Author Topic: Using XBox as an MD  (Read 5230 times)

csudcy

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Re: Using XBox as an MD
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2007, 03:44:29 am »
Ok, Ive now actually bothered to read the Cromwell screen from Etherboot - version 5.2.4 and it says ELF and from reading more on Etherboot Im assuming this means it will boot ELFs. Ive just tried mkelf-linux with just vmlinuz and the .'s still go off the screen. Id really like to see whats at the end of those .'s! Other than trying to find out what the error message is (which I have no ideas for) I have one more idea - apparently Etherboot > 5.3.7 can boot pxe files. I could try to recompile Cromwell with an updated Etherboot - however, there could be many changes from the standard Etherboot and this would be taking the life of my XBox in my hands!

Scratch that, had another idea - if Etherboot could be compiled into an ELF then the latest version could be sent to Cromwell which could then load pxelinux.0! Excellent - an elf Etherboot can be obtained from Rom-o-matic using the 'forcedeth:nForce' rom type. Booting now...well, it says 'Loading Etherboot version 5.4.3' then 'Using cmdline: ELF'. Now tried with not waiting before booting (ASK_BOOT=-1). Then also tried with that and 2 different USE_STATIC_BOOT_INFO setups. All get stuck at 'Using cmdline: ELF'. So, I might be able to merge the 2 ideas - get the source code for Etherboot and try to apply changes made to the Cromwell version tot eh new version. Then compile it to ELF and use that. Hopefully the DHCP will cope with getting multiple DHCP requests from the same MAC address. Ill think more about that tomorrow - bedtime now!

Nick

csudcy

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Re: Using XBox as an MD
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2007, 04:34:03 am »
Right, after a long day of source code Ive concluded the Etherboots cannot be chained (I think standard Etherboots could be but the Cromwell version does some XBox specific stuff after a standard Etherboot would finish). That took about half the day and since that Ive been trying to reflash my bios. When I flashed the bios previously, I used Cromwell 2.40. Since then, Ive read that CD booting in that version doesnt work. So, I had to install Xebian to the hard drive - should have been easy but my desktop wouldnt boot the graphical so eventually I got the basic Debian setup and then it worked fine. So, I now have my Bios flashed with Cromwell 2.41-dev which doesnt look that great but does work. When I compiled it I changed an option in Etherboot to see if it would still compile & run which it did (I was quite nervous when I flashed it with my own compilation - much possibility for XBox death!).

So, today I tried to Cromwell-ise the latest Etherboot. Tomorrow I will try to Etherboot-ise the latest Cromwell! Well, update the Etherboot version anyway. Then (hopefully) I can boot the standard pxelinux.0 (or at least get further than 'invalid boot image')! Then the 1.1 sources have to be hunted down...

Nick

csudcy

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Re: Using XBox as an MD
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2007, 02:42:43 am »
Just thought I should give another update. Monday involved lots of source code, make files and waiting for things to make. I think progress was made - think there are about 20 linker errors left (about 10 unique) assuming I dont have to add any more files to the makefiles. Unfortunately, lots of the errors are to do with things that were specified in the Etherboot 5.4.3 ld files so I have to work out where to put them in the new Cromwell makefiles - Im guessing if I get this wrong I could kill my bios! On that note, anyone know of an xbox emulator where you can specify your own bios? I havent looked at all yet, I will after writing this. There is also another smaller problem - the Cromwell makefiles specify the target files not the source files (i.e. filename.o not filename.c) but I now have a file with extension .S so Im not sure how to make the makefiles use filename.S not filename.c for this one file.

Tuesday & Wednesday I was busy with other things. Hopefully Ill do more tomorrow. I was hoping to have gotten further with this before I left uni (leaving Saturday).

Nick

darrenmason

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Re: Using XBox as an MD
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2007, 03:38:04 am »
Nick,

I don't know about emulators, but are you flashing to your actual bios or to a modchip?
My modchip has switchable banks so that you can flash to either and then switch between them. Therefore if you stuff one up it doesn't matter too much. I thought most modchips had this.

Sounds like you are making some progress.
You will definately need a new kernel though, I think linuxMCE is using an unmodified 2.6.20 kernel from other posts.
The XBOX patches only seem to go up to 2.6.16 - not sure if this will create problems.

Anyway, keep us informed.

regards
Darren

csudcy

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Re: Using XBox as an MD
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2007, 02:30:15 am »
Hi Darren (and others),

I am flashing my actual bios - I hotswapped the hard drive and used the NDure install/exploit via XBoxHDM so no modchip needed. Im assuming (hoping?) that if I did kill my bios Id still be able to get a modchip and boot from that so I can then either safely reflash the onboard bios or - as you suggest- flash different bits of the modchip. Anyway, the could be a while away anyway - I did do some more on Thursday although not that much. Worked out why the assembly stuff wasnt compiling right - it needed ASSEMBLY to be defined but the makefile was using -DASSEMBLER. I added -DASSEMBLY and that now compiles - things still all crash at the linker stage though. After that, Ive done no more - Friday I was packing to come home from uni, Saturday I came home and today Ive been unpacking more and enjoying being home! So, now Im home I have some other things I need to do but hopefully I will get some more done this week but Im not sure how much time Ill have.

Nick

Zaerc

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Re: Using XBox as an MD
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2007, 09:07:56 pm »
Excuse me for being a simpleton, but why not just install Xebian and go from there?  Chances are even that the  LMCE binaries (i386) will run under there. 

A network boot would be nice but if you have to flash the bios first that would kind of invalidate the ease of use in my opinion.  Personally I would prefer a solution that works with a softmod so you don't even have to open the case.  And it shouldn't be a problem to have multiple "dashboards" and/or systems installed like XBMC/EvoX/UnleashX/Xebian/Gentoox/etc. (even the original BIOS, if you want to play "live", for what it's worth).

That said, I might fix up the old Xebian install and have a stab at it too.  I never went as far as compiling my own firmware or flash the bios, and it's been a while, but I still have the stuff to build custom softmods (ndure). 

I think, but I'm not entirely sure, that the xbox kernel patch was mainly for providing "fatx" support (for reading/writing native xbox partitions, not really essential for what you want to do with it I reckon.

Either way, good luck and happy hacking.
"Change is inevitable. Progress is optional."
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darrenmason

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Re: Using XBox as an MD
« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2007, 01:35:19 am »
It is a fair statement, and this is what I had tried as well.

The main problem, at least as far as Pluto was concerned - assume it still applies for LMCE, is that there is code/scripts that forces checks between the CORE and all MD's to ensure they are using the same Kernel version.

My solution to this was to recompile a matching version with the XBox patches. I still think this should probably work. The only reason I didn't finish it was that I ran out of disk space on the XBox and lost enthusiasm to play around with it.

The other problem is the OS dependencies that exist. LMCE seems to be dependant upon specific distributions and their releases, so I guess you would need to get Kubuntu 7.04 running on the XBox. I don't think that anyone has done this.

I thought there was more to the Kernel patch than just the fatx support, but I havn't looked at it for a while.

I think it is desirable to determine what is actually required for just an MD installation and work  on just installing the MD components on a running OS. This then would open up a variety of machines to being MDs including XBoxs. Once you have it running as an installed machine then it should just be a packaging exercise to turn that into a network boot.

All that said, I was sortr of hoping that if the XBox network boot would work and it had a compatible kernel then the initial install that is done when adding an MD might just work, hence I am very interested to see what Nick can get working.

regards
Darren


Zaerc

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Re: Using XBox as an MD
« Reply #22 on: July 05, 2007, 03:55:34 am »
Shame you ran out of drivespace, you know you could just chuck in a bigger drive.  With a bit of preperation any old IDE drive should do, I upgraded mine to 250G.

I wonder if it's really all that necessary for them to all run the exact same kernel version, but I guess those checks are there for a reason. 

As far as the OS dependencies go, both Xebian and Kubuntu are derived from Debian, so the basics and infra-structure should at least be very similar.  Will probably be great fun to just add Kubuntu to the sources.list in Xebian and watch the sparks fly. ;)

When I get through with playing with my new LinuxMCE test system I could probably build a suitable kernel for this if that would help you guys out a bit.

"Change is inevitable. Progress is optional."
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Zaerc

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Re: Using XBox as an MD
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2007, 10:41:36 am »
Aparently Grub can do PXE: http://www.gnu.org/software/grub/manual/html_node/Diskless.html#Diskless

But I'm guessing that it won't be easy to make a .XBE out of Grub.

Another possible option might be PXELinux: http://syslinux.zytor.com/pxe.php
"Change is inevitable. Progress is optional."
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Misogynist

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Re: Using XBox as an MD
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2007, 08:52:47 pm »
Hi there - looked into this topic, because I think it still is interesting to use XBOXs as MDs .. Did you continue working on that project ? Maybe you could tell us how it went in the last time..
Would be a cheap and great way..

csudcy

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Re: Using XBox as an MD
« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2007, 03:24:35 am »
Hi,

Unfortunately, I got approximately nowhere. Everything I did do, I wrote about on here - I really didnt (and dont) have the necessary programming skills (I've only done a small amount of C/C++ and I remember trying to understand those linking files was difficult). But now, I use Xbox Media Centre (which I love) because I only have one Xbox (or anything that could be used for an MD) and that's in my room with my NAS (uses FreeNAS - £100 for box, £200 for 1.1TiB of RAID 5 disk). Anyway, when I get my own house, I may try looking at this again because I would love to have LinuxMCE throughout the house (I would really love the 'follow me' feature if I had enough MDs around). Anyway, if you have the skills it would be great if you could work on this. If not, I would recommend XBMC for playing media over the network (or from the HD) until someone else takes up the cause!

Nick