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Installing Linux

Now that our hardware is pretty much in order, the next step will be to load Linux onto the Xbox. Xbox-linux.org is an excellent page about installing Linux on the Xbox and I suggest you read it all thoroughly before starting this next step. I chose to install Debian, or rather its Xbox-specific version: Xebian. There was no particular reason for this other than it seems to be popular on the Internet.

Have a good read of the install pages here to familiarize yourself with the procedure. I will be following that procedure, but with a few differences and am going to assume that you are using a Windows PC to create the CD.

Step 1: Preparing to install Xebian

First, you need to download the archive, expand it, and burn the installation CD image (the big one) to a CD-R, CD-RW or DVD-R. The Xbox can be funny about the media it reads, but my Samsung DVD drive was fine with CD-R, CD-RW and DVD-R.

Step 2: Installation

Follow the Xbox-Linux instructions (Step 2) but with the following notes:

  • I was using version 1.1.4 so the password was 'xebian'

  • In point 4 you will want to chose a native install by using the entire drive (don't install it on E: or F:)

  • In point 6 choose to make the root partition as large as possible. Once you have chosen this, the entire drive will be formatted although there is no "busy" indicator shown and the system just looks like it has hung. Be patient and wait for the format to complete

  • You can ignore points 9 and 10 as we have a native install

  • Once you have done up to the end of point 10, if all went well, you have installed Linux correctly. Take your boot CD/DVD out of the drive, reboot and you should see the Cromwell BIOS for a few seconds and then it should automatically boot into the installation you just made

  • Log in using the user 'root' and the password 'xebian'

Step 3: Xebian post-install configuration

Continue to follow the Xbox-Linux instructions (you are now at Step 3).

  • Create a user for yourself using useradd myname

  • Follow the section titled 'Changing from Static IP to DHCP' if you have a DHCP server such as a router. If you do change this, then typing in 'ifconfig' will show you the IP address that has been allocated to you, which we will use later to log in

  • You can ignore all of the sections after this (3.3 and up) as they don't apply to us

Now, go to your PC and using PuTTY, connect to your Xbox's IP address that you found earlier using ifconfig. Log in using the user 'root' and the password you changed it to during your install. If it works, then well done - you have the difficult bit out of the way! If not, go back and carefully repeat the process.

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