Well, it’s a new year and this is my first major guide of twenty-eleven. It hasn’t even been a year since my first guide (SABnzbd+ for Linux Mint 9) but my approach and continual development of this site has become something I wouldn’t have even imagined just twelve months ago.
I’m very appreciative of all the support and feedback I’ve received as well as the Free and Open Source community at large which provides a basis for this site. I plan to continue expanding and developing this site for the foreseeable future (adjusting and tweaking as I learn along the way) so stay tuned and bear with me as I plan to allot more and more time for this in the future!
With that said this will be the first of my guides that is not tied to a specific version of Linux Mint, Ubuntu, or the program of focus (in this case XBMC). These guides will essentially be of a “rolling release” nature.
I will be updating these “rolling release” guides on an average of six months (more or less as the situation dictates and hopefully with more frequent minor updates throughout). Also, as different software options come and go and things change, I may retire certain antiquated guides outright, but this will be clearly marked and indicated as to why!
To compliment the “rolling release” type guides I will also have another static type of guide or article which will likely not receive any major updates. These “static” guides however will definitely be in the minority and likely be much shorter and simpler in general (and will again be clearly marked!).
As with my previous guides this one is written in light-hearted, plain-spoken, casual English and should be accessible by most anyone. With that said, the guide does assume that you have a base understanding of using a personal computer (which mouse button to use when, how to navigate menus, etc.) and of general computing concepts. For more details please see my About page.
In this guide we will also not be using the command line or terminal. It’s an anachronism to think that to use a modern GNU/Linux based operating system such as Linux Mint or Ubuntu you will have to use the command-line. This simply isn’t true. Linux is no longer just for nerds!
Throughout this guide I try to provide in-line “further reading” type links (mainly pointing to Secure Wikipedia) for anyone that’s interested in learning more or is unfamiliar about a given topic or term. I will intentionally generalize and only graze some very technical topics for the sake of simplicity, ease of use, and not wasting time.
Operating System Details
This guide was written using the latest version of Linux Mint with all the available updates installed. LinuxMint is based directly off of Ubuntu and as such the steps for Ubuntu should be almost identical in terms of installation, configuration, and setup.
Note: The main difference is going to be which menu items you navigate through to get to where we’re going, but all of the modern desktop environments provide easy to navigate menus so this shouldn’t be a problem (and if you get stuck feel free to ask me in the comments below!)
Similarly, Linux Mint and Ubuntu are based upon Debian and as such this guide should be a close approximation for Debian Testing, and Sid as well as other Debian derived Operating Systems such as Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) and aptosid.
For our recommendation of personal computer operating system please see here.
With that said, on to the topic at hand! XBMC Media Center, also known simply as “X-B-M-C,” is a full featured, skin-able, and extensible, media front-end, library manager, and, who’d of thought, media player. It can play nearly any media you might throw at it. Video and music files, CD’s, DVD’s, Blu-rays, you name it! (Though anything with “DRM” requires some extra unnecessary work.)
With the right skin (Simplicity), XBMC Media Center provides a highly polished (second to none) front-end for any media playing computer along with oodles of art, posters, ratings, trailers, lyrics, plot summaries, TV guide like functionality, and so many more bits of supplemental information that I cannot feasibly cover them all here.
Anyway, with that mountain of an introduction out of the way, lets get to installing XBMC Media Center shall we (next page!)?