Thursday, December 31, 2009

itunes in Ubuntu

I am trying to install itunes under ubuntu using wine.

So far no luck.

Perhaps version 7 will work.

Or upgrading wine?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fix mouse / touch pad issues on dell e4300

Issue, the mouse sometimes jumps when scrolling a web page or clicking on a button.

Seem to be related to the touch pad but it does help to disable the touch pad.
(enable synaptic in ubuntu

This will fix the issue:
Edit (as root) /etc/modprobe.d/options and add:
options psmouse proto=bare
The downside is that the touch pad will stay enabled with no (?) way to disable it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Another HD sample page (MS)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Howto build deb package

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

xbmcbuntu - manually install live components

sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/
sudo cp runXBMC /usr/bin/runXBMC
sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/runXBMC

The other live components:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Copy root partition to another disk

Saturday, August 22, 2009

HOWTO revert to old svn

sudo dpkg -i xbmc-common_9.04.2+svn22278-jaunty1_i386.deb xbmc-skin-pm3-hd_9.04.2+svn22278-jaunty1_i386.deb xbmc-web-pm3_9.04.2+svn22278-jaunty1_i386.deb


sudo apt-get install xbmc=[svnVERSION]  
(e.g. 22278)

The packages are stored in /var/cache/apt/archives

Revert to old version in svn  source directory
svn up --revision  22278
(svn guide

Friday, August 21, 2009

openbox or fluxbox?

The main reason I picked openbox was that on debian it was the only one that use the keyboard layout from the command line installation without any config. On Ubuntu this does not seem to be a problem.

If you only want a basic wm behind xbmc and don't want to config maybe fluxbox is better since has a panel and a working menu from scratch.

Remote access to XBMC Live /xbmcbuntu with GUI

We will use NX server to do this. It is the easiest/most stable/most secure method.
I would like to be able to use XDMCP since it would require no additional components. Problem is that I don't know how to make Xming start the wm manually.

This will work on XBMC Live and xbmcbuntu installations. Live have fluxbox installed, xbmcbuntu have what ever you installed.

1) install NX server
(check for new versions

sudo apt-get install libaudiofile0


sudo dpkg -i nxclient_3.3.0-6_i386.deb nxnode_3.3.0-17_i386.deb  nxserver_3.3.0-22_i386.deb

2) Install NX client on laptop/desktop

3) Connect the NX client
Start the client
Type a new session name
Press configure
enter host/ip
Select Desktop Unix-Custom
Press settings=>
Run the following command: /usr/bin/fluxbox (or in my case /usr/bin/openbox-session)
Select : New virtual desktop
Save settings

4) Logged in!
This will bring up a black window with no visible menus and no desktop.
Right-click on background to get menus select "terminal emulator". This works fine in fluxbox.
In openbox xterm does not work correctly in NX when started from the top level menu and we do not have an application/ Debian menu.  To fix this we install "menu" and another terminal.

sudo apt-get install menu roxterm 
roxterm is not really needed, xterm works fine in NX if started from the the Debian menu.

I want to be able to do some stuff before I install gnome so I add some applications directly:
sudo apt-get install menu roxterm dillo rox-filer leafpad 
(dillo = web, rox-filer = browse file system, leafpad text editor)
If you want to use gnome you will not need these.

4) Next step
If you want to keep  it very light weight you can use the system like this, just continue to add the none gnome applications that you need.
Otherwise you may want to use a desktop environment like gnome, lxde or rox.
It also works fine to add gnome-support but use gnome applications in openbox. This is what I will do now.

5) Install Gnome
sudo apt-get --no-install-recommends install gnome-core

Now you can change from custom to gnome in NX and connect.
I have listed a number of gnome applications here

To start with I want to share a folder, have a bittorrent client, mount usb and browse the web:
sudo apt-get install deluge nautilus-share epiphany-browser epiphany-extensions gnome-mount

Thursday, August 20, 2009

compile firefox in debian 5.0

Firefox is not available from PPA in debian 5.
A pity the understanding of the market place is so poor... otherwise I would probably move from ubuntu to debian.

Maybe I will try to compile from source.

XBMC reinstalled (Now XBMCbuntu)

I have decided to change my configuration. Instead of base it on a ubuntu desktop I will do a xbmcbuntu installation according to the official guide with the same name. The only reason is that this is what everybody else does. The performance will not be improved.

I will still need a gui but I will add it on top of the xbmc installation instead of the other way around. I think I will stick to gnome for the moment, but am working on a openbox setup as well. The biggest difference in the end will be that I will not run in GDM.
XBMCbuntu installation on ION 330 (Asrock)
0) Preparations
Flash BIOS => 1.50
Set shared memory to 512Mb
1) XBMCbuntu setup
Refer to the official wiki this is just my installation log.
*I use a PPA installation for NVIDIA
*I install openbox instead of fluxbox/blackbox EDIT: I will probably switch back to flux)

a) Install minimal ubuntu
-install from 32-bit mini cd (or server CD??)
-don't create the xbmc user in this step (I create xbmcadmin /xbmc)
-Select autoinstall security updates
-optional: Create an extra partition for storage and format it
-add basic server. But Why should Basic Ubuntu Server be added? I didn't select anything at all before.
-add ssh

connect with SSH or type the rest of the commands in terminal.

b) Initial system config (add sources)
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/

add these lines:
deb jaunty main
deb-src jaunty main
deb jaunty main
deb-src jaunty main
#deb jaunty main
#deb-src jaunty main

save file and exit (CTRL-O CTRL-X)

Add keys
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver 318C7509 91E7EE5E 64234534
(addons, live PPA, SVN PPA)

Update apt
sudo apt-get update

c) Install custom boot splash (optional)

sudo apt-get install usplash-theme-xbmc-*

sudo nano /etc/usplash.conf
sudo update-alternatives --config
sudo update-initramfs -u

d) Install XBMC
If you want to install SVN directly
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/
-and comment out the stable (first 2 lines) and uncomment the svn

sudo apt-get install xbmc xinit x11-xserver-utils

e) Install "restricted drivers" for NVIDIA from 3rd party PPA
*I the nvidia-vdpau PPA. It has more alternatives than the two in the guide. e.g. downgrade => 180

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
deb jaunty main
Add key
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver CEC06767

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic nvidia-glx-185
*Version 180 seem to work better for the moment. Less frame drops. I am on 180 right now

sudo nvidia-xconfig -s --no-logo --force-generate

f) Test basic installation of XBMC
add simple window manager

sudo apt-get install fluxbox xterm

type startx in console
right-click select terminal & type xbmc

g) Install xbmc helpers

sudo apt-get install xbmc-live python-apt
enter pwd for xbmc user etc

sudo nano /boot/grub/menu.lst

xbmc=nodiskmount,noredir loglevel=0
xbmc=noredir loglevel=0

to the end of the first option kernel line
depending on if you want to automount disks or not.
*I will use the first, manually mount my storage partition and later add gnome-mount to handle USB.

add safe mode by copying the first section and remove "quite splash quite"
and add "(safe mode)" to the title line. Don't enable mount in safe mode. That way you can boot without mounting and manually mount any fixed disks.

f) Updating alsa
installing from rep:
sudo apt-get install linux-sound-base alsa-base alsa-utils
*For the moment I am testing with this, supposed to be some upgrades lately.

installing the latest (1.0.20)
chmod +x
sudo ./ -di

g) Additional settings and packages

sudo alsamixer
-Unmute and set volume (MM means muted and OO On)
-Hit "m" to toggle mute on/off.
-Do not forget to unmute HDMI if you are going to use that
sudo alsactl store
-store the settings

h) Optional: Install support for a remote
sudo apt-get install lirc
This should pretty much be a vanila XBMCbuntu installation
With the exception of openbox and the diskmount.

2) Upgrade to SVN (optional)
exit XBMC
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/
-uncomment the svn line and comment the stable PPA

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

3) Config
a) delete guisettings.xml (will erase all your settings)
sudo rm /home/xbmc/.xbmc/userdata/guisettings.xml

b) Enable 24hz, auto adjust refresh rate
add in screen section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Option "DynamicTwinView" "False"
Option "FlatPanelProperties" "Scaling = Native"

sudo sed -i '60i\ Option "DynamicTwinView" "False"' /etc/X11/xorg.conf
sudo sed -i '60i\ Option "FlatPanelProperties" "Scaling = Native"' /etc/X11/xorg.conf

check result
sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf

c) Disable HW curser
Add in section device in /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Option "HWCursor" "False"

sudo sed -i '50i\ Option "HWCursor" "False"' /etc/X11/xorg.conf
check result
sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf

d) reboot
sudo reboot

4) Config in XBMC
a) enable VDPAU and Auto adjust refresh rate
Change render method => VDPAU
Set "Auto adjust refresh rate" on

b) setup sound
Enable digital sound

Settings for SPDIF:

Setting for HDMI:

If mp3 is playing to fast, try with:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

more on openbox

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

openbox with fbpanel

Notes for my latest light desktop trial project

In this case on a minimal debian with gnome-core installed.
It is the same on ubuntu.

apt-get install openbox fbpanel 

add rox-filer?

autostart and config fbpanel

$ sudo gedit /etc/xdg/openbox/
Add the following lines to
sleep 0;
fbpanel –profile profile-file-name1 &

Network manager

sleep 0;
nm-applet --sm-disable &

it has to run as root we need to fix policykit

In each file, copy the section of text which starts with and ends with . Paste it immediately below the line, and change the line to

For example: 
Or fix the sudoer file

Linux permission

Command Meaning
chmod 400 file To protect a file against accidental overwriting.
chmod 500 directory To protect yourself from accidentally removing, renaming or moving files from this directory.
chmod 600 file A private file only changeable by the user who entered this command.
chmod 644 file A publicly readable file that can only be changed by the issuing user.
chmod 660 file Users belonging to your group can change this file, others don't have any access to it at all.
chmod 700 file Protects a file against any access from other users, while the issuing user still has full access.
chmod 755 directory For files that should be readable and executable by others, but only changeable by the issuing user.
chmod 775 file Standard file sharing mode for a group.
chmod 777 file Everybody can do everything to this file.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Connect to non default desktop in NX server

If you've eg. Xubuntu on your server with Xfce as the default desktop environment, then it's not trivial how you can connect with FreeNX and use this desktop environment. In the nxclient enter the session configuration screen, set the "desktop" to "Unix" and "Custom", enter "Settings" and choose the "Run the following command" for the "Application", and enter this into the textbox: /usr/bin/xfce4-session. In the "Options" select the "New virtual desktop". Press OK and select in the "Display" section "Full screen"

Monday, July 27, 2009

Howto create a minimal Xfce desktop (debian)

Preliminary notes
EDIT:  I ended up installing a minimal gnome instead. I think that is easier for them to use...looks more like mac/ window.  Better menus for end users.

apt-get -y --no-install-recommends install  xorg gdm  xfce4
xfce4-xfapplet-plugin (necessary to use gnome applets like nm)

nano /etc/apt/sources.list
remove cd

gpasswd -a user powerdev
aptitude install --without-recommends lxde


Possible packages
and whatever their dependencies are


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Linux on an old Laptop

I promised to fix a friends old laptop.  I thought I would install a minimal desktop based on ubuntu.  But ubuntu does not boot on this machine as it turned out.  This also happened the first time I tried linux, ubuntu could not handle the old test laptop. That time I installed Suse without any problem.
I don't like Suse much and I did some digging around. I considered Fedora since I think redhat is probably still the best choice for servers(?) and it would hurt to learn it. 
Final decision to give debian a chance since don't really have time to Fedora right now. 
It worked without any problem! I think the debian installation process looks much better than Ubuntu and obviously it can handle old HW better.

I made a test installation with command line only and manually added Xfce & GDM. Had some intial problems but nothing much.

I also found out that there is a debian CD with lxde /xfce and  I loaded lxde onto the laptop but I didn't like it much. After some google I decided to stick with a minimal xfce on top of debian.

Plan now is to load the xdebian into a virtal machine and use it as a reference when building the mini desktop.

Friday, July 24, 2009

TEST asoundrc

pcm.!default plug:both

ctl.!default {
  type hw
  card ICH6

pcm.both {
  type route;
  slave.pcm {
      type multi;
      slaves.a.pcm "intel8x0";
      slaves.b.pcm "aureon";
      slaves.a.channels 2;
      slaves.b.channels 6;
      bindings.0.slave a; 0;
      bindings.1.slave a; 1;

      bindings.2.slave b; 0;
      bindings.3.slave b; 1;
      bindings.4.slave b; 2;
      bindings.5.slave b; 3;
      bindings.6.slave b; 4;
      bindings.7.slave b; 5;

  ttable.0.0 1;
  ttable.1.1 1;

  ttable.0.2 1; # front left
  ttable.1.3 1; # front right
  ttable.0.4 1; # copy front left to rear left
  ttable.1.5 1; # copy front left to rear left
  # mix front left/right to subwoofer and center
  ttable.0.6 0.5;
  ttable.1.6 0.5;
  ttable.0.7 0.5;
  ttable.1.7 0.5;

ctl.both {
  type hw;
  card ICH6;

pcm.aureon {
   type dmix
   ipc_key 1024
   slave {
       pcm "hw:1"
       period_time 0
       period_size 2048
#        buffer_size 8192
       buffer_size 65536
       buffer_time 0
       periods 128
       rate 48000
       channels 6
# the channels of this card are mixed-up
    bindings {
       0 0
       1 1
       2 4
       3 5
       4 2
       5 3

pcm.intel8x0 {
   type dmix
   ipc_key 2048
   slave {
       pcm "hw:0"
       period_time 0
       period_size 2048
#        buffer_size 8192
       buffer_size 65536
       buffer_time 0
       periods 128
       rate 48000
       channels 2
    bindings {
       0 0
       1 1

ctl.aureon {
   type hw
   card "Audio"

ctl.intel8x0 {
   type hw
   card "ICH6"

Install Aeon skin in XBMC

This is how to install Aeon the quick way.

Didn't like the color scheme though..not going to use it.

Install Skin Aeon
sudo apt-get install git-core

cd ~/.xbmc/skin

git clone git://

(If you want a another folder name git clone git:// "Aeon Stark")

cd aeon

5) Get the fonts
EDIT: The URL will be generated based on your ip (I think) You have to get your own from

mv Aeon/fonts fonts

6) clean-up
rmdir  Aeon


Thursday, July 23, 2009

toslink AND HDMI

I am trying to get sound on both HDMI & SPDIF from XBMC.

Below .asoundrc file almost works perfectly problem is that there a time delay between the channels. The problem could be the TV though, I also get an echo if I connect the TV to the receiver...

pcm.!default {
type plug
slave {
pcm "both"

pcm.both {
type route
slave {
pcm multi
channels 4
ttable.0.0 1.0
ttable.1.1 1.0
ttable.0.2 1.0
ttable.1.3 1.0

pcm.multi {
type multi
slaves.a {
pcm "tv"
channels 2
slaves.b {
pcm "receiver"
channels 2
bindings.0.slave a 0
bindings.1.slave a 1
bindings.2.slave b 0
bindings.3.slave b 1
} {
type hw
card 0
device 3
channels 2

pcm.receiver {
type hw
card 0
device 1
channels 2

Audio Out: Digital
Dolby D. (AC3): false
DTS: True
Audio output: plug:both
Passthrough: iec958

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Config rc system with sysv-rc-conf

Do not auto start GDM

Find 'gdm' and uncheck the boxes for runlevels 2 and 3.

Now the desktop will only start if you run:

How to create a minimal ubuntu desktop


If  you want to make a minimal ubuntu desktop install a clean system from the minimal cd and add what you need manually.

If you add everything in this list you should have more or less a standard ubuntu system minus applications.
NB: There are other desktop and window managers that are much lighter. This guide will create a standard ubuntu system (gnome desktop). 

If you really want to do it minimal / bit by bit you might want to use:
sudo apt-get --no-install-recommends install 
It will only install the really necessary packages.

Display Manager&Desktop  
sudo apt-get -y install xorg gdm  gnome-core 

Reboot and you have a basic desktop!
(exlude gdm and you can start manually with "startx" instead)
You can now start add utilities and applications.

Gnome basics
gnome-system-tools gnome-utils x11-xserver-utils 

Remaining system utilities
and stuff that will make it look like a standard ubuntu desktop

apport-gtk  (frot end crash report system)

Themes etc
ubuntu-artwork human-theme tangerine-icon-theme gnome-themes-ubuntu xcursor-themes

---Network manager fix
sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces
Comment out the lines below "primary network interface"
(This is the solution that match the standard 9.04 setup)

apmd -advanced power management
powernowd -CPU speed (not only for laptops?)

Standard applications
epiphany-browser epiphany-extensions (well, not the standard browser. Standard is if course firefox)
nautilus-share  -share a folder by righ click
gdebi   - offline package manager

More utilities - installed in standard desktop
vino -vnc Remote desktop access
powernowd -CPU speed

More utilities - NOT installed in standard
ntfsprogs (tools for unproblematic use of NTFS file systems)

language-pack-gnome-XX and language-pack-gnome-XX-base (with XX representing your local language, e.g. de)

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Another useful tool!

Example of usage:
No password when coming back from suspend--

Run gconf-editor, navigate to app > gnome-power-manager > lock
and uncheck everything.

Wifi command line tool


Install NX server from terminal

Edit: new version available

mkdir Downloads
cd Downloads


sudo dpkg -i nxclient_3.4.0-5_i386.deb nxnode_3.4.0-6_i386.deb nxserver_3.4.0-8_i386.deb


sudo dpkg -i nxclient_3.3.0-6_i386.deb nxnode_3.3.0-17_i386.deb nxserver_3.3.0-22_i386.deb

Howto mount a new partition

View partitions:
sudo fdisk -l  (/dev/sda3)

Create a mount point:
sudo mkdir /storage

Edit the fstab:
sudo cp /etc/fstab /etc/fstab_backup

sudo nano /etc/fstab
/dev/sda3 /storage ext2 defaults 0 0

sudo mount -a

sudo chown -R xbmc:xbmc /storage

sudo chmod -R 755 /storage

Friday, July 17, 2009

Upgrade Alsa

I can't find any general PPA for ALSA like for NVIDIA. Anyone know?


sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install wget build-essential linux-headers-`uname -r`
tar -xf alsa-driver-1.0.20.tar.bz2
cd alsa-driver-1.0.20
sudo make install

With script (I could't get the package to download with wget so I did it manually):

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Killer samples

HowTo install ATI drivers Ubuntu 8.04 (not supported in 9.04?)

Example card ATI x1650

0) Uninstall
navigate to the /usr/share/ati
sudo sh ./

1) install pre-req
sudo apt-get install xorg build-essential dpkg-dev debhelper libstdc++5 dkms cdbs fakeroot

2) Find the correct package
---Se readme



4) Install
sudo sh

sudo /usr/bin/aticonfig --initial

6) reboot
sudo reboot

7) test

glxinfo | grep 'direct rendering'


I have bought and installed a Asrock ION 330 now. It works fine so far!

This is how I did:

Minimal desktop

Would be interesting to learn how to add the desktop to a minimal or server installation.
and learn the start-up procedures at the same time.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Install NVIDIA with PPA

This should be a better option since it should not cause any problem when upgrading the kernel.

If the xorg.conf is not configured maybe this need to be run "sudo nvidia-xconfig".

0) Remove manually installed driver
sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop
sudo /usr/bin/nvidia-uninstall

1) Add source
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
deb jaunty main

3) Add key
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver CEC06767

4) Install 
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic nvidia-glx-185

ATI drivers not available for Ubuntu 9.04?

Test manual setup

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Test openGL

glxinfo | grep 'direct rendering'

output will return "direct rendering:" 

If this is 'Yes' or 'Enabled' then OpenGL is likely set up correctly. If it is listed as 'no' or 'disabled' then double check your 3D setup.


A window will be displayed with 3 rotating gears. If 3D acceleration is correctly enabled for your video card then the reported framerate should be well over 500 FPS, at the default window size. If the output shows less than 500 FPS then you should double check your 3D setup.


Problem with alsactl store

On a few installation I got this problem with the alsa mixer:

sudo alsactl store 0
gives E: core-util.c: Home directory /home/xbmc not ours.

Only solution I found is to remove pulse audio
sudo apt-get remove pulseaudio

Sunday, July 12, 2009

IR receiver troubleshooting

I will make another attempt to get my pinnacle remote / IR receiver to work.

The remote is the same as the MS MCE, the problem is the receiver.
I am struggling to find information but I now found this

This should list the device:
ls -l /dev/ttyUSB*

another link with debug instr

If the device is detected as keyboard/mouse instead of RC it will show up here:
cat /proc/bus/input/devices

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

regenerate ssh keys

SH1 protocol 
sudo ssh-keygen -q -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_key -N '' -t rsa1 

SSH2 protocol 
sudo ssh-keygen -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key -N '' -t rsa
sudo ssh-keygen -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key -N '' -t dsa

Necessary after installing from remastersys iso.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Get WPA2 to work in Ubuntu - with wicd

EDIT:  I have upgraded to ubuntu 9.04 and wpa2 works fine out of the box.

Ubuntu seem to have problem with WPA2?

Google says the solution is to use wicd instead of Gnome Network Manager.
It is included in Ubuntu 9.04 repositories but in hardy you have to add the source.

install wicd:
Add key
wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -

Add source:
deb hardy extras

I used Synoptic Package Manager to install it since the network manager have to removed and I read some people having problem with it. 

Problem with drivers and wicd:
The installation went fine but wicd seem to handle drivers differently. Before I could see the network but not connect.  Now I cannot see anything and the wifi indicator is dark on the laptop.

I installed the windows wireless drivers tool (available in ubuntu rep) and added the windows drivers. 

Now I can see the networks again, but cannot connect to wpa2 network....

Then I slapped in a USB wifi adaptor and wicd light up as christmas tree..... I can also connect with no problem! This is good enough for now. (this is just an old laptop....)

It is not easy to get WPA2 to work with old hardware. 
With a little bit newer hardware wicd handles WPA2 without problem.

If wicd cannot not see the network card, use a different card or skip WPA2?
It it of course possible that if I could find a newer windows driver it would work. The newest I could find from d-link was from 2007. I am not sure it would work in xp either.

Windows XP also have problem with WPA2 without the latest drivers/updates.
I am not 100% sure if the problem was the Network Manager and not the drivers, but I am pretty sure that I did test the USB adaptor with the network manager earlier.
I will verify as soon as possible if the wicd is really needed or if it is device dependent only,

Friday, July 3, 2009

Mini-IT Atom HTPC

SILVERSTONE HTPC SST-LC19R SILVER-------------------------------1995 SEK
(incl PSU)
COMPUCASE MINI-ITX 8K01BS 100W SVART-------------------------625 SEK


Optional GPU

It is pretty hard to find mini ATX components in Sweden, maybe too early?
An unrelated problem is that I cant find any "standard" MCE Remote any more either. To bad I do not want to have trouble getting it to work in Linux.

Portableapps - Your digital life anywhere

Something to try?

The question is how it will interact with corporate ant-virus, firewalls and GPOs.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Create USB boot tool

Seem to have nice functionalities. Should test

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Script to configure lirc


sudo dpkg-reconfigure lirc

echo "Running mythbuntu-lircrc-generator..."


echo "Adding extra include files..."

echo "include ~/.lirc/irexec" >> ~/.lircrc
echo "include ~/.lirc/irxevent" >> ~/.lircrc

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ubuntu 8.10 USB boot creator

Looks like the problem (or part of) with USB boot in 8.04 is fixed

Not sure if it is enough to update the system or new CD is need (8.04.3)

Or daily build:

Edit: I tested and it works fine.

xbmc session

Finally found out how the get the xbmc session to work in ubuntu.
An extra package is needed:
sudo apt-get install xbmc-standalone

Someone need to add that to the wiki.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

HOWTO install XBMC 9.04 on ubuntu 9.04 - Install

EDIT: Added Hardy as alternative.

Instruction on how to install PPA

Installation instruction

XBMC 9.04 for Ubuntu 9.04 (jaunty)

XBMC 9.04 For Ubuntu 8.04 (hardy)

Add key from terminal
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver 0xa62016ec6944db21c7793b3a9f10e6ae9317790e

sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver 91E7EE5E

Add source
sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list
deb jaunty main

deb hardy main 

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xbmc
sudo apt-get install xbmc-standalone

Setup sound levels

Save Sound levels
sudo alsactl store

HOWTO install XBMC 9.04 on ubuntu 9.04 - Preparation

Install Ubuntu 9.04

user/ pwd xbmc/xbmc

Install all updates

Install and config remote control

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

HOWTO Fix for Live CD persistent USB boot ubuntu / xubuntu 8.04


There is a problem with the Live CD persistent USB BOOT in ubuntu 8.04  (and earlier)
It is supposed to be fixed in ubuntu-8.04.3 but the available version is ubuntu-8.04.2.

The problem is in the default initrd.gz
Bugg report

I found the solution here

sudu  cp /usr/share/initramfs-tools/scripts/casper /usr/share/initramfs-tools/scripts/casper_org

sudo  /usr/share/initramfs-tools/scripts/casper
Delete section   ",mode=755"

sudo cp /usr/share/initramfs-tools/init  /usr/share/initramfs-tools/init_org

sudo  /usr/share/initramfs-tools/init 

Add text in bold




I am testing this on xubuntu

Saturday, May 2, 2009

policy instead of sudoers?

I have to look into this again

sudo polkit-auth --user xbmc --grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.suspend
sudo polkit-auth --user xbmc --grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.hibernate
sudo polkit-auth --user xbmc --grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.reboot
sudo polkit-auth --user xbmc --grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.shutdown
sudo polkit-auth --user xbmc --grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.reboot-multiple-sessions
sudo polkit-auth --user xbmc --grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.shutdown-multiple-sessions

Friday, April 24, 2009

HOWTO Clean Ubuntu and remove not needed stuf


sudo apt-get clean
sudo apt-get autoremove

sudo apt-get install localepurge

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Easy Ubuntu XBMC Setup (v.05)

I have tried to switch to Linux earlier and one problem I had was that it was very hard to find information in a format that I could digest. Everyone that knows how to fix the problem insist on explaining how to download, compile and config from terminal when all you want to know is what button to press.

The other problem is that it is very hard to find a howto from start to end, you are often expected to know a lot of "basic" stuff that takes another day to figure out. I will try to explain all the steps. Please ask if I leave something out. The bad news is that already after two weeks I am shifting to do stuff in the terminal.

E.g. "sudo apt-get install" in terminal means install package and can be done graphically in the synaptic package manager found in /system/administration/ menu. Sudo means do as super user. ~/ means home directory. (possibly /home/xbmc/)

Install Ubuntu

I will actually assume that you can handle this. It is very easy. I used the Ubuntu 8.04 standard desktop .iso. (8.04 is LTS Long Term Support)

I will try to use XUbuntu to create my final setup.

The only thing I did was to do the partitioning manually since I need to keep one of the old partitions. I created a /swap, a / (root) and a /home. I created the /home so that I can re-install without losing my notes on how to do the installation again. I used ext3.

I named the user created during installation "xbmc" and I am using it to run XBMC. It is probably better to create an admin user and later manually create the xbmc user with just enough rights.

Critical post install configuration

1)Install all updates. I do this in GUI. Do not know howto in terminal
2)install ubuntu restricted stuff. In terminal:
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
3=If needed enable the restricted driver for you graphical card and wireless.

Install XBMC 

Edited: 20090510
Together with reply from topfs2 (reply #10)

1) Install the key from
(As described in the web page above)

a)Put the key in a text file "xbmcHardykey"
b)Go to menu /system/administration/Software sources
tab "Authentication"
Import key – browse to the keyfile created above.

2)Add source
Go to menu /system/administration/Software sources
Tab Third-Party software ADD :
deb hardy main
deb hardy main

3) Install XBMC (in terminal enter:)
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xbmc

sudo apt-get install xbmc-eventclients*
sudo apt-get install xbmc-scripts*
sudo apt-get install xbmc-skin*

4) Make sure visual effects is set to "none" in menu /System/Preferences/Appearance

5) It should now be possible to start xbmc from /applications/ menu
or by entering xbmc in terminal. If you have not setup LIRC, use keyboard to control the menus.

6) I used the resolution setting in the XBMC/ settings/appearance/ menu to get a full screen. There is also a –fs (full screen) and a –standalone switch that I need to look into. I have only used the internal settings so far.

7) Connect an usb drive with a movie on or use "add source" to add a location with media.
-Play movie.

8) If the movie is played in the upper right corner you need to:
open a new file from terminal
gedit ~/.xbmc/userdata/advancedsettings.xml

add glrectanglehack xml.
Download here.
(right click and save file, it will not display correctly in browser)

or google "glrectanglehack xbmc"
9) You can enable auto login in /system/administration/login window – security

10) Quickest way to get autostart on login is to open /system/preferences/sessions/ and add “/usr/bin/xbmc” as the command in a new session called “startXBMC”
I need to find another way though, this seem to be connected to gnome(?) and I want to use a more lightweight window manager, maybe twm.

11) If problem with screen saver, open existing file xorg.conf
sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
add at the end:
Section "ServerFlags"
Option "BlankTime" "0"
Option "StandbyTime" "0"
Option "SuspendTime" "0"
Option "OffTime" "0"

download here.
(right click and save file)

This should more or less by my basic setup version v0.5.

You probably want to enable vnc, ssh and maybe XMDCP. I can get back to that.

I have also installed remastersys and created my own installation/liveCD. Maybe I will upload itwhen I get closer to a v1.0 setup.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

HOWTO mount tmp to ramdisk

Recommended if installing Linux to USB /Flash to avoid wearing down the disk.

sudo gedit /etc/fstab

none /tmp tmpfs defaults,size=424m 0 0

none /tmp tmpfs defaults 0 0

Then reboot

Howto re-run LIRC config

This will be useful. I have had to re-install LIRC to this.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure lirc

HOWTO Create LIve/installation CD from running system


add source 
sudo nano  /etc/apt/sources.list
deb ubuntu/

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install remastersys

Problem with USB persistence.
Still does not work with version 8.04 at least not when creating with Ubuntu usb boot creator. Skip persistence and it works fine,

also see guide

Sunday, April 19, 2009



1) Converting live CD => USB boot with Ubuntu 8.10 tool
2) Install Ubuntu direct to USB
If used as permanent solution the tmp should be mapped to ram disk & no swap
3) Create a live CD from running system and convert to USB boot

Thin Client Media Center

I tested to run XBMC via XDMCP. The very loud test laptop becomes almost completly silent.

I have no sound and no remote. Sound is fixable from what I understand. USB / Remote could be a problem.

I would like to do some work on this.
Possible solutions:

Both supports sound and USB port mapping(?). 

Another solution with be to use network booting. However, I think the problem is CPU heat not HD.
The first step would be to isolate HD heat/noise from CPU by boot from USB. 

Select which media center application to use

What HTPC /MCE / Media Center should you chose?

I was already using Vista and xp MCE and I use that as reference.

Can do almost everything including TV time-shift & recording
Takes no time at all to setup if you know ms win. Works with remote and everything out of the box.
You have to do some advanced tweaking to enable multiple rdp sessions. Crazy.
It takes a lot of power. Vista is heavy by it self and if you start MCE it is very slow. You need a modern computer. (3GHz + 2-3G RAM)
You need to pay. You shall not steal? I if you do, it is extra work anyway. 

The most known system. Very advanced, has a frontend/backend setup which I like.
It support PVR and all kinds of TV functionality.
I tried the Mythbuntu installation CD. It worked ok out of the box, but I did not like it much. E.g. you have to type paths, no browse available. If you are going to test it you should probably know that Mythbuntu does not read media files directly from disk by default, it relay on the library. Change this setting unless you want to figure out how to load the library before you know if you have sound & picture. I could not get it to delete files from disk. I was intending to test a manual installation to learn more but moved on.
I never tried the TV functionality. 

I have not tested it. It has PVR / TV functionality.
Of course the name is from Tivo.

Gave it a quick test run only. It is a native gnome application and I think it could be very light weight. It is not finished yet and I could not get it to do much. Very easy to install since it is included in Ubuntu  default sw sources.
Could be the way to go in the future at least if you are running on a desktop computer and do some tasks with keyboard mouse. I mean library maintenance etc.

XBMC is now ported to linux and ready for use. Pre-compiled runtime is available for ubuntu which is a pre-req for me for the moment.

It looks and works great! It is working better better than Vista. E.g. in Vista you cannot delete a folder, no problem in xbmc.
It does not have PVR / TV functionality though. I understand it is possible to integrate with mythtv, this is not a prio for me right now. 

Compared to other applications it is working much better out of the box. However, you do not get the full package out of the box. Lirc has to be installed which is pretty easy if you know what you are doing but to get it to interact correctly with the OS takes some more work.

XBMC features not found in Vista
Delete folders
Resume video from where you stopped viewing
If playing video from a shared folder it works much better than in win. The player is buffering the file much better. On a good day it even works ok on wifi.

It is possibly a bit heavy on the HW but much less than Vista MCE and also a bit less than playing a video directly in the Vista desktop.  It does get the fan going though. I think it rates somewhere between XP & vista (ubuntu gnome + XBMC compared to win without MCE)

Popcorn is the most popular pre-built consumer media center. I have not tested it, but maybe I should?
I am not sure that using a PC as media center is the best way to go. It is loud and uses a lot of power. It is also expensive and to get it silent is more expensive.

Moving from win=>linux Media Center / HTPC

I have been using Vista Media Center for a while but I am now switching to a linux based system. I'm happy with Vista after some tweaks. (enable multiple rdp sessions etc). The problem is that if you for some reason do not want to pay, it requires some extra work and there is always the risk that the tweaks will contain virus. 

I was also using winxp MCE on an old laptop but xp stopped working after Christmas. The laptop cannot not handle vista media center and barely vista by it self.
This prompted me to finally make the move to Linux.

The problem is that I do not know Linux. I used unix back at the university but only learned ls, cd and a few other commands. Luckily I know other computer stuff  and I decided to give it a try.

I can tell you in advance it takes a LOOT of time if you are not an Linux expert. Yes, you can get Ubuntu to run in a hour, but to get to the level of vista mce out of the box takes a lot of work.

The good news is that the sw is great and I prefer it to vista when finally set up correctly.  

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Howto setup Remote for Ubuntu 8.04 XBMC with MS Remote

It is pretty straight forward to setup basic functionality but finding information is a nightmare.
The biggest problem was to get the shutdown to work with auto started irexec.

1) Remote control XBMC and other applications.
2) Start stop & kill XBMC with remote
3) Shutdown computer
4) Autostart irexec

Basic setup

The first step is to install and configure LIRC.

sudo apt-get install -y lirc
Select windows media center remotes (New version)
IR Transmitter: Select “none”

run irw in terminal and press any button on the remote, the name of device and button should show on screen.

This is pretty much it if you have a standard remote. I have had no problem with MS MCE Remote. You should now be able to control XBMC.

To control other applications you have to create your own button => function mappings.
This is stored in the .lircrc file in ~/.

This is best done by using the lirc generator from the mythbuntu team.

sudo apt-get -y install mythbuntu-lirc-generator
and you will get the lircrc files for the most common applications.

Totem is the standard player in Ubuntu 8.04, it is supported by this setup but first you need to enable the remote plugin from within the player.

Advanced setup
Download files & scripts here.

Setup start stop & shutdown
Most of this is from Some changes was necessary though.

We need irexec to do this and for good measure we setup irxevent as well. The latter is used to send keyboard commands. (ctrl-s etc)

install irxevent
sudo apt-get -y install lirc-x

create file named irexec in ~/.lircrc

# Start XBMC
prog = irexec
button = Home
config = ~/scripts/ &

# Kill XBMC
prog = irexec
button = Red
config = ~/scripts/ &

prog = irexec
button = Power
config = ~/scripts/ &

The '&' is necessary at least in my setup, otherwise the startXBMC will loop in the background and when I exit XBMC it is restarted several times.
I found the solution here

Create an empty file named irxevent in ~/.lircrc
It will contain the mappings for irxevent. I am not using it for the moment. I wanted to send ctrl-alt-Delete, but could not get it to work.

include ~/.lirc/irexec
include ~/.lirc/irxevent
to the ~.lircrc file

echo  "include ~/.lirc/irexec" >>  ~/.lircrc
echo  "include ~/.lirc/irxevent" >>  ~/.lircrc

The next step is to create the script files.
Pick them up at
Worked fine for me, I replaced /home/youruser/ with ~/ when possible. I think the remaining hardcoded usernames can be removed by following the comments further down in the thread (pidof?). I guess killall would also do the trick.

To autostart the irexec (and irxevent) add
to system/preferences/sessions. NB: ~/scripts does not work here.

First test to start manually from terminal

Run it twice and you should see that the script kills the old processes before the new is started.
ps -C irexec
should show one irexec process after two runs.

Now you should be able to start and kill XBMC. Kill should only be used when XMBC cannot be closed down the normal way I think.
Please note that I have mapped Power button to shutdown, when shutdown is finally working it will make it impossible to use the Power button to exit XBMC without shutting down the computer. The mapping can be changed in the irxec file. I think it can also be fixed by using mode in the lirc files to separate the applications.

Now to the shutdown..
I use
sudo /sbin/shutdown -h now
in the shutdown script. We can't have the script asking for password and this is fixed by editing the /etc/sudoers file. It is edited with this command:
sudo visudo.

First make backup
cp /etc/sudoers /etc/

This is where we hit the wall. The correct way(?) to do this is to add the line
youruser ALL=NOPASSWD: /sbin/shutdown
at the end of the sudoers file.

It worksfine if you start irexec manually from the terminal.
But after reboot and autostart shutdown does not work, everything else works fine.

I finally found a solution/ workaround.
%admin ALL=NOPASSWD: /sbin/shutdown

I am aware this is not a good setup, but it will have to do for a while. Can anyone help?

If you find this guide helpful let me know. I would be willing to re-write it with some quality if anyone needs it.