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Installing MythTV from SVN on Ubuntu

Thursday, December 27, 2007

This is part one of a series about MythTV and using Ubuntu as a HTPC.  In this article we’ll explain the easiest (or hardest, to some people) step of the process of installing MythTV on Ubuntu Gutsy.

We’ll be installing MythTV using the svn source, which is the latest bleed-edge version of the source code.  There is a chance that the SVN version of MythTV may not be stable. Be Careful!

Lets start by downloading the source code:

  1. Install subversion
  2. sudo aptitude install subversion

  3. Checkout the mythv* trees
  4. cd ~
    mkdir src
    cd src
    svn co http://svn.mythtv.org/svn/trunk/mythtv
    svn co http://svn.mythtv.org/svn/trunk/mythplugins
    svn co http://svn.mythtv.org/svn/trunk/myththemes

Install the extra libraries and tools we need

sudo apt-get install checkinstall fakeroot debhelper libglut3-dev libxvmc-dev libmysqlclient15-dev libtiff4-dev libexif-dev libmad0-dev libid3tag0-dev libvorbis-dev libflac-dev libcdaudio-dev libcdparanoia0-dev fftw3-dev libfaad2-dev libsmpeg-dev libmp4v2-dev libtag1-dev
#we also need this header file for MythMusic
sudo wget http://faac.cvs.sourceforge.net/*checkout*/faac/faad2/common/mp4ff/mp4ff_int_types.h -P /usr/local/include

If you get any errors from the above two commands; leave a comment here and I’ll try to see if I’ve left something out.

Before we actually compile and install the svn version of MythTV; Remove the previous installation(if there is one)

aptitude remove ubuntu-mythtv-frontend mythtv-transcode-utils mythtv-common mythtv-frontend mythtv-themes mythtv-backend mythtv mythtv-frontend mythtv-database mythtv-backend-master

Change remove to purge if you want to delete the configuration files as well, not just upgrade.

Configure the Source

./configure --prefix=/usr
cd ../mythplugins
./configure --prefix=/usr
cd ../myththemes
./configure --prefix=/usr

Compiling the Source

Letting make run it’s course is the most time consuming part of the process, so if you have something else to do while it’s compiling. Go do it.

cd mythtv
make -j2
cd ../mythplugins
make -j2


Simply run checkinstall and answer a few questions

cd ~/src/mythtv; sudo checkinstall

When it promts you, simply enter Mythtv or whatever you want for the description. The package name should automatically be mythtv. By using checkinstall we are still using Ubuntu/debian’s package system to install Mythtv and everything will be a lot easier to uninstall or upgrade in the future.
IMPORTANT: Change the version field to something like 20071226 (todays date) so that we don’t get an error building the package.(see screenshot below)
Checkinstall version setting

If everything went well you should get something similiar to this:


Done. The new package has been installed and saved to


You can remove it from your system anytime using:

dpkg -r mythtv


Do the same thing for mythplugins

cd ~/src/mythplugins
sudo checkinstall


Alright so now you want to upgrade to the latest and greatest again. Here’s how:

  1. Update the source
  2. cd ~
    cd src/mythtv
    svn update
    cd ../mythplugins
    svn update
    cd ../myththemes
    svn update

  3. Configure
  4. cd ~/src/mythtv
    ./configure --prefix=/usr
    cd ../mythplugins
    ./configure --prefix=/usr
    cd ../myththemes
    ./configure --prefix=/usr

  5. Install
  6. cd ~/src/mythtv; sudo checkinstall
    cd ~/src/mythplugins; sudo checkinstall
    cd ~/src/mythplugins; sudo checkinstall

    Only this time when you run checkinstall; increment the Release field. So if it’s 1 now, change it to 2. dpkg will upgrade it to this new package.

Conclusion / Possible Problems

If you already know how to configure and setup mythtv, you should be good to go on your own now (with the latest bleeding-edge features.)

Stay tuned for Part II in the series, but until then if you encounter any problems following this how-to guide; Please post a comment or send me an email with the issue you’re having.  We’ll get it resolved!



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posted by johntash at 5:55 am  


  1. libfaad2-dev couldn’t be installed, it says its not available. I’m on jauanty. Any help appreciated.

    Comment by jimmy — July 28, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

  2. @jimmy: Do you have the universe repo enabled in ubuntu? I believe that’s where you’ll find libfaad2-dev


    Comment by johntash — July 30, 2009 @ 12:29 am

  3. Great tutorial saved me so much time. I have one question though when i’m doing an upgrade I have run checkinstall again and incremented the release by one but the version is blank. Do i need to put a version number in there again to match the version number that i used before or do i just put in a new version number?

    Comment by M0nk3Ee — October 21, 2009 @ 3:21 pm

  4. @M0nk3Ee: You may have already figured it out (sorry for the late response) but you do need to make sure the version number is higher than the one you currently have installed. That’s why I recommended using todays date to make things easy. Otherwise, the package manager probably won’t see it as an update and ignore it.
    Let me know if you run into problems with it

    Comment by johntash — November 14, 2009 @ 9:40 pm

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