Because I've done this a few times myself and I've encountered several people asking about it I figured it would be worth the effort to document the required steps. I've cut it into two main steps.
1. Installing Ubuntu minimal (this post)
2. Automated Ubuntu preparation and XBMC installation (post #2 in this thread)
This guide uses a very minimalistic and efficient approach. After a clean installation it takes my relatively old machine only 12 seconds to boot. From pushing the button to the xbmc home screen.
I'm running xbmc on a Asrock ION 330HT with 3GB ram and an SSD drive.
If you're an experienced Linux user you can probably skip to section two because the fisrt step is just a regular Ubuntu minimal installation with only the OpenSSH server as extra module.
You will need to use xbmc for the username of the installation. Otherwise the script won't work!
For this method of installation to work you need to have your HTPC connected to the internet! This needs to be a wired connection for now.
1. Installing Ubuntu minimal
1.1 Download the latest ubuntu 12.10/13.04 minimal installation ISO from
- x64: http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/r...t/mini.iso
- i386 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/r...t/mini.iso
- x64: http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/q...t/mini.iso
- i386 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/q...t/mini.iso
1.2 Download and install unetbootin or burn the downloaded ISO to a writable CD
- download and install: http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/unetbo...latest.exe
- You can install it straight from the Ubuntu repository:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install unetbootin
- ...or alternatively download the Linux binary from the unetbootin website: http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/unetbo...nux-latest
1.2.3 Creating the bootable USB stick
- Insert an USB drive into an USB port and delete all it’s content or format it (FAT32)
- Open unetbootin, select “Diskimage” and select the mini.iso file you’ve downloaded in step 1.1
- Make sure the correct USB drive is selected and click “OK”
- When the bootable image is written successfully to the USB drive close unetbootin without rebooting
Now you have a bootable USB drive containing the minimal installation requirements for Ubuntu 12.10 or 13.04. During the installation process the minimal installation will download more required packages. The advantage of using the minimal installation is that no more then absolutely required for you installation will be downloaded and installed. Resulting in a fast and responsive XBMC installation.
Every * stands for at least one installation screen in most cases
- Take the USB drive and insert it into one of your HTPC’s USB slots
- Make sure your HTPC can and will boot from the USB drive. You can do this from the BIOS of your machine. In most cases no BIOS adjustments are required. Most computers have an option to press a specific key at boot time which will give you a screen where you can select the drive you want to boot from.
- Unetbootin has added a screen to your bootable USB drive from which you can choose different ways to start the Ubuntu minimal installation. Choose “Install” in this screen.
- In the next screen choose your preferred installation language. Preferrabely English because that’s the language I’ll be using in this in this howto. You’ll be able to choose your preferred language in XBMC later on.
- Choose the country you reside in (other -> Europe -> Netherlands in my case)
- Choose your ‘locale’. This determines some predefined variables. For me the best choice is United States. The best option for you might be the one that’s pre-selected
- In “Configure the keyboard” select “No” and manually choose the keyboard type you use (English (US) with Euro on 5 in my case)
- Ubuntu will automatically configure you DHCP (ip address) settings. AFter this has succeeded you know you’ll have a working network connection. If the network has a working internet connection your HTPC will have access to it.
- Enter the HTPC’s host name (I use “xbmc”). Make sure there are no other computers with the same hostname on your network. If that's the case... choose a different one.
- Confirm the next two screens with Enter (Ubuntu repositories mirror, default is ok)
- If you use a proxy server, please enter the proper configuration in the related screen. Otherwise skip this option by pressing Enter
- Enter xbmc in the Fullname and Username screens! Using xbmc as the username is required! The script won't work if you choose a different one.
- Choose a password. You’ll need this password several times later on so remeber it or write it down
- Do not encrypt your home directory unless you really need to (impacts performance a bit in a negative way)
- Confirm or change your timezone
- And now for partitioning. To keep it simple I’ll asume you have one HDD in your HTPC and want to use it’s entire capacity. If not... google it . Choose “Guided - use entire disk”
- Make sure you choose the right disk (not the USB drive)
- Confirm to write the changes to your HDD with “Yes”
- Now the installation will start partitioning your HDD and after that copy and download the absolute minimum of required files. This might take a little while.
- When asked for management upgrade plan select “No automatic updates”, after which the installation process will continue for a while
- In the “Software selection” screen only select “OpenSSH server” using your arrow keys and the space bar. PRESS ENTER TO GO TO THE NEXT INSTALLATION STEP. I’m choosing not to use Samba since we can access the entire machine remotely using SSH and SFTP with only the OpenSSH server. As minimal as possible is what I want! The installation will continue after you've press enter.
- Confirm installation of GRUB to the “Master boot record” with “Yes”
- Confirm that the system clock is set to UTC with “Yes”
- When finished remove the bootable USB drive and press Enter to reboot the machine.