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The Linux FAQ is going though a major overhaul and some things might be missing. For a copy of the old version see here.
XBMC FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for XBMC running under Linux-based operating systems.

Contents


1 General FAQ

See also: XBMC all platforms FAQ for FAQs that apply to all versions of XBMC.

1.1 Supported Linux distributions

  • Team XBMC provides precompiled binaries for Ubuntu from the Team XBMC PPA. In the future there will also be precompiled binaries for Debian and Steam OS.
  • Team XBMC recognizes OpenELEC versions of XBMC as "pretty damn awesome".
  • Generally speaking, as long as XBMC is compiled per recommended guidelines (see HOW-TO:Compile XBMC for Linux), those builds are considered "kosher".
  • XBMC builds that use external ffmpeg/libav are not supported and are strongly discouraged.

1.2 Supported hardware

For x86 hardware:

CPU x86 processor such as: Intel Pentium 4, Intel Pentium M, AMD Athlon XP/64, AMD Opteron, or newer CPU (that support SSE. Anything made in the last few years does.).
  • If your GPU/VPU does not support hardware video decoding then you will require a fast modern processor is required to decode some videos (H.264, VC-1, etc) in 1080p. Editor note: Hard to quantify this, but maybe we can get a rough benchmark score in here?
  • There is very limited Power PC (PPC) support: [Linux] How to install on Linux-ppc
RAM
  • Minimum: 256MB
  • Recommended: 1 to 2 GB or more
Graphics

XBMC will run on most graphics cards made in the last few years, including hardware video decoding support. This includes most cards from ATI/AMD, Intel, or NVIDIA which support OpenGL 2.0 or later.

ATI Intel Nvidia
Minimum without HW decoding: ATI Radeon RV710/M92 (HD 4300/4500) Note: These are uvd2.2 cards Intel GMA 950 (945G) Nvidia GeForce 6-Series
Minimum for HW decoding: ATI Radeon Cedar (Radeоn HD 5400 Series or newer Intel GMA X4500HD (G45) or newer Nvidia GeForce 8-Series or newer
Video decoding For hardware video decoding, which may be necessary on low-performance CPUs to playback 1080p content, make sure your GPU or VPU supports either VAAPI, VDPAU, OpenMAX, or CrystalHD.
Note: Ubuntu 12.10 (or newer) users of ATI graphics cards are recommended to use a UVD 2.2 or higher graphics card for proper hardware video decoding support.
Drive space The XBMC binary generally takes up between 100 to 200 MB of space, depending on how it's compiled. Technically speaking, if your hardware supports netbooting, you don't even require a hard drive for either the OS or XBMC.
  • Minimum: 4 to 8GB
  • Recommended: 16GB or more
Depending on how big your video library is. Most of the space required for XBMC comes from the images/artwork cache, which can be adjusted: HOW-TO:Reduce XBMC disk space.

1.3 How to install or update XBMC for Linux

For an easy to use fresh installation of both XBMC and OS you can use XBMCbuntu. XBMCbuntu can be installed from a DVD or USB thumb drive.


Ubuntu

The XBMC repositories are as follows:

https://launchpad.net/~team-xbmc/+archive/ppa ppa:team-xbmc/ppa  Final release builds
https://launchpad.net/~team-xbmc/+archive/unstable ppa:team-xbmc/unstable Betas and release candidates
https://launchpad.net/~team-xbmc/+archive/xbmc-nightly ppa:team-xbmc/xbmc-nightly Nightly builds

For the users looking for compile with the PPA build depends in addition to the nightly PPA:

https://launchpad.net/~team-xbmc/+archive/xbmc-ppa-build-depends ppa:team-xbmc/xbmc-ppa-build-depends  Build Depends


For other supported distros, see HOW-TO:Install XBMC for Linux

1.4 How to update XBMCbuntu

See: XBMCbuntu FAQ

1.5 XBMC for Linux version

The current stable version of XBMC for Linux is XBMC v13.2 Gotham. This is the same code that all of the other platforms (Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, etc) are using.

1.6 What version/nightly build/beta of XBMC am I running?

XBMC main menu > System > Lower submenu > System info. Note the build date.

1.7 Programs and tools to help with XBMC

For a list of programs and tools to help with XBMC, such as renaming files, managing media, file sharing, and more, see Supplemental tools/Linux

1.8 How to autostart XBMC in desktop mode

Editor note: this needs filling out

1.9 What are the differences between Ubuntu + XBMC, XBMCbuntu, and OpenELEC?

Editor note: this needs filling out

2 Troubleshooting

2.1 Getting more help with XBMC for Linux

2.2 Userdata folder and logs

Editor note: this needs filling out

2.3 Audio issues

For most audio issues, including configuration examples, see Audio and Audio troubleshooting.

2.4 Video tearing on Nvidia GPUs

When XBMC is used with Nvidia hardware, tearing will occur when the X composite extension is used.
  • Solution 1: Enable "Unredirect Fullscreen Window" in Compiz Config Settings Manager. [1]
    1. Install CCSM (Compiz Config Settings Manager): sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
    2. Open Compiz Config Settings Manager
    3. Check the option "Unredirect Fullscreen Window", which should be under the "Composite" section.


  • Solution 2: Disable the composite extension.
1. Add this to the end of /etc/X11/xorg.conf: (make a new file if xorg.conf doesn't exist)
Section "Extensions"
  Option "Composite" "Disable"
EndSection
2. Then log in with a gnome classic session (without the composite extension compiz doesn't work).
3. Also make sure to set Vertical blank sync to Always enabled in XBMC.


2.5 Why can't I update XBMC on Ubuntu 13.04, 13.10, or other release?

The precompiled binaries from the Team XBMC PPA only work with Ubuntu releases that are still getting support. When Ubuntu drops support for a version then our PPA stops making a binary for it. Simply update Ubuntu itself and then XBMC updates should work again. If you don't want to update Ubuntu that often then we recommend using a long term support (LTS) version of Ubuntu, such as 14.04, which will be supported until 2019.
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