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

Contents


1 Caveat

There are no official XBMC builds for Linux distributions other than Ubuntu yet. If you use something other than Ubuntu, check to see if XBMC is available via your repositories or normal software installation method.
See also: Installing XBMC for Linux for how to install XBMC on other distributions.

2 General FAQ

Cleanup.png This page or section may require cleanup, updating, spellchecking, reformatting and/or updated images. Please improve this page if you can. The discussion page may contain suggestions.

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

2.1 I'm here because I've got a problem, so what do I do if I'm still stuck afterwards?

Link

If you run into issues it is helpful to gather all of the basic information, especially when you're thinking about starting an XBMC forum thread or opening a report on the XBMC bug tracker. Below is a list of information that should be included in a forum post as a minimum. As a rule, you should include anything that's relevant, such as recent changes, detailed media information, etc.

  • Compulsory xbmc.log with debugging enabled, which contains the problem or issue you're experiencing.
  • Video driver problems: Include a copy of your /var/log/Xorg.0.log in addition to your debug log.
  • Use a pastesite for logs: do not post logs in-line on forums. On trac, you should attach/upload the logs with your report.
  • System specs: (CPU, GPU, etc.)
  • Playback Problems: include video codec (e.g. MPEG-2, H.264) and container (e.g. .mkv, .mp4, .avi) or audio codec (e.g. FLAC, MP3) and container. If possible, include samples.
  • Details of steps you took to attempt to fix it, if any. Describe what it is you tried when posting.
  • Steps to duplicate your problem in detail.
  • Screenshots that may help illustrate your problem or show your current settings. Use sites like snag.gy or postimage.


For help/support visit XBMC Community Forums or IRC #xbmc-linux


2.2 Where's my log file?

Link

In Linux your XBMC log is located in:

$HOME/.xbmc/temp/xbmc.log

Note: The location of the log assumes you are logged in as the xbmc user and not root.

See also: Accessing XBMC via SSH e.g. Putty

2.3 How do I upload my log file?

Link

You can generate a debug log Pastebin link automatically. This allows you to quickly post a log to anywhere that requires it.

Note: Don't forget to Enable Debugging when creating the log so that maximum detail is available

$ sudo apt-get install pastebinit -y
$ cat $HOME/.xbmc/temp/xbmc.log | pastebinit

2.4 Where's the UserData folder?

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$HOME/.xbmc/userdata

2.5 Where is XBMC installed?

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The installation paths are as below:

/usr/share/xbmc/
/usr/lib/xbmc/

Note: No user XBMC configuration files are kept in these locations; refer to userdata for these.

2.6 Does XBMC for Linux support Blu-ray or HD DVD playback with or without menus?

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Yes, without menus. As of Dharma (10.0), XBMC includes support for playback of unencrypted Blu-ray directories when libbluray is installed. However, XBMC must be compiled from source. Installing from a repository like the Team-XBMC unstable ppa will not recognize whether libbluray is installed.

Currently, only the longest title is played from the Blu-ray directory, even on multi-video Blu-rays (e.g. TV shows). To play a Blu-ray directory, select the /BDMV/index.bdmv in the Blu-ray directory. If stacking is enabled, selecting the Blu-ray directory folder will start playback.

Frodo v12 includes better support for bluray .iso and folder, there is still work in progress in this area for post Frodo.

To play Blu-ray discs in XBMC with MakeMKV, see below.

Attention talk.png playback Blu-ray Disc in XBMC for Linux with MakeMKV (Plugin Addon) Discussion thread

2.7 What Linux distributions are supported?

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Check the install page for a list of supported distributions.

2.8 What are the current recommended hardware requirements for XBMC?

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For end-users the recommended minimum requirement is an x86-based computer, with a 3D GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) that at least supports Shader Model 3.0 and OpenGL 2.0 (that features 24bpp or 32bpp for 3D hardware-acceleration support, which the XBMC GUI needs to run smoothly at an acceptable frame-rate). Graphic adapters that support DirectX version 9.0c or later usually meet all of those mentioned requirements, (Team-XBMC recommends NVIDIA GeForce 6150 or later as NVIDIA are currently the manufacturer that offers good device-drivers for Linux (and NVIDIA GeForce 6150 or later supports OpenGL 2.0)).

2.9 XBMC for Linux minimum requirements

Link
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 2GB 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: ATI Radeon RV710/M92 (HD 4300/4500) Intel GMA 950 (945G) Nvidia GeForce 6-Series
Recommended: 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 various low-performance CPUs to playback 1080P content, make sure your GPU or VPU supports either VAAPI, VDPAU, 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.

3 Troubleshooting: General

3.1 Boot Issues

Link

Some Intel GPUs have issues with rc6 it can be disabled via grub.

$ sudo nano /etc/default/grub

Append i915.i915_enable_rc6=0 to:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash i915.i915_enable_rc6=0"
  • Press ctrl+X say YES to save file
Then run
$ sudo update-grub

4 Troubleshooting: Video

Incomplete.png INCOMPLETE:
This page or section is incomplete. Please add information or correct uncertain data which is marked with a ?
Most of the problems that you encounter with slow display, playback or OpenGL related errors on Linux are because you do not have the proper display drivers installed, or because your versions are outdated. Using the correct drivers or updating can be a decisive step in resolving some issues.

4.1 Installing video drivers on Ubuntu and derivatives

Link
  • For NVIDIA drivers follow the guide click this (link)
  • For ATI drivers follow the guide click this (link)
  • For Intel it is simpler since the drivers are open source so they are usually already pre-installed. You need to make sure that you use the newer Intel driver and not the older i810 driver or the 'vesa' driver. This could be verified by checking the 'Driver' value in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.
Make sure your hardware acceleration libva or sna is installed and working.
De-interlacing in Intel hardware needs cutting edge drivers like xserver-xorg-video-intel, libva-intel-vaapi-driver

Below, you can find forum discussions on various relevant topics, including complete setups and configuration of drivers. No NVIDIA forum discussion link exists yet, so please add links if you know of any relevant ones.

Attention talk.png NVidia Place Holder
Attention talk.png Radeon OSS with vdpau forum discussion thread
Attention talk.png Intel GPU vaapi-sse4: Deinterlacing forum discussion thread

4.2 Upgrading NVIDIA drivers on Ubuntu and derivatives

Link

Ubuntu (including XBMCbuntu) often ships with outdated drivers that do not fully support a platform. Make sure that old versions of the NVIDIA drivers are removed if you use other third-party PPAs (repositories). For the sake of your sanity, don't remove any Ubuntu sources, as that is highly likely to break something.

$ sudo apt-get install python-software-properties pkg-config
$ sudo add-apt-repository -r ppa:the_3rd_party_ppa_you_wish_to_remove_here
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
$ apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install nvidia-current nvidia-settings

Attention talk.png NVidia Drivers updates XBMCBuntu, Ubuntu and variants forum discussion thread

4.3 Intel SNA Acceleration

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Intel uses VAAPI for GPU-accelerated video playback decoding, however there are other acceleration methods in the pipeline like SNA. The use of GPU acceleration is an essential part of getting both smooth video playback and a lag-free interface (GUI). Create or edit your existing /etc/X11/xorg.conf and add to section Device as below.

Section "Device"
Identifier "Intel Graphics"
Driver "intel"
Option "AccelMethod" "sna"
EndSection

For more information on SNA, see: Intel SNA vs. UXA On Ivy Bridge

Attention talk.png Optimal video settings for Intel GPU forum discussion thread

4.4 Verify OpenGL Support

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Once you have your drivers in place, you need to make sure that OpenGL is properly configured. Run the following command:

# glxinfo | grep -i direct

The result should be:

Direct rendering: Yes

If the result is "No", it means that the display driver have not been properly configured. Also, you can run the command glxgears and you should see the wheels turning smoothly.

4.5 Compiz is not compatible with XBMC

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There are several ways to address this.

  • Make sure Compiz visual effects are disabled. You can do this by going to System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Visual Effects. Make sure "None" is selected.
  • Alternatively, you can tell Compiz not to interfere with XBMC. Install and run CompizConfig, and under General Options tick "Unredirect Fullscreen Windows".
  • For NVIDIA, you can disable this in xorg.conf, like so:
Section "Extensions"
   Option "Composite" "Disable"
EndSection
  • Or, again for NVIDIA, you can disable Compiz directly at a terminal prompt:
$ sudo nvidia-xconfig --no-composite

Example minimal xorg.conf for NVIDIA: Minimal NVidia xorg.conf

5 Troubleshooting: Audio

5.1 Why Do I have a Pulseaudio Device?

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Pulseaudio, is installed in certain Ubuntu and derivatives Desktop environments.

See PulseAudio for how to handle/Configure resolve

5.2 What if, I experience audio issues including no audio devices?

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In the event that You experience problems with audio there is a general page to help you troubleshoot possible issues, visit: See Audio_troubleshooting

5.3 What are the audio required packages?

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To run alsa and benefit from HD bitstreaming and full audio support, type:

sudo apt-get install alsa-utils libasound2

5.4 Why is there no sound in XBMC?

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Note: Unmute channels in alsamixer in all cases if you're getting no sound via e.g. HDMI. Just for guidance, a couple of quick reference commands are listed below.

Substitute IEC958 with your device ID depending on your ​aplay -l​ output.

$ amixer -q set Master 100% unmute
$ amixer -q set PCM 100% unmute
$ amixer -q set 'IEC958',1 unmute
$ amixer -q set 'IEC958',0 unmute

Note: Make sure that your correct sound card is in use in alsamixer. To change your card, press F6 and then try different cards to make ensure it's not something as simple as using the wrong card - sometimes the onboard card may not be the one you want or need.

Note: For systems that have multiple sound cards e.g. Intel Azalia (internal) - GT520 (external), you could try to disable the onboard card in your system BIOS if it's not in use. This is suitable where, for example, you're using a Soundblaster or perhaps a video card that also supports audio e.g. HDA NVIDIA.

5.5 Does my ION1 needs HDMI Channel Audio remapping?

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Some combinations of systems (e.g. ION) and receivers may have incorrectly mapped HDMI channels. See also: HOW-TO: Remap HDMI audio on Gen 1 ION - Linux

6 Dual Audio Setup

6.1 Can I have dual audio or combined sink?

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This is an ultimate goal for some XBMC users. With the move to AudioEngine it becomes more complex and even impossible in some cases.

One XBMC forum user, puntloos, posted his finding which seem to work relatively well for his setup. Bear in mind that this will not be universal, though, and thus may not work under other circumstances.

Attention talk.png Setting up dual audio forum discussion thread
Dual audio via pulseaudio.

As from XBMC v13 has Pulseaudio support has been added, a benefit, is that it can combine sinks easily.

7 Updating XBMC

Incomplete.png INCOMPLETE:
This page or section is incomplete. Please add information or correct uncertain data which is marked with a ?
We obviously recommend the use of our PPAs, but we recognise that Ubuntu is only one of the many Linux distributions in use and users will also have Archlinux, Debian or Gentoo (amongst many others). Please feel free to provide details on how you can upgrade packages on these and other distros. The details below are thus really intended for XBMCbuntu and Ubuntu variant (Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Mint...) installations.

7.1 Where are the XBMC packages for Ubuntu?

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3rd party (contains older Ubuntu support etc)

7.2 What is the manual XBMC upgrade process in Ubuntu

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NOTICE: What might break when upgrading to v12 is a must-read for users upgrading to a final version.

Below is the process to upgrade XBMC manually and/or change the repository being used if you have a different source PPA (it is recommended to remove any previous PPAs that contain the same package sources). If you use other distros, please update or add a subsection with relevant information.

7.3 What is the manual XBMC upgrade process in Arch?

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This part needs to be updated ?

7.4 What is the manual XBMC upgrade process in FreeBSD?

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Upgrading XBMC in FreeBSD is pretty simple, as long as a new version exists in port

  • Update your port tree:
$ portsnap fetch update
  • Update XBMC:
$ portmaster multimedia/xbmc

7.5 How do I manually XBMC upgrade process in Gentoo?

Link

This part needs to be updated ?

8 Known issues

See: XBMC v12 (Frodo) issues

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