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All Discussions > Steam OS > Topic Details
Shark Jan 10, 2014 @ 8:49am
Intergrating XBMC in SteamOS
This guide will show you how to install XBMC 12.3 on SteamOS and how to make it your default desktop to launch when you tell Steam to "Switch to desktop". The reason you would want to do this is because XBMC doesn't work when you launch it through your Steam library. Anyway, here is how it's done.

Part 1: Installing XBMC

1. Open a terminal, you can do this from the desktop interface. Make sure you have a password set for the desktop user, you can do this with:
passwd

2. Open the sources.list file as root with:
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
Add the following lines:
deb http://http.debian.net/debian wheezy main contrib non-free deb-src http://http.debian.net/debian wheezy main contrib non-free deb http://http.debian.net/debian wheezy-backports main contrib non-free deb-src http://http.debian.net/debian wheezy-backports main contrib non-free
Save and close the file by pressing ctrl+x, then picking y and pressing enter.

3. Now we create create a preferences file with:
sudo nano /etc/apt/preferences
Add the following lines to it:
Package: * Pin: release l=SteamOS Pin-Priority: 900 Package: * Pin: release l=Debian Pin-Priority: 100
Save and close the file by pressing ctrl+x, then picking y and pressing enter.

This will ensure that packages from the SteamOS repo have priority when running updates.

4. For installing XBMC run the following 2 commands:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install -t wheezy-backport XBMC -y
There you go, you can now launch XBMC from the desktop.


Part 2: Setting it as default desktop

This part is not very reliable and might break, but the worst thing that can happen is that you'll have to do it a second time to launch XBMC again instead of Gnome.

You can replaced the gnome session with XBMC with this command:
sudo sed -i 's/gnome\-session/xbmc\-standalone/g' /usr/share/xsessions/gnome.desktop
After the next reboot you do, switch to desktop in the exit menu of SteamOS should launch XBMC instead of the Gnome desktop. If you want to return to Steam after you launched XBMC you press win+s or just picking exit in the quit menu of XBMC.

If you ever want the old desktop back all you need to do to restore it is this:
sudo sed -i 's/xbmc\-standalone/gnome\-session/g' /usr/share/xsessions/gnome.desktop

Or, if you only want to get into the desktop once, you can press ctrl+alt+F4, log in as the desktop user and enter the following command:
xinit /usr/bin/gnome-session -- :2

Edit 1: rewrite of guide for XBMC 12.3
Edit 2: added a sed command for replacing gnome-session
Edit 3: changed sed command to use xbmc-standalone instead
Last edited by Shark; Jun 11, 2014 @ 6:36am
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Showing 1-15 of 88 comments
danman Jan 10, 2014 @ 7:02pm 
Interesting. Thanks.
Aoi Blue Jan 10, 2014 @ 7:31pm 
You should be able to configure your system load XBMC in a second X Session, and simply use CTRL-ALT-F# to change between the to X Sessions.

This would use a little bit more background resources, but it would allow you to still have access to your regular desktop mode.
KissTheRobot Feb 2, 2014 @ 7:10pm 
This is great. I actually did this a slightly different way - I added XBMC to the startup items in Gnome. When I exit Steam, it switches to the desktop for a moment, then XBMC loads up. I'm going to change it to your method, though!

One question though: how do you get XBMC to recognise your xbox 360 (wired) controller? The only button that works is the xbox button in the middle which takes me straight back to SteamOS. Pretty cool, but it would be a lot better if I could also use it to navigate XBMC and remove the mouse and keyboard from the equation completely...
Last edited by KissTheRobot; Feb 2, 2014 @ 7:10pm
Blacklisted Feb 2, 2014 @ 7:24pm 
you need to copy the xbox360 controller layout to your xbmc user folder theres a folder called userdata then keymaps it goes there.
KissTheRobot Feb 2, 2014 @ 8:13pm 
Thanks! Where would I find the controller layout?
Blacklisted Feb 3, 2014 @ 1:27am 
Originally posted by KissTheRobot:
Thanks! Where would I find the controller layout?


https://github.com/xbmc/xbmc/blob/master/system/keymaps/joystick.Microsoft.Xbox.360.Controller.xml save the file it does need the .xml extention so dont change that.
KissTheRobot Feb 3, 2014 @ 5:56pm 
That all worked great. However, after switching between Steam and XBMC a couple of times, XBMC goes grazy, like it is receiving constant input from the controller. I have to hard reset when it does that. Any idea why? Maybe some conflict between Steam's controller input and XBMC's?
Shark Feb 4, 2014 @ 1:26am 
Originally posted by KissTheRobot:
That all worked great. However, after switching between Steam and XBMC a couple of times, XBMC goes grazy, like it is receiving constant input from the controller. I have to hard reset when it does that. Any idea why? Maybe some conflict between Steam's controller input and XBMC's?
You can probably fix that by pressing win+k or ctrl+alt+F7.
FreezR^ Feb 6, 2014 @ 8:30am 
Thanks for the how to, works really good!
I just wonder how I can go back to the real desktop, I now can only switch between steam big picture and xmbc.
Probably its something easy, but unfortunately im not used to linux and the possible shortcuts..
Shark Feb 6, 2014 @ 4:21pm 
Originally posted by FreezR:
Thanks for the how to, works really good!
I just wonder how I can go back to the real desktop, I now can only switch between steam big picture and xmbc.
Probably its something easy, but unfortunately im not used to linux and the possible shortcuts..
You could disable autologin in lightdm and log in manually. Try this:
sudo nano /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf
IYou should get a text editor which opens a config file. just change autologin to no and save it with ctrl+x. Next time you reboot you manually log in, pick gnome as session.

edit: fixed the config file name.
Last edited by Shark; Feb 7, 2014 @ 5:27am
GeeEl Feb 7, 2014 @ 2:45am 
/etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf
Line 104, from memory.

I added xbmc as a non-Steam program instead, which meant that I had to wrestle with udrives-glue to try and make removable media readable by the steam user. That leaves me with the regular desktop for browsing, file manipulation etc.

In case anyone wants to go that route-
Install xbmc as above
Edit lightdm.conf to disable auto login
Log in steam to the gnome desktop
Start steam (regular desktop version)
Add xbmc to steam
Start xbmc from the steam library to check
Log out
Log back in as steam to SteamOS (this sets BPM as the default again)
Use exit to desktop and reenable auto login

In that setup I found it easiest to have a steam readable folder in /home/desktop to copy media into, but setting up udrives-glue to mount media with mask 022 (readable to everyone, write permission for owner) was modestly successful. I think I was too restrictive in what I told it to mount as some media still comes up as only readable by root.
Aoi Blue Feb 7, 2014 @ 5:14am 
Another option is if you turn off auto-login you can create a third user for XBMP.
R0de0 Feb 8, 2014 @ 2:45pm 
I love how people are already integrating XBMC with SteamOS! I think SteamOS with a CableCard tuner would make a fantastic combination, if it can be made user friendly enough for dummies like myself.
Aoi Blue Feb 9, 2014 @ 9:49am 
If someone could build a .deb package to configure XBMP for SteamOS, it could be quite easy.

I'm not sure how easy the cable-card tuner setup is, though, as I've never set one up.
Last edited by Aoi Blue; Feb 9, 2014 @ 9:50am
Shark Feb 9, 2014 @ 10:21am 
Originally posted by ruediix:
If someone could build a .deb package to configure XBMP for SteamOS, it could be quite easy.

I'm not sure how easy the cable-card tuner setup is, though, as I've never set one up.
I think you can do that with something like this https://code.google.com/p/mythbox/
Last edited by Shark; Feb 9, 2014 @ 10:21am
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All Discussions > Steam OS > Topic Details
Date Posted: Jan 10, 2014 @ 8:49am
Posts: 88