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Mythbuntu download and boot

Downloading Mythbuntu

The official Mythbuntu website offers various options for downloading via a dedicated download page. It's possible to 'add-on' Mythbuntu to an existing Ubuntu installation (details on the Mythbuntu site -- basically it involves downloading the MythTV and related packages from the Ubuntu repositories), though for this project I was building a new machine from scratch so selected the 'New Mythbuntu install' type.

Compared to a standard Ubuntu installation, the Mythbuntu install is more restricted in that a much smaller set of packages and programs is installed. For example there is no office suite, photo editing software, games etc (though generally any software available for Ubuntu through the software center / repositories can be installed). This is because word processing and so on aren't standard use cases for a HTPC. (For some of the configuration I found it useful to install a text editor such as 'leafpad' though, which I thought would have been better to include by default. I don't like using terminal based text editors!)

The disk image comes in a 32-bit and 64-bit version which should be selected depending on your processor architecture. The hardware I chose was 64-bit capable (as are a lot of CPUs now) so I selected 64-bit, though the 32-bit will also work on a 64-bit processor (but not vice versa) although you wouldn't take full advantage of the 64-bit capability in that case.

Having selected which version to download, you can then choose to download from the Mythbuntu site itself (or a mirror), or from a 'torrent' (a peer-to-peer download method which is often preferred as this distributes the load a lot more since everyone isn't hitting the main server at once!). I used the 'Transmission' BitTorrent software (I'm already using Ubuntu on other machines) though similar software is available for most OSs.

transmission-example

Running the installation / boot media

Mythbuntu can be run from a live CD or USB stick by downloading the 'ISO' disk image and booting from the live disk before committing to a full installation. (In fact you don't even need a hard drive to run the live disk, as it is all run in RAM -- I did my first boot before having the hard disk in place! Obviously you need some persistent storage to actually install it though...) To create a bootable USB stick, first ensure that your intended motherboard supports it, and then create the live disk using the Startup Disk Creator or similar utility.

make-live-usb

In general it's a good idea to 'try' the distribution first (by running it from the live disk) before installing, as this will help highlight whether everything works 'out of the box' or if there will be any hardware issues -- though in general the hardware compatibility is good -- and to make sure it behaves as expected. If anything unusual happens at this stage it's worth checking out the resolution before going any further. Some good places to look for help are:

* Google
* Ubuntu forums
* Ubuntu help and other community help
* IRC channel #ubuntu on Freenode

Depending on the specific issue it may be applicable to any *buntu, not just Mythbuntu as such.

Once the disk has loaded and you are ready to install it to the hard drive, this is a straightforward process...