First off, thanks for the emails you have sent me the last months, I love to hear about whats going on in your part of the world. That being said, the contact form is not a support line.. I fully understand how frustrating many of the ins & outs might be, hey, my blog is called rantville for a reason. If you come with relevant info to a thread, I’ll help out as best I can. Sharing the knowledge goes both way, and that would be lost in an email.. mkay?

With any MythTV setup utilizing more than a couple of tuners you are faced with a few things to consider. New motherboards rarely come with more than 2-3 PCI slots, and 1-2 PCI-E slots. Now, lets make matters worse, say you need to extend your raid array and are all out of PATA/SATA ports.. And.. we all know how rubbish onboard NIC’s can be. Unless you suck at math, or are so unfortunate that you have cut off half your fingers, you are all out of PCI slots by a good margin.

So, what do you do? Up till now, Ive been using somewhat older hardware, where PCI slots still are in majority. And, if I ran out, I setup a slave BE.. Fair enough, good heating, and the electricity company loves me(I better get a golden xmas card from them this year!).

Thats about to change now tho, Im going to try and become more ‘green’ with my computing this year. It wont be a major cut, but anything helps, no?

First step is to cut down on the number of servers thats running 24/7, thats currently 5;
2x OpenVZ servers(1x Quad ,1x Dual)
1x Fileserver(amd64 with a variation of PATA drives & a 4xSATA array)
2x Myth servers(one amd64x2 with 3xSATA array, other amd64 slave BE with nfs mounted array from Master)

The 2 OpenVZ servers got NFS mounted VZ storage from the fileserver, and run a vast variation of services. They are by no means utilized to its fullest extent, so this is where Im gonna make the first change.
The main servers(OpenVZ) are located in a different house on the farm than where my MythTV BE’s are. They will be split up in the coming revamp, Ive changed switches on all main exchange points to HP Procurve Gbit, this makes it all alot leaner.

I got ahold of a new(older) LGA775 mobo; Asus P5GC, which will be placed in the OpenVZ server with the Intel D940 CPU(Dual 3.2Ghz). All the tuners from the 2 Myth BE will be moved to this box, since it has 6 pci slots, I’ll also move over 2 of the SATA arrays(Chieftec backplane) to this maxi tower.

This will make both the old Myth BE redundant, and the old file-server will only hold the PATA drives thats done their duty well. I’ll shut it down when the majority of the drives have died, only right that they are given a proper retirement plan. They dont hold any data of value, all such is properly raided on new SATA drives.

The new MythTV BE currently got 3x DVB-S tuners(2xSkystar2 & Cinergy 1200-S) and one PVR-350, the latter is used with Zoneminder and the odd analogue captures I do of old VHS/other sources.

The hdd was allready setup with Hardy, and I see no reason to go with Intrepid here, Hardy got 2.6.24 OpenVZ kernel, thats not tagged as “stable” yet by the moderate OpenVZ devs. I had a few kinks with migrating VE’s from my Gentoo OpenVZ server(2.6.18), the ‘in-famous’ udev issues re-emerged. Ironic that it works flawlessly on Gentoo(Ubuntu VE), but not Ubuntu on Ubuntu? Easy fix, but I had to shake my head at that one..

8 hours in, and I got the best of all worlds, -2 servers sucking the wall socket, better utilization of the 24/7 servers. And still 2 PCI slots to spare in the new MythTV BE(ok, 1 really, Im still waiting for the pci sata card I ordered before xmas).

In case I dont post anything the coming week, I will be gone(from the 8th) till first week of february. So no respons from me before Im back, enjoy my absence. 😉

Mythbuntu 8.10

| November 4th, 2008

Another box, another update. This time around my MythTV backend(BE) was due for a upgrade. Been chunking along happily under Hardy for a good while, if it works, dont break it? No sir, not in my house!

Of course, with any change on an important service, backup of db & confs is a given…

When that was done, the upgrade itself went smoothly, the only hickup I had were with v4l-dvb. I pulled the latest & greatest to see what was going on with the new API(5) and its inclusion of S2API. It did compile, but did not play nice with open-sasc-ng, and after a little reading I saw patches where needed for both open-sasc & mythtv to make use of the new API.

If my Myth BE had been running on.. ohh say Gentoo, I’d give it a stab, but not on a pre-compiled distro. That would mean (re)compiling any coming updates to MythTV untill said patches had made it upstream..

So I took the easy way out, reverted v4l-dvb to revision 8984(pre API5), which works fine with latest open-sasc-ng & current Mythbuntu repo(incl 2.6.27 kernel). Due to the big stir up on multiproto vs s2api, Im putting a hold on a dvb-s2 purchase. Even tho s2api has been selected and merged into v4l-dvb, I’ll wait till the dust settles before I make a decision on what hw to get..

Since I run a headless BE, I cant speak much on any of the GUI changes, I did run mythbuntu-control-center via ssh tho, most notable changes there were prep’ing of images for diskless frontends. Good stuff for those that dont like to mock about in a terminal.

What I did notice, where an increase in overall performance/speed. Both mythweb, and all communication with frontends(FE). Channel lock & changes are cut with a few secs, this might also be due to open-sasc-ng, since I ran legacy code before upgrade, but had the same impression upon playback & editing of recordings. It all feels more snappy.

The speed bump made me want to clean up the channel list(long overdue), any change there via Mythweb in the past made the browser unresponsive for 4-5 minutes upon hitting ‘save’. Satellite hookups will do that I guess, 2500+ channels are a hefty load to process.
Cut it down to about 1/5th, which in turn made my BE grunt like a quad-core on speed.
This is still a part of MythTV Im not overly positive about, manageing a big channel list, with its xmltvid, commercial free or not etc settings. Be it mythtv-setup or mythweb, the last word that comes to mind is practical..

But, thats a MythTV issue, not Mythbuntu in particular, bottom line, Intrepid does a good job on my BE, my diskless FE’s, and heck, it even runs very well on my Aspire1 now that the Intel drivers for the GPU had a fix pre Intrepid launch.

I have not dug into the amazingly long change log since 2.6.24, but to underline what I said earlier in the post(performance), have a look at the CPU usage & load on the box after the 2.6.27 upgrade..


There are no changes in the number of services on the box, nor has the recording schedules changed.

There was a constant load close to 2.00 under 2.6.24, this I filed under kernels inner demons cause I could not find a reason for it. Non of the apps or services justified this load, looks like they got to this demon. This is a Athlon 64 x2 4600+, with 2GB ram, SATA drives only..