XBMC, Xbox Media Center

January 20, 2009

Is simply the best mediaplayer that has ever existed period. It is fast, easy to use and features several interesting features such as the ability to play .rar files containg .iso files or other kinds of media.

Originally developed for the Xbox it has now been moved to Linux, Windows, Apple-TV and (most interesting) Live-CD / USB-stick which should open the opportunity for hardware manufacturers to start building cool media-center-machines.

There is no repository available (yet) for Intrepid, but in the forums someone claimed that the hardy repositories works fine. So go to:
System / Administration / Software sources and hit the “Third-party software” tab. Add these two, one-by-one:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/team-xbmc-hardy/ubuntu hardy main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/team-xbmc-hardy/ubuntu hardy main
Close and reload and goto Add/Remove applications where


Getting rid of PulseAudio

November 25, 2008

Found an excellent guide (in Swedish) to remove PulseAudio. Basically do this:

Check that your system uses Pulseaudio (it says clearly by Card and Chip) in the top left corner.

sudo rm /etc/X11/Xsession.d/70pulseaudio
killall pulseaudio
sudo apt-get remove pulseaudio
sudo apt-get install esound

Then run:
And check that it is not using PulseAudio any longer.

I will report after thorough testing if it works fine.

XBMC yes, as long as you get rid of PulseAudio

November 23, 2008

As I wrote in my earlier post about PulseAudio it doesn’t work to well with XBMC Media Center.

I have now been using XBMC quite a lot for a full week and have no problems what so ever, as long as PulseAudio is closed first.

sudo killall pulseaudio

As soon as I have a little more time I will investigate how a uninstall of PulseAudio could affect the system…

XBMC and Pulseaudio

November 19, 2008

Xbox Media Center seems to have a share of problems on my system. The most recent events has been that the audio seems to crash, either going silent or getting stuck in a endless loop that’s quite annoying. This seems to happen quite often if I jump in movies.

The first solution, rebooting the system, wasn’t exactly neat. The second is sort-of work-in-progress. But it seems to work which is nice:

In System – Preferences – Sound I’ve changed all settings to use ALSA screenshot-sound-preferences

Then either before I start XBMC or when the problem occurs I run:

sudo killall pulseaudio
ps aux | grep pulse

If there still is pulseaudio processes left I kill them with

sudo kill -9 whateverprocess

I think this happens mostly when I has been running XBMC and the audio is hung. Of course the ideal thing here would be to disable pulseaudio completely, or to pray for team-xbmc to fix this. I have not decided what to do yet, I have to do some reading on this PulseAudio, it might be there for some other reason than to break XBMC.

YES! Xbox Media Center, now in a repository for Intrepid

November 9, 2008

Xbox Media Center, for those of you unaware, is simply the most amazing media-playing-center-thingy around. I’ve been using it on modded Xboxes for ages, and been running it and its cousin Plex on Mac for a while, and, on my previous installation of Ubuntu on my laptop.

Since I’ve read about problems with running the Hardy-version on Intrepid I’ve been waiting for it to turn up for Intrepid which it has today (or maybe some other day, I haven’t really checked on a daily basis.).

Go “System” – “Administration” – “Software Sources” and hit the “Third-Party Software”. Hit “Add” twice and enter the following lines, separated with a “Add Source” button press:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/team-xbmc-intrepid/ubuntu intrepid main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/team-xbmc-intrepid/ubuntu intrepid main

(Here I wonder if both really are needed, it feels like one could be for compiled stuff and the other for sources, and I won’t really use any of the sources so I don’t know if I need both, someone?)

Close and reload and wander over to “System” – “Administration” – “synaptic package manager”. Hit the button “Origin” (down in the left corner) and choose “ppa.launchpad.net/main” above and all the interesting packages will show up. I started out with the xbmc package and xbmc-scripts-supported. Hit apply and wait.

Problems? This page is the first in a long thread which deals with the Intrepid installation

My troubles are frightening me, when starting XBMC I get an error I had on this laptop when running Compiz (which I don’t for the moment). The error is that the latitudes fan is spinning up faster and faster until the computer shuts of with a click. This error made Dell travel out to me and change the motherboard so I thought it was fixed. Wonder if there could be a Nvidia / Dell / Latitude bug with intensive graphic load. On the other hand, how intensive could it be to show the first page of XBMC. It took me some hours to get back on track, but now I will have a go again as soon as I have published this.

A rather nasty crash…

November 9, 2008

While preparing and testing XBMC (will write about that soon) I had a really nasty crash which prevented me from doing anything with my computer. After the login screen a couple of error messages with stuff like

"Failed to contact configuration server, some possible causes are that you need to enable TCP/IP networking for ORBIt or you have stale NFS locks due to a system crash. See http://www.gnome.org/projects/gconf/ for information. (Details - 1: IOR file '/tmp/gconfd-root/lock/ior' not opened successfully, no gconfd located: Input/output error 2: IOR file '/tmp/gconfd-root/lock/ior' not opened successfully, no gconfd located: Input/output error)"

Tried everything I could think of, booted from a CD, ran FSCK, rebooted, rebooted again, read a thousand pages on Google (on another computer), went through the syslog and messages logs etc. My Gnome screen was black, and the only thing that worked was the mouse and PrntScrn which, apart from bringing up the screendump dialog also generated an error message.

The solution which I found here, sortof, which in turn makes it possible for me to write this, was to rename saved_state like this:

mv ~/.gconfd/saved_state saved_state.old

Reasons like this makes it hard to suggest Linux to my mother…