Kubuntu 9.10 and XBMC An Experiment…


The title of this belies itself a little.  Due to some issues with my laptop, I can’t run Kubuntu or XBMC natively (in other words, I run it through a Virtual Machine in VirtualBox).  So, the experiment is flawed a little.  However, I do have a desktop that I dual-boot between Windows 7 and Kubuntu 9.10 (with XBMC installed). 

In my previous post about XBMC, I talked about how it was a potential Windows killer for me.  The fact that it wasn’t supported for Karmic, made that a moot point.  Now, I’m testing out 9.11 to find out if it’s everything that the previous version was.

Installation:

I created a script out of the commands that are listed on the XBMC website.  If you want to this, simply copy the commands (listed below) to Kate, and save it as a .sh file (I chose ‘install-xbmc.sh’ for mine).  Then either use sudo chmod 777 scriptname.sh (in the terminal) or Right click on it and choose the Properties and make it executable there.  Please note, that this script is only guaranteed to work on Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Edubuntu 9.10 or later.

Script Commands:

  sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xbmc
sudo apt-get update

When you’re ready to install, simply run the script in a command line (.scriptname.sh or ./scriptname.sh).  You’ll have to enter your password for the sudo command a couple of times. But it will take care of the rest.

If you’re on an older version of Ubuntu/Kubuntu, or a different distro, then you will want to go to http://xbmc.org/wiki/?title=Installing_XBMC_for_Linux and follow the commands there for your specific distro.

Running XBMC and features.

Like previous versions of XBMC, this one doesn’t include the capability to record TV natively.  However you can watch and record TV from mythTV or other applications for Linux or Windows.

You have the videos, weather, scripts, programs, music, and system options when you open XBMC.  The scripts and programs options are mainly for people who choose to make their linux box into an XBMC box (where they boot into XBMC instead of a regular desktop).

In the weather option, you can select three “Area Codes” which are location names.  Personally, I would like to be able to add more than three, but that’s my only gripe.  The current temp will appear on your main display, and you can click it to get the forecast (or click “Weather”). 

You can add sources for video and music, and watch recorded videos that way.  Or you can insert a DVD and watch videos through it.

Problems that I’ve encountered:

I ran into a few issues while trying this out with my network.  I can play DVD’s without a problem through XBMC, however when I try to access my TV Shows or videos that are stored on my Windows Home Server, the sound cuts out completely.  It’s almost like the audio codec is missing, but in some cases the sound starts and then stops.

Also I have not found the way to get XBMC to appear as an option on my KMD login screen (where I can choose KDE, Gnome, or failsafe).  I plan on looking into these things and will post an update about what I find out.

Final Thoughts:

If I can get the issues with audio fixed, and figure out how to set the computer up to login to XBMC instead of KDE or Gnome, I will definitely use it as my default for watching movies.  As of right now, I have to boot into Windows to record TV shows, but as soon as I can purchase a video card that’s Linux compatible, I will be installing MythTV and migrating over.

Have a great day:)

Patrick.

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