Xbox Web Server

Xbox Web Server

Turn an XBox into a Debian server – Field Effect, LLC

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Contents
Turn an XBox into a Debian server
How this works
Tools And Equipment Needed
Notes
This is a work in progress as of 1/27/2011
My old XBox (the original one, not a 360) had been lying around for quite a while collecting dust. Knowing there is some capable processing power inside of it, I decided to turn it into a Debian server. After visiting XBox Linux, I thought it would be simple. What I did not know is that most of the work on this was done up until about 2005-6, and completely stopped after that. Many of the files that were needed are gone; probably due to licensing issues with Microsoft.
In spite of this, I was eventually successful in getting this to work; and on top of that, I got a custom 2. 6 kernel running, and updated the box to the latest stable version of Debian. One caveat, I did not keep X11, so I am not sure if I could get a desktop working on this machine (it was working originally, but in the process of upgrading, I got rid of it).
There are (were) a lot of options for modding your XBox, and what’s left on the Web is pretty confusing. These were my requirements for this project:
It had to be done for free
I had to use only what I had on hand, which was not a lot
I only wanted the XBox as a server, and did not want to play games on it anymore. This is important because I completely replaced the ROM in the machine.
I wanted the machine to boot directly into Linux when it started up
I didn’t quite understand everything I did until after I did it, so this is written to be a clarification. An overview of what needs to be done follows:
First, you need to solder some points on the XBox’s motherboard that will allow you to write directly to the on-board flash chip. This particular chip holds the code that allows you to boot up the XBox. Some web sites will refer to it as the BIOS, or the TSOP.
Create an adapter to turn the XBox adapter into a standard female USB.
Next, you’ll have to overcome the protection that’s built into the XBox, which prevents it from running unsigned code. This is done by installing a “game save”, which is software that is meant to exploit a flaw in the XBox’s security. This is done through what is called a “game save”.
Once you use the “game save”, it will boot into a temporary copy of Linux. You can then use specialized software to burn the new boot software (called Cromwell) into the flash chip.
Now you can use a DVD of “Ed’s Xebian” to boot and install Linux.
Then you will compile a custom 2. 6 kernel, and then upgrade your software.
Soldering iron
A USB hub, a cheap one is fine
An original XBox controller, or an original XBox remote control with IR receiver
A gamesave exploit for one of: Splinter Cell, 007, or Mechassault
The game to go with it. I used Splinter Cell Platinum Edition. Some web sites report that Platinum doesn’t work, but it did for me.
A female USB adapter
An unused XBox controller or extension cable that you don’t mind cutting off the connector on
I needed an extra IDE DVD drive, because the one in the XBox is terrible and wouldn’t read
I also needed a way to power the DVD drive. The XBox has only 1 standard PC power connector; the power to the DVD drive is connected via a non-standard header.
My drive came inside of an external enclosure, so I was able to get power from the enclosure and connect the DVD drive to the IDE cable. It was a mess, but it worked.
I don’t know what DVD drives work for this. My drive was an old Pioneer DVD-RW.
If you want to leave the custom DVD drive in, you will need an adapter to get power from the standard PC connector.
This command came in handy quite a bit when upgrading my packages.
dpkg -i –force-overwrite /var/cache/apt/archives/
I also had to use
dpkg -r name-of-package
to remove some conflicting packages, and also used Aptitude to automatically resolve issues.
One thing I learned about Aptitude (because I never RTFM) is that it will automatically come up with many suggestions to resolve conflicts. You should see a red highlighted area at the bottom of the Aptitude screen, which allows you to examine each resolution and move to the next one. For example, when I wanted to remove X11, I simply removed xserver-common, and then cycled through all of the conflict resolutions until I found one that had 68 removes and 0 installs. That way, I knew that it would remove all of the X11 packages, and not try to install something else to compensate for the package removal.
If part of an upgrade stops, you can use
aptitude -f install
to continue where you left off.
The XBox only has 64MB of memory, which kind of makes it kind of a slow web server.
Tuning Apache2 for Low Memory Apache2 Worker MPM for Low Memory Systems
Here's a first look at Microsoft's xCloud for the web - The Verge

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Here’s a first look at Microsoft’s xCloud for the web – The Verge

Microsoft has started testing its xCloud game streaming through a web browser. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s Xbox plans tell The Verge that employees are now testing a web version of xCloud ahead of a public preview. The service allows Xbox players to access their games through a browser, and opens up xCloud to work on devices like iPhones and iPads.
Much like how xCloud currently works on Android tablets and phones, the web version includes a simple launcher with recommendations for games, the ability to resume recently played titles, and access to all the cloud games available through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Once you launch a game it will run fullscreen, and you’ll need a controller to play Xbox games streamed through the browser.
Microsoft’s xCloud service on the web.
It’s not immediately clear what resolution Microsoft is streaming games at through this web version. The software maker is using Xbox One S server blades for its existing xCloud infrastructure, so full 4K streaming won’t be supported until the backend hardware is upgraded to Xbox Series X components this year.
Microsoft is planning to bundle this web version of xCloud into the PC version of the Xbox app on Windows 10, too. The web version appears to be currently limited to Chromium browsers like Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, much like Google’s Stadia service. Microsoft is planning some form of public preview of xCloud via the web in the spring, and this wider internal testing signals that the preview is getting very close.
The big drive behind this web version is support for iOS and iPadOS hardware. Apple imposes limitations on iOS apps and cloud services, and Microsoft wasn’t able to support the iPhone and iPad when it launched xCloud in beta for Android last year. Apple said Microsoft would need to submit individual games for review, a process that Microsoft labeled a “bad experience for customers. ”
Xbox Linux - Wikipedia

Xbox Linux – Wikipedia

Xbox Linux was a project that ported the Linux operating system to the Xbox video game console. Because the Xbox uses a digital signature system to prevent the public from running unsigned code, one must either use a modchip, or a softmod. Originally, modchips were the only option; however, it was later demonstrated that the TSOP chip on which the Xbox’s BIOS is held may be reflashed. This way, one may flash on the “Cromwell” BIOS, which was developed legally by the Xbox Linux project. Catalyzed by a large cash prize for the first team to provide the possibility of booting Linux on an Xbox without the need of a hardware hack, numerous software-only hacks were also found. For example, a buffer overflow was found in the game 007: Agent Under Fire that allowed the booting of a Linux loader (“xbeboot”) straight from a save game.
The Xbox is essentially a PC with a custom 733 MHz Intel Pentium III[1] processor, a 10 GB hard drive (8 GB of which is accessible to the user), 64MB of RAM (although on all earlier boxes this is upgradable to 128MB), and 4 USB ports. (The controller ports are actually USB 1. 1 ports with a modified connector. ) These specifications are enough to run several readily available Linux distributions.
From the Xbox-Linux home page:
The Xbox is a legacy-free PC by Microsoft that consists of an Intel Celeron 733 MHz CPU, an nVidia GeForce 3MX, 64 MB of RAM, a 8/10 GB hard disk, a DVD drive and 10/100 Ethernet. As on every PC, you can run Linux on it.
An Xbox with Linux can be a full desktop computer with mouse and keyboard, a web/email box connected to TV, a server or router or a node in a cluster. You can either dual-boot or use Linux only; in the latter case, you can replace both IDE devices. And yes, you can connect the Xbox to a VGA monitor.
Uses[edit] An Xbox with Linux installed can act as a full desktop computer with mouse and keyboard, a web/email box connected to a television, a server, router or a node in a cluster. One can either dual-boot or use Linux only; in the latter case, one can replace both IDE devices. One can also connect the Xbox to a VGA monitor. A converter is needed to use keyboards/mice in the controller ports; however this is not difficult, as the Xbox uses standard USB with a proprietary port.
Currently only a few distributions of Xbox Linux will run on the version 1. 6 Xbox (the third newest version, including 1. 6b). Xboxes with modchips and the Cromwell bios installed can run more distributions than those with only a softmod. This is mainly due to issues with the video chip used in version 1. 6 Xboxes that was developed exclusively by Microsoft and which has no source code available at this time. This can cause significant overscan on all four sides of the screen when a different kernel than the original is loaded.
Softmod[edit] One of the more popular ways of installing Xbox Linux is through a softmod, which does not require a modchip to use. The Xbox Linux softmod utilizes a save exploit found in the original run of MechAssault, Splinter Cell, 007: Agent Under Fire, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4. The method involves loading a hacked save file transferred to the Xbox’s Hard Drive. When the save file is loaded, the MechInstaller is initiated. The Xbox Live option on the dashboard is replaced with the new Linux option after rebooting the system. Another softmod that can be used is the hotswap exploit which will unlock the Xbox hard drive long enough to allow one to modify it.
There is also a way to completely replace the Xbox’s stock BIOS with a “Cromwell” BIOS, which is completely legal and is solely for Linux on the Xbox. However, once the TSOP (BIOS chip) is flashed with “Cromwell”, the Xbox can no longer play Xbox games or run native Xbox executables ( files, akin to for Windows).
List of distributions[edit] There are several distributions of Xbox Linux, [2] most of which are based on PC Linux distributions.
Distribution
Description
Xebian[3]/Ed’s Debian
An Xbox Linux distribution that can install to the Xbox hard drive, or start a live session. A MythTV frontend can be run under Xebian and connect to a separate backend. [3] Gentoox[4] A Gentoo-based distribution, which features the “magic” updater, which allows users to download Xbox-specified packages and updates.
X-DSL
A distribution based[5] on Damn Small Linux.
See also[edit] Free60
Xbox
Linux
References[edit] ^ Shimpi, Anand Lal (21 November 2001). “Hardware Behind the Consoles – Part I: Microsoft’s Xbox”. Anand Tech. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
^ “Download – Xbox-Linux”. Archived from the original on March 6, 2009. Retrieved June 3, 2009.
^ a b Smith, Stewart; Still, Michael. “Running remote frontends”. Practical MythTV: Building a PVR and Media Center PC. Technology in Action Press. We chose Xebian [… ] ^ Gentoox
^ [1] Archived May 17, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
External links[edit] Project site on
(in German) Xbox Hacking official document
SoftMod Xbox for Free (Hotswap Technique! )

Frequently Asked Questions about xbox web server

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