A Linux distro that still offers LIRC 0.9.0 in its reposiitory and runs Kodi well?
#1
Has anyone found a Linux Desktop distro that allows installation of Kodi without any hassles (in other words, one where you don't have to compile from source) and that still offers LIRC 0.9.0 in its repository?  I ask because up until now I have used Ubuntu but I have seen several negative comments about Ubuntu 20.04, such as that the default Gnome desktop has a serious memory leak and that they are trying to force Snaps on everyone which are a whole other can of worms, but my biggest objection to it is that no one seems to have been able to figure out how to install LIRC 0.9.0 in it and get it to work.  In Ubuntu 18.04 you could follow the instructions in a blog post that's been mentioned several times in this forum but apparently that no longer works in Ubuntu 20.04 (EDIT:  Well at least not for some users, though after I posted this I saw that one guy reported success).  Two things I should note specifically is that I specifically am looking for a distro with a full Linux desktop (so, no *Elec) and also that I use LIRC to control other things besides Kodi, so anything that only supports Kodi will not work for me.  The post 0.9.0 versions of LIRC apparently are such steaming piles of crap that almost nobody (other than the developers, probably) can get the damn thing to actually work, and nobody has ever published instructions for making it work the way the 0.9.0 version did.  People have even posted bug reports to the Ubuntu developers asking them to roll back the version in their repository back to 0.9.0 but they refuse to do it.  So since from what I am reading there's a lot to dislike about Ubuntu 20.04 anyway (particularly the Gnome desktop version), I just wondered if anyone has found a desktop distro that Kodi runs well in, and where it can be easily installed, AND that still offers LIRC 0.9.0 in their repository.

The real problem with LIRC versions after 0.9.0 is that in some ways they are a much different program.  For example they no longer offer IR blasting, for sending IR commands to a device using an infrared LED emitter of some kind.  But the biggest problem is that in 0.9.0 and earlier there was a configuration menu that came up when you first installed LIRC, that let you pick the brand or type of remote you had, and also the type of IR emitter if you happened to have one.  This made installation super simple.  In later versions, not only was the IR emitter capabilities removed, but the configuration menu was removed as well.  I have no idea why, but that alone made it unusable for nearly all of their former users.  In an ideal world, someone would take the 0.9.0 version and fork it (and rename it, so it would be seen as a different program in the repositories and not overwritten by newer versions of the "new" LIRC) but I would have no idea how to do that, but I sure wish someone would.  The biggest thing I liked about the older versions is that by creating a .lircrc file in your home directory you could extend LIRC to control several different programs, or even do system tasks (such as actually starting Kodi from the desktop using the remote).  But either all that is gone now, or the secrets of how to do it are locked up tight in the minds of the LIRC developers, and they aren't telling, at least not in such a way that anyone can comprehend (no, the "man" page or online documentation, such as it is, are not at all helpful).

Note that one of those things that emulates keystrokes from the keyboard will not work for me, because those don't have the ability to launch system commands, because any given keystroke can mean something completely different depending on which program happens to be in the foreground at the time.  That is not how LIRC works - LIRC, particularly when paired with a .lircrc file, is much more capable than any keyboard emulator because it can directly execute system commands as if you were entering them at a Linux terminal or they were being sent from a script (and by the way it can also launch shell scripts).  I just wanted to mention that because if I don't I know someone will suggest that, and it's just not the same thing at all.

EDIT 2: Even if no one knows about LIRC, what is a good Linux distro to run Kodi on that allows easy installation but is not Ubuntu or one of its variants?
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#2
Too much to read but newer versions of lirc can likely be made to work with your hardware.  Recommend you focus on that rather than keeping an outdated package that will eventually break.
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#3
(2020-05-17, 20:21)graysky Wrote: Too much to read but newer versions of lirc can likely be made to work with your hardware.  Recommend you focus on that rather than keeping an outdated package that will eventually break.
Would appreciate that you confine your answers to the questions I asked rather than making recommendations that no one has been able to successfully implement.  When you say that "newer versions of lirc can likely be made to work with your hardware", that means you haven't actually tried it and have no idea of the pain several people have experienced trying to make the newer version work the way the old one did.  Even people who have got it to "sort of" work report problems with certain buttons being ignored while others generate multiple button presses.  Search the forums for other mentions of LIRC in the past two years or so if you don't believe me - AFAIK absolutely NO ONE has been able to make the newer version work reliably.  I would actually love to be proven wrong on that, but it hasn't happened yet.

As for your issue with "keeping an outdated package that will eventually break", that's why I said I wish someone with programming expertise would fork the last working version (0.9.0) and keep it going.

(Also what is with people who can't be bothered to read a three paragraph original post, but can take the time to write an unhelpful reply?  Seems like your time would be better spent actually understanding the problem than typing the first thing that comes to mind as a response!)
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#4
Wow, such aggression.
Another unhelpful suggestion: please remove the word 'linux' from your nickname, you don't deserve bearing it.
No, I won't spend my time explaining the reasons of this statement.
And, yes, I do have lirc 0.10 running perfectly on my hardware.

Hint: you can uninstall lirc package and build from source any version you wish.
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#5
lirc in Ubuntu 20.04 works perfectly well. However, you can't just upgrade it.  The config files have changed and you cannot configure anything with dpkg-reconfigure any more.  However, it's perfectly possible to edit the new config files to match your old ones in which case, I expect it will work just fine.  Or at least, it works just fine for me with

apt-cache policy lirc
lirc:
  Installed: 0.10.1-6.1
  Candidate: 0.10.1-6.1
  Version table:
 *** 0.10.1-6.1 500
        500 http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu focal/universe amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status


The main change is that /etc/lirc/hardware.conf is deprecated and the driver and device settings have moved into /etc/lirc/lirc_options.conf.  Also, the definition file for your remote is specified in /etc/lirc/lircd.conf.
Learning Linux the hard way !!
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#6
Also, lirc has their own support ML.  In addition to hat black_eagle mentioned, you should consult the lirc docs, webpage, ML to help get your hardware working under the current version.  This really isn't a kodi issue or a linux distro issue, it is a lirc issue.  FYI, my remote (see the link in my sig) works perfectly with the latest stable release of lirc.  It did require a minor tweak which I think I documented at that same link.
Need help programming a Streamzap remote?
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#7
Accidental duplicate.
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#8
(2020-05-17, 20:53)asavah Wrote: Wow, such aggression.
Another unhelpful suggestion: please remove the word 'linux' from your nickname, you don't deserve bearing it.
No, I won't spend my time explaining the reasons of this statement.
And, yes, I do have lirc 0.10 running perfectly on my hardware.

Hint: you can uninstall lirc package and build from source any version you wish.
You know, I could take offense at your first suggestion, but I don't.  I would love to change my username but this forum doesn't allow it, as far as I can tell.  I have my reasons for using Linux for this specific application but that doesn't mean I have any great love for it.  You seem not to understand that some people just want to use an operating system as a means to an end, and that's to make a computer do something useful, without caring one bit about the internals or the hard stuff.  It's true of some percentage of Windows users, MacOS users, and Linux users.  But if having "Linux" in my user name is what causes people to think I actually know anything about Linux, I'd love to remove it.  It wasn't a name chosen with any great thought involved.

That said, if you really have LIRC 0.10 running perfectly and you don't have problems with buttons not working or with them registering multiple presses then you are definitely in the minority, perhaps even a minority of one, and it would be a big help to many Kodi users (not just me - search the forum for LIRC to see how many people have had to revert back to 0.9.0) if you could CLEARLY document the process, for example for someone using a Windows Media Edition compatible remote which is a very common type.  This still won't help those who are also using LIRC to send IR commands using an "IR blaster" type setup, but most of us using 0.9.0 aren't doing that anyway.  As I said the big difference was it was so easy to set up the old version, since it presented a menu and asked which remote you had, and for some reason they took that away and now hardly anyone seems to be able to get the new version to work, and that's why people are still installing and using the 0.9.0 version.
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#9
(2020-05-17, 20:54)black_eagle Wrote: lirc in Ubuntu 20.04 works perfectly well. However, you can't just upgrade it.  The config files have changed and you cannot configure anything with dpkg-reconfigure any more.  However, it's perfectly possible to edit the new config files to match your old ones in which case, I expect it will work just fine.  Or at least, it works just fine for me with

apt-cache policy lirc
lirc:
  Installed: 0.10.1-6.1
  Candidate: 0.10.1-6.1
  Version table:
 *** 0.10.1-6.1 500
        500 http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu focal/universe amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status


The main change is that /etc/lirc/hardware.conf is deprecated and the driver and device settings have moved into /etc/lirc/lirc_options.conf.  Also, the definition file for your remote is specified in /etc/lirc/lircd.conf.
Well a lot of people are having problems with it.  I'm not sure I understand what you are doing (okay, I really don't understand) but it seems to me you are saying that if I save my existing /etc/lirc/hardware.conf, and then after installing the new version copy that over the /etc/lirc/lirc_options.conf it will work?  And, how does the /etc/lirc/lircd.conf come into this?  That is what I do not understand.  They took something that was dead simple and made it difficult; is it any wonder people want the old version?
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#10
(2020-05-17, 21:11)graysky Wrote: Also, lirc has their own support ML.  In addition to hat black_eagle mentioned, you should consult the lirc docs, webpage, ML to help get your hardware working under the current version.  This really isn't a kodi issue or a linux distro issue, it is a lirc issue.  FYI, my remote (see the link in my sig) works perfectly with the latest stable release of lirc.  It did require a minor tweak which I think I documented at that same link.

All the documentation I could find was absolutely useless to me because I didn't understand it.  And I must not be the only one, given the number of people still installing 0.9.0.   Also, what is a "ML"?
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#11
(2020-05-17, 22:16)xbmclinuxuser Wrote: I would love to change my username but this forum doesn't allow it, as far as I can tell.

Allow me to give you a pointer Wink .
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#12
(2020-05-17, 22:44)xbmclinuxuser Wrote: Well a lot of people are having problems with it.  I'm not sure I understand what you are doing (okay, I really don't understand) but it seems to me you are saying that if I save my existing /etc/lirc/hardware.conf, and then after installing the new version copy that over the /etc/lirc/lirc_options.conf it will work?  And, how does the /etc/lirc/lircd.conf come into this?  That is what I do not understand.  They took something that was dead simple and made it difficult; is it any wonder people want the old version?

Not exactly no.  Perhaps if I show you the relevant files from my own installation it will help you with yours.

This is the first part of the old hardware.conf file.
# /etc/lirc/hardware.conf
#
#Chosen Remote Control
REMOTE="onkyo"
REMOTE_MODULES=""
REMOTE_DRIVER=""
REMOTE_DEVICE="/dev/lirc0"
REMOTE_SOCKET=""
REMOTE_LIRCD_CONF="/etc/lirc/lircd.conf.d/onkyo.lircd.conf"
REMOTE_LIRCD_ARGS=""

The values for some of these variables are going to be transferred into the new lirc_options file

# These are the default options to lircd, if installed as
# /etc/lirc/lirc_options.conf. See the lircd(8) and lircmd(8)
# manpages for info on the different options.
#
# Some tools including mode2 and irw uses values such as
# driver, device, plugindir and loglevel as fallback values
# in not defined elsewhere.

[lircd]
nodaemon        = False
driver          = default
device          = /dev/lirc0
output          = /var/run/lirc/lircd
pidfile         = /var/run/lirc/lircd.pid
plugindir       = /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/lirc/plugins
permission      = 666

Notice that the device here mirrors the old REMOTE_DEVICE and that the driver is set to default as we weren't using a specific driver before.  All the other values I believe are the defaults. The other file we need is lircd.conf which specifies the remote definition file.  This used to be loaded by hardware.conf.

lircd.conf
include "/usr/share/lirc/remotes/mceusb/lircd.conf.mceusb"
include "/etc/lirc/lircd.conf.d/onkyo.lircd.conf"


Hopefully that should give you enough info to see how to configure it.
Learning Linux the hard way !!
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#13
(2020-05-17, 23:58)black_eagle Wrote:
(2020-05-17, 22:44)xbmclinuxuser Wrote: Well a lot of people are having problems with it.  I'm not sure I understand what you are doing (okay, I really don't understand) but it seems to me you are saying that if I save my existing /etc/lirc/hardware.conf, and then after installing the new version copy that over the /etc/lirc/lirc_options.conf it will work?  And, how does the /etc/lirc/lircd.conf come into this?  That is what I do not understand.  They took something that was dead simple and made it difficult; is it any wonder people want the old version?

Not exactly no.  Perhaps if I show you the relevant files from my own installation it will help you with yours.

This is the first part of the old hardware.conf file.
# /etc/lirc/hardware.conf
#
#Chosen Remote Control
REMOTE="onkyo"
REMOTE_MODULES=""
REMOTE_DRIVER=""
REMOTE_DEVICE="/dev/lirc0"
REMOTE_SOCKET=""
REMOTE_LIRCD_CONF="/etc/lirc/lircd.conf.d/onkyo.lircd.conf"
REMOTE_LIRCD_ARGS=""

The values for some of these variables are going to be transferred into the new lirc_options file

# These are the default options to lircd, if installed as
# /etc/lirc/lirc_options.conf. See the lircd(8) and lircmd(8)
# manpages for info on the different options.
#
# Some tools including mode2 and irw uses values such as
# driver, device, plugindir and loglevel as fallback values
# in not defined elsewhere.

[lircd]
nodaemon        = False
driver          = default
device          = /dev/lirc0
output          = /var/run/lirc/lircd
pidfile         = /var/run/lirc/lircd.pid
plugindir       = /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/lirc/plugins
permission      = 666

Notice that the device here mirrors the old REMOTE_DEVICE and that the driver is set to default as we weren't using a specific driver before.  All the other values I believe are the defaults. The other file we need is lircd.conf which specifies the remote definition file.  This used to be loaded by hardware.conf.

lircd.conf
include "/usr/share/lirc/remotes/mceusb/lircd.conf.mceusb"
include "/etc/lirc/lircd.conf.d/onkyo.lircd.conf"


Hopefully that should give you enough info to see how to configure it. 
Okay, in the first part I see where you are taking the Remote Driver and Remote Device settings and using them in the new lirc_options file.  And in lircd.conf I see you are including /usr/share/lirc/remotes/mceusb/lircd.conf.mceusb which makes sense because many people, myself included, are using a cheap generic Media Center Edition compatible remote.  I don't get the line that includes /etc/lirc/lircd.conf.d/onkyo.lircd.conf though, nor the references to onkyo in your original file - are you using two different remotes (a MCE and an Onkyo) to control different things?  Or do you have just one Onkyo remote that happens to be MCE compatible?  If not then I'm mystified as to why there are two includes here.  This may be one of those things that would make perfect sense to someone conversant in Linux, but I really don't have a clue.

The equivalent section of my current /etc/lirc/hardware.conf (for 0.9.0) looks like this:

#Chosen Remote Control
REMOTE="Windows Media Center Transceivers/Remotes (all)"
REMOTE_MODULES="lirc_dev mceusb"
REMOTE_DRIVER=""
REMOTE_DEVICE="/dev/lirc0"
REMOTE_SOCKET=""
REMOTE_LIRCD_CONF="mceusb/lircd.conf.mceusb"
REMOTE_LIRCD_ARGS=""

As you can see it's not exactly like yours, and in particular has settings for REMOTE_MODULES that yours doesn't, and I have no idea why or whether that is important at all.

I have to ask, have you had any issues with either non-responsive buttons, or with buttons registering as double or triple presses since using this?

I'm still trying to figure out if there would be a desktop version of Linux that would be better suited for running Kodi.  I am mainly looking for stability, in other words something I can set up once and then not have to keep messing with.  Ubuntu with Unity was pretty stable, all things considered, although I did have the unexplained crash once in a blue moon but rebooting always fixed that.  But reading about the unfixed memory leak in Gnome kind of makes me wonder if it is time to try something else when I am ready to upgrade from 18.04, which is part of the reason I posted in the first place.  Anyway, thanks for this information, it is probably more helpful than anything else I have seen so far.
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#14
(2020-05-17, 20:53)asavah Wrote: Another unhelpful suggestion: please remove the word 'linux' from your nickname, you don't deserve bearing it.

allow me to make you a suggestion: please treat other forum members with respect.
Do not PM or e-mail Team-Kodi members directly asking for support.
Always read the Forum rules, Kodi online-manual, FAQ, Help and Search the forum before posting.
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#15
(2020-05-18, 00:43)oldtvwatcher Wrote: I have to ask, have you had any issues with either non-responsive buttons, or with buttons registering as double or triple presses since using this?

No, I don't have any issues like that at all.  The 'onkyo' references are to the AVR remote that I use to control Kodi.  The MCE stuff could actually come out as it isn't needed.
(2020-05-18, 00:43)oldtvwatcher Wrote: if it is time to try something else when I am ready to upgrade from 18.04, which is part of the reason I posted in the first place. 

Well, you don't need to rush to upgrade.  18.04 has support for almost another 3 years so it isn't like it's EOL or anything.  I'm still running 16.04 server on one of my machines simply because I don't need to upgrade it.  It does the job I want it to and it's not going to suddenly stop doing that just because 16.04 becomes EOL next year.  It'll probably still be running it in another 5 years time if the hardware is still OK.
Learning Linux the hard way !!
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