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HOW-TO:Install Ubuntu and XBMC on Asus EeeBox PC EB1501

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This is a tutorial guide on a couple of howtos but its dedicated to installing a miminal Ubuntu and xbmc on the Asus EeeBox PC EB1501.


1 Ubuntu and XBMC on Asus EeeBox PC EB1501

Things that where considered when buying a HTPC that led me to the Asus EeeBox PC EB1501:

  • NVIDIA® ION™ platform and Slot-load ODD.
  • Silent
  • Small
  • HDMI
  • Optical Output

EB1501.png And.png Ubuntu logo.png And.png XBMC logo-transparent shadow.png

1.1 credits

Most of this is already documented but this is now specific to EB1501 & Ubuntu 9.10

Thanks to the following people:

  • succo (xbmc.org)
  • soundcheck (ubuntuforums.org)
  • Kreischweide & Call-151 (German / Asian Edition - tested this on a mates pc)
  • amno6 (start-up script - IR receiver)
  • everyone (xbmc.org - wiki)

Please use the following color for your specific distro.
Ubuntu 9.10 - karmic
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS - lucid

Note: If you have the German / Asian Edition please see those notes (Remote Setup & error with grub)

1.2 Install Ubuntu & xbmc

Get the most recent 9.10 image from here. Various posts recommend the 32-bit version.

  • The ISO can either be burned to CD (seems like a waste for 10 MB); alternatively, use UNetbootin to make a bootable USB drive from ISO.

After starting the computer with either the CD or the USB drive, select "Install" at boot prompt, then when prompted provide info about your location, language, keyboard layout, time zone. Disk partitioning will be basic, the full disk will be deleted and used.

When prompted to create an account, use xbmc and anything you want to for a password.

During the installation select "Basic Ubuntu server" as the only option, or optionally "OpenSSH server" if you want to have (secure) remote connections facilities.

1.2.1 Initial system configuration

run the following commands:
Ubuntu 9.10 - karmic

sudo apt-get install python-software-properties -y
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/unstable
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nvidia-vdpau/ppa
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 91E7EE5E 318C7509

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS - lucid

sudo apt-get install python-software-properties -y
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/unstable

Now run and update:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

1.2.2 Install XBMC

The core XBMC application and its related dependencies can be installed by typing:

sudo apt-get install xbmc xinit x11-xserver-utils -y

This will take a considerable amount of time since lots of packages are due to be installed.

1.2.3 Install NVIDIA restricted drivers - NVIDIA-VDPAU repository

There are a lot of howtos and so on on this, I simply just use the NVIDIA-VDPAU repository:
This will list all the available drivers:
Ubuntu 9.10 - karmic

apt-cache search nvidia | grep ^nvidia

Looking at the listed versions from the command above enter the following command substituting 195 if you desire if there is a newer version:

sudo apt-get install nvidia-glx-195 mesa-utils libvdpau1 libvdpau-dev vdpauinfo pkg-config -y

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS - lucid

sudo apt-get install pkg-config nvidia-185-kernel-source nvidia-185-modaliases nvidia-glx-185 nvidia-settings libvdpau1 -y

1.2.4 Generate an xorg.conf file

You need a proper xorg.conf file; you can generate a new one automatically by using:

xbmc:$ sudo nvidia-xconfig -s --no-logo --force-generate --output-xconfig=/etc/X11/xorg.conf

You will need to add the following to xorg.conf to get a smother feel:

xbmc:$ sudo vi /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Then add the following to the Device Section:

Option "HWCursor" "False"        # Blinking Cursor Fix
Option "DynamicTwinView" "false" # Enable 1080p 24Hz

To Disable Composite for better H264 acceleration at the bottom of xorg.conf add the following:

Section "Extensions"
         Option         "Composite" "Disable" # Disable Composite for better H264 acceleration

Load the NVIDIA kernel module The NVIDIA module can now either be loaded:

xbmc:$ sudo modprobe nvidia

Or you can reboot and it will be automatically loaded:

xbmc:$ sudo reboot

1.2.5 Install XBMC-live and Test XBMC

You do not need a window manager to run XBMC. In fact, your system will be much more lightweight without one. Instead, install the XBMC-live startup script.

Add the xmbc user to the required groups:

sudo usermod --group audio,video,netdev,fuse,cdrom,plugdev xbmc

Install XBMC-live:

sudo apt-get install xbmc-live -y

Now to test, logout of your administrative user and log back in as "xbmc". Then run:

xinit xbmc-standalone

If everything has been setup correctly, you should be greeted by the XBMC interface. If not, a likely culprit is your X setup. Check the logfile /var/log/Xorg.0.log. A quick way to find fatal errors is with the command:

xbmc:$ grep EE /var/log/Xorg.0.log

To install XBMC SVN Repo Installer and Launcher do the following:

sudo apt-get install unzip -y
wget http://xbmc-addons.googlecode.com/svn/packages/plugins/programs/SVN_Repo_Installer.zip -O ~/.xbmc/plugins/programs/SVN_Repo_Installer.zip
wget http://xbmc-launcher.googlecode.com/files/Launcher1.04.zip -O ~/.xbmc/plugins/programs/Launcher1.04.zip
cd ~/.xbmc/plugins/programs
unzip -o SVN_Repo_Installer.zip && unzip -o Launcher1.04.zip
rm SVN_Repo_Installer.zip Launcher1.04.zip

1.2.6 Automated startup

Edit the following line in /etc/default/grub to appear as:

xbmc:$ sudo vi /etc/default/grub 

Change the cmd line default to look like this:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash xbmc=autostart,noredir loglevel=0"

Then update grub:

xbmc:$ sudo update-grub

1.2.7 Updating ALSA

sudo apt-get install alsa-utils -y

However there are a few issues with the current ALSA package shipped with Ubuntu, therefore it might be a good idea to upgrade.

sudo apt-get install wget
wget http://nfye.com/EB1501/AlsaUpgrade-1.0.21-4.sh -O alsaup.sh
chmod +x alsaup.sh
sudo ./alsaup.sh -di

This should download and update your ALSA to the latest version

By default the sound card will have several channels muted, others with low volumes, including the hdmi port.


Adjust the channels you are interested in S/PDIF 1 for hdmi. Once done, save permanently with:

sudo alsactl store

Enable your HDMI sound un-muted alsa required as per your use. Edit asound.conf to enable system sounds

vi /etc/asound.conf

Add the following:

#Tweak for HDMI sound ON
pcm.!default { 
  type plug
   slave {
       pcm "hdmi"

1.2.8 Custom Boot Splash

If you want to replace the standard Ubuntu boot screen with a custom, XBMC related one TeamXBMC provides the following in its repository:

xbmc:$ sudo vi /etc/usplash.conf 

Add the following dependent of you screen resolution:

# Usplash configuration file for 720p


# Usplash configuration file for 1080p

To install the pulsating logo, as an example, type the following:

xbmc:$ sudo apt-get install usplash-theme-xbmc-* -y
xbmc:$ sudo update-alternatives --config usplash-artwork.so
xbmc:$ sudo update-initramfs -u

1.2.9 Resume from Sleep with Remote

After installing in order to be able to allow the remote to trigger resume from suspend, you must add USB0 to /proc/acpi/wakeup, you can do this by one of two ways:

xbmc:$ sudo vi /etc/rc.local 

And add the following just before the exit 0 line:

echo USB0>/proc/acpi/wakeup

1.3 ASUS Remote Control

The EB1501 comes with a MCE USB IR Receiver- Spinel plusf0r ASUS (0471:206c)


You don not need to use lirc, but then you will not have full functionality with it, if you want full control then configure the IR receiver and use lirc.

1.3.1 MCE USB IR Receiver

To see where the remote is located located type:

xbmc:$ cat /proc/bus/input/devices

There will be a lot of output but you want to look at this section:

I: Bus=0003 Vendor=0471 Product=206c Version=0100 
N: Name="PHILIPS MCE USB IR Receiver- Spinel plusf0r ASUS" 
P: Phys=usb-0000:00:04.0-1/input0 
S: Sysfs=/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:04.0/usb3/3-1/3-1:1.0/input/input3 
U: Uniq= 
H: Handlers=kbd mouse1 event3 
B: EV=120017 
B: KEY=c0000 400 0 0 70000 0 58000 8001f8 4000c004 e0beffdf 1cfffff ffffffff fffffffe 
B: REL=103 
B: MSC=10 
B: LED=1f 

Ok so this means the remote is located at event3, but it can change if the controller is plugged into another usb port. Make an udev rule to link the event device which has the vendor-id and product id of the remote to /dev/input/irremote. The vendor id is 0471 and device id is 0206c so edit the following:

xbmc:$ sudo vi /etc/udev/rules.d/10-local.rules 

And add the following:


Now restart udev:

xbmc:$ sudo service udev restart 

Detach and reattach the remote check it creates a symlink /dev/input/irremote

1.3.2 Install lircd

xbmc:$ sudo apt-get install lirc -y

This will bring up a configuration and will ask you what kind of remote you have. Select custom and point it to /dev/input/irremote, Select None for IR Transmitter.

If you make a mistake you can always reconfigure lirc using the following command:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure lirc-modules-source 

Get hardware.conf and restart lirc so that it loads the correct remote template

xbmc:$ sudo wget http://nfye.com/EB1501/hardware.conf -O /etc/lirc/hardware.conf
xbmc:$ sudo /etc/init.d/lirc restart 

Now try using irw

xbmc:$ irw

Press buttons on the remote and check that its working. If its working proceed to make the remote work with xbmc

xbmc:$ wget http://nfye.com/EB1501/lircmap.xml -O ~/.xbmc/userdata/Lircmap.xml

The commented out keys are not working.

Here is what your hardware.conf & lircd.cong should look like:

xbmc:$ cat /etc/lirc/hardware.conf 
# hardware.conf for eb1501 
REMOTE="Windows Media Center Transceivers/Remotes (all)" 
xbmc:$ cat /etc/lirc/lircd.conf 
# lircd.conf for eb1501 
include "/usr/share/lirc/remotes/devinput/lircd.conf.devinput"

If you wish to set the power key on the remote to send your EeeBox into suspend mode instead of shutting down do the following:

xbmc:$ sudo vi /usr/share/xbmc/system/keymaps/remote.xml

and change




Personaly the i also change the screenshot function to the Context Menu change




1.3.3 EB1501 German / Asian Edition

There seem to be some specifics with this version of the eeeBox. There was no any MCE USB IR Receiver packaged, instead there was a notice that states: "The EeeBox PC has a built-in IR receiver designed for the remote control. When you install the EeeBox PC to the back of the monitor and thus block the IR receiver, the remote control may be less sensitive. The USB IR receiver is not included in the product package."

Remote (see battery slot): RC1974502/00

To get build-in IR receiver to work with the remote control

rebuild the ITE modules

xbmc:$ sudo apt-get install lirc lirc-modules-source module-assistant
xbmc:$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure lirc-modules-source
xbmc:$ sudo wget http://nfye.com/EB1501/hardware-german.conf -O /etc/lirc/hardware.conf
xbmc:$ sudo wget http://nfye.com/EB1501/lirc.conf -O /etc/modprobe.d/lirc.conf
xbmc:$ cp /usr/share/xbmc/system/Lircmap.xml ~/.xbmc/userdata

Edit file /etc/init.d/lirc

if [ "$LOAD_MODULES" = "true" ] && [ "$START_LIRCD" = "true" ]; then


if [ "$LOAD_MODULES" = "true" ] && [ "$START_LIRCD" = "true" ]; then
echo activate > /sys/devices/pnp0/00:09/resources

Restart Lirc system

xbmc:$ sudo /etc/init.d/lirc restart

Now try using irw

xbmc:$ irw

Press some keys and you should get some output.

Enabling the Play DVD Button on the Remote Control

The original Lircmap.xml and remote.xml does not cater for the DVD button. To rectify that, add an additional entry in Lircmap.xml

xbmc:$ vi ~/.xbmc/userdata/Lircmap.xml

under the <remote device="mceusb"> section add


In the remote.xml file

xbmc:$ vi ~/xbmc/.xbmc/userdata/keymaps/remote.xml

add the following outside the <remote> </remote> group


A CD or DVD can now be played with using the DVD button (located just above number 3)

1.4 Other

1.4.1 Start-up Errors

If on start up you get the following error message:

nforce2_smbus [...] conflichts with ACPI [...]

This can be reslbed by doing the following:

xbmc:$ sudo vi /etc/default/grub

Edit the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX according to this bugreport


and update the grub again with

xbmc:$ sudo update-grub

1.4.2 Auto Back-Up xbmc Library

mkdir ~/backup

edit the crontab

crontab -e

Now past the following:

# This backsup xbmc userdata daily with date/time stamp
0 15 * * * /bin/tar czf ~/backup/xbmc-`date +\%Y\%m\%d_\%H\%M\%S`.tar.gz ~/.xbmc/userdata >> /dev/null 2>&1
# This automatically deletes all backups older than 7 days - Run Every Sunday
* * * * 7 /usr/bin/find ~/backup/ -depth -mindepth 1 -mtime +7 -delete

1.4.3 Controlling xbmc from CLI

xbmc-eventclients-xbmc-send will let you control xbmc from command line, this is useful for automating stuff too, for example I want my Library to update more often than on a startup as I never reboot my box so I simply use a cron job:

Schedule the Library Update

xbmc:$ crontab -e

Then add the following:

0 * * * * /usr/bin/xbmc-send -a "UpdateLibrary(video)" >> /dev/null 2>&1
15 9 * * * /usr/bin/xbmc-send -a "CleanLibrary(video)" >> /dev/null 2>&1

This will update the library every hour, and clean it everyday at 9:15

1.4.4 Disable extra TTYs in upstart

By default ubuntu has 7 consoles, this uses memory and delays startup time. The console-setup defines how many ttys are created.

xbmc:$ sudo vi /etc/default/console-setup



to the number of consoles you want. Lets say, 2 ttys, then change it to:

xbmc:$ sudo rm -Rf /etc/init/tty3.conf /etc/init/tty4.conf /etc/init/tty5.conf /etc/init/tty6.conf

NOTE: Even though you've reduced the tty number, X is still on Alt-F7.

1.4.5 Disabling startup of a service

The procedure for disabling a service in Ubuntu is very simple: all you have to do is remove the symlinks from all the runlevel-specific directories, /etc/rc*.d, so that no links are pointing to the original /etc/init.d script for your service. That original script will be kept, so you can re-enable the startup/shutdown of the service whenever you feel like using it again. This example below shows how a service called "cups" was disabled on my system:

xbmc:$ sudo update-rc.d -f cups remove
Removing any system startup links for /etc/init.d/cups ...

1.4.6 Install XBMC build environment and SVN tools

If you want to walk on the bleeding edge and follow daily development of XBMC you have to install subversion and all XBMC build dependencies:

xbmc:$ sudo apt-get install subversion
xbmc:$ sudo apt-get build-dep xbmc

1.4.7 Change SSH Welcome Banner

Every time you connect to your htpc via ssh, you will receive the motd message and if you get tired of seeing it, you can change the message to something else.

Here’s the message that you should get:

   Linux xbmc 2.6.20-16-generic #2 SMP Thu Jun 7 19:00:28 UTC 2007 x86_64

   The programs included with the Ubuntu system are free software;
   the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the
   individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright.

   Ubuntu comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by
   applicable law.

   Last login: Mon Aug 13 01:05:46 2007 from ipaddress removed

Changing this message requires editing the motd:

xbmc:$ sudo vi /etc/motd.tail

Now add something funky like the following:

___  __\_ |__   _____   ____  
\  \/  /| __ \ /     \_/ ___\ 
 >    < | \_\ \  Y Y  \  \___ 
/__/\_ \|___  /__|_|  /\___  >
      \/    \/      \/     \/ 

Yea, that looks cool...

If you also wish to get rid of the "Last Login" (which I don’t recommend doing) information do the following:

xbmc:$ sudo vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config

And set

PrintLastLog yes


PrintLastLog no

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