TBS DVB-S2 tuner users may now be able to use open source drivers

I had briefly mentioned this previously in the article, Hints on receiving 16APSK signals using TVHeadEnd or similar PVR backend software, but in case you didn’t happen to read it there I thought it was worth calling attention to. If you consider yourself a Linux expert, you may want to give the open source drivers mentioned in this thread on the TBS forum a try. Note that not every TBS card is supported, so make sure yours is before you try these, but that said, I believe that more cards are supported than just those specifically listed.

This is probably going to be a bit of a daunting task for those not well-versed in the ways of Linux, although if you read the entire thread first it might help because there are little gems of information buried in there that can help you succeed. For example, there is this post by user liljim:

I was able to get the TBS6909 installed on a fresh installation of Ubuntu 16.04, but ONLY after having followed this from CrazyCat’s bitbucket README:

NOTE: this document assumes that all prerequisite packages like kerner headers
and build tools are already installed in your Linux system.
For Ubuntu:
sudo apt-get install git build-essential linux-headers-generic \
ncurses-dev libproc-processtable-perl fakeroot\


This information is not in the github documentation. Maybe that’s an obvious bit of advice for most users, I don’t know – I overlooked it to start with. I feel as if it should be included in the github README regardless.

So what is the advantage of using the open source drivers? Well, some would claim that they provide better performance, or fix bugs in the original TBS closed-source drivers. TBS doesn’t seem to discourage the use of these drivers (the thread on this is in their forum, after all).

My only real concern is that there is no clear path for the person who already has the original TBS drivers installed, but wants to give the open source drivers a test drive, but with the ability to go back to the original drivers if something doesn’t work or if it turns out they have an unsupported card. A Linux expert would probably know what to do in that situation, but a regular user would likely panic because they’d have no idea how to get everything back to a working state, short of a total reinstall of the operating system. Also, the installation process requires the use of git, which may not be installed on all systems. If you’ve found the installation of the original TBS drivers a challenge (even when using the bash script posted late last year), you’ll probably not be happy with all the steps necessary to install the open source drivers.

I think for these to be generally accepted they are going to need to simplify the installation process. It would be great if they could provide an installation shell script that would do all the heavy lifting, but I am not holding my breath on that one. And don’t forget that you will likely need to reinstall these drivers every time you apply a Linux kernel update, so if you attempt an install of these drivers and you don’t have a photographic memory, you might want to keep notes on what you had to do to make them work so you can do it again at some time in future.


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