Xbox Frontend on Xebian stable

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Installing an Xbox Frontend on Xebian Stable

Alex Fisher has recompiled Christian Marillat's mythtv 0.20 source package against debian stable and optimised for Pentium 3.

The advantage with this configuration is that you do not need to upgrade any part of your Xebian from stable (sarge) to unstable (sid).

The following will end you with a ratpoison window manager and autostarting mythfrontend, with information taken from mycampus' Xebian And Mythtv-frontend HOWTO and the xbox-linux MythTV on Xebian wiki, combined together and a few steps clarified / added.


1. Xbox has been modded (either soft or hard, following assumes Krayzie's Ndure) and boots to a modded dashboard of some kind.

2. You are NOT using HDTV output. RGB Scart and Composite are fine, others you may have to try additional things to get working.

3. You know what size drive is in your xbox (open it up and look, or install XBMC and check product IDs in there).

4. Mythbackend 0.20.2 is installed somewhere else on the network.

5. Xbox has access to the network, with an IP in the same subnet as your mythbackend PC.

6. Make sure your mythbackend is configured with an IP not the default You change this in mythsetup.

Install Xebian 1.1.4

Download Xebian 1.1.4-xbox, named dist-1.1.4-xbox.tar.gz at then extract and burn the ISO to disc using the slowest available speed and Track-At-Once if available. AS the xbox's dvd drive has compatibility issues, you may have to try burning to a different DVDR/W or CDR/W until one works.

Before booting Xebian, connect all devices you wish to use to the xbox via USB to Xbox converter cables if needed, inc. mouse, keyboard, remote and Xbox control pad. This may or may not help with correct drivers being loaded during install, but it don't hurt to make sure does it?

Insert the disc in to the xbox, and depending on your mod method it may just run, or with the Ndure mod, power off the xbox with disc in drive, power back on and Xebian should just start to boot. If not, try another disc.

Now follow the Xebian And Mythtv-frontend HOWTO pdf, steps 4.1 through 4.5. They're reproduced below incase the PDF ever goes awol.

If no keyboard is available, open xvkbd from the Apps > Tools menu available when pressing B on the xbox controler.

Now start a bash shell from Apps > Shells and, using the virtual keyboard if necessary, type:

cd /etc/network
nano interfaces

Edit the "iface eth0 inet static" line to read

iface eth0 inet dhcp

and save / exit nano by using Ctrl-X, hit Y, and enter. Now restart your ethernet interface using:

ifdown eth0
ifup eth0

You should see printout confirming the assignment of a correct IP / gateway / subnet.

Now SSH in to the xbox, either via Linux or using Putty on a Windows PC. On linux, this is:

ssh root@(xbox ip)

And on windows just type the ip in to the first box in putty and connect. Click or type yes to any key queries, and use "xebian" as the password.

Now install Xebian using the following command:


You have a few options now; check the pdf for more but if you have a 10GB Seagate hard drive in you box, you'll probably want to install to the unused 2GB hard drive space (or F:/ partition) as it seems quicker than installing on E:. If you only have an 8GB Western Digital drive, you'll have to install to E: (check the pdf for instructions), otherwise:

Choose the 2nd Install to free space option. Change the swap size to 512M (may or may not make much difference from 256M but it can't be bad).

When asked for IP / Netmask / Gateway, enter the xbox's current IP / Netmask / Gateway (that's the IP you're using to access over ssh, and your backend's netmask / gateway should be the same). Use whatever hostname you like but I kept default. Local network domain should proabably left at local.localdomain unless you know better. And that should be about it, once install is done you should see the text "Happy penguin" and you can type "shutdown -h now" to shutdown. Now power on with the eject button, remove the CD and boot in to your old dashboard.

You can boot xebian using the default.xbe file in E:/debian, which you should be able to access via your dashboard, in XBMC it's under Programs (you may have to add E:/debian as a source and chose the 2.3GB Linux program). Section 4.6 in the PDF gives more details on adding dashboard buttons to quick load the thing. Either way, it should take aprox 55 seconds to boot from F, and look identicle to the live CD.

Update Xebian

This is where I went a little wrong, but it worked and from my experience using Linux updates, doing anything different may mean it doesn't work, so best you do the same...

After logging in via SSH again, firstly add the following two lines to the end of /etc/sources.list (using "nano /etc/sources.list", Ctrl-X, Y, enter to save):

deb sarge main
deb sarge main

The other links should be *left* using the *stable* repos. Now, update Xebian using the following command, which includes installing the joe text editor as it a) is what I did (and it worked) and b) ensures your updates are working as they shoudl:

apt-get update
apt-get install joe
apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

The joe installation will print out a readme file, just type :q (colon, Q) to exit it, and ignore the errors about writing to readme files. The upgrade should ask a number of questions, namely asking whetehr to overwrite or keep a previous install file. Just chose be default N to keep it, :q out of any readmes, and generally follow the defaults. Once upgraded you'll be dumped at a normal command prompt and just type "shutdown -r now" to reboot, then start up again from the dashboard.

Update Sources

SSH in again, and again edit your sources.list to change all "stable" links to "sarge". The resulting sources.list file will look like this:

deb sarge main contib non-free
deb sarge/non-US main contrib non-free
deb-src sarge/non-US main contrib non-free

deb sarge/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src sarge/updates main contrib non-free

deb sarge main
deb sarge main 

If you do not do this, you will get dependency errors when trying to install mythtv-frontend.

Install MythTV

Run the following commands

apt-get update
apt-get install mythtv-frontend

Known/Possible Issues

Jack Lowry has had a problem with his backend (Slackware 10.2, myth .19, mysql to 4.1.4) and his upgrading his xbox (xebian + mythtv 0.18 -> 0.19) with a mysql problem

But now I have a mysql version issue, when myth tries to make a 
connection to the mysql database I get a message in the .xsession-errors 
file that says:
ERROR 1251: Client does not support authentication protocol requested by 
server; consider upgrading MySQL client
I've also tried the mysql client and got the same error message.

It seems newer versions of mysql use a new password scheme that's compatible with the mysql client compiled into myth packages I was using. The following link provides several methods to work beyond this problem. I created a new user for my xbox frontend using the old format password.

Another alternative is to check the my.cnf file on the server. It may contain an option to enable old-scheme passwords. Also, if you are unable to connect to the database check the my.cnf file to see if mysql is bound to an actual network address and not

A simpler (MythTV) related solution to this problem can be found at the following link:

Bear in mind that MythTV on the X-Box will run under the userid "live" and the instructions in the link above assumes the X-Box MySQL userid is also "live", so make sure you use this userid when configuring via mythtvsetup (runs by default first time) or by editing /home/live/.mythtv/mysql.txt.