I finally obliterated Microsoft Windows XP Mediocre Centre from our living room. I know one shouldn’t indulge in Microsoft bashing, but I have earned the right after suffering with that atrocious system for the past five years. I would go so far as to say that my experience with that machine over the past five years is the number one reason I use Linux on the desktop today.

Anyway, decided to replace it with Mythbuntu, because (1) it’s Debian based, (2) it should provide a quicker install than Debian.

My first impressions are that, if Ubuntu is Linux for human beings, Mythbuntu is Linux for human beings who have evolved into a higher form of intelligence.

The problem is that it’s trying to do so much, that the essential options are obscured by the trivial; they really should triage the options into essential (need this to get a working television), important (you need this, but not necessarily immediately), and the rest.

Also, it simply isn’t intuitive enough, for example I now understand that you have to install the capture cards, then the video sources (bizarrely this is the channel/guide information - or at least I think so) and then, after four hours of hair tearing I finally realised that you also have to configure the next option on the list “Input connections” which effectively links the tuners to the channel/guide information. If they must call the channel/guide information “Video sources”, then they could at least have the decency to call the “Input connections” option something like “Connect Capture Cards to Video Sources”, which I would have immediately understood (at least once I had worked out what the heck Video Sources were).

All very frustrating, and I really have been made to feel like an innocent newbie all over again. Horrible.

But I can see that, once I’m over this hump, it will do just about everything I could possibly ever want, and a great deal more besides. And it looks good, which is important in a living room computer.

And most importantly, we are a Microsoft-free house - hurrah!

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