, but it's ffmpeg leaves a lot to be desired. I haven't played with Fedora in awhile, but last I checked, they were pretty hands-off when it comes to things like mp3 and dvdcss.

I know Gentoo is a great option for this stuff because of USE flags, but that's a lot of compiling. I've never used Linux Mint, but it's basically a superset of Ubuntu - anyone have experience there?

I've wanted to play with Arch for awhile, as it looks to be a nice combination of Slackware & Gentoo values, but I have no idea on it's approach to "questionable" codecs.

This HTPC's primary function will be pyTivo/streambaby/Galleon related tasks, but I'll likely setup MythTV on it as well.

I'm leaning towards Gentoo at this point, but need to research Arch a bit. Anyone have any tips?
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Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 152

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have run all the mentioned distros in the past including most of the RH versions as well. I have experience with pytivo on only two of those, CentOS and Ubuntu, though and can provide my feedback in general on the distros you mentioned and the ones I have used for pytivo.

Slackware: The very first distro I ever used and have revisited it several times and did extensive work in slax. Antiquated and tough to use IMO.

Gentoo: Great in concept and love the compiling for each hardware type. In theory this is much faster and I feel it really was faster but there is a TON of work to get anything to work and lacks much of the polish that modern distros have: meaning OS/tools/apps polish, not GUI polish.

RHEL/CentOS: the thing never gets updated. Everything from old kernels (ok with modern patches but still) to old apps, modules, etc. Getting ffmpeg installed on it was very rough though and the repos have nothing new so every package has to be installed from scratch and dealing with the compiling issues were a pain.

Arch: great slim OS with a cool package manager (pacman). New packages, slim OS and good performance. Great distro for those who don't want a lot of bloat and plenty of support. I haven't tried pytivo or getting ffmpeg working on it but I guess it would be an easy task.

Ubuntu: What I finalized on for my latest HTPC/pytivo server. You could use the server version but I ended up going with the desktop and using it as a server. I just startx when I do need a gui but leave it cmdline most of the time. Piece of cake for getting H264 and ffmpeg compiled and all the supporting libraries are already in the repos. Everytime I have grabbed an SVN release of ffmpeg it compiled without error using one of the many guides for compiling. I have not tried streambaby on here yet as I have tested only on win32 for now but I can't see anything being a challenge.

Overall I think it depends on your personal choice of distros, the multimedia centric, or friendly, a distro is, and testing it out. You may find out that Myth is a bitch on a distro that is ffmpeg friendly. Myth is much more about hardware support than package compatibility/availability so that might be the defining criteria.

Anyway, that is just my $0.02. Hope it helps,
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Joined: 04 Jan 2008
Posts: 222
Location: St. Pete, FL

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm running Galleon, pyTivo, and streambaby on Ubuntu 8.10 without any issues. I've built my own ffmpeg from svn.
pyTiVo on Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty)
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Joined: 05 Jan 2008
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I run pytivo and streambaby on Fedora. Never had a problem. streambaby even works great with the open source java.
2002 - Tivo Series 1
2008 - TivoHD
Linux File Server
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Joined: 03 Mar 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Pueblo, CO

PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been running pyTivo to talk to my series 2 for a couple months now on openSuse 11.1 and 11.2.
I also run galleon on the suse box as well.
I really like the way pytivo can handle so many different media formats. especially playing my flac music files without a problem.
I mostly use galleon to toss the vids off the tivo.
I use pyTivo to serve up all kinds of media to the tivo and I've been very happy.
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