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[LINUX] HOW-TO make a minimal install of Ubuntu on Acer Revo ION in under 25 minutes - Printable Version

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[LINUX] HOW-TO make a minimal install of Ubuntu on Acer Revo ION in under 25 minutes - Pete_London - 2009-06-30

Hi all,

There's been quite a few questions of late on how to get the best out of a Acer Aspire Revo, so I thought I'd put this guide together for you all.

For those unfamiliar with this cheap little computer, the Acer AspireRevo was the first NVIDIA ION based Nettop available for retail purchase, and via the VDPAU API it is with XBMC for Linux capable of playing back practically all 1080p high-definition video files that you can throw at it.

Full credit for this HOW-TO step-by-step guide goes to draggy, who's tutorial work I have modified. I have taken the liberty of using nano instead of vi in this HOW-TO guide and also installing the very latest SVN release of XBMC Media Center so that you can use all the cutting-edge skins. Please bear in mind that SVN releases can be buggy, however so far I personally have never had any problems.

To keep things simple I recommend using a cheap HTPC remote control and IR receiver of the Microsoft MCE variety. They tend to work directly out-of-the-box in XBMC without the need to install and configure LIRC or any keymapping. I myself purchased a Cyberlink unit from eBay for under £10 delivered. If yours doesn't work, just install LIRC - it's easy to do. Then you should check out the LIRC sticky for tips to get it going.

Everybody says that you need 2GB memory in the Revo to use XBMC effectively with all 1080p videos. I do have 2GB memory in my Revo but so far is has always had over 1GB free no matter what I do, so I suggest to treat that suggestion as advisable but not essential. This also applies to changing the graphics memory in BIOS of the Revo from Auto (256MB) to 512MB to be able to playback all 1080p videos, it is well worth doing but on my build I persoanlly haven't really noticed a difference.

If you're wanting the easiest way possible to do the following, use this post.

Installing Ubuntu

1. Download the Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope minimal cd from here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/MinimalCD
Note: Please use the 32-bit CD.

2. Burn the ISO to a disk (or USB key) and boot your HTPC from it.

3. Start the installation and follow the instructions.

4. When the installation asks for a username / password, enter xbmc / xbmc.

5. OPTIONAL If you want to do most of the steps remotely with ssh, choose openssh when asked if you want to install more packages.

6. Finish the installation and reboot.

Updating the computer

1. Log in as the xbmc user

2. Add the right repositories to the sources list:
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

3. Add the SVN and addons to the bottom of the list:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/team-xbmc-svn/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/team-xbmc-svn/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/xbmc-addons/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/xbmc-addons/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates/ubuntu jaunty main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates/ubuntu jaunty main

4. Then add the right keys:
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 318C7509 64234534 AF1CDFA9

5. Update the library:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -f install

Install ALSA for sound

1. Install ALSA:
sudo apt-get install linux-sound-base alsa-base alsa-utils

2. There is a bug in Mini Jaunty where the user's account doesn't get added to the audio group, to fix that:
sudo usermod -a -G audio xbmc

3. Type:
sudo alsamixer

4. Use your arrow keys and turn up the volumes for Master and PCM.

5. Un-mute Master and PCM by selecting each one and pressing the M key. (The grey MM at the bottom will change to a green OO when un-muted.)

6. Press the escape key to exit

7. Now save the audio volumes:
sudo alsactl store 0

Install the NVIDIA drivers

Rachel has offered the following advice including stuff that has been merged above:

sudo apt-get install nvidia-glx-180

Install XBMC

1. Start the installation:
sudo apt-get install xbmc

2. You can install any of the following:
sudo apt-get install xbmc-skin-*
sudo apt-get install xbmc-eventclients-*
sudo apt-get install xbmc-scripts-*

Make the system log in automatically

1. Make the xbmc user log in to tty1 automatically:
sudo nano /etc/event.d/tty1
exec /sbin/getty 38400 tty1
exec /bin/login -f xbmc </dev/tty1 > /dev/tty1 2>&1

2. Create the .bash_profile file:
nano ~/.bash_profile
Insert into the new file:
case "`tty`" in
/dev/tty1) clear && startx &>/dev/null;;

3. Make XBMC start with X:
nano ~/.xsession
Insert into the new file and save:
exec xbmc --standalone

Add power management

1. Add power management utilities so XBMC can control the HTPC's power functions: (this may already be installed)
sudo apt-get install pm-utils

2. Add the xbmc user to the power utilies groups, thanks to Pvt_Ryan for the commands:
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

OK... that's the grunt-work done... now reboot:
sudo reboot
and you should see XBMC.

If you have any video issues afterwards, type:
sudo nvidia-xconfig

To get the best out of it, go to Settings, Videos, Player and set Render Method to VDPAU. Then go to Settings, System, Audio Hardware and set the following:
Audio Output: Digital
AC3: Off
DTS: Off
Audio Capable Device: plughw:hdmi
Passthrough Output Device: hdmi
Downmix: On

This will give you stereo, mono and MP3s playing at the right speed. If you have a surround sound system capable of AC3 or DTS you can turn them on as needed.

Making startup look better

You can install usplash to get rid of all the text on boot. This is the Ubuntu default:
sudo apt-get install usplash libusplash-dev
but there are posts telling you how to get a number of XBMC themed splash screens.

OK, that's it for now. I'll edit this HOW-TO article as needed.



PS! If you still do not feel comfortable with installing Ubuntu and XBMC for Linux on your own then you might instead be interested in checking out burgemaster's tutorial on HOW-TO install XBMC Live on Acer Aspire Revo - The Complete Guide for Newbies which will help you get XBMC Live installed on the Acer AspireRevo.

- Hannes The Hun - 2009-07-01

awesome how-to, I'll give this a try at the weekend

- Haggy - 2009-07-01

Really great work - worth a sticky.

- Pete_London - 2009-07-01

Thanks guys... I'm sure it'll be a work in progress....

- hexland - 2009-07-01

I had trouble installing XBMC with these instructions... I'm a total linux n00b though.

I had to change step 2. to read
sudo nano /etc/[b]apt[/b]/sources.list

- hexland - 2009-07-01

The line
sudo apt-get install xbmc-scripts
needs changed to

sudo apt-get install xbmc-scripts[b]-*[/b]

- poserdonut - 2009-07-01

Did this install earlier today with the changes hexland mentions, seems to work fine.

Sometimes when the machine boots I get the XBMC splash screen but then it goes out to the terminal. Don't know why.

I did however not install xbmc-scripts, what's in this package?

- hexland - 2009-07-01

This definitely feels better/snappier than a full Ubuntu install... I don't know if it's the lack of window manager that makes the difference, but the whole interface in general feels a lot better (esp. in 1080p resolutions) on the ION hardware.

Thank you very much for this information... I would never have been able to work that out on my own!

Would it be possible to add to the guide...

-- how to install either the Apple Trailers plugin, or the SVN Repo Installer
-- how to enable auto mounting of USB flash drives and USB HDD's


- poserdonut - 2009-07-01

I wonder if there's more you could do to lower the boot time, it's pretty good now, but there's always room for improvement. Smile

- Haggy - 2009-07-01

Don't boot, just suspend/resume

- thescorp - 2009-07-02

Haggy Wrote:Don't boot, just suspend/resume

I have a weird problem, well "problem anyway, when taking it out of suspend. It somehow kills X, so I have to start that again. Which is not really a big issue since I have the DiNovo Mini, but a tad annoying in the long run ^^

- hexland - 2009-07-02

thescorp Wrote:I have a weird problem, well "problem anyway, when taking it out of suspend. It somehow kills X, so I have to start that again. Which is not really a big issue since I have the DiNovo Mini, but a tad annoying in the long run ^^

Yup, same here... Suspend leaves a blank screen on resume, and hibernate leaves an X shaped cursor in the center of the screen that won't go away.

- Pete_London - 2009-07-02

Had dinner with friends last night and am a hungover little puppy this morning... I'll take in some suggestions and update tonight.

What SFTP client do all you Windows users use? I don't want to make this Mac specific, but it's all I've got to play with here since I commandeered my wife's laptop as a Linux test bed.


- thescorp - 2009-07-02

hexland Wrote:Yup, same here... Suspend leaves a blank screen on resume, and hibernate leaves an X shaped cursor in the center of the screen that won't go away.

Well, I get the terminal with X being dead.

As far as the X shaped cursor when Hibernating, I have an easy fix for that since I have the DiNovo Mini. Flick the mousepointer active, and then click if off again and voila gone.

There is however a fix for getting that cursor removed somewhere on these forums that you can use to fix it. I tried to find it, but cant remember where I saw it ^^

Ill update if i find it.

Edit: Found it: http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?p=339641&highlight=hwcursor#post339641

- poserdonut - 2009-07-02

Haggy Wrote:Don't boot, just suspend/resume

I kill the power for all my units during night and when I'm not home. But sure, during the time I'm home and not using it I will suspend/hibernate it.

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