Install MiniMyth Linux to Compact Flash or USB

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.

Hardware Requirements:

  • 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:

  1. mm_local_install
  2. mm_local_helper

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:

  • minimyth.conf
  • lircd.conf
  • lircrc

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:

  1. Download the latest version of MiniMyth
  2. Unmount the Compact Flash Card
  3. Format the compact flash card
  4. Install MiniMyth
  5. Copy the conf directory into the card
  6. 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.

This is what I use as software for my Silent MythTV Frontend, which is an excellent companion to the Low Power MythTV Server I built using MythDora.

You can learn more about MiniMyth at http://minimyth.org/.

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Where are the pictures?!

Where are the pictures?!

Would this be doable for a

Would this be doable for a Nokia 770 (arm processor etc.)?

MythFrontend on Nokia 770

Good question, I've been wondering this myself for some time. That distro, minimyth won't run on anything other than what it specifically says it will work with on their site: mostly VIA EIPAs. However, I think it would be possible to install the mythfrontend application on the tablet's own OS. I really want one of these and perhaps someday I can try it out myself. Meanwhile try google for mythfrontend on Nokia 770.

Check out GMyth

I'm not exactly sure about the current state of things, but there is a project called GMyth that is trying to get Nokia devices like the 770 running as a MythTV Frontend.

Where does minimyth.conf come from?

Where did you get minimyth.conf to copy to your staging directory?

here:

here: http://linpvr.org/minimyth/conf/minimyth.conf

Minimyth.conf on an msdos filesystem

Hi, I'm trying to use your instructions to set up a Compact Flash boot on an EPIA M10000 board. All works well, I get the blue Mythtv screen upon boot, but it complains about 'missing minimyth.conf file'. I do have one, I copied the example file to /dev/sdc/conf/default/minimyth.conf -- but it appeared in the msdos filesystem of the card as 'minimyth.con' ie. in 8.3 filename format. How did you get yours to work? Is ext3 format usable for the card, or can I configure minimyth to pick up a different filename than 'minimyth.conf' ? Thanks!

follow up

Original poster here again. After running mm_local_install again, I conformed that the partition on the CF card was a FAT32, so I solved the problem by simply changing the file name (actually on a Windoze box) of the CONF/DEFAULT/MINIMYTH.CON file created by the mm_local_install script to conf/default/minimyth.conf Then the minimyth system booted, I know it then found my .conf file as the resolution changed. A note on this might be worth putting in the documentation, cheers.

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Do you think the type of usb drive 1.1 versus 2.0 and the flash speed may also change your boot time? Or it was a nice quality flash drive?
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Hi in here, I couldn't find the links to the scripts because of a 404/non existing domain. Finally I found them via the minimyth website. They can be found here: http://www.minimyth.org/download/stable/latest/scripts/ Note: i did had the edit the install script because of a typo in it. Open the file and search for "cahce" and change it to "cache" am running the script now.

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You should now be able to plug the compact flash adapter and compact flash card into your MiniMyth system, and boot.Bathroom Remodeling Chicago

wondering this myself

Very good thinking, I've been wondering this myself for some time. That distro, minimyth won't run on anything other than what it specifically says it will work with on their site.

I used a compact flash card

I used a compact flash card with 1gb. It was the easiest to use because there was enough space on there to load a bunch of other things as well. This is a great way to build a Silent MythTV frontend. I've been trying to use this on a hosted PBX system and have been somewhat successful in doing so.

I agree.

I agree.

Thanks for taking the time

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.USB flash drive If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me

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Do you think the type of usb drive 1.1 versus 2.0 and the flash speed may also change your boot time? Or it was a nice quality flash drive?

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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. I believe in this.

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