Science Addiction

A dormant blog by Devanshu Mehta

Tag: Linux

XBMC on the Xbox

Years ago, I chronicled my efforts to get Linux on my (1st generation) Xbox on this blog. Well, I did end up succeeding. Though I never actually used the Xbox much after that. It was like climbing Mt. Everest– what do you do after you’re up there other than be able to say that you got up there?

In any case, I now have XBOX Media Center on my Xbox. XBMC is a nifty media center software that originated on the Xbox, and is now available for many other platforms. But not officially supported for the Xbox. Which is why they’ve tried to rebrand themselves as XBMC, like BP not wanting to be associated with petroleum or Altria not wanting to be associated with lung cancer.

In any case, I now have it working on my Xbox. I can watch videos, photos, music, stream from the network stream from the Internet,, YouTube, Picasa, Flickr, and dozens more. But not Hulu. Hulu and XBMC don’t get along.

The process of installation, in short, involves:

  • Obtaining a game that has an bug/exploit (original Mechassault, 007, Splinter Cell)
  • Loading a “saved game” for that game, which is really a way to install the hack/softmod.
  • Now you have an Xbox with FTP access and some other nifty tools.
  • Obtain the XBMC build from these folks who call themselves T3CH.
  • FTP the build to your Xbox E:apps directory.
  • Launch it from your hacked dashboard.
  • Profit!

Of course, there is also a lot of cursing, fingers crossed, and general irritation along the way. And I’ve glossed over all kinds of details. And now I’m back at the top of Mt. Everest. The view is great, and I even got a blog post out of it.

Now what?

Got Myself a Linux EEE PC

My ASUS EEE PC 900 16G (Linux) fits in my palm and I already love it:

The Year Flash and Real Player Arrived

In a sense, it’s the year Linux arrived. The year Flash and Real Player took Linux seriously. Flash Player 10 was released for Linux the same day as other platforms and earlier in the year Real Player 11 was released as a .deb for Linux. [via Slashdot]

10 Years of The Cathedral and The Bazaar

In May 2007, that seminal work by “Eric S. Raymond”: turned ten years old. _The Cathedral and the Bazaar_ is a book about the simple notion that in software development _given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow_. Six years after Linux came on to the scene and 14 years after Richard Stallman gave birth to the GNU project, Eric Raymond put an intangible, untested concept in to words and has arguably had a phenomenal impact on software and geek culture.

When I wrote my “95 Theses of Geek Activism”: last year, I put in CatB as a required reading as thesis #12 (the order meant nothing!). It could well have been #1, because it was the book that, for me, transformed the open source model from a touchy-feely philosophy to a practical, viable and achievable ideal for software development.

When Richard Stallman introduced the GNU project, it was a philosophy. You stuck with the GNU model because you believed in truth, liberty, freedom and justice. The BSD and other licenses were less philosophically rigid and have hence been taken advantage of by companies. Apple based their operating system OS X on BSD but were not obligated to share their improvements with the BSD community. They could take, but did not have to share. The GPL aimed at changing that- sharing was a many way street.

Linux brought the truly bazaar-style development in to the (geek) mainstream- where every user was a developer and the code was _released early and released often_. These facets of Linux development were part accidental, part consequences of the GPL and part Linus’ genius. Of course, Raymond was the first to test and formally describe the theories behind the success of Linux and how to apply them to future projects. Raymond tested the bazaar philosophy on his own _fetchmail_ project and the book tracks his success with it.

* *CatB as a Manifesto*: This book changed the geek language. Phrases such as the one above about eyeballs and bugs or the fundamental ideas about how to treat your beta testers are now treated as obvious. Indeed, even Yahoo and Google use the idea of treating their users as insider beta testers for many of their products.
* *CatB and O’Reilly*: _The Cathedral and the Bazaar_ was the first book published in print (by O’Reilly) with an open source document license. This allowed the book to be copied and modified as long as the resulting work had the same license- a precursor to “Creative Commons”: licenses.
* *The Open Sourcing of Netscape*: The open sourcing of the Netscape browser and the start of the Mozilla project at the end of the browser wars in the late 90s is largely attributed to this book. At the time, CTO of Netscape, Eric Nahn told Raymond, “On behalf of everyone at Netscape, I want to thank you for helping us get to this point in the first place. Your thinking and writings were fundamental inspirations to our decision.”

Eric Raymond first presented _The Cathedral and the Bazaar_ at the “Linux Kongress on May 22nd, 1997”: in Würzburg, Germany. Ten years later, Linux is more powerful than ever, Ubuntu is ready for the desktop (says me) and the bazaar model is alive and thriving.

* Read “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”:
* About the “Netscape decision”:
* Raymond’s ever-growing archive of “notes, comments, rebuttals and more”: on CatB.
* Read Linus Torvalds’ fun, light and frothy autobiography about the heady young days of Linux “Just for Fun”:
* And of course, there is the “The Circus Midget and the Fossilized Dinosaur Turd”: (don’t worry, it’s satire and it has a point)

Linux for President!

Marketing blogger Douglas Karr has an “interesting study up on his web site”: about the operating systems that power the web sites of United States presidential candidates.

Let’s just say, Linux lies to the left of the political spectrum. Democrats are 90% open source, Republicans 30% and Obama is on FreeBSD. I have no idea if any of this means anything, but according to 73% of Internet history experts, cool, obtusely meaningless statistics are what the Internet was designed to propagate.

Linus on CNN

“Linus Torvalds is on CNN this weekend”: and though the interview is largely unsurprising, he is always charming and self-deprecating- taking as little credit for the “revolution” as possible.

Timings for the interview on CNN International:

You can watch the Linus Torvalds interview on Global Office on CNN International at these times:
03:30 ET/08:30 BST/1530 HKT/1300 New Delhi
09:30 ET/14:30 BST/2130 HKT/1900 New Delhi
07:30 ET/12:30 BST/1930 HKT/1700 New Delhi
13:30 ET/18:30 BST/0130 (Monday) HKT/2300 New Delhi

Linux on the Xbox: Part II: Planning

This is the IInd part of an “ongoing series”: on my experiences with installing Linux on my Xbox.

Ah, nice to know there are other zealots out there. So, before you do anything else, you want to bookmark the “Xbox-Linux website”: Lot’s of interesting information about how and why you would want to attempt this project- the kind of stuff “I’ve already written about”: Read the rest of this entry »

Linux on the Xbox: Part I: Reasoning

So a few days ago, I finally decided to sell my Xbox. Purchased in a frenzy of going-to-grad-school shopping, knowing fully well that you can’t get through a degree in computer science without putting in your hours behind the controls of a powerful gaming machine, this black and green monster has served its purpose.

But since then, I’ve graduated. I work full time. The few games I owned started finding their way to “”: and pretty soon it had become clear.

The Xbox had to go. Read the rest of this entry »

Is it Wrong to Love Microsoft… blindly?

This is my constructive response to the column at “CoolTechZone”: on the 5th of August titled “Is it Wrong to Love Microsoft?”: To give you a little perspective, I have a WindowsXP desktop dual booted with “Fedora Core 4 Linux”:, Windows XP Professional laptop, and “Mac Powerbook”: at home and so have sufficient experience with all of them. Read the rest of this entry »

The $100 Computer

According to CNet , a $100 Linux-based computer may not be too far in the future. An Indian company called Novatium has stripped-down home computers in the pipeline that look to take PCs to the remaining 5 billion people on the planet. From the article:

Using Linux applications and software from Jain’s Netcore Solutions, these machines will be tweaked so that multiple people can use them. This would reduce the cost of memory in the server that does the bulk of the computing work for the Novatium thin clients on its network.

The article has ideas for 3 articles worth; it talks about Linux-based computers, cheap/thin computers, networked/grid applications, single-purpose computers and the problem of reaching the less-affording sections of the population.