Monday, November 10, 2008

WiiBuntu (Part 1), Ubuntu Ports MID, and lpia

So here I am, with a wonderful Wii, complete with Twilight Hack and Homebrew Menu installed, wondering if I could do something crazy like run Ubuntu on it. After some trial and error, it appears possible to do a debootstrap of an Ubuntu PowerPC installation and have it work!.

So now that I have a Wii with Ubuntu installed, what am I going to do with it, that is the question I am now pondering. The answer seems obvious, put Ubuntu MID on the sucker, install XWii (Wiimote Pointer Driver), and the WiiX display driver, and turn it into a very pretty multitouch system. Yay :-) So it should just be a matter of 'aptitude install ubuntu-mid'

Sadly, its not quite that easy. Ubuntu-MID currently is only installable on lpia. I can hear the questions now, WTF is lpia. To answer that question, lpia is the Low-Power Intel Architecture, also known as the Intel Atom processor family. For those of you familar with Atom, you might be double-taking, saying Atom is an x86 based processor. Again, your right, lpia is x86 based (you can run it on normal PCs), its essentially i386 Ubuntu with a few optimizations.

The problem breaks down to the way some of the MID's compontents were packaged. The main problem comes in the form that the rules file, instead of properly splitting the packages out, the rules file checks for the lpia architecture, and then changes the configure options to build hildon support (hildon is the nifty library from Nokia that makes MID work). To fix MID on ports (and x86/amd64), each package with this lpia detector switch must be found, and then properly split. Sounds easily enough, right?

Wrong. Most of the packages (such as evince) are CDBS packages. For anyone who knows anything about CDBS, you know it was never meant to split packages :-/. This *will* be fun :-/.

As an added note, is broken on PowerPC, double fun, since compiling it will likely take longer than releasing Jaunty will take :-).


Lucid otherwise known as Hugh Isaacs II the MaƮtre d' said...

Yea, I thought of doing the same but I'm far too lazy, lol (I'm just waiting for someone to do it and make it far more stable than I could).

jldugger said...

How do you feel about the components already packaged in Ubuntu for the Wii?

I.e. wminput, transfermii, and libs?

Lukano said...

I'm finding myself suddenly wondering how the XBMC-PPC port is progressing, as the Wii would make a very viable alternative for SD content playback for an aging XBOX with XBMC.

Rob said...


Has there been any more progress on this project? I'm trying to install the MID interface in a normal ubuntu 64 bit system so that i can use a wiimote connected by bluetooth. So close yet so far.


Spaceyavin said...

If this project is still active, can you give us some tips of how to do it?

Green Smoke said...

I seriously doubt that Ubuntu works on the wii. It would have been released with the others already. Post something that proves it is possible, like a image of the os you created. Hell proof of concept would be good enough.