LinHES (Linux Home Entertainment System) is a distribution heavily based on Arch, centered around MythTV designed for Home Theater PCs (HTPCs) use. The expressed goal of LinHES is to provide a HES-appliance feel to your HTPC. Most if not all of the system configuration and operation can be accomplished via your remote control. Users can go from a blank system to a fully functional MythTV system in 15-20 minutes. LinHES makes use of mythvantage for easy configuration and modification. There is a service menu accessible right from the mythtv GUI where users can configure most of the machine right from their couch via their remote control.
- Current stable release: R6.03.00 (06-June-2010)
- Creator/lead developer: Cecil Watson
- Package Maintainers/developers: Greg Frost, James Meyer, Nathan Harris
- Installation and setup are relatively trivial.
- Major features aside from MythTV are preconfigured (SAMBA, sshd, x11vnc, webmin, lighttpd, lirc, etc.)
- Comprehensive "Auto Upgrade" (along with backup scripts) makes upgrading a snap.
- Live Frontend allows users to run a front-end on any machine live from the CD.
- User support forums
- Partial automation of Australian EPG setup
- Native VDPAU support for both MythTV and mplayer
- Native support for many popular SDTV/HDTV capture hardware
- Native XBMC support
- Native support for a large number of remote controls
- Hulu desktop option
- Packages for Mythtv-0.22
Divergence from the Arch Way
LinHES is meant to be an appliance and is targeted at Linux neophytes. As such, it is noteworthy to mention that although LinHES is based on Arch, LinHES doesn't conform to the Arch Way. For example:
- LinHES implements pacman's abilities more broadly philosophically.
Pacman under LinHES can and does modify package config files/other files for the user without the user's need to do so manually as is the Arch Way. Additionally, some LinHES packages will modify files owned by other LinHES packages. Both of these examples represent a divergence from the Arch Way that might not sit well with some experienced Arch users. On its own, neither example represents a "bad" thing, but they should be documented for the afore mentioned niche community.
The predecessor to LinHES is Knoppmyth (KM). As its name implies, the initial releases of Knoppmyth were based on Knoppix, but the latest incarnations are not, although the brand-name "KnoppMyth" has been retained. From the knoppmyth wiki:
- "Knoppix itself is an adaptation of the Debian Linux distribution, Knoppmyth therefore is another project that has spiralled off into its own domain. These days it would be more correct to call KnoppMyth a specialized and heavily customized Debian derivative, as there is very little Knoppix left."
The first release of KM was on 09-Aug-2003 (R1) and was based on MythTV 0.10. The latest stable incarnation of KM is R5.5 which was released on 06-Jul-2008 and is based on MythTV 0.21.2. The first release of LinHES (R6) went gold (stable) on the 26-Sept-2009, version R6.01.00 being officially released.
Both LinHES and KM can be installed and function on almost any "modern" computer. There are a set of components that constitute the so-called, "Knoppmyth Reference Platform" which is nothing more than a set of hardware that is known and certified to work out-of-the-box with KM. The hardware specifications are completely open and published here.
Development on KM has halted and all efforts are focusing on LinHES. That said, KM R5.5 is still a very robust Mythtv-Distro.
Version History of KM/LinHES
Since the first release in 2003, there have been about a dozen major and minor versions of KM.
- 06-06-10 R6.03.00 is released (major diff is mythtv 0.23)
- 03-02-10 R6.02.00 (major diff is mythtv 0.22)
- To upgrade an existing R6.01.00 box, see [this thread].
- 09-26-09 R6 goes gold, version R6.01.00 officially released
- 08-14-09 Pre-Release R6.00.09 of LinHES
- 7-6-08 Release 5.5 "Bone Marrow"
- Uses a snapshot of Debian Unstable and the 2.6.23-chw-4 kernel
- 5-11-07 Release 5 Final 1 "Farewell days of my youth"
- 11-3-03 Release 4 "CoCo2"
- Upgraded to MythTV 0.12
- 9-01-2003 Release 3 "Each of these my three babies"
- The CD can now be use as a front-end
- 08-25-2003 Release 2 "Chicago, Chicago"
- Updated to MythTV 0.11
- 08-08-2003 Release 1 "You better Belize it!"
- Based on Knoppix 07-26-2003 and MythTV 0.10
R5.5/R6.x Differences Table and Equivalent Commands
This section intends to capture the differences between R5.x and R6.x as well as capture some equivalent shell commands for the user familiar with the R5 series.
Startup Scripts It is noteworthy to mention that /etc/rc.local does NOT get called at boot as it does under Arch. Instead, LinHES uses /etc/runit/1.local for startup scripts.
|Component||R5 Uses...||R6 Uses...|
|Parent Linux Distro||Debian||Arch Linux|
Miscellaneus Components/Shell Examples
|Component||R5 Uses...||R6 Uses...||R5 Example||R6 Example|
|Adding a Daemon||update-rc.d||add_service.sh||# update-rc.d daemonname defaults||$ sudo add_service.sh daemonname|
|Removing a Daemon||update-rc.d||remove_service.sh||# update-rc.d -f daemonname remove||$ sudo remove_service.sh daemonname|
|Init System||sysv init||runit||# /etc/init.d/webmin start||$ sudo sv start webmin|
|Diskless Frontend||NFS root, shared /usr||pacman -S diskless-legacy ; config_diskless_frontend.bash||knoppmyth_diskless_frontend.bash|
Package Management/Shell Examples
|Package Task||R5 Uses...||R6 Uses...||R5 Example||R6 Example|
|Update package list||dpkg and apt-get||pacman||# apt-get update||$ sudo pacman -Sy|
|Install a Package||dpkg and apt-get||pacman||# apt-get install packagename||$ sudo pacman -S packagename|
|Remove a Package||dpkg and apt-get||pacman||# apt-get remove packagename||$ sudo pacman -Rs packagename|
|Location of repos||/etc/apt/sources.list||/etc/pacman.conf|
|Location of Package Cache||/var/cache/apt/archives||/data/var/cache/pacman/pkg|
|Upgrade All Installed Packages||dpkg and apt-get||pacman||# apt-get dist-upgrade||$ sudo pacman -Syu|
|Install from local pacakge||dpkg||pacman||# dpkg -i <file>||$ sudo pacman -U <file>|
|Component or configuration file||R5 Uses...||R6 Uses...||R5 example||R6 Example|
A LinHES system can use most modern and "semi-modern" hardware. Some users report a fully functional system driven by an antiquated AMD Athlon (800 MHz)/nforce2 CPU/MB. For HD-playback one will need a more powerful CPU or a GPU capable of VDPAU such as an NVIDIA 8400GS, 9500GT, or GF 210. For a complete table of NVIDIA cards and their VDPAU support, see this table. Intel Atom-based PCs are also popular among LinHES users for their low heat output and ultra low power consumption. Again, this low-power CPU needs to be paired with a VDPAU compatible GPU or else view HD content will not be possible. Most Atom MB/CPU combos are paired with one, for example, see offerings by Intel and Zotac.
LinHES can also run in a virtual machine (verified to work in Virtual Box v3.0.10) if would-be users would prefer to test drive it in a sandbox.
R6 Installation Walk-through (Brief)
Boot the LinHES CD or USB media.
- Screen 1: Select the "Install or Upgrade" option. If upgrading, you will go directly to screen 10 and everything will be processed automatically based on your backups.
- Screen 2: Select a target file-system
- Screen 3: Select the type of install (Full/auto or Upgrade). Also assign partition sizes for the OS, swap, and data partitions. The defaults should be fine. Users can also select which file-system format is used. Currently the default is for ext3, but other options such as ext4/RFS/XFS/JFS are also available.
- Screen 4: Assign a host-name
- Screen 5: Setup the network options. Users may select from wired or wireless configurations with all the standard options such as dynamic IP/static IP, devices, mtu size, etc.
- Screen 6: Setup host options. Choices here include system configuration (standalone/frontend/master backend/slave backend). Initial resolution (i.e. SDTV or HDTV) and remote configure are also on this screen. The setup GUI contains many options for remote controls that are preconfigured for you. Users also set the option to use or not use mythwelcome on this screen.
- Screen 7: Setup timezone/zipcode
- Screen 8: Setup NFS options if media is stored on a remote NFS share. Also configure automatic updates
- Screen 9: Setup user accounts and passwords
- Screen 10: Sanity check/"Are you sure you wish to continue?" screen.
This concludes the installation. The scripts will take over and in about 5 min you will reboot into your LinHES installation.
- Homepage: http://www.linhes.org/
- Wiki: http://www.knoppmythwiki.org/
- Forums: http://www.linhes.org/phpBB2
- Bug Tracker: http://linhes.org/flyspray/
- LinHES PKGBUILD Repository: http://linhes.org/cgit/cgit.cgi/LinHES-PKGBUILD
- Interview with Cecil Watson - Hour-long interview with Cecil Watson (04-Apr-2010) by Patrick Davila and Daniel Frey (MythTV Cast).
- Interview with Cecil Watson - Another hour-long interview with Cecil Watson (18-Oct-2009) by Kevin Kittredge (A Geek and his Wife). This interview was recorded after R6 went stable.
- Interview with Cecil Watson - Hour and a half-long interview with Cecil Watson (11-Feb-2009) by Dann Washko, Lincoln Fessende, Allan Metzler, Patrick Davila (The Linux Link Tech Show).
- Interview with Cecil Watson - Written interview with Cecil Watson (20-Jan-2009) by Gareth J. Greenaway (SCALE). The interview was done in preparation for SCALE 2009; this is where Cecil disclosed the name change in R6.
- Interview with Cecil Watson - Hour-long interview with Cecil Watson (07-Oct-2007), by Kevin Kittredge (A Geek and his Wife). Here you can hear about R6 while still in alpha/beta stages.
- Interview with Cecil Watson - Half an hour-long interview with Cecil Watson (19-Jul-2006), starting at 28', by Dann Washko, Lincoln Fessende, Allan Metzler, Patrick Davila (The Linux Link Tech Show).
- Interview with Cecil Watson - Quarter-long interview with Cecil Watson (30-Oct-2005), starting at 23', by Leo Laporte (The Tech Guy Labs). At the time, a re-mastered Knoppmix distribution was seen as a breakthrough innovation in the HTPC field.
- KnoppMyth R5.5 Demo Install Video - Showcases the ease of installation of R5.5; note that the R6 installation process is very different from the R5.5 installation process!
- KnoppMyth Changelog - Changelog for Knoppmyth.
- tjc's KnoppMyth R5.5 Hints and Tips - Recommended read if you plan to install R5.5; note that this post hasn't been updated for the R6 series!