Last month, following the availability of Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon" was the release of Mythbuntu 7.10. Mythbuntu is an Ubuntu derivative and has been around for less than a year, but they have been making great progress with this MythTV-optimized distribution. We have been testing out Mythbuntu 7.10 in several different configurations over the past few weeks and today we have our thoughts to share on it as well as a rough overview for those that may have not yet tried this Linux distribution.
Prior to the inception of Mythbuntu, those using Ubuntu that wanted to use MythTV would first have to install Ubuntu (or Kubuntu, Xubuntu) and then install the Debian packages for MythTV. Available from the Ubuntu repositories are the front and back-end software for MythTV as well as LIRC and other media-oriented packages. The documentation on the Ubuntu Wiki is truly a phenomenal resource and it does extend to community documentation/instructions for MythTV. However, Mythbuntu attempts to simplify this process by shipping all of the MythTV packages along with the needed Ubuntu packages on a single CD. Like Ubuntu, the Mythbuntu CD can also serve as a LiveCD so you can first try it out before installing it to any hard drive. For Mythbuntu, the LiveCD functionality can work if you already have at least one MythTV back-end running on the network.
The concept of shipping MythTV packages in a customized distribution is not new as (among others) there is MythDora that combines Fedora with MythTV and KnoppMyth, which uses the Debian-based Knoppix. With Mythbuntu being based upon (and closely following) Ubuntu, within a Mythbuntu installation you can also install the normal Ubuntu GNOME desktop. From an Ubuntu installation, you can also install the mythbuntu-desktop or mythbuntu-live meta packages from the Ubuntu Universe repository for converting an Ubuntu system into Mythbuntu.