Xbox Linux Project

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I've installed Linux on my XBox. Here's a list of things that worked. This is more a list to myself to help me remember what I've done, but maybe it'll be useful to someone else as well.

My Xbox was manufactured March 2004. I attempted to do a software only install, but didn't have great success. I got the Mechinstall hack to work, but I couldn't boot a Linux CD.

So I purchased a solderless mod chip from http://www.easybuy2000.com

1 XBOX - 1 X-CHIP COMBO 636 $59.00 $59.00

It came with the Cronwell bios installed. I plugged it in. It worked just fine. The only thing I haven't figured out is a way for it to automatically boot Linux after so many seconds. Right now I have to use the controller to select the bios, and then to have it boot off the hard drive.

I have an 8 GB hard drive, so I installed Xebian onto the game save partition. Maybe later I'll replace the hard drive with another IDE drive I have lying around. As it is, I have 3,000 GBs.

When use my Windows 2000 computer to ssh into the xbox. I'd added the xbox to my host file, and setup a static IP on the xbox. When I login in, I'm given this version information:

  Welcome to the : Xebian
  Version : 1.1.0-xbox
  Author : Edgar Hucek (hostmaster@ed-soft.at)
  Hostname : xbox.localdomain.local
  Linux Ver. : 2.4.27

Today, I'm going to try to get vnc working. Since the xbox is in a different room from my Windows computer this will help. The first thing I did was:

xbox:~# apt-get install vncserver
xbox:~# vncserver

You will require a password to access your desktops.

Password: xebian
Verify: xebian

xauth:  creating new authority file /root/.Xauthority

New 'X' desktop is xbox.localdomain.local:1

Starting applications specified in /etc/X11/Xsession
Log file is /root/.vnc/xbox.localdomain.local:1.log

Back on my Win2k machine, I ran

"C:\Program Files\TightVNC-unstable\vncviewer.exe" xbox:1

The VNC server starts a new desktop, and lets you connect to that desktop. The desktop was quite ugly, so I right clicked, selected Styles, and choose qnx-photon. This looked quite nice even through VNC. I don't know how to reconfigure VNC to use more colors. I might figure that out later.

To access my MP3's on my Win2k computer, I used this command:

mount -t smbfs -o username=Administrator,password=,debug=4 //192.168.123.123/C_Drive /win2k
mount -t smbfs -o username=Administrator,password=,debug=4 //192.168.123.123/mp3 ~/mp3

I'd like to play some emulated games. So far I haven't been able to get this to work. Here's my try an the zsnes enumlator, for the Super-Nintendo.

apt-get install zsnes
zsnes /win2k/Games/SNesMARIO.SMC

When launched, my TV flickers. I can see the game, but it's not playable. The sound is there, and everything seems so close to working.

I found I could do this to set the clock:

ntpdate time.nrc.ca time.chu.nrc.ca
xhost +local:0.0
export DISPLAY=:0.0
apt-get install '.*snes9.*'
startx
xeyes

OK, I seem to have solved the 'flicker' problem by running the emulators through X11. X11 has a few problems that I haven't figured out how to fix:

  • Title bar is always at top of screen - no full screen mode
  • Not all buttons seem to map ok. Namely Start & Select in zsnes. Need to fix this to play most games.
  • The mouse does not turn off while you are playing your game. Because Xebian uses the Xbox controller for a mouse and gamepad, it does not stop the mouse when you are playing your game. This creates a lot of bothersome problems. I think if I connected a normal mouse I could disable the Xbox controller mouse.
  • Up/Down was inverted. Also, I couldn't use the directional pad.
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