Minimal install of XBMC on Ubuntu Karmic Koala (9.10)

Ok, so I have been building a media centre for about a week now, and I have had a lot of trouble getting it setup and working right, but now XBMC has released version 9.11 alpha 1 version of its popular media centre software which is now compatible with Ubuntu 9.10.

After all the trouble I had, I thought I would share with you how I installed it, and got XBMC to boot on load. I am using an ASUS AT3N7A-I with a 1.6 dual core atom processor and NVidia ION chipset, 2GB of ram and a 1TB hard drive. So I will only be showing you how to use the NVidia drivers for linux, but to be honest NVidia driver support for linux is better than ATI support.

First, download the minimal install of Ubuntu Karmic Koala (12.1mb x86 12.2mb x64)

Download either the x86 or x64 version dependent on your hardware.

Once the disk image has downloaded either burn it to CD or use UNetbootin to boot from a USB pen drive.

Reboot the computer you wish to install xbmc on, and boot from the CD or USB pen drive, you may need to change some settings in your bios to boot from CD or USB.

Start the installation, and follow the onscreen instructions to set your language and keyboard layout. Enter a username and password for your main account, for this I entered xbmc.

The installer will ask you what packages to install, scroll down to OpenSSH Server and press SPACE, then press ENTER to continue.

After the installation has completed, your computer will reboot.

When you get to the login screen, login with the username and password you entered.

Once you have logged in we need to add the PPA for XBMC.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

And these lines to the end.

deb karmic main
deb-src karmic main
deb karmic main
deb-src karmic main

We will need to add the a key to aptitude to stop it complaining.

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 64234534 40618B66 CEC06767 318C7509 91E7EE5E

Sometimes the key server will return this error:
gpg: keyserver timed out
gpg: keyserver receive failed: keyserver error

A trick I found was to ping the key server address, after it responded try and run the previous command again:


Now we need to update aptitude.

sudo apt-get update

Now we will install the NVidia drivers:

sudo apt-get install nvidia-glx-190

You will need to enter your password again.

Next, we want sound for our media, so we will install some sound drivers.

sudo apt-get install linux-sound-base alsa-base alsa-utils

Your user needs to be added to the sound group.

sudo usermod -a -G audio xbmc

Change xbmc to the username that you entered.

The sound level will be set to zero, to change the volumes we need to enter the sound mixer.

sudo alsamixer

Use you up and down keys and set the volumes to the maximum they will go. Press the right key until you get to IEC958, EC958 D, EC958 1 and press M on each of them to un-mute them.

Press ESC to quit out of the mixer.

To make alsa save the volumes run.

sudo alsactl store 0

Now we can install XBMC.

sudo apt-get install xbmc xbmc-skin-* xbmc-eventclients-* xbmc-scripts-*

This will install xbmc, all the skins and eventclients.

Now X will need to know about your monitor, so run:

sudo nvidia-xconfig

XBMC will need to control power settings of the computer:

sudo apt-get install pm-utils policykit

And give your user access to these power features:

sudo polkit-auth --user xbmc --grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.suspend
sudo polkit-auth --user xbmc --grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.hibernate
sudo polkit-auth --user xbmc --grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.reboot
sudo polkit-auth --user xbmc --grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.shutdown
sudo polkit-auth --user xbmc --grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.reboot-multiple-sessions
sudo polkit-auth --user xbmc --grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.shutdown-multiple-sessions

Again you will have have to change –user xbmc to the username that you entered in the installation.

Now the last thing to do is make XBMC launch at startup.

sudo nano /etc/init/tty1.conf

Change the line

exec /sbin/getty 38400 tty1


exec /bin/login -f xbmc < /dev/tty1 > /dev/tty1 2>&1

Next we need to get Ubuntu to clear the screen and start X:

nano ~/.bash_profile

And add these lines to the file:

case "`tty`" in
/dev/tty1) clear && startx &>/dev/null;;

Now we need to tell X to start XBMC:

nano ~/.xsessionrc

Add the lines:

exec xbmc --standalone

This next step is OPTIONAL, to hide all the information about what is being loaded, we shall install a usplash boot screen.

sudo apt-get install usplash libusplash-dev usplash-theme-xbmc-*

Once the splash screen installation has completed we need to select a splash screen:

sudo update-alternatives --config

Enter the number of the splash screen you wish to use, find examples below:

Pulsating Logo
Spinner Black
Spinner Blue

All the previews where created by DU-Duke

Next set the screen resolution of your tv in the usplash settings:

sudo nano /etc/usplash.conf

And add these lines:


My TV is 1080p, so the settings above will suite yours if it is full HD, for 720p enter:


To make the new splash screen active run:

sudo update-initramfs -u

Now reboot your computer:

sudo reboot

When the computer restarts, you should see the splash screen you selected, and XBMC should boot up.

Now, go into XBMC’s Videos settings and select VDPAU for the render mode (if your graphics card supports it) and edit the Sound settings:

Audio Output: Digital
AC3: Off
DTS: Off
Audio Capable Device: plughw:hdmi
Passthrough Output Device: hdmi
Downmix: On

And that’s it, you should have a fully functional media centre running the latest version of Ubuntu and XBMC.

As this is an alpha version, you will need to perform some updates now and again until the final release is out.

To so this, ssh into your computer and update it:

ssh xbmc@your media centre IP
sudo apt-get upgrade

Now I can’t take all the credit for this, I have collected some information from other sources and put them together from here:

Thanks to jonassw from XBMC forums, who suggested using the latest version of the NVidia drivers.

Things to do after installing Ubuntu9.10 Karmic Koala

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic koala will be released in few hours,  after you install karmic or upgrading, you will need to add some softwares, repositories,  you can also make the look of karmic better by adding cairo dock menu for example. You can always add more themes , see this article : Great themes for Ubuntu9.10 Karmic koala Here are things i see are important to do after installing Ubuntu karmic Koala :

1- Add Medibuntu repositories :

Medibuntu is a packaging project dedicated to distributing software that cannot be included in Ubuntu for various reasons, related to geographical variations in legislation regarding intellectual property, security and other issues. by adding Medibuntu repostories you will be able to install many softwares like Google-Earth , opera ,Win32codecs , Msfonts  and more by the normal command :

sudo-apt-get install <software-name>

Click here and Follow the steps to add medibuntu repostories to ubuntu 9.10 karmic Koala in my previous post.

2- Install PlayOnLinux :

PlayOnLinux is a piece of sofware which allows you to easily install and use numerous games and softwares designed to run with Microsoft®’s Windows®.
You can install many windows games like callofduty, doom ,…. Msfonts ,Itune ,Microsoft office 2007 (see our howto install MS office 2007 using playonlinux)

You can install playonlinux from Ubuntu software center

Or by using the command :

sudo apt-get install playonlinux

3- Enchance launch-bar menu in karmic with cairo-dock :

Cairo-Dock is an animated application launch bar for the desktop, comparable to the dock in Mac OS X or Rocket Dock (for Windows).  It is compatible with Compiz, but it can also run without a composite manager . Cairo-Dock can run under GNOME, KDE and XFCE.

Open the terminal and copy and past the command bellow :

sudo -v
echo "deb $(lsb_release -sc) cairo-dock ## Cairo-Dock-Stable" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list 
wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -  

Update the installation :

sudo apt-get update  

Now install cairo-dock :

sudo apt-get install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plug-ins

4- Add screenlets to your Desktop :

Screenlets are small owner-drawn applications that can be described as “the virtual representation of things lying/standing around on your desk”. Sticknotes, clocks, rulers, … the possibilities are endless. The goal of the Screenlets base-classes is to simplify the creation of fully themeable mini-apps that each solve basic desktop-work-related needs and generally improve the usability and eye-candy of the modern composited Linux-desktop.

sudo apt-get install screenlets

Read more in our previous article

5- Ubuntu Gaming made easy with PlayDeb

If you are a fun of gaming so is important to add Playdeb repositories to your Karmic koala. Playdeb is a gaming repository for Ubuntu – aimed to provide titles already available on in an easier to install and update format. You can install many games by a simple click

Please see how to add repository in this link : Ubuntu Gaming made easy with PlayDeb

6- Important softwares you must have :

These softwares you can install from Ubuntu software center :

– Vlc : The best media player for Linux it play almast everything , he has many features that you can not find in any other media player , see this article to know more about vlc : Things you didn’t know VLC media player can do

-Vuze : the most popular Bitorrent client :

– Moovida Media center : Moovida is much more than a simple media player… it is a cutting edge media center bringing the best of the internet to your TV screen. Automatically creating your own digital library you can browse from your sofa with a remote control. The elegant and easy to use interface automatically displays artwork and fan art throughtout and gives you access to movie synopsis and artist info.

Install Thunderbird:  the best mail / News client from Mozilla :

– Filezilla the best ftp client for linux :

Pidgin the best messenger client and 30 plugins, you can enjoy chat with freinds using voice and cam :

Openshot video editor : Openshot is a video editor for linux, is one of the best ones existing actually for linux. The news is that now has a PPA this mean easy install for Ubuntu users, but the big news is that the new version come with 30 new effects. See the video demonstration what you can do with Openshot : Install openshot on karmic koala

Let the ride begin…: Eclipse button problem with Kubuntu 9.10

I ran into this issue while installing the Google App Engine… a quick description of the problem is that some buttons in Eclipse were not responding (doing nothing) after I upgraded to Karmic Koala, after checking the log file, network connection settings and some other things that didn’t work I decided to ask the oracle (Google) about it and after a while I found a simple and quick solution here.
Just create an executable file with the following content:

Now back to coding 😉

Dual Panel Nautilus For Ubuntu Karmic Koala

The dual panel Nautilus which previously was only available for Ubuntu Jaunty is now available for Ubuntu Karmic Koala. Thanks to the author’s comment, I kept checking to see when Karmic packages were finally available and it didn’t took long until he finally build them.
dual panel nautilus ubuntu karmic
Download dual panel Nautilus for Karmic:

libnautilus-extension1_2.28.1-0ubuntu3~hb1~karmic1_i386.deb (59.3 KiB)
nautilus-data_2.28.1-0ubuntu3~hb1~karmic1_all.deb (4.4 MiB)
nautilus_2.28.1-0ubuntu3~hb1~karmic1_i386.deb (1.1 MiB)

libnautilus-extension1_2.28.1-0ubuntu3~hb1~karmic1_amd64.deb (60.4 KiB)
nautilus-data_2.28.1-0ubuntu3~hb1~karmic1_all.deb (4.4 MiB)
nautilus_2.28.1-0ubuntu3~hb1~karmic1_amd64.deb (1.2 MiB)

You can add the PPA instead of just downloading the files, if you wish. You will also find Jaunty packages in the PPA.

Once you install it, restart Nautilus:

killall nautilus && nautilus &

Then press F3 to open the second panel in Nautilus or via the menu.

If you want to start Nautilus by default in dual-panel mode, press Alt + F2, type:


then navigate to apps/nautilus/preferences and enable the option called start_with_extra_pane.

Why Internet connexion is very slow on Karmic Koala – Solution

This is One of the big bugs ( on Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic koala is the slow internet connection, i have a connection of 25Mo/s and even that it take too long to load a page, at the begining i tought that was something wrong with my router or with my wireless card untill i discovered that is a known bug in karmic koala and there are many people fronting th same problem as me. I found a solution somewhere, and has worked for me for the moment. Please try it and report if worked for you also.

1. Right-click on ‘Network Icon’ (located at top-right panel by default) and click on ‘Edit Connections’ to open Network Connections Manager.

Network Manager :

2. Choose the type of connection you have. For this example, in my case “Wireless”, select the connexion (My case Auto unixmen) and click Edit

3- Inside editing ” auto unixmen wireless” click on ‘IPv4 Settings’ tab.

4. Under ‘IPv4 Settings’, change the ‘Method’ to Automatic (DHCP) addresses only.

6. Put these nameserver addresses as your ‘DNS Servers’:,

7. Click ‘OK’ and reboot your machine. You can then visit to confirm you are using OpenDNS. (Need registration)

8. NOTE:

To avoid having your settings get revoked after reboots, or after periods of inactivity you may need to make the following changes via the command line:

$ sudo cp /etc/resolv.conf /etc/
$ gksudo gedit /etc/dhcp3/dhclient.conf
# append the following line to the document
prepend domain-name-servers,;
# save and exit
$ sudo ifdown eth0 && sudo ifup eth0

You may be required to change eth0 to your own network device’s name if it uses a non-standard name.

Links :

Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala): Popping Audio Fix

It is not much of a secret that the launch of Ubuntu 9.10 aka Karmic Koala has not gone quite as smoothly as Canonical Ltd would have hoped, however developments are slowly being made which are beginning to help rectify some of the most annoying issues associated with the release.

Following all of the responses regarding my previous ‘Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala): Are You Experiencing Problems?‘ article I thought I would scour the web for fixes that may help out some of our readers.

The first fix I have found relates to a popping noise which is experienced with some Intel HDA (high-definition) audio chipsets, this fix was originally posted on YouTube by a user called “shmalignant“, the fix is pretty simple, rather than explain it myself I have embedded the video below, heres the direct link to the video.

I must just add that although there are no likely problems associated with this fix, if you choose to attempt the fix it is at your own risk (editing this particular .conf file shouldn’t cause problems.

Did this fix work for you?

Setting up awn in Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

I have a problem with Karmic Koala. I installed awn, but when I activate it, it does not work!

It was asking that a windows compositing manager be installed and suggested typing
compiz on the command line. When I typed that, compiz reported that no suitable xorg file was found, no Xgl support and that it is defaulting to the metacity window manager.

It turns out that for my ACER 4520 laptop with Nvidia 7000 card, I have to install hardware acceleration drivers for an Nvidia 7000 card, so that there will be support for Xgl. After installing it, do not fail to activate it. I also installed compiz modules via the graphical synaptic installer.

After this install, requiring a reboot, the awn dock now displays as it should.

Fixing proftpd in Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)

Most of Ubuntu fans and users already know that a new version of this wonderful operating system was released on 29 October 2009. Karmic Koala (a fancy name isn’t it?) has lots of new features and improvements, but I will not bother to list them here cause this blog entry is not about that. Just navigate to an official webpage if you want to find out more about Ubuntu 9.10.
I have a long history of using various Ubuntu versions on my private SSH/HTTP/FTP/etc box and wonderful tool do-release-upgrade was already installed. I didn’t actualy remember any major problems migrating from older versions of Ubuntu so I typed sudo do-release-upgrade and hit enter. Process of migrating from Jackalope to Koala went as smooth as a breeze although I was upgrading through an SSH session.
Logging in to the system was succesful after issuing a required reboot. I started screen (somehow all tweaks and bits like status line in a bottom of terminal windows were gone), created few virtual windows and ran usual programs such as rtorrent, Midnight Commander, silc, irssi, nano editor etc. Everything just worked…
… for a several days. I received IM from a friend of mine then. He was wondering why my FTP was down. Interesting part was that proftpd config files and default directories were there, but running sudo /etc/init.d/proftpd start|stop|restart failed everytime with no output whatsoever. It seemed like actual software just wasn’t installed at all. sudo apt-cache search proftpd showed me that proftpd package is called by a different name – proftpd-basic – now (as opposed to proftpd in Ubuntu 9.04). sudo apt-get install proftpd-basic was next step but proftpd -n showed an error:
Failed binding to, port 21: Address already in use
Check the ServerType directive to ensure you are configured correctly.
After googling arround I found that possible solution for this problem can be switching FTP daemon from standalone to inetd mode in configuration file /etc/proftpd/proftpd.conf at ServerType directive. I edited corresponding line in a proftpd configuration file mentioned above and restarted server with sudo reboot. This helped bringing FTP service back to life.
I hope these simple tips and tricks will help you too!