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Linux Finally Getting XBMC

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the can't-live-without-it dept.

Media 203

B47h0ry'5 CuR53 writes "XBMC is getting ported to Linux. A few developers of Team-XBMC have begun the porting of XBMC to Linux using OpenGL and the SDL toolkit. In this effort, they are recruiting developers. XBMC is, by far, one of the finest projects to come out of the open source community; and to think it is homebrew. XBMC is a massive project, with the current SVN branch weighing about 350M before compilation. Porting it will be a big effort and any hackers willing to contribute should check out the Linux port project."

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What is XBMC? (5, Informative)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320227)

For reference, for the 99% of us out here who have no frickin' clue what something like XBMC might stand for, it would be nice to spell out the whole abbreviation at least once in summaries. Since it wasn't mentioned, XBMC is the Xbox Media Center, an open source media center project to play images and videos of various formats and from various sources, such as streaming from your PC or even the Internet, on your Xbox 360. It will let you use your Xbox 360 kind of like a beefed-up and free Apple TV [apple.com]

Sounds pretty cool, but it does require that you mod your Xbox 360, and Microsoft has been banning modded Xboxes [slashdot.org] from their Xbox Live service. I'm not saying do it or don't do it, just that before you get too excited and start downloading stuff, you ought to know that as part of your decision.

Because, you know, allowing people to improve your product for free by adding a ton of useful functionality, customizing the thing they've laid out a not-insignificant amount of hard-earned cash for to better suit their needs must be stopped at all costs. After all, it might cost you a few bucks in not selling movies that people already own to them again.

Re:What is XBMC? (5, Informative)

PorkNutz (730601) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320267)

Correction, XBMC is for the original Xbox, not the Xbox360

Re:What is XBMC? (4, Interesting)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320485)

That's right XBMC is for the Xbox 1 NOT the Xbox 360.

From what I've heard part of the reason they're working on a Linux port is so that they can have this fine software running on the Xbox 360 (seeing as it's possible to run Linux on a limited number of Xbox 360 consoles) as well as the PS3 which can run Linux out of the box.

I've been using XBMC at home for years now and it really is fantastic and gets frequent and useful updates. Here's hoping that a Linux port will not only provide us with LEGAL binaries (being homebrew on the Xbox 1 means that the binaries are technically illegal) but support for some video capture devices and DVR/PVR functionality... which IMO was the only major feature missing from XBMC as it wasn't possible using the Xbox 1's too slow for video v1.1 USB ports.

Re:What is XBMC? (3, Informative)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321013)

I've become addicted to being able to watch actual HD content from my PS3's XMB and now over the network with DLNA.

Anyone else notice that Sony this round is actually going with standards compliance? HDMI connector (not just some proprietary one), DLNA for A/V streaming, USB for connectors/devices, S-ATA user-replaceable hard drive, right down to their software development (OpenGL, GNU tools, etc.).

I'm impressed, although I'm sure some anti-Sony rant will follow this.

Re:What is XBMC? (3, Insightful)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321283)

yeah I did notice that actually. You can extend that standards compliance to bluetooth devices like headsets, as well as flash media, wi-fi, etc.

I really like that direction and the PS3 makes a great media device for those reason IMO. I'd own one except I don't need a media device and there's nothing on the console yet that excites me as a game machine.

The number of people looking for a media device and game machine wrapped into one at a price to reflect that I would suspect is much smaller then the number of people looking for just a media device or just a game machine and not wanting to pay for things they don't need.

Re:What is XBMC? (1)

rikkards (98006) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321509)

The one thing that really annoys me about XBMC though is that opening an MP3 Playlist it will parse it every single time.

DVB on usb 1.1 IS possible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19322553)

Xbox 1's too slow for video v1.1 USB ports

Some usb 'freeview' dvb cards can do SD tv fine (though not HD) using usb 1.1 . They work by splitting the mpeg transport stream and only sending single channel streams down the usb bus. one such card is the Avermedia AverTV DVB-T USB2.0 (capable of sending either single channel down usb 1.1 OR full transport stream down usb 2.0) - nice little gadget - driver is in vanilla kernel.

I am trying to get a nice minimal xbox 1 distro compiled which will run Mythtv on top of (X)DirectFB (which supports xbox nvidia chip) installed on an 80gb drive = nice mythtv (frontend/backend) running on xbox 1! Its tricky as the memory is only 64mb and you need mysql running along with X/qt (now all I need is someone to hack the led/power/eject/timer pic controller code so that it can be set to wake up and record programmes)

Re:What is XBMC? (5, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322785)

From what I've heard part of the reason they're working on a Linux port is so that they can have this fine software running on the Xbox 360 (seeing as it's possible to run Linux on a limited number of Xbox 360 consoles) as well as the PS3 which can run Linux out of the box.

Another possible motivation is departing from using the XDK. As you may or may not know the XDK (Xbox Development Kit) is not publicly available [xboxmediacenter.com] and thus the XBMC team does not distribute binaries, but only source code. Then various groups with illicit copies of the XDK compile this code into the XBMC that we know and love. You have to know where to go to get it, et cetera. In addition, to even run it you either need it to either be signed, which is only done by Microsoft, or to have a hacked Xbox. In order to run unsigned Xbox (XDK) programs on the Xbox, you need a hacked BIOS. And these are by definition modified copies of the original BIOS, which are in turn illegal to distribute, and possibly to create or possess (depending on how valid the Xbox EULA is.) Work proceeds on an Open XDK replacement [openxdk.org], but it's not up to most tasks yet.

However, it is possible to run Linux [xbox-linux.org] on the Xbox using an alternative BIOS known as Cromwell [xbox-linux.org]. This is an entirely Free/free solution, and is completely legal. You can flash it to the system in the same way as you would any other BIOS, so if you have an early Xbox you can do the internal TSOP reflash [xbox-linux.org] and you don't even need a modchip.

(Pardon my linkage; might as well make some links for posterity, and they support my argument) :)

Anyway, HTPC, Xbox 360 (and Playstation 3!) compatibility were probably the primary goals. But it also has a dandy side-benefit.

There is however still no legal way to do DVD menus (at least in the USA.)

Re:What is XBMC? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19320281)

Hey fuckhead, XBMC is for the ORIGINAL Xbox, not the 360...please don't mod parent up.

Re:What is XBMC? (5, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320283)

Actually, I believe XBMC is for the first XBOX. I don't think homebrew is possible on the 360 unless you can somehow get a certain firmware version onto your 360 (without ever having something later that blows the hardware fuses and prevents a downgrade)

Re:What is XBMC? (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321387)

Also, used original XBoxes can be had for $50-100, so if you want XBMC *and* Xbox live, it's cheap enough to just buy another.

Re:What is XBMC? (3, Funny)

cabinetsoft (923481) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320321)

For reference, for the 99% of us out here who have no frickin' clue what something like XBMC might stand for, it would be nice to spell out the whole abbreviation at least once in summaries.
That would ruin the moderation system making "Informative" inutile.

Re:What is XBMC? (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320323)

XBMC is the only reason I bought an XBOX and I spend far more time using the media functions than I do playing games so I don't care from being banned from XBOX live (which I never use anyways)

Re:What is XBMC? (1)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320915)


XBMC is the only reason I bought an XBOX and I spend far more time using the media functions than I do playing games so I don't care from being banned from XBOX live (which I never use anyways)

Ditto!

XBMC rocks. It chokes badly though on x.264 or other HD video because of the XBOX's wimpyish hardware. This might replace our current Mythdora setup (used only for HD movie playback) as XBMC is very 'wife friendly'.

Re:What is XBMC? (1)

Balthisar (649688) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320973)

Double ditto. I played a couple of games a little bit when I first bought my Xboxes, but that was just out of curiosity's sake.

KnoppMyth backend, Xbox front ends, and I'm all set. Well, except for high resolution video. But you -- the Xbox upsamples reasonably well.

Re:What is XBMC? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320329)

Sounds pretty cool, but it does require that you mod your Xbox 360


It's been slashdotted, but from what I did read, it seems like the Linux version doesn't necessarily require an Xbox? Wouldn't this put it at odds with projects like MythTV?

Re:What is XBMC? (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320799)

It's been slashdotted, but from what I did read, it seems like the Linux version doesn't necessarily require an Xbox? Wouldn't this put it at odds with projects like MythTV?

I'm not sure if XBMC provides recording and playback for live TV? Or you'd at least need the tuners/capture cards on a remote backend.

There is a thing called "Project Grayhem" [mythtvtalk.com] which lets you skin your Mythtv like the Project Mayhem skin on XBMC. If you're into that kind of thing....

Re:What is XBMC? (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320331)

XBMC existed before the xbox360, and still hasn't been ported.

You can be kicked off live for a modded xbox just like an modded 360, but from what I've read the switch boxes work pretty well, and anyway plenty of people buy them as a cheep media box and never even attempt to hook them up for Live at all.

Re:What is XBMC? (5, Funny)

maniac/dev/null (170211) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320357)

For reference, for the 99% of us out here who have no frickin' clue what something like XBMC might stand for, it would be nice to spell out the whole abbreviation at least once in summaries.

What, you mean as a nerd you don't automatically know about every project on every platform everywhere? So you have no idea about the developments made by the TTMH team, or the ramifications of Project Windmill? What about your take on the social issues associated with the QRML?

You don't even follow the news enough to understand a project that only runs on a modified version of an outdated hardware platform and does the same job and dozens of other far more powerful systems and commercial products?!? Turn in you nerd card, sir!

Re:What is XBMC? (2, Insightful)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320541)

For reference, for the 99% of us out here who have no frickin' clue what something like XBMC might stand for, it would be nice to spell out the whole abbreviation at least once in summaries. Since it wasn't mentioned, XBMC is the Xbox Media Center, an open source media center project to play images and videos of various formats and from various sources, such as streaming from your PC or even the Internet, on your Xbox 360. It will let you use your Xbox 360 kind of like a beefed-up and free Apple TV

All it takes to avoid looking like an idiot is to use some common sense and hover over the first word of the summary.

Re:What is XBMC? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19320969)

I haven't moved up to hovering yet. I'm still working on basic levitation.

Re:What is XBMC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19321281)

All it takes to avoid looking like an idiot is to use some common sense and hover over the first word of the summary
I use Links you insensitive clod!

Re:What is XBMC? (2, Insightful)

jgoemat (565882) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322245)

All it takes to avoid looking like an idiot is to use some common sense and hover over the first word of the summary.
What does it take to avoid looking like a dick? I'm probably asking the wrong person...

Of course hovering over the first link in an article and looking at the url in the bottom of the browser (which could have simply been "http://www.xbmc.com" but still only tells you "xboxmediacenter") is much simpler than reading a one-sentence description in the article. Heck, why even have sentences, just make articles a list of links...

Whatever (2, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322385)

All it takes to avoid looking like an idiot is to use some common sense and hover over the first word of the summary.

And all it takes to keep people from having to jump through idiotic non-intuitive hoops that may or may not yield a modicum of an explanation of what the hell you're talking about is to spell out your obscure abbreviation at least once in the summary.

I'm glad that people like you, who blame problems with a user interface on those "idiot" end users, are becoming fewer and fewer. And next time you want to lecture me on what is and isn't "common sense" (let alone who is the real idiot), try counting how many URLs in summaries here, completely independent of the summary text, indicate the subject of the article. Oh yeah, that's obvious.

Re:Whatever (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322589)

spell out your obscure abbreviation at least once in the summary

While I agree that this is good practice, and should be followed, Slashdot is theoretically News for Nerds. If you're a nerd, you should either a) already know what XBMC is, b) be able to figure it out without help, or c) both. Those of us who fall into the latter category spend a significant portion of our time on slashdot either laughing or rolling our eyes at those of you who fall into none of these groups.

What kind of nerd can't do some fucking research? Especially when, as was pointed out just above you, if you hover over the first link all is explained. Not to mention that this site is a link aggregator with a discussion system, it's about links, if you're confused, follow the link. I know that this is slashdot, and we don't do that here, but it really does have the potential to shed a certain amount of light on the subject.

Re:What is XBMC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19322451)

Insightful my ass. I apparently have missed it when the common sense embranced and extended into "hover over link, look up destination, see for any clue about what the gibberish text is blabbering about."

Re:What is XBMC? (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320887)

For reference, for the 99% of us out here who have no frickin' clue what something like XBMC might stand for, it would be nice to spell out the whole abbreviation at least once in summaries.

Though in this case, if you just mouse over the first link in the summary, you see that it leads to xboxmediacenter.com. There's no need to even follow the link to see what it stands for.

No, I didn't know what it meant until then.

Re:What is XBMC? (2, Funny)

brouski (827510) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321125)

As we see here, nothing can whip a nerd into a frenzy more than an acronym he doesn't understand.

Re:What is XBMC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19321439)

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Now can you please come to the place the have to pay me to come to every day and tell them the same thing? We've got 6-10 year old abbreviations that no one I've asked (from frontline grunt to SVP) has a clue what they mean.

Re:What is XBMC? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19322143)

Long-winded, greasy summary tells you absolutely nothing about what the damn thing is. It's worse than the worst sales brochure I've ever read. And we have to read this comment to figure out what the fuck it's talking about.

Taco, you're still a moron.

Re:What is XBMC? (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322309)

As everyone else pointed out, XBMC is for the original Xbox. I've been using it for years, and I absolutely love it. I use it to stream videos from a Samba server, which is how I can leave my DVDs in a storage locker while still having access to 450+ movies without getting my fat ass off the couch. It also handles music and photos, though I've never used the photo features but I do occasionally play Shoutcast streams with it on the big stereo.

One of the nice things about XBMC is its skinning capabilities. It has had Mac-like style and flair for years, making PC-based media players look old and boring. Considering that XBoxes can be found for less than $100 including a remote, it's cheaper and more reliable than any half-decent DivX-enabled DVD player. Even 720p high-def plays fine with most source formats, and plays smoothly on the puny little CPU since most of the video processing is done by the GPU.

Re:What is XBMC? (2, Insightful)

multisync (218450) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322889)

For reference, for the 99% of us out here who have no frickin' clue what something like XBMC might stand for, it would be nice to spell out the whole abbreviation at least once in summaries


I used to tell myself this is a geek site, if I don't know what an acronym stands for I should look it up myself yada yada etc etc. Then I see this [slashdot.org] story yesterday about "altruism," and the submitter bothered to give us a definition of that word (I'm pretty sure it was the submitter; I didn't see the definition in the linked article).

Completely off topic with this but it struck me as funny that we're expected to know every obscure acronym under the Sun but apparently need to have the concept of altruism explained to us.

PS3? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19320287)

I guess this is so that it will run on the PS3.

Re:PS3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19321671)

Orly? Without hardware accelerated graphics?

XBMC for all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19320317)

How much beef do you really need for a media center? P-III 733MHz obviously, but can it run on a first-gen P-II? Any hope?

Re:XBMC for all (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320415)

The biggest problem with speeds below 600-800 MHz or so is that is you're not likely to be able to stream SD-resolution media very smoothly (forget about HD-resolution). Maybe with a hardware MPEG board or something.

Re:XBMC for all (2, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320423)

Depends on the media format. My 350MHz P3 had a problem with some DivXs. A P2 will be able to play DVD rips and some other videos, and will have no trouble at all with audio.

Re:XBMC for all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19321791)

Go ahead and flag me for being picky, but... I think you swapped your P2/P3 labels. There's no such thing as a Pentium III 350MHz. That would be a Pentium II. The Pentium III line started with the loverly 450MHz Slot 1 CPU, picking up where the P2's ended. /hardware-geek rant

Re:XBMC for all (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321891)

Might have got my CPU speeds at the time a bit mixed up. It was definitely a P3. Maybe my K6-2 was a 350MHz and the P3 was 500MHz.

Re:XBMC for all (2, Informative)

Gamester17 (1108351) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321519)

XBMC for Linux (once mature enough for eveyone to use) will require that end-users (not developers) have a 3D GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) that at least supports Shader Model 3.0 and OpenGL 2.0 (and featuring 24bpp or 32bpp for 3D hardware-acceleration support, (such retail adapter usually state on the box that they support "DirectX version 9.0c"). The XBMC GUI needs this to run smootly at an acceptable frame-rate). Meaning a NVIDIA GeForce 6150 (or later), alternativly a Intel GMA X3000/G965 (or later) graphics-controller-chip/chipset, (ATI has so bad Linux drivers so not worth mentioning).

This is great! (1)

Vr6dub (813447) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320345)

I'm glad to see this happen. I'm not a Linux user but I have used XBMC on the Xbox. I really appreciate its grown up style compared to the 360 interface. Plus all the other great things XBMC is capable of. Would it be possible to make it run and boot from a flash drive? With sizes getting larger and larger it would be pretty cool to carry a mini media center around with you.

Re:This is great! (1)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320501)

I dunno I find the 360's interface pretty easy to use. Have a media center PC nearby and the 360 can use the MCE GUI for videos/movies/etc and is very slick.

My fiancé finds both very easy to use and find stuff and can get to her favorite Xbox live game (Worms) very easily and start a game with her friend across the country without my help.

And back (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320351)

It would be good if they ported it back again to the xbox linux distro (maybe thats their aim).

Then i can simply use my xbox as a NAS, torrent and apache server but keeping the XBMC functionality.

Re:And back (1)

pike2k (1108803) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320769)

it's all about drivers here last time I checked, there was no drivers for atleast 'accelerated video' (3d) for xbox1, and situation on 360 is similar

Re:And back (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19323011)

Is that really a problem for XBMC? I would imagine the only really important thing would be DRI support, which AFAIK still isn't there. But I know that there have recently been some successes by the OpenXDK guys on making the graphics hardware do snazzy things, so I hope there's hope :) I would have thought you'd only need the 3D to do the screensavers.

Re:And back (1)

pike2k (1108803) | more than 6 years ago | (#19323091)

you are incorrect. on xbox1, we use gpu for skinengine and we use shaders for our renderers

Finaly? (1)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320355)

Hasn't XBMC (And for a brief time XBMP, before they merged) always been GPL (Or atleast some other open source license)? Nobody has stopped anyone from porting it. The only thing that has changed is that the XBMC team are starting to port some bits themselves to encourage more people to develop for XBMC.

LINUX ON ITS WAY TO TOP OF THE WORLD! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19320395)

Woohoo! Time to rejoice, this is a clear sign that Linux is heading to the top of the world. This is a major thing! Go grab a glass of champagne and rejoice!

Re:LINUX ON ITS WAY TO TOP OF THE WORLD! (1)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320935)

2007 is the year of Linux on the desktop

Some might say that Dell selling Linux machines caused it but no it was.....

XBMC!

Re:LINUX ON ITS WAY TO TOP OF THE WORLD! (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321857)

And anyone using their Xbox & XBMC on their desktop needs their heads examining! It goes under the TV.

Unfamiliar to XBMC? Checkout the Wikipedia article (4, Informative)

Gamester17 (1108351) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320425)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XBMC [wikipedia.org] "Xbox Media Center (XBMC) is an award-winning media player for the original Xbox game-console. XBMC can play music, play videos and display images from the Xbox's DVD drive, its internal hard-drive drive, a local network, USB flash drive, and the internet. It also functions as a replacement dashboard to launch Xbox games off the hard-disk drive. Other functions of XBMC include large metadata databases for music/video-file handling, displaying weather forecasts and TV guides, watching YouTube videos and apple.com movie trailers, listening to SHOUTcast and Podcasts streaming internet radio/video, also XBMC functions as a gaming platform by allowing users to play python-based mini-games and a free online-gaming alternative to Xbox Live. It is important to note that the software requires a modchip, softmod exploit or other means by which to execute on the Xbox as it is a homebrew application. XBMC is free and open source software, the source code is distributed under the GNU General Public License. The XBMC project is not produced or endorsed by Microsoft."

The article then goes on into more feature/function details, it is recommended reading ;)

XBMC (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19320489)

It's XBox Media Center

It is really good, I am currently actualy watching an episode of house on my TV run off my xbox running XBMC :P

However I don't think porting it is a good idea, it simply isn't that special, the reason it is good is becasue it runs on the xbox, not anything else, when it is ported to linux and released into the wild with competition people will soon realise this isn't anything unique, it's main success is what it operates on. In my opinion these hackers would be far more productive working on a media center already coded for linux and making that better, personally i think this approach wastes time.

Re:XBMC (1)

BestNicksRTaken (582194) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320907)

yeah, i'd probably agree with you here, mplayer and amarok can do what xbmc can do, but don't have a single interface.

i suspect that a lot of the point of porting it to linux is to run it on the ps3, and eventually on the xbox360, which is starting to boot linux, moreso than to run it under linux on regular pc's.

you could run it on a mac mini and get an appletv-killer - oh wait, apple are killing off the mini ;-p

the other thought is that it could be legit on the xbox1 by running it under linux on that, although linux+mythtv frontend is stupidly slow on xbox1.

a big barrier to entry is to developing xbmc is that you need visual studio 2003, 2005 won't work as the xdk doesn't work with it, and i think you need the pro/enterprise version too - certainly not express; and you can't legitimately get hold of the xdk (the foss version really never took off). gcc would be much nicer, lets face it, the xbox1 is just an x86 pc.

by running on top of linux you also gain things like a nfs client - xbmc has ftp/web/samba, but ssh server and nfs client would be great, damn even vnc would be cool!

of course you're going to lose things like the instant boot and no-hassle capabilities of just running on the xbox1, but gain performance and flexibility by running under linux.

get the xbox360 booting linux (kinda done) with xbmc2 on top and i'll buy an elite ;-)

Re:XBMC (2, Insightful)

Gamester17 (1108351) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321339)

Note! You do not need Visual Studio to develop XBMC for Linux, nor do you need the XDK (Xbox Development Kit), you do not even need Microsoft Windows. Those are only needed when you develop XBMC for Xbox.

If are are competent with C/C++ programming-language then all you need to start with developing XBMC for Linux (to help in the porting project) is a x86-based computer running Linux, (Ubuntu 7.04 is recommended). The software development tool used to develop XBMC under Linux is called Kdevelop, which is also free and open source.
http://xbmc.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/*checkout*/ xbmc/branches/linuxport/XBMC/README.linux [sourceforge.net]

Re:XBMC (1)

Sark666 (756464) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321809)

Hmm, I can't agree here. You talk as if there is a multitude of choices of all in one guis to access your media content on linux. Let's see there's mythtv and freevo (there's one other that's has had some development but the name escapes me). Myth is awesome, but the gui has always felt sluggish to me, whereas xbmc is responsive and fast as one would expect from a gui. And freevo, well I heard they have made some improvements, so I can't say currently, but when I tried it awhile back it felt pretty hacked together.

If someone wants to use some old hardware to hack together a media box, this sounds like the first choice and would be a welcome addition of options on linux. It would be a shame to let it gradually be left behind with the xbox 1 platform.

Perhaps another source of help ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19320491)

Since this is a huge porting effort and 95% of the code for a Linux port and a *BSD port would be identical, I wonder, wouldn't it make sense to try and bring other unix-type operating systems into the effort as well?

slashdork (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19320567)

am i the only one who's become so sick and tired of slashdork flying the banner of any linsux project regardless of how pointless it may be?

i can't believe that people actually care that this is ported. doesn't linsux already have software that does what this does without the xbox baggage?

Re:slashdork (1)

pike2k (1108803) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321255)

I can't believe you wasted everyone's time typing those words

Re:slashdork (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19322375)

in turn, you've wasted my time by being an asshat.

About damn time... (5, Informative)

EvilNight (11001) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320581)

Xbox Media Center is one of the best kept secrets in the programming world. After all, it only runs on the original Xbox, and while there is a healthy modding community that has been hacking them since release, it isn't exactly mainstream. It's been a crying shame that this exceptional media program has been tied to the original Xbox for so long, and I'm thrilled that it's being ported over to Linux and set free for everyone to use.

The killer feature of this program is *not* what it does. It's a very powerful and robust media player, certainly, but the true power comes from the user interface, which is simple, effective, straightforward and very pretty to look at (and fully skinnable). Anyone who has used a TiVo or similar television media interface should have no problems using XBMC. Now that it is no longer tied to the Xbox, it will be possible to create small form factor media center systems running linux and give them a truly excellent user interface.

The interface supports running external programs (in particular, games and game emulators), python scripting to handle writing widgets to interface with popular media sites like YouTube, file management, and streaming from nearly any source. It also works as an FTP/Samba/HTTP server to serve out whatever media is stored on the disk to other sources. There is a web interface for remote management. It'll work with USB joysticks and remote control as well as keyboards. There is a web browser but it's a bit hinky - I'm sure that someone will merge it with Firefox after it is ported.

If you're wondering why anyone would give a damn about the original Xbox or this program, the upshot is this... for $129 you could buy a P3 system (xbox), hack it with software exploits (fairly easily), install a hard disk up to 1TB in side to replace the original, and have a portable media player box that could hold hundreds of hours of content and play it back in 480p/720p/1080i and DTS. The price to do that with any computer was far higher at the time (and frankly still is, especially in setup time). I've been carting mine around for years and have had a great many friends request that I make one for them. I think I've done around thirty of them by now.

I think Microsoft/Sony completely missed the boat by overlooking this application for their gaming consoles. Either they just didn't see it or they don't like this behavior and see it as a liability of some kind. Either way, we won't be needing them much longer. A clever company could probably turn this into a killer set-top app with some business savvy. All it needs is a bit-torrent backend for sharing content with other users and connectivity to media sites, and you've got a TV channel killer on your hands and a new distribution network (if it ever gets big).

Re:About damn time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19320645)

The reason XMBC is dead for a lot of us, is the fact the xbox doesn't have the power to handle HD very well, particularly h.264 encoded streams (by far the most common for HD).

This is a shame, when XBMC wasn't crashing and generally not working, it was one of the finest media applications I've used. But then, it's using mplayer under the hood which does a fine job of most formats and codecs.

Something like this is sorely missed on my PS3 (and I guess the xbox360). Unfortunately linux on the PS3 doesn't have direct access to the hardware, so video playback uses the framebuffer, which is rather slow for HD content.

Re:About damn time... (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322653)

Is there a good reason why the PS3's Linux does not have full access to the hardware beyond lack of proper documentation?

Re:About damn time... (1)

penp (1072374) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320999)

If you're wondering why anyone would give a damn about the original Xbox or this program, the upshot is this... for $129 you could buy a P3 system (xbox)
Check.

hack it with software exploits (fairly easily)
Check.

install a hard disk up to 1TB in side to replace the original
Check. (I used a 300GB maxtor)

and have a portable media player box that could hold hundreds of hours of content and play it back in 480p/720p/1080i and DTS
And then scream with terror after the hard drive you just filled with files from your PC via ftp dies, losing 200+gb of movies, roms, and other crap.

Don't let it happen to you! To be fair, I should have seen it coming, the hd being a maxtor and all.

Re:About damn time... (1)

EvilNight (11001) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322989)

It happens. A good foam carrying case for an xbox runs about $25 at Toys-R-Us or similar places. It cuts down on the abuse while in your trunk. I never put anything on there I can't afford to lose.

My worst one was formatting my 750GB model as one huge 750GB F drive. The partition table starts looping back on itself at the 256GB mark, so I overwrote everything on the system by copying in new media. I broke the 1TB model up into C/E/F/G at 256GB each and the problem hasn't reappeared. That would be a pain to manage except that XBMC has a mode that hides the locations of files, making one large list from as many library locations as you specify. Kinda handy.

Re:About damn time... (2, Informative)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321395)

install a hard disk up to 1TB in side to replace the original

Why bother? With the exception of a couple of console emulators, every XBMC application I've tried has had flawless support for Samba file sharing. I'd rather stick that 1TB drive in a desktop PC or network file server, and mount my video/game/music directories so they're accessible to any machine on the network, including the Xbox.

play it back in 480p/720p/1080i

Upscaled to 720p/1080i, it should be noted. The Xbox's CPU isn't quite powerful enough to decode most native HD content in realtime.

I think Microsoft/Sony completely missed the boat by overlooking this application for their gaming consoles.

I don't think they did; they just blew it on the implementation. There was an "Media Center Extender" package briefly available for the Xbox, which allowed the console to stream content off an XP MCE computer; the 360 has this capability built-in. But still you're limited to the content that Microsoft wants you to have access to; ideally, they want you buying it from the Xbox Marketplace.

XBMC has taken the approach that if you own the hardware, and you possess a copy of the content, you should be able to use them together however you want. And the result of this approach has been that XBMC is the best media center to yet exist.

Re:About damn time... (1)

EvilNight (11001) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322101)

All of the media center implementation attempts I've seen others make fell flat for me as well. They always came off as a half baked idea that was never properly implemented, and in Microsoft's case, always tied to a windows box somewhere. The teams looking at them didn't see them the way we do. They've failed to understand their customers - a problem XBMC does not have.

The reason you'd do the 1TB thing is because it's portable and all you need is a TV to enjoy your entire DVD library (XBMC will play raw ISOs flawlessly). You can't touch that in a portable computer - the xbox has plenty of travel cases, rather like a suitcase for your data if you like. If you just want something for your own home that will never move, you can hack it and install this in under ten minutes flat from opening the box, and stream everything off of your own fileservers. If you don't need to replace the original 8-10gb disk, then 95% of the hacking (and the worst of it) goes completely away.

Of course, there are still plenty of format problems, mainly to do with that bass-ackwards bastardized semi-Fat12/16 filesystem. Max partition size of 256GB (the 257th wraps over the first, found that out the hard way), the 39.3 filename limitations, no defragmentation, slow access... it's hardly optimal. Once it is on linux we'll all be a lot better off.

Heh, xentoo runs fine on the xbox. When this port is solid I'll probably install xentoo on my xbox and use the linux port just to get away from all of the other limitations of the original xbox operating system.

Re:About damn time... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322023)

The killer feature of this program is *not* what it does. It's a very powerful and robust media player, certainly, but the true power comes from the user interface, which is simple, effective, straightforward and very pretty to look at (and fully skinnable). Anyone who has used a TiVo or similar television media interface should have no problems using XBMC. Now that it is no longer tied to the Xbox, it will be possible to create small form factor media center systems running linux and give them a truly excellent user interface.

We already have that, it's called MythTV [mythtv.org]. What does XBMC have that MythTV doesn't?

Re:About damn time... (1)

a_ghostwheel (699776) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322663)

Well designed interface that my parents/wife/kids were able to use without a single explanation from me. You should try it and see the difference.

Re:About damn time... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322981)

What are you talking about? MythTV is dead simple to use. Might be a hassle to get set-up, but anyone that breathes should be able to use it.

Re:About damn time... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322833)

I haven't used MythTV, but XBMC is truly beautiful and the default skin is not only gorgeous but highly functional. Take a look at XBMC. It's really quite impressive. (I wonder if you could run it in an Xbox emulator, for a trial...)

Re:About damn time... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#19323013)

Maybe I wasn't clear in my original posting, but I've used both. In fact, I use XBMC now because I have an xbox hooked up to my TV anyway. If I were to use a linux box as suggested in TFA, I'd just use MythTV.

Re:About damn time... (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322053)

Here's a question for ya.

Can I make the XBMC in my living room start playing MP3s based on what I type in my bed room?

Every "Media Center" I've ever seen wants me to "Share" the files, walk 50 feet, pick up the remote control, squint at my television to read what songs are there, select them, play them, and walk back to my bedroom. Frankly, it's annoying.

My current hack is a homebrew wsh script on an XP pro box, I dump MP3s over the network, it picks 'em up, plays 'em, and deletes 'em.

The only problem is when I want to send movies this way, it works, but it takes a while to copy a two hour movie from one computer to another.

What I'd REALLY like is, say, a display filter for media player. Then I could play the media in the bedroom, but have it DISPLAY in the livingroom.

Kind of like X, actually, except that I run Windows at home. And X doesn't do anything with sound.

Re:About damn time... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322465)

If you want network transparency and scripting, why the hell are you using windows? Use the right tool for the job and you'll find that there's no end of solutions. You might find you'd like the Music Player Daemon [musicpd.org] or MythTV [mythtv.org]. Or enable X forwarding and run Amarok across the network. Or just ssh in and use mplayer.

And if you're seriously set on using Windows for this, why not enable file sharing and let the network transfer your MP3s on the fly?

Anyway, to answer your question, you can do this with FTP Site commands [xboxmediacenter.com]. There's also a web API but I haven't used it.

Re:About damn time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19322601)

Yes.

XBMC has a built in web interface that you can use to completely control it.

I am confused (2, Interesting)

Slashcrap (869349) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320603)

I was under the impression that XBMC was basically a modified version of Mplayer. Now I can't believe that they coded their own OS to run on the bare metal and I somehow doubt they were using Windows. So that basically leaves Linux, right?

So they're porting a Linux based Linux media player to Linux?

Would anyone like to correct me or alternatively join me in a severe case of WTF?

Re:I am confused (5, Informative)

pike2k (1108803) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320707)

yes you are (confused) Yes, we use mplayer on Xbox1, as one of _several_ CORES for playback. it's not the stock mplayer but a modified version. XBMC is the gui and all added functions, too many for me to list. You need to have used xbmc to understand what it's about /pike, XBMC Projectmanager

Re:I am confused (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320859)

You need to have used xbmc to understand what it's about /pike

Well, I've got MythTv, gqview, and mplayer and it's several years since I had any trouble playing a media file on my Linux box, so why don't you tell us, since you're here, why I would want something else, let alone download and install 350Ms? What's the point of this xbmc thing outside of the console environment?

TWW

Re:I am confused (1, Interesting)

pike2k (1108803) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320957)

how can I put this.. XBMC = EXCELLENCE 350M (a figure I'm not sure is accurate) = sourcecode, why don't you just download try it when there's something to try regards

Re:I am confused (1)

CerebusUS (21051) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321309)

As a longtime XBMC user: What XBMC brings to the table is an excellent 15-foot interface, seemless integration with a LARGE number of formats (including SMB shares and many types of streaming media) and a very active skinning / modding community. The fact that it's currently limited to the original xBox hardware is it's only weak point, in my mind. This keeps it from being able to play 720p content very well, simply because the hardware lacks the power.

A typical XBMC installation package (which is generally illegal, due to licensing restrictions on the compiler) runs between 25 and 50MB, so it's not that big.

I think the biggest challenge they will face with the linux port is hardware support. The xbox platform allowed them to focus more on the interface than trying to support a ton of different ir controllers / video cards / etc.

I wish them the best of luck, as I'd love to go get a MacMini and run XBMC (LBMC? LMC? XBMC4L?) on it.

Re:I am confused (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322957)

I think the biggest challenge they will face with the linux port is hardware support. The xbox platform allowed them to focus more on the interface than trying to support a ton of different ir controllers / video cards / etc.

That is not a problem, because it is an OS problem, not an application problem. Remember, they're porting it to Linux and SDL, not to some bare hardware. To them, SDL is the driver layer. This is excellent because SDL is available for a number of other platforms, so this is also a first step towards a Windows release (on which the XDK will not help you - Xbox 360 doesn't have this problem, what with XNA, but that's not interesting here. Otherwise it's Win32 code, which makes this an amusing way to get closer to Windows support.)

In addition, in terms of providing an Xbox install themselves if they choose, they can simply distribute a modified Xebian with XBMC; drivers are already taken care of. There's no 3D support that I'm aware of, though, so you'd lose the snazzy 3D screensavers unless MesaGL can run them at a decent speed in software. Some of them definitely wouldn't work this way :)

Re:I am confused (2, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322985)

WAF or GFAF. (Wife Acceptance Factor and GF Acceptance Factor, respectively).

XBMC is idiot proof. They turn it on and it works. I use ccxstream instead of Samba because I have no reason to use Samba on my debian server.

It's hard to explain if you've never seen it in action. If I go over to a friend's house and we want to watch some movies I can ftp them to the hard drive, toss the XBOX in my backpack and go. Almost all TVs on the market have RCA inputs. If I lose my remote I can pull up http://xbox/ [xbox] on my laptop and play media.

XBMC is an amazing piece of OSS. The interface keeps getting more and more polished. The only downside is the Xbox is starting to show its age. If I could get XBMC on an AppleTV and use the exact same interface, I would.

Re:I am confused (1)

Sark666 (756464) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321637)

I don't have one but have used xbmc at my friends and it is a joy to use. It doesn't just look good, but has a sleek, responsive interface. I do have a myth box myself, and the backend is rock solid, but have found the mythfrontend to be somewhat sluggish and have wanted the responsiveness that xbmc gives.

But I am curious as well now, I know it's main player is mplayer, but regarding the gui and everything else, I thought it was all written with a modified version of linux? I guess not, but a better explanation there would be interesting.

And from a myth users point of view, I read it can playback mythrecordings (not sure if that's accurate), but I doubt it can accesss the live tv options. Not sure about the guide and stuff. If I could use xmbc as an alternate frontend to mythfrontend, I would change in a heartbeat.

But regardless, the option to port this is a nobrainer, as it would be a shame to let this fine piece of software fade into the background as xbox dwindles.

Re:I am confused (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19321659)

the xbox runs a stripped down version of Windows 2000. The executable files are called .xbe instead of .exe. it evens uses a variation of Direct X for the games. do some research the next time you are confused.

AppleTV will be the primary platform (2, Interesting)

bbzzdd (769894) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320701)

The developers are looking to target AppleTV as the lead platform [avsforum.com] (at least on the low-end). This is great as the beauty of XBMC was that it ran on a console and everyone running it was on the same page hardware-wise. The only downside is lack of optical storage on the ATV and whether or not it can decode 1080p content.

duplication of effort... (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 6 years ago | (#19320833)

check out Linux MCE [linuxmce.com]... far more powerful and sits nicely over existing linux distros. See the nice review here [google.com]

Re:duplication of effort... (1)

pike2k (1108803) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321029)

How about: I don't watch the "how much linuxmce pwns all and everything else" video again, I'm gonna assume that's what you linked to. Why do I see several linux people thinking this is a bad thing? When has choice ever been a bad thing?

duplication of good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19321913)

"When has choice ever been a bad thing?"

When has it ever been assumed to always be a good thing?

Re:duplication of effort... (1)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321657)

Except that LinuxMCE is broken, doesn't work, and support from the developers is poor.

Infact it is un-installable (unless they fixxed it last night, and I have not checked). How many other FOSS project offer 'support' via Skype and YIM? Yes it is a nifty idea, but only if the devs actually log-in to those accounts. IRC remains barren. IRC is ideal because many people get to see/share the info that is posted. The official forums seem to be devoid of any dev interaction, and the bug-report might be falling on deaf ears for all the confirmation of bugs I have posted.

I love the concept of this project. I dearly wish it would work.

Re:duplication of effort... (1)

EvilNight (11001) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322615)

I've played with it. XBMC has more stability and a much better interface, and is far easier to set up and get working, and requires far cheaper hardware and a lot less hacking even to get on a modded xbox. XBMC has a much more active community, is more feature rich, and has better support. Frankly, LinuxMCE is for linux weenies - the kind who want to play with a computer. I don't want to play - I want to turn something on, get a killer media center, and then *use it* to watch media without ever worrying about anything other than the occasional update. Let me know when the LinuxMCE folks are selling something that does that in a half hour out of the box.

I do agree though that eventually, all of these things could/should be rolled into one solid media center distribution. Don't overlook Pluto@Home either. It's got some very clever ideas even if the implementation is a bit hacky as well.

Re:duplication of effort... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19322765)

Call me when MythTV or LinuxMCE (which wraps MythTV) can:

- aggregate multiple SAMBA shared directories into a single listing
- stack the resulting files so that "Shrek disk1" and "Shrek disk2" are combined into a single "Shrek"
- automatically retrieve IMDB info for the resulting list
- provide bookmarking of locations while watching the movie

I use MythTV for a PVR but its video, picture, and music library features are pathetic.

On a side note, why the heck doesn't MythVideo stream to a front-end the same way watching a recorded show does.

Why bother with humility ? (5, Insightful)

Etyenne (4915) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321321)

XBMC is, by far, one of the finest projects to come out of the open source community

Clearly, it is in the same league as Apache, Firefox, gcc and the Linux kernel.

Re:Why bother with humility ? (2, Insightful)

Builder (103701) | more than 6 years ago | (#19321713)

Not even close. I could use Zeus to replace Apache. I could use an Intel or a Sun compiler to replace gcc. I can use FreeBSD to not only replace the Linux kernel, but to get a full OS. I can use Opera to replace Firefox.

XBMC is FAR more important than all of these things - it gives me a full media extender that my wife can not only use, but loves for around 90 quid. It brings peace and harmony to my home. It replaced my VCR and DVD recorder.

Re:Why bother with humility ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19322435)

How does XBMC compare to MythTV?

Re:Why bother with humility ? (2, Informative)

EvilNight (11001) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322899)

Different projects with different goals - however, that said, in spirit they are very similar. The television based user interfaces share a lot of the same ideas. I'd rate XBMC as a more user friendly product but Myth is closeer to it than any other working app I've seen. Myth and XBMC would make a good pairing - one for managing, watching, and recording your television shows, the other for connecting you to any other media on any network or server. MythTV would make a good addition to XBMC's front menu with a label of "Television". XBMC does have plugins to communicate with Myth, but they are a bit primitive at this stage. Rolling them together would be a fine project for Ubuntu Studio or some other media center distribution like LinuxMCE or Pluto@Home.

I'll second the previous poster's comment of "not even close." I know nothing that can replace this app once you've come to use it for a while. There are no comparable programs out there of similar quality - the closest to it I mentioned above but they are not nearly as good.

This is absolutely as much of a killer app for TV-based computers as Apache was for commodity web servers. Far too many people are assuming this is just another media player. It's not. It's a frontend for anything you could possibly want to do on a television set with a computer, and the best one going. Pictures do not do it justice, no more than a picture of an Ubuntu desktop tells you what happens when you start digging into the menus and programs. Try it before you knock it.

Reactos (1)

eternal (112324) | more than 6 years ago | (#19322393)

How about a port to work with ReactOS? Wouldnt this be faster? MY understanding is the xbox uses a ntkernel.
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