FreeBSD and the Xbox (360)

Microsoft Xbox 360In this post I want to have a look at how the Microsoft Xbox (360) can be used in combination with FreeBSD

  1. Xbox running FreeBSD
  2. Xbox 360 as media streaming device
  3. Using FreeNAS with the Xbox 360

1. Xbox running 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.

More information can be found on Xbox-Linux project page and on the FreeBSD Xbox platform page.

If interested in running FreeBSD on your Xbox console, these are the Xbox related ports that you may find useful:

2. Xbox 360 as media streaming device

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.

3. Using FreeNAS with the Xbox 360

Want to enable your Xbox 360 to see your FreeNAS server? Easy!

4 thoughts on “FreeBSD and the Xbox (360)

  1. Oliver says:

    I’m using a old Xbox as Router at home – quiet useful ;-) And a Xbox360 would be a great opportunity to use lots of horse power for scientific work

    (cluster of Xbox360 and so on) for less money. There are lots of possibilities …

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  4. kace says:

    I’ve heard that the Xbox was basically sold at cost (or less), since the intent was to get them out there and then make money on selling the

    games. Especially now, that the old Xbox is being phased out of the game market, this is a really great idea. I’m surprised that there was so much negative

    comment about it on OSNews. Some people ….

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