Minimal Boxee HTPC on Ubuntu – The Easy Way

To start this is not the most minimal you can get but for someone pressed for time it’s a great start.

First download Ubuntu 10.10 desktop (32bit) and install normally and boot into Gnome. From here I would add the apt repository for Boxee and install (Open terminal and type “sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list” and add line “deb maverick main” to the end of the sources list then exit with ctrl-X and save and type “sudo apt-get update” to get info from the repository and “sudo apt-get install Boxee” to install Boxee).

Next I would configure the computer as desired (set monitor & graphics preferences, Install LIRC for remote support, install ssh for later access, update Ubuntu, install restricted drivers, etc.).

Now here’s where the minimal resource usage comes in:

  • Disable Gnome from starting: Open terminal and type “sudo nano /etc/X11/default-display-manager” and delete the only line in there that starts Gnome.
  • Then set your user to auto login:
    Open terminal and type “sudo nano /etc/init/tty1.conf”
    change line
    “exec /sbin/getty 38400 tty1”
    “exec /bin/login -f YOURLINUXUSERNAME </dev/tty1 > /dev/tty1 2>&1″*Make sure to replace YOURLINUXUSERNAME with your actual linux username you want to login.*Then create a bash profile:
    Open terminal and type “nano ~/.bash_profile”
    addcase “`tty`” in
    /dev/tty1) clear && startx &>/dev/null;;

    *I did not place ” quotes around this as the quotes around “`tty`” are needed*

  • Finally Set the X server to launch Boxee on start:
    Open terminal and type “sudo nano ~/.xsession”
    add line
    “exec /opt/boxee/run-boxee-desktop”

Thanks for reading and hope it works well for you too :).

This article would not have been possible if it were not for this thread. Many thanks to the users there!


  1. Nate

    Just wanted to say thanks for all your good posts – I stumbled across your page while I was googling lircrc configurations. I stopped my searching, and just followed your instructions – you did exactly what I was trying to accomplish.

    It’s been a little over a year – what’s your media setup look like now? Curious to see if you’ve made any changes. Considered ditching boxee since they announced dropping support for the PC version?

    • andyrblank

      Sorry for the delay in reply but I’m glad someone found my ramblings useful. I am disappointed that Boxee is being discontinued for desktops but to be honest my setup now consists of a much less flashy ps3 and 2tb nas. The setup of a PC connected to my TV only worked at my old apartment where the desk was next to the TV. Now that its not the desktop next to the TV does not comply with wife acceptance factor. again I’m glad i could help you though hope it works well!

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