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Getting started with the Raspberry Pi (Installing XBMC!)

A little background first.

I got my Raspberry Pi on Tuesday and I instantly wanted to get it up and running, do things that I had seen in YouTube videos, and generally have a bit of background I knew I could use when I suddenly came up with an idea or experiment. After connecting something to every available port except the composite video (I assume you have done the same and connected the Ethernet, Mouse/KB to USB, HDMI, 3.5mm audio, >2GB SD Card with the recommended Debian Squeeze distro. and the all important microUSB power) I managed to get a screen up that is almost all blank (after logging in with username: pi, password: raspberry) except for the prompt: rasp-pi:~ pi#

This isn’t as exciting as I was expecting. I remembered the download page saying that it has the LXDE window manager (lightweight X11 desktop environment) so i typed lxde and pressed tab twice (to make it suggest auto-completion) and I got given a list of commands/files that didn’t mean anything. I googled for a while before I found what I wanted; the command to start the X11 server!


Once you press that, it fires up X and loads LXDE 🙂 You can open a web browser, play some games and do word processing. Keep an eye on the CPU graph in the bottom right corner to see how much its being stressed!

The friend I was with was pretty adamant that we should make progress on getting XBMC working straight away, so I researched how to get the current ARM port and install it on the system and we did it! Warning: this doesn’t do anything impressive, there aren’t any graphics drivers included in the debian distribution on the website so XBMC says something along the lines of 'There are no graphics drivers... Quitting in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.' But perhaps this will work in the future, so here’s how to get XBMC installed on the Debian Squeeze distribution:

If you’re in LXDE already, then press CTRL + ALT + F3 (press CTRL + ALT + F2 to get back to LXDE) to get a new terminal displayed. Login and start typing the commands:

Firstly, we need to add a repository for the binaries to the sources.list (this is a debian specific thing for aptitude, the package manager) Type this in the command line and we should be good to go:

echo "deb squeeze main non-free" >> /etc/apt/sources.list

Then we need to get hold of the GPG key for this repository so the Pi trusts it, so we do this:

dpkg -i deb-multimedia-keyring_2012.05.05_all.deb

Now we have to tell the Pi to go and have a look what’s available and updated in the whole of our system (which now includes this new repository) so type this (you should get prompted for your password, raspberry):

sudo apt-get update

If we didn’t get any errors then we are ready to install XBMC! It’s as simple as:

sudo apt-get install xbmc

It’ll do a search for what it needs and then ask you if you want to install lots of things, type Y and press enter to start the process! It took about 20 mins for me, and then goes back to the bash prompt afterwards.

Only one thing left to do! Type xbmc and press enter and fire it up!

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26 Responses

  1. Vlad

    Thanks! I could not find this info anywhere else

  2. Evan

    hello i tried using this commands to get the GPG key:

    it managed to connect to the address but after that it said:

    HTTP request sent, awaiting response… 404 Not Found
    2012-05-26 15:23:38 ERROR 404: Not Found

    can i get any help on this? Thanks in advance!

  3. Chad

    I just received my RaspPi and was following your instructions but I get and this error after trying to install with dpkg. Any help would be much appreciated

    pi@raspberrypi:/etc/apt$ sudo dpkg -i debian-multimedia-keyring_2008.10.16_all.deb
    dpkg: error processing debian-multimedia-keyring_2008.10.16_all.deb (–install):
    cannot access archive: No such file or directory
    Errors were encountered while processing:

  4. Mark

    Sorry for the ignorance, not done any programming since the spectrum days!! after entering the command echo “deb squeeze main non-free” >> /etc/apt/sources.list I am recieving a Permission denied reply, what am I doing wrong please?

  5. Mark

    Wow, what a quick reply!! unfortunately that still didn’t work though!

  6. Mark

    Enabled root access and now working, thanks

  7. Paul

    When I type to install xbmc it tells me it can’t find it can anyone help me?
    Also when typing the first big command at the top it said access denied

  8. Greenstreet

    Paul: You need to become “root”, but first you need to set a password for root by simple typing:

    sudo passwd root

    use a password that you will remember, then just typ “SU” and try the commands again.

  9. hiroshi

    I’m not sure, but for me, it was needed to do
    $ sudo apt-get install deb-multimedia-keyring
    for completing installation of debian-multimedia-keyring_2010.12.26-4_all.deb

  10. karthikeyan_sw

    i am getting error while running thexbmc from command line.

    “XBMC needs hardware accelerated OpenGL rendering”

  11. Frans

    The installation works but it seems that it won’t run, it’s complaining about a 24-bit color depth

  12. Javier

    I have the same problem that @Frans,

  13. sebi

    hi all ,i have the same problem that frans describe .Does anyone fix the problem.

  14. Chris Dunne

    Hi all,

    I’ve been wrestling with this too has anyone managed to fix the problem yet?

    I’ve tried the ‘fbset -depth 2’ comand as per but that came up with a ‘ioctl FBIOPUT_VSCREENINFO: No such file or directory’ message.

    I’d rather stick with the Debian Squeeze build rather than move to OpenELEC Raspbmc builds so can anyone please confirm they have it working with Debian Squeeze and what they did to make it work.

  15. Jared

    When I run apt-get install xbmc after all the previous commands worked I get
    root@raspberrypi:~# apt-get install xbmc
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    E: Unable to locate package xbmc”

  16. Mohs

    XBMC installed successfuly ! But not able to start it, got an OpenGL dependency … Did anyone succeed in launching xbmc on Debian wheezy ?

  17. Red

    Again the link has changed and leaves me stuck.

    HTTP request sent, awaiting response… 404 Not Found
    2012-09-02 19:01:14 ERROR 404: Not Found.

  18. David

    This tutorial did not work for me. When i do a ‘apt-get update’ it says the following:

    Failed to fetch Unable to find expected entry ‘main/binary-armhf/Packages’ in Release file (Wrong sources.list entry or malformed file)

    I’m assuming that this source is not working properly:

    echo “deb squeeze main non-free” >> /etc/apt/sources.list

    is there a new source?

  19. Darren

    I’m having the same problem, looks to not be there anymore.

  20. Alex

    Sadly, same here ‘Unable to find expected entry ‘main/binary-armhf/Packages’ in Release file (Wrong sources.list entry or malformed file)’
    The whole binary-armhf folder is missing on the server 🙁

    This one worked like a charm before my SD-Card crashed – any way to get it working again?

    Thanks in advance

  21. xbmc Lässt sich nicht Installieren - Forum

    […] ausprobieren kann. Aber hier hab ich mal eine Anleitung gefunden wie es funktionieren könnte: Getting started with the Raspberry Pi (Installing XBMC!) Soweit ich es verstanden habe liegt Dein Problem daran, daß xbmc unter debian auf arm nicht […]

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