OSMC - full Linux Desktop on 1st Gen AppleTV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by AphoticD, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. AphoticD macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2017
    Playing around with OSMC on 1st Gen AppleTV I found I could get around the default Kodi mediacenter, install a full Linux desktop environment and run it headless.

    LXDE and MATE run well enough to be usable.

    sudo apt-get install lxde <-- Lightweight option
    sudo apt-get install mate-desktop <-- More features and default apps

    The screenshot shows the AppleTV (headless) being accessed via an SSH X11 session on Mac OS X El Capitan (XQuartz) and then running QEMU (32MB RAM) with the latest KolibriOS.iso, running SDLQuake. Rhythmbox is streaming internet radio at the same time.

    Memory is tight, so increase swap from 128MB to 1GB to prevent total lockups - such as when starting up Firefox.


    Is anybody doing anything practical with these old egg-fryers?
  2. roobarb! macrumors member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Nope, other than having one out stuffed full of content for the in-laws. That's the bit I really like about them.

    Now the other I have sat here with the H.264 accelerator card fitted and I'd very much like to get Linux running on it. Very interesting.
  3. AphoticD, Mar 5, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017

    AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2017
    Just out of curiosity, I tried installing the RetroPie package under OSMC in an attempt to make myself a free retro gaming system (as in I already own the AppleTV and wouldn't need to buy a Raspberry Pi).

    Following the x86 Ubuntu/Debian instructions at https://github.com/retropie/retropi...16.04-LTS-x86-Flavor#section-1-install-ubuntu everything appeared to compile OK after several attempts (and long waits).

    EmulationStation fires up and recognises my roms, but I can't get any of the emulators to work (blank screen or "failed to load" errors). Could be a memory limitation issue or even a limitation of the ATV's CPU. I'm not sure yet but will keep trying different configurations.

    It would be a very cool accomplishment if anyone were able to nut it out and would breathe (even more) life back into the original AppleTV (RetroApplePie?)
  4. atvusr, Mar 6, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017

    atvusr macrumors 6502


    Apr 5, 2010
    Yes, me too - I had installed LXDE on OSMC for doing simple Internet tasks.

    Guide: How to boot OSMC straight into LXDE - https://discourse.osmc.tv/t/lxde-desktop-on-boot/14749/7.

    I also tried TightVNCServer on the ATV1, but I didn't got Right-Click working in LXDE with Finder's Screen Sharing (Command-K). Any solution?
  5. m11rphy macrumors 6502


    Dec 26, 2009
    Do you think it would be possible to install Homebridge on one of these? I believe you can install homebridge on Linux
  6. AppleComputer macrumors member


    Feb 16, 2012
    Cupertino, CA
    still have one of these running mac os 10.5, it had been a little BOINC SETI@Home cruncher, at one point i had three or four.

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5 March 3, 2017