Information Tvheadend - The Saga Continues
#1
Everyone:

Just to let you know that, after too many years of bumping along in maintenance mode, a few folks have got together and made the effort to "reboot" the Tvheadend project. We're still very short of active developers and dedicated focus, but we've made a start.

So, we've this week (okay, yesterday, 05 Feb 2024) migrated the forum over to a new server with new software - as well as giving us a more modern look-and-feel and a responsive layout, this also allows us to deal with the endless battle against spam that all forums suffer from. Due to stalwart work by a few good people, we've hopefully kept the vast majority of content (including links, but not attachments), so we should have retained the years of knowledge that had accumulated in the Old Place.

Forum URL: https://tvheadend.org

We've also changed the way that issues are raised. Because of the sheer lack of activity over recent years, we'll be retiring all old bugs and starting again with Github issues, so, if you do see a problem, please arm yourself with a debug log and head on over. If you're a coder, and want to work on some hoopy new feature, then the same Github issues can be used to raise (and claim) feature requests.

Github issues: https://github.com/tvheadend/tvheadend/issues

It's been a while, but the project is alive and well: look out for a new official point release in the near future.

Thanks for sticking with us,

The Tvheadend team.
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#2
@Prof Yaffle
Thanks for the update.
I'm a Windows user primarily, but must admit I've always been interested in using Tvheadend, particularly given the continued popularity it has amongst Kodi users. Do you think there might ever come a time with this renewed enthusiasm for development that a Windows version of the Tvheadend server would ever be available to install?
Are there any specific reasons that would prevent such a thing?
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#3
Yaffle, great to see you jumping in here! Been a LOOOOONG time happy user of TvHeadend, never looked back to my MythTV days.
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#4
Should be interesting to see how long the renewed interest in project lasts for. I remember the original project maintainers begging for volunteers to come on board and those pleas falling on deaf ears.

For an application that was/is supposedly so popular and in regular use by many I am still trying to figure out why development fell by the wayside through lack of volunteer coders etc in light of the upsurge in renewed interest now. Was it something as simple as a new look forum I wonder.

It didn’t help of course that access to the original project and forum fell away to such an extent that nobody had full access in the end.

Hopefully that mistake won’t be repeated again and any volunteer who has been granted administrative access and decides to ride off into the sunset informs the other volunteers of that fact.
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#5
(2024-02-06, 20:32)Dumyat Wrote: Do you think there might ever come a time with this renewed enthusiasm for development that a Windows version of the Tvheadend server would ever be available to install?
Are there any specific reasons that would prevent such a thing?
I suspect not. I'm not enough of a programmer to know for certain, but I suspect it's all too tied in with the Linux DVB stuff, so porting it would be "not trivial". You might be able to run it in a VM, though and - who knows - maybe WSL would allow such things in due course.

<checks>

Yes, there are some posts on the Tvheadend forum about both of these things, with people managing to get both working. There's hope yet Smile
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#6
(2024-02-07, 00:23)petediscrete Wrote: Should be interesting to see how long the renewed interest in project lasts for. I remember the original project maintainers begging for volunteers to come on board and those pleas falling on deaf ears.

For an application that was/is supposedly so popular and in regular use by many I am still trying to figure out why development fell by the wayside through lack of volunteer coders etc in light of the upsurge in renewed interest now. Was it something as simple as a new look forum I wonder.

It didn’t help of course that access to the original project and forum fell away to such an extent that nobody had full access in the end.

Hopefully that mistake won’t be repeated again and any volunteer who has been granted administrative access and decides to ride off into the sunset informs the other volunteers of that fact.
I think reality is that many FOSS projects struggle for volunteers, and many are really the purview of one person with a clear vision and the skills to make it happen. Lose the person, and things inevitably stall.

We're being careful this time to have multiple key-holders and to avoid e.g. personal email addresses, so that things can be handed over or spread more widely as need be.

Let's see what we can do...
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#7
(2024-02-07, 17:18)Prof Yaffle Wrote: Yes, there are some posts on the Tvheadend forum about both of these things, with people managing to get both working. There's hope yet Smile
That's great.
Maybe a slight glimmer of hope then  Wink
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#8
Nice work Smile
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#9
Great news, using tvheadend now for more than 10 years, the swiss army knife of tv servers ... but I would recommend to focus on far less but more stable features and a more comfortable way to configure it.

Used a while Tv Mosaic CE and was really amazed how easy and fast it was to configure ...
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#10
The TVH Configuration Wizard does all the heavy lifting. Once TVH is installed and first access to the web UI is made it steps you through the process. No difficulties there. Couldn’t be much easier really.
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#11
(2024-04-23, 17:59)petediscrete Wrote: The TVH Configuration Wizard does all the heavy lifting. Once TVH is installed and first access to the web UI is made it steps you through the process. No difficulties there. Couldn’t be much easier really.

okay, didn't know about a configuration wizard Smile .. but even if the first install is automatically done it's still not as easy as it could be for example to add a new channel, change existing ones and so on ... I'm a long time user and know the interface and the blells and whistles but there is a steep learning curve ...
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#12
Seriously. Adding or changing a channel is difficult. A simple scan of the mux where the channels reside followed by mapping the new services and you’re done. I cannot see any difficulties there and certainly not for a long time user of TVH. When’s the last time you installed TVH and what version are you using. Sounds like you’re using an old version. Don’t forget the accompanying on line install and configuration documentation too. Many users never even bother using it.
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#13
I just wanted to make a comment here about the latest Linux version of Tvheadend available through the apt repository.  We've been using Tvheadend for over a decade, but recently an old machine that ran Linux at a relative's home was on its last legs so for a replacement we got a used Optiplex and put Ubuntu 22.04 server on it and installed the latest Tvheadend using the apt repository.

Well in all previous installs, Tvheadend created a hts user and group, and a /home/hts directory, but now it seems to want to put everything in /var/lib/tvheadend.  That causes permissions issues with other things.  For example, on that system all the recordings were saved to an external hard drive, and Tvheadend just couldn't see it no matter what we did.  Finally we figured out that mounting the drive in the /var/lib/tvheadend directory tree allowed Tvheadend to find and use it.  A bit unorthodox but whatever works, right? We aren't Linux geniuses here so maybe there is a better way to do that but if so we don't know how.

And that was fine until a couple days ago when an update appeared in the Tvheadend repository, and it installed while doing a normal sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade.  And then Tvheadend just stopped working.  If we ran top we could see it running, but nothing could access it.

To make a long story short, we discovered that apparently when Tvheadend installs an update and then restarts, it attempts to create a backup of the existing configuration by making a .tar.gz file in /var/lib/tvheadend/backup.  It is smart enough to not try to backup the backup directory (at least I would hope so) but it is not smart enough to ignore any added directories in the /var/lib/tvheadend directory tree, including that mounted external HD volume.  So, yes, it was trying to back up all the recordings of TV shows!  So when we discovered this, it was five hours later and it was still trying to create that backup (which would probably have never succeeded because it would have run out of drive space first).

The way we got around this was to stop Tvheadend and to delete the partial archive file, then create a DIRECTORY with the same name as the archive it was trying to create, and then marking that directory as unwriteable. Linux generally won't let you overwrite an existing directory with a file, so that prevented the archive from being created and I assume that Tvheadend just accepted that error and moved on.  Before we created that directory, every time we restarted Tvheadend or rebooted it just kept trying to start over with creating that archive.  It would have been nice to have the archive if it had been confined to the directory tree that Tvheadend installs, and not any directories that the user is forced to add because of the (IMHO) dumb decision to move away from running Tvheadend under the hts user.  Maybe there was some change in Ubuntu or Debian that forced that, I don't know, but it has definitely caused a few headaches.

For now we've just commented out Tvheadend's entry in the apt sources list so this can't happen again.  I fully admit that there may have been a better way to work around the problem of Tvheadend not seeing the external drive, or a better way to recover from this problem, but we are just computer users, not Linux gurus.  Usually Ubuntu server and Tvheadend have been stable enough that we haven't had problems like this in the past, but for some reason when things are working fine it always seems someone feels the need to make some major change that breaks things. I am not pointing fingers at anyone in particular, but if I had to guess I would first suspect Canonical of breaking something which then forced the change in Tvheadend. I've about had it with Ubuntu anyway, I think from now on when bringing up a server I'll just use Debian, or maybe MX Linux if they offer a server version (don't think they do but haven't looked into it).  Anyway I just wanted to let others know about this in case you suddenly have a non-responsive Tvheadend after an apt update.  Sorry if I am grousing a little but chasing down that problem was not how I wanted to spend my Sunday morning!!! No

P.S. It occurs to me now that maybe if that external drive had been mounted in the /var/lib/tvheadend/backup dir, MAYBE Tvheadend would have ignored it when trying to back itself up.  But of course we had no way of knowing that at the time it was mounted in /var/lib/tvheadend.
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#14
(2024-04-30, 19:10)oldtvwatcher Wrote: I just wanted to make a comment here about the latest Linux version of Tvheadend available through the apt repository.  We've been using Tvheadend for over a decade, but recently an old machine that ran Linux at a relative's home was on its last legs so for a replacement we got a used Optiplex and put Ubuntu 22.04 server on it and installed the latest Tvheadend using the apt repository.

Well in all previous installs, Tvheadend created a hts user and group, and a /home/hts directory, but now it seems to want to put everything in /var/lib/tvheadend.  That causes permissions issues with other things.  For example, on that system all the recordings were saved to an external hard drive, and Tvheadend just couldn't see it no matter what we did.  Finally we figured out that mounting the drive in the /var/lib/tvheadend directory tree allowed Tvheadend to find and use it.  A bit unorthodox but whatever works, right? We aren't Linux geniuses here so maybe there is a better way to do that but if so we don't know how.

And that was fine until a couple days ago when an update appeared in the Tvheadend repository, and it installed while doing a normal sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade.  And then Tvheadend just stopped working.  If we ran top we could see it running, but nothing could access it.

To make a long story short, we discovered that apparently when Tvheadend installs an update and then restarts, it attempts to create a backup of the existing configuration by making a .tar.gz file in /var/lib/tvheadend/backup.  It is smart enough to not try to backup the backup directory (at least I would hope so) but it is not smart enough to ignore any added directories in the /var/lib/tvheadend directory tree, including that mounted external HD volume.  So, yes, it was trying to back up all the recordings of TV shows!  So when we discovered this, it was five hours later and it was still trying to create that backup (which would probably have never succeeded because it would have run out of drive space first).

The way we got around this was to stop Tvheadend and to delete the partial archive file, then create a DIRECTORY with the same name as the archive it was trying to create, and then marking that directory as unwriteable. Linux generally won't let you overwrite an existing directory with a file, so that prevented the archive from being created and I assume that Tvheadend just accepted that error and moved on.  Before we created that directory, every time we restarted Tvheadend or rebooted it just kept trying to start over with creating that archive.  It would have been nice to have the archive if it had been confined to the directory tree that Tvheadend installs, and not any directories that the user is forced to add because of the (IMHO) dumb decision to move away from running Tvheadend under the hts user.  Maybe there was some change in Ubuntu or Debian that forced that, I don't know, but it has definitely caused a few headaches.

For now we've just commented out Tvheadend's entry in the apt sources list so this can't happen again.  I fully admit that there may have been a better way to work around the problem of Tvheadend not seeing the external drive, or a better way to recover from this problem, but we are just computer users, not Linux gurus.  Usually Ubuntu server and Tvheadend have been stable enough that we haven't had problems like this in the past, but for some reason when things are working fine it always seems someone feels the need to make some major change that breaks things. I am not pointing fingers at anyone in particular, but if I had to guess I would first suspect Canonical of breaking something which then forced the change in Tvheadend. I've about had it with Ubuntu anyway, I think from now on when bringing up a server I'll just use Debian, or maybe MX Linux if they offer a server version (don't think they do but haven't looked into it).  Anyway I just wanted to let others know about this in case you suddenly have a non-responsive Tvheadend after an apt update.  Sorry if I am grousing a little but chasing down that problem was not how I wanted to spend my Sunday morning!!! No

P.S. It occurs to me now that maybe if that external drive had been mounted in the /var/lib/tvheadend/backup dir, MAYBE Tvheadend would have ignored it when trying to back itself up.  But of course we had no way of knowing that at the time it was mounted in /var/lib/tvheadend.

If you’ve been keeping up with the TVHeadend project you’ll have seen all these changes made that you are referring to both here https://github.com/tvheadend/tvheadend/issues and here https://tvheadend.org/

There’s absolutely no point in posting your dislike of changes made to the TVHeadend project on the Kodi forum and hoping that you’ll get attention or some form of traction on the matter.

You know where you should be posting your concerns and if you feel so strongly maybe you could join the project and contribute back to it instead of complaining. The guys on the Kodi forum are busy enough dealing with matters relating to Kodi to be getting involved in this.
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#15
Can I echo that, and suggest that comments/concerns/reports be made in the tvheadend forum, please, if it's setup/installation or UI-related, or as a standalone thread in this forum if it's about interaction with Kodi.

No action will come about by tagging on to the end of this thread (indeed, I might look to separate out the past few posts for just that reason).
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