In this post I want to have a look at how the Microsoft Xbox (360) can be used in combination with FreeBSD
Some of you may be aware that since the middle of 2005 it is possible to run FreeBSD on the Microsoft Xbox and later also on the Xbox 360. To be honest, I don’t really see the point of porting an OS to a video game device – “are data centres full of Xboxes?” – but I also readily admit that it’s always good to see individuals offering up their time and contributing to make even better and more powerfull. Some may object that the FreeBSD-Xbox combination may be a good thing, for instance, for home-users who can use their old Xbox for PC-BSD / DesktopBSD or for scientists who can use Xboxes for cheap, high-power cluster computing. Anyhow, the opinions are quite divided.
This FreeBSD-Xbox project was originally started by Rink Springer (patching and coding) and Ed Schouten (reviewing patches and provision of details on certain Xbox internals).
FreeBSD/Xbox is supported in FreeBSD 6.x and 7.0. The framebuffer, Ethernet, sound and USB devices (such as an USB keyboard for the console) are all supported.
In order to help people in installing the FreeBSD/Xbox port, a combined install/liveCD has been created which can be downloaded here.
If interested in running FreeBSD on your Xbox console, these are the Xbox related ports that you may find useful:
- extract-xiso-2.5 – Tool for extracting and creating optimised Xbox ISO images
- xbiso-0.6.1 – XBox xdvdfs iso extraction utility
- ccxstream-1.0.15_1 – Stream media files to XBox Media Center via XBMSP
- xboxproxy-2.1_2 – A proxy for the XBox system link protocol
- cromwell-20060308_1 – FreeBSD BIOS images for the Microsoft Xbox
- raincoat-0.11 – BIOS flash utility for the Microsoft Xbox
Since Microsoft added Xvid codec support to the Xbox 360 last month (it supported UPnP for streaming already), this console can be turned into a fairly capable media streaming device.
There are many UpnP servers available, but only a few run on FreeBSD, e.g.
- FUPPES – Free UPnP Entertainment Service
- MediaTomb – note: doesn’t support Xbox 360 (yet)
- uShare – Fork of GNU Media Server for GeeXboX
Both FUPPES and uShare have support for the Xbox 360. Whilst the first has more features, the latter is easier to get it up and running. For notes on how to install these two media servers, check out Falz’s howto.
Want to enable your Xbox 360 to see your FreeNAS server? Easy!