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Home v3.1

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Gentoox Home v3.1

Copyright (C) Thomas "ShALLaX" Pedley (gentoox@shallax.com)

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA


0.0 - Preamble
0.1 - New Features
1.0 - Installation tips
1.1 - Necessary Configuration (HIGHLY IMPORTANT)
1.2 - Extra tweakables
2.0 - Help, I'm still stuck!
2.1 - Q&A
2.2 - Known issues
3.0 - Plans for the future
4.0 - Thanks



This Linux distribution contains no copyrighted Microsoft code, no hacked executables, no illegally compiled executables and no other illegal material to the best of my knowledge. If anything is later discovered to be illegal, when given reasonable proof, this distribution will be taken out of circulation and destroyed and you must do the same.

This software comes with absolutely no warranty and I will not be held liable for anything bad that comes of using it. I will not be held responsible for any losses incurred from using this software.

This software has the potential of ruining all the data stored on your Xbox including your TSOP or modchip. You use this software and any subsequent software downloaded by this program at your own risk.


0.0 - Preamble

Gentoox is a highly optimised and highly refined Linux distribution for the Xbox which receives regular updates. It works on all Xbox version.

Stardust is the name given to the Gentoox installer (the CD download). Cromwell is the name of the Xbox-Linux BIOS, there is a customised version included in this download which is the only version of Cromwell that will work with Gentoox. Xromwell is the same as Cromwell only it is in an Xbox Executable form (.xbe).

Gentoox DOES NOT work with the MechInstaller hack, generally, a modchip is required to boot Gentoox.

Your Gentoox system comes with two predefined users, their details are as follows:

User: root
Pass: xbox

User: gentoox
Pass: xbox

The 'root' user is known as a superuser and has control over everything and everyone's actions! For this reason is it very important that you change your passwords as soon as you log in!. To do this, open a konsole/console (konsole can be found on the KDE start menu under the "System" submenu) and type:

su -
[enter root password when asked]
passwd user_name

The "su -" command instructs linux to (s)witch(u)sers to root and use its system environment

Once again, I refuse to accept responsibility for anything bad that may come of using this software. While I try my absolute best to ensure that this software is stable and fit for use, I make absolutely no guarantees that it is. Use totally at your own risk. This software contains no hacked code or code built with the Microsoft Xbox SDK (XDK).

Throughout this readme you will see the term "xbox_ip", this is simply the IP address assigned to your xbox, e.g.

0.1 - New features

+ Gentoox Loader v4.5.
+ Sparkle integration.
+ Xcalibur support (Xbox v1.6).
+ Updated software (as of 20/08/04).
+ Updated magic (as of 20/08/04).
+ xmms-shn xmms-flac.
+ KDE 3.3.0.
+ XFCE 4.0.6.


If you install Gentoox to E, you will get the following partition permissions

C /mnt/fatx/c rwx r-x r-x (Only root can write/ delete)
E /mnt/fatx/e rwx r-x r-x (Only root can write/ delete)
F /mnt/fatx/f rwx rwx rwx (All users have access)

However, if you install to F, you will get the following:

C /mnt/fatx/c rwx r-x r-x (Only root can write/ delete)
E /mnt/fatx/e rwx rwx rwx (All users have access)
F /mnt/fatx/f rwx r-x r-x (Only root can write/ delete)


C /mnt/fatx/c rwx r-x r-x (Only root can write/ delete)
E /mnt/fatx/e rwx rwx rwx (All users have access)

The reason for this is security, you dont want to allow normal users to delete your rootfs. C: is always mounted as write-only to root, since this contains vital information for your Xbox to boot.


As root, run "keyboardtoggle" from a command prompt to disable/enable the on screen keyboard. Once disabled, the keyboard wont automatically load each time you boot Gentoox.


If you do not have DHCP, the following settings will be automatically assigned to you:


Of course, you can change these settings yourself by following the Network tutorial on the site.

Your /etc/hosts file is now dynamically updated each time you boot up your Xbox (handy for those who have a dynamic IP address! - this is done from /etc/conf.d/local.start). The Xbox's default hostname has changed from Home (used in previous home versions) to "Xbox". The domainname is now set to "localhost".

You can change your hostname by running "newhost" and you can change your domain name by running "newdomain". Both must be run as root!



Loadmonitor sets your Xbox's LED to a specified pattern at certain system loads. Currently,

rxrx = Uber high load
rrrr = High load
ooox = Medium load
gggg = Low load

These can be customised from within /bin/loadled


fanctl is a deamon coded specifically for Gentoox which dynamically changes the fanspeed based on system temperature. It is dynamic because if the temperature remains constant above the default idle limit of 40C/104F or continues to rise, the fan speed will gradually get higher until it reaches a 20% boost limit. When the temperature falls below the idle limit, the fan speed returns to its default speed.

fanctl can also be run in one-shot mode (even if the deamon is already running) by executing:

fanctl -f X

where "X" is a speed from 20 to 100 (inclusive). Anything below 20 is below the Xbox's default speed, and is considered dangerous, so it is disabled. fanctl as a daemon accepts the following signals:

SIGTERM = Kill daemon and return fan settings to normal
SIGQUIT = Kill daemon and set fan to 100%
SIGUSR1 resets the boostlocks.

For more information, execute:

fanctl --help


pico /etc/conf.d/fanctl

NOTE: On the Xbox v1.6 (Xcalibur), fanctl can only be used in one-shot mode.


Run `xboxtemp` to monitor your system temperature. Temperatures cannot be monitored on the Xbox v1.6 (Xcalibur)

toKDE and toXFCE

In the KDE menu under "System" you will now find an icon called "toXFCE", click this when you want to switch your Window Manager to XFCE. When you click this icon, a terminal window will appear and in this terminal xbvset will run. Basically, just fill out the details as you would normally then your Xbox will reboot to XFCE.

In XFCE, there is a menu item called "toKDE" which functions in exactly the same way as "toXFCE" only it switches from XFCE to KDE.


1.0 - Installation tips

None of this section applies for 'native' installs. Do not attempt to run these commands if you have selected 'native' or you may damage your filesystem!

If you later want to switch which partition Gentoox is installed to, you can do so by running the following commands:

1) Open a console
2) su -
3) [enter root password when asked]
4) magic f-drive << Puts Gentoox on F:
* OR
magic e-drive << Puts Gentoox on E:

Should you find yourself running out of space for Linux, you can either follow the online tutorial on resizing your rootfs, or you can run the following command to add more partitions (100-4000MB and as many as you can fit on F:)

magic newfs

Follow the on screen instructions for each of them. The e-drive and f-drive scripts have safeguards which dont allow you to run either one more than one time in sucession.

1.1 - Necessary Configuration (HIGHLY IMPORTANT) (required for any installation type)


The first thing you'll notice when booting Gentoox Home is a long pause whilst your IP is displayed. This is to allow you to note down the details incase you are incapable of completing this next section and need to do it via SSH. After the 20 second pause, the 'firstboot' script will be run which allows you to set your initial screen resolution and select which programs should autoload each time you boot up Gentoox. This proceedure should be done ENTIRELY with the Xbox controller (Xpad) (Of course, you can type the answers with a keyboard should you need to!). You will be given a chance to practise the following Xpad method.

Follow these instructions CAREFULLY:

As an example, I will take you through the stages of selecting your resolution (the final stage in the script).

You will be presented with the following selections (if you own a Conexant box):


To select a mode, move the cursor using your Xpad to the first character on the line. If you are selecting Composite, then you move the cursor to the 'C'. Then, hold down the Green 'A' button and tap the right direction on the D-pad until the WHOLE line becomes inversed (selected) - NOT JUST THE 'Composite'! (You'll see a white bar go across the screen). Then press the red 'B' button. This should paste your selection into the system.

Repeat this as necessary until you have answered all of the questions.

If you need to change your settings in the future or decide to upgrade Xfree, you MUST re-run xbvset:

*Open a konsole/console
su -
[enter root password when asked]

1.2 - Extra tweakables

Once you've got your resolution selected, you'll notice your LED is green while running and red while rebooting/ shutting down. You can change the colour sequence/ pattern by doing the following:

*Open a konsole/console
su -
[enter root password when asked]

Have fun with this, but follow the instructions ;). NOTE: The blink command is now pretty much redundant since loadmonitor changes your LED colour based on system load.


2.0 - Help, I'm still stuck!

If your TV will not display any picture upon first boot, SSH in with the IP address you probably didnt bother to write down, then run "sh /bin/firstboot" as root. Please dont contact me saying this version gives you garbled graphics, I already know that the console looks messy!

If after selecting a resolution, you still cant see anything on your TV, SSH in, then for this time and all following times, run "xbvset" NOT "sh /bin/firstboot" as this file is deleted after it is executed!

If you are having issues using the magic system, remember you can always run "magic usage" (providing you have an internet connection).

Your most valuable resource regarding Gentoox is its homesite: http://gentoox.shallax.com If you need some dynamic assistance, feel free to drop in to the official channel on irc:

Server : irc.shallax.com
Channel: #gentoox

( Windows mIRC users can run the following url: irc://irc.shallax.com/gentoox )

2.1 - Q&A

Q) I pressed reboot or shutdown and nothing is happening
A) Something IS happening, but since the Xbox has no internal speaker you cant hear the shutdown beep. Just give it a few seconds to shutdown! (You should see your LED switch to the shutdown pattern!)

Q) KDE is asking me to fill in some localisation details when I start it but I cant reach the "Apply" button, what can I do?
A) Just close the window using the "X" at the top right.

Q) Why is Gentoox so slow?
A) Gentoox isnt slow, KDE is. Try switching to XFCE (K > System > toXFCE)

Q) Why do my DVDs jerk in mplayer under XFCE?
A) Specify "gmplayer -vo x11 ....." to make DVD playback smooth.

Q) I cant see anything, its too small and/or blurry!
A) In XFCE, right click on the desktop, select "Settings > All Settings" then select "User Interface". Finally, click the font "Sans 10" then change the size to 14, click ok and you're done! The reason I didnt do this by default is because it can cause some applications to take up way too much screen space (e.g. Xchat).

Q) Gentoox hangs whilst launching from EvoX... What do I do?! A) Turn off In-Game-Reset (IGR) from EvoX. This needs to be disabled in ALL 3 places!
This is a bug the EvoX team seem to have introduced in v1.8.3921. They tell me this will be fixed in the next release. (This should be fixed by now!).

Q) Can I change the language in KDE to ?
A) Yes, you need to run 'LINGUAS="XX" emerge kde-i18n' (where XX is the two letter code for your language, e.g. 'de' for German) first as root, then you can select the language of choice in the KDE control center. The reason this was not included as default is because it's a massive 340MB.

Q) Where are all the Gentoox wallpapers?
A) They're all in /home/gentoox/.wallpaper which is a hidden directory!

Q) In XFCE, why is the "Screensaver" menu item broken?
A) This is intentional! XScreensaver can be added by running "emerge xscreensaver". It was not included because the only way to break out of the screensaver is to enter your password - not everyone has a keyboard so this would have lead to many people having to reboot each time they went idle!

Q) I cant see anything when I boot up, what can I do?
A) You can edit linuxboot.cfg, you should see this line


Basically, you can change the resolution here, and the horizontal (hoc) and vertical (voc) overscan correction. Tested resolutions are 640x480, "hoc" and "voc" are specified as percentages, (X and Y are defaults which are just ignored - they should work for everyone!). You can set these to hoc=10,voc=6, for example. The default settings _should_ work for everyone! XBV can be run on top of these settings should you wish to change your screen setup whilst linux is running.

The "nohwcursor" is what fixes the garbled cursor graphics.

Q) How do I connect to VNC?
A) http://xbox_ip:5800 or in the VNCVIEWER, xbox_ip:0

Q) I said I didnt want to use samba/ proftpd/ webmin on boot, but I've changed my mind! How can I get them to start now?
A) rc-update add samba default, rc-update add proftpd default, rc-update add webmin default. If you want to stop them from loading upon boot, rc-update del ??? default.

2.2 - Known Issues

* Focus only works in progressive scan mode for HDTV

* No proper v1.6 (Xcalibur) support - only basic 640x480 with no overscan correction.


3.0 - Plans for the future

Further upgrades and tweaks.


4.0 - Thanks

Thanks goes out to everyone who has supported me, offered suggestions and criticised (constructively!!!) my work. You are the people who motivate me in my task to produce (what I feel) is the best Xbox Linux distribution around! Without you, I probably would not have bothered going beyond the initial "FINAL" release (as the name would suggest, I didn't plan on releasing any updates, hehehe!).

Thanks to all donators, without you I'd never have got all the hardware I needed to develop Gentoox at a reasonable rate.

I'd also like to thank Xantium from Xbox-Scene for posting news relating to Gentoox.

Thanks to the Xbox-Linux team for Cromwell.

Thanks to dmp for his excellent skills at making useful applications and tweaks to Cromwell.

HUGE thanks to the creator of BusyBox - that is an amazing piece of work! Also, thanks to the creators of Slackware and Slothbox.

Thanks to Soundgarden and the Beastie Boys for providing me with something to listen to :)

Special thanks to Halfbreed for the XFCE wallpaper and Rickz0rz for the KDE wallpaper. Also many thanks to everyone else who submitted wallpapers, even if they didn't make it in! (Trogdor, Darkmotion, indi, fafnir, eentelf, janten, Dantax, mansen, Dmack_901, Yavin, fuz, MikerhinosFR, Agent Orange, fuz, Anata, Rickz0rz and anyone else who I may have left off!).

Thanks to Hellimod, Pedro, Dave, Blake, tytyty, Disp, Byte, Xolution, Genlee, Pb, def, wik, Ziekke, Coolberg, nitra, h3inrich, Rocketeer, xboxmastr, Bucko, paulproteus, Xenia, bioterror, Turdhat, Jester, CyKiller, bikr, milkpost, Psylenced, TJ, Weezle, nath69uk, kickass, madskillz, fuz, BeckyK, Iriez, choichoi, flow23, wrayal, frost, k3rn3l, hinkey, Hadaken, iceslice, zao, localhost...

Very very special thanks to Rhexy :3

Thanks to Friendtech for their generous DreamX donation. Thanks to Sinister Elf of Xbox100.com for his Xbox v1.6 donation.

And THANKS to everyone else I've forgotten (Sorry! Your help and support was much appreciated!)

Thanks to you for taking the time to read this instruction manual!

Remember - feedback is the only way I'll know when there is a problem

- Thomas "ShALLaX" Pedley (gentoox@shallax.com)


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