Booting MiniMyth from a Compact Flash card is a great way to build a Silent MythTV Frontend (As featured on LinuxDevices.com). Although many MiniMyth users boot their systems by booting over the network, this may add a level of complexity that you would prefer to avoid.
MiniMyth is essentially a client to connect to an existing MythTV server. If you need to build a MythTV server, start with my MythDora Install Screencast or Ubuntu to MythBuntu upgrade screencast. My Low power MythTV server article is also quite popular.
A compact flash card and a compact flash to IDE adapter can simplify the setup of MiniMyth and make the system more self contained.
A Compact Flash to IDE adapter lets you plug a Compact Flash card into your system as if it were an IDE hard drive. This allows you to boot MiniMyth locally instead of configuring the network booting infrastructure.
The install to Compact Flash is not terribly complicated, but not entirely idiot proof either.
Here's how to install MiniMyth to a Compact Flash card, although hardware aside, the same steps will install onto a USB memory stick.
- MiniMyth Supported Base System
- Compact Flash to IDE Adapter - This is what will enable your MythFrontend to boot from the compact flash card.
- Compact Flash Card - The card MiniMyth is loaded onto. 64MB may work, but I'd go with 128MB or more. You can find 1GB cards for under $40.
- USB Compact Flash Card Reader - This is what we will use from another system to load MiniMyth onto the compact flash card.
- Linux System - We will need a Linux system to use to install onto the compact flash card using the USB Compact Flash Reader.
You will need to have syslinux and mtools installed in order to using the install scripts. On Ubuntu, you can do this my running "sudo apt-get install syslinux mtools".
Create a directory for staging the install files. I named mine MiniMyth.
Download these scripts to your staging directory:
Plug in your USB Card Reader and Compact Flash card. Try to identify which device it is. I was able to identify that mine was /dev/sda by running "df".
Create a directory name "conf/default" in your staging directory. Into this directory, you will need to place your minimyth.conf file, and any other files you will need. In my case, I need lircd.conf and lircrc to support my StreamZap remote control.
My conf/default directory contains:
Open up a command line to you stage directory if you don't already have one open.
Make sure the execute bit is enabled on the scripts. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just run:
chmod a+x mm_local_install mm_local_helper
Now we run the installer (replace sda with your compact flash device):
./mm_local_install . sda
At least on my machine, mm_local_install must run as root or you will get errors.
The period tells the installer to look in the currect directory for the "conf" directory.
The install script will:
- Download the latest version of MiniMyth
- Unmount the Compact Flash Card
- Format the compact flash card
- Install MiniMyth
- Copy the conf directory into the card
- Install and configure syslinux to boot into MiniMyth
It may do some other things as well, but that's it in a nutshell.
You should now be able to plug the compact flash adapter and compact flash card into your MiniMyth system, and boot. If you see a blue "MythTV" screen, then the basics are working. At that point, most of the problems that come up are most likly due to your minimyth.conf file.
You can edit your minimyth.conf file by loading the card back into your USB reader that you used to install the system.
For me at least, I much prefer this method to booting my frontend over the network. On my ME6000 based system, it takes 85 seconds from pressing the power button to being at the MythTV menu. However, I'm using a themecache which I will add a page about shortly.
You can learn more about MiniMyth at http://minimyth.org/.