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Xbox Linux project releases SuSE 8.0 howto

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The Xbox Linux Project has now produced a tutorial on installing SuSE 8.0 on an Xbox, and from the look of it, although getting SuSE running is something of a triumph, the Project still has a way to go before it can be said to have turned the Xbox into a cheap, low-hassle Linux client.

First you need a mod chip, the XBE bootloader and patched SuSE kernel downloaded from the Project, a SuSE nforce driver from the nVidia site, the correct USB adapter for the Xbox and (easy-peasy this bit) a USB keyboard. Oh, and a SuSE 8.0 compatible PC.

Then it's musical cables. The procedure used is described here, and is a "cross-install" involving hot-swapping IDE cables on the Xbox and the PC, fooling the right device at the right moment until you have SuSE squatting on the Xbox HD. The instructions seem pretty clear, and the issues described at the end fairly minor (YaST crashing it is a bit of a pain, although probably to be expected).

If you're willing to put up with some considerable assembly required, then you could say the Xbox Linux Project is nearly there. The current procedure however does not appear to have gone very far towards addressing Project A task 1, which calls for the development of a replacement bios and a replacement ROM, so if this is still going ahead future revs may be a tad easier.

In perhaps slightly related news, Cnet reports sightings of one of Microsoft's all-new draconian EULAs in the Xbox Live beta kit. In it Microsoft huffs that (to paraphrase) using modded Xbox kit for Xbox Live is streng verboten, and (more significantly) "Any attempt to disassemble, decompile, create derivative works of, reverse engineer, modify, further sublicense, distribute or use for other purposes either the hardware or software of this system is strictly prohibited."

You'll note that, presuming it didn't say that in any original Xbox EULA (we haven't got one, we don't know), this is a supplementary EULA which says modification and/or creation of derivative works from the hardware is forbidded. The probability right now is that Microsoft is just giving itself wide-ranging rights with a view to doing a fairly simple thing, i.e. stopping people using hacks and mods to steal stuff. It's also unlikely to be of concern to anybody who either doesn't want to use Xbox Live (or the Xbox as a console full stop), or who is using a mod chip you can switch off.

But it's still another one of those 'gimme all your rights, I won't beat you up unless you're bad' things, and they're starting to get pretty tedious. ®

Related:
Xbox Linux Project status
Xboxhacker.net (handy for mod chip info etc)
Xbox Linux Project gets SuSE 8.0 running

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