The Amibox Project

XDSL Configuration

This is where we come to the ‘not quite entirely complete’ part of the project, but I have done sufficient work with the XDSL distribution to have something to add here. I also don’t have any kind of capture device which could take screenshots or video of the XBOX, and therefore this will be yet more text copy – but I will later take some snaps with my phone (or get a capture device) for a revision of this post.

Like the GentooX distribution, the XDSL distribution is very old and has not been updated, however it is similar enough to the standard x86 distribution of DSL (Damn Small Linux), that I was able to simply point the package manager at a mirror of the x86 distribution repository. After-all, I’m not planning to update or upgrade this xbox, it’s only accessible on my local network, and I am hardly concerned about the security of the device for patches, since it’s exclusively running an Amiga emulator.

What XDSL does enable me to do however, is to install the official distributions build of UAE (Ultimate Amiga Emulator). My Xbox is now more-or-less an x86 Linux PC, the binary should work just fine (and it does). So how do we get it installed?…

Well first we need to enable the software repository and point it at the x86 DSL source. There’s an application on the desktop of XDSL called “DSL Panel” and within that an option to “Select Mirror”
Set the mirror to “distro.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/distributions/damnsmall” and the protocol option to “ftp”.

We then need to enable aptitude (the software package manager for Debian based linux distributions). Simply right click the desktop and select “Enable Apt.”

At this point, you probably should not perform the usual update instructions for aptitude, because it could upgrade packages which are specific to the XBox, but I went ahead and did so anyway (habbit I guess), and it worked out fine.

(Don’t do this? Maybe do this?)
Open a terminal and enter “sudo apt-get update” and follow the prompts, when that’s done, enter “sudo apt-get upgrade” and follow the prompts.

At this point, I want to make sure I can FTP into the XBox to transfer ADF files to it.
So open up a terminal and enter the following..

sudo apt-get install ftpd

We also want to instal UAE…

sudo apt-get install uae

Okay, so now we have ftpd and uae installed. We also want to be able to SSH the box in order to configure it over the network after having removed/disabled the desktop software. SSH is already installed, so we just need to make sure that ftpd/sshd start at boot.

I used the nano editor in the terminal to edit the file “/opt/bootlocal.sh” to add any of these lines which are not already present. (If you’re not familiar, look up how to use ‘nano’ or use another text editor, I’m sure there are others installed with XDSL).

/usr/sbin/betaftpd
/etc/init.d/ssh start

That gets the servers up and running early enough to ensure we can transfer files and configure the system. Now we want to disable the desktop environment and start up UAE instead. Again, using your favorite text editor, open up the file “/home/xdsl/.xinitrc” and replace the content with this..

# put X windows programs that you want started here.
# Be sure to add at the end of each command the &

KEYTABLE=”$(getknoppixparam.lua KEYTABLE)”

if grep -i -q ‘modprobe snd-intel8x0 xbox=1’ /etc/init.d/knoppix-autoconfig
then
alsactl restore > /dev/null
echo “Loading Volume Setting”
fi
#flicker &
[ -f .mouse_config ] && sh .mouse_config &

# For non-US Keyboards
if [ ${KEYTABLE:0:2} != “us” ]; then
xmodmap -e “clear Mod4” -e “add Mod5 = Mode_switch” &
fi

exec /usr/bin/uae >/dev/null

That should do it, when you restart the xbox it’ll boot right up into UAE.
Transfer some ADF’s and kickrom to it via FTP and you’re good to go.

Warning: However, you can’t simply turn off a Linux machine by pressing the power button like you could an Amiga. You risk corrupting the file system and ending up with an Amibox that will not boot!
I have written some script to watch for UAE closing and to shutdown the system, but unfortunately, UAE restarts it’s self at various times as part of normal operation, and so my scripts currently see those as UAE ending and shut down prematurely.

For the moment, when you quit UAE you’ll find yourself at the terminal and can shut down by entering the instruction…  “sudo shutdown -h 0”, then just let it do it’s thing. But I have a solution coming.

I plan to write a small launcher application which will monitor UAE and see if it shuts down for a pre-determined amount of time, say 3 seconds, which is more than enough to ignore the normal operations of UAE. This is TBD.

Also, in it’s current state my XServer bleeds off to the left of my screen. I’m sure that this is a relatively trivial reconfiguration of XServer, but I’ve also not found time to do this part.

Finally, I would like to launch UAE with a pre-made A1200 configuration, so that it goes right into a HD installed Workbench environment, rather than the UAE launch dialog. Again, TBD.

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