In the last post I described how you can use XBMC Live on the Acer Revo but as well as that works it seemed a waste to restrict the Revo to just XBMC so I’ve since installed the 64 bit version of Xubuntu instead and run XBMC on top of that.
I chose Xubuntu as it is a light weight version of Ubuntu using the XFCE window manager instead of the Gnome desktop environment so has the advantage of having all the Ubuntu repositories available without the overhead of running Gnome or KDE (in the case of Kubuntu).
I installed the 64-bit version of Xubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) available here.
As with XBMC Live I used unetbootin to create a bootable image on a USB flash drive (actually an SD card in this case). Once this is done insert the flash drive or SD card into the Revo and turn it on, pressing F12 during boot and selecting the USB drive or SD as the boot device.
I installed it into the unpartitioned space on the Revo drive leaving the factory Linpus install in place. Linpus is added as an option to the Grub boot menu allowing you to choose between it and your new Xubuntu install should you need to (I can’t see why you would).
Once you have installed Xubuntu and booted into it you will see a popup within a few minutes prompting you to install the proprietary Nvidia drivers which you will need to use the Revo’s ION GPU for HD playback (you will also need to change the “Render Method” to VDPAU in the XBMC settings later on as with the Live setup).
If you have an infra red remote control such as a MCE remote control you will need to install LIRC by opening a terminal and typing: sudo apt-get install lirc
Once it has installed it will guide you through choosing what model of remote receiver you have.
Next add the PPA repositry for XBMC:
In a terminal enter: sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
and copy the following lines at the bottom of the file:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/team-xbmc/ppa/ubuntu karmic main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/team-xbmc/ppa/ubuntu karmic main
Save the file and exit nano (Ctrl-O then Ctrl-X)
Add the key for the PPA repository:
sudo apt-key adv –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com –recv-keys 91E7EE5E
Then update: sudo apt-get update
Now you can install XBMC with: sudo apt-get install xbmc
XBMC can now be started from the Multimedia menu and will be kept up to date when you install Xubuntu updates.
If you want XBMC to start automatically on boot go to “Settings -> Session and Startup” and on on the Application Autostart tab click Add and enter xbmc -fs as the command. If you didn’t choose automatic login during the installation you can do so now by going to “System -> Login Screen”.
Now when you boot the Revo it will go straight into XBMC. Once in XBMC you can use the key to switch between full screen and windowed mode or quit XBMC to go back to the Xubuntu Desktop.
If you want to turn off the Xubuntu screensaver/blanker go to “Settings -> Screensaver”.
Boxee also works well. Download the 64 bit Ubuntu version from the Boxee web site.
Before installing Boxee you will need to install a few dependencies, from a terminal enter:
sudo apt-get install libcurl4-openssl-dev libsdl-gfx1.2-4 python2.4 python-sqlite libfaad-dev libtre4 libmysqlclient15off libxmlrpc-c3 xsel flashplugin-nonfree
Then from the directory you saved Boxee to install it with:
sudo dpkg -i boxee-0.9.20.10710.x86_64.deb
Changing the filename to reflect the current version you downloaded. Note that Boxee won’t be kept up to date automatically as with XBMC.
Personally I don’t get along with Boxee but it currently has the advantage that the BBC iPlayer still works whilst it has recently been knobbled in XBMC by the BBC‘s latest changes.
Another alternative to Xubuntu is Element OS, another Ubuntu based Linux distribution specifically designed with HTPC use in mind. It’s still in early days but features a “10 foot” user interface which may be better for some. I’ve tried this “Live” booting from a SD card and it works well but I’m quite happy with the Xubuntu setup at the moment.