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.

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