Tag Archive for 'crystalbuntu'

The Last Crystalbuntu Update: April 2012

Well sort of. Because Crystalbuntu 2.0 is on the way.

This is the last update for the current version of Ubuntu. Now that NVIDIA have updated their drivers and made them compatible with Apple TV again, it means you can update your kernel too. The advantage to this is that you can get drivers for newer hardware such as TV adapters. However, Ubuntu 8.0.4 is an old platform, so I may as well upgrade the underlying operating system Crystalbuntu runs on, to the 12.04 LTS release of Ubuntu when it is released.

This is going to require a lot of time consuming work on my part. I have to effectively build the entire Crystalbuntu OS again, but its worth it to users I do believe, as they’ll be able to expand their systems greatly in terms of software, driver support and performance. This means users will be getting a whole new Linux system for their Apple TV, specifically tailored for 1080p playback through XBMC and built on the foundation of Crystalbuntu.

For now though, this update brings you the following:

  • PVR support included in XBMC again
  • New NVIDIA drivers: More support for display devices, offer better EDID handshaking, refresh rate issues are fixed and better performance.
  • New IO scheduler brings much better performance for users running off of USB

If you’d like to make a donation to support the new release of Crystalbuntu, or even this update, you can do so by clicking here. This is a sign of my continued support for this project which seems to be getting more users every day!

Crystalbuntu: now with XBMC Eden

I’m pleased to announce that Crystalbuntu now has the final release (11.0) of XBMC, Eden. I have been offering nightlies for Eden since June/July of last year, and am now very happy to announce the final version. This version will bring all the benefits of the new version to your Apple TV with rock solid stability and performance. This version doesn’t include PVR support, but a separate, stable, and thoroughly tested, PVR build will be introduced in a couple of weeks. Crystalbuntu will support nightly builds, but from now on, the build included will be a stable Eden build as users want stability over functionality!

It is also with this announcement that I must announce the end of monthly updates. Crystalbuntu will still be updated regularly, however, there is no need to push monthly updates, as the XBMC codebase is now stable. Thus, updates will be less frequent, but more feature packed, and more OS orientated in their nature, rather than updates mainly revolving around a newer release of XBMC.  Don’t worry though, Crystalbuntu is still getting the support it deserves, and you will see Frodo nightlies available for testing shortly!

I am updating the ALSA drivers in your Crystalbuntu installation to 1.0.25. Some users were experiencing issues which were showing in the logs as ‘discontinuity errors’. What this meant is that some users had audio dropouts while watching TV. The drivers should hopefully resolve issues for those that were having this problem. This update will be ready in a couple of days, based on user feedback.

I hope that everyone enjoys Crystalbuntu (I will, once I get a new hard drive), now with XBMC Eden. To get the new build, just reboot your Apple TV.



New Crystalbuntu Update: March 2012

Hey everyone. Sorry that this isn’t the most feature filled update but I am extremely busy with exams, work on the Raspbmc distribution and life in general! I didn’t find the time to implement everything I wanted this month, but be assured I will be adjusting the Configuration Utility soon to add more features and fix some long lasting bugs. For now though, here are the main features of the update:

  • XBMC Eden RC2
  • Spotify support
  • Updated CEC Adapter support for more devices
  • Fix Python issues that may have emerged when users used Python scripts such as SABNZBD or tried to install a desktop
  • Fixed IceFilms and 1Channel

Just restart your Apple TV to get this update immediately. Let me know how it goes, and consider making a donation to help fund future enhancements such as the aforementioned.

New Crystalbuntu Update: February 2012

Well. It’s certainly been a while! Here’s an update that fixes a few things and gets us closer to the final release of XBMC 11.0 (Eden). These are the main features of the update:

  • New PVR build
  • Eden Beta 3
  • FLAC support
  • Fixed buffering issues
  • Fixed remote issues
  • Fixed ‘mark addon as broken in repository?’ prompt issue
  • Fixed issue with ‘Exiting’ XBMC to get to command line interface.
  • Improvements to update system if server is down (before, ping detection was used, but sometimes server responds to ping but cannot service an HTTP request). This has now been fixed.
  • New MySQL database version (be careful, this means all your clients will need Eden Beta 3 or they will not be able to share libraries).

In a few days you will also see some patches to the Configuration Utility, a fix allowing the ability to restore the native Apple OS  as well as the addition of some new features that have been long awaited.

Just restart your Apple TV to get this update immediately. Let me know how it goes, and consider making a donation to help fund future enhancements such as the aforementioned.

Raspbmc – the XBMC distribution for Raspberry Pi

Edit: Check out Raspbmc’s new site now!


New Crystalbuntu Update: January 2012

This is a quick update, as this is a very busy month for me with exams and all that. I didn’t want to leave users high and dry though, so here’s what’s in store for this months update:

  • Added 4therecord PVR backend support
  • Added CEC Pulse-Eight Adapter Support (Beta)
  • Fixed shared object bugs, which fixes PVR issues.
  • New XBMC Eden build

Not the largest of updates I know, but nonetheless, I hope it is still appreciated. All the goodies of the new year are still on the cards though, like Spotify integration, and will be added to Crystalbuntu soon.

Just restart your Apple TV to get this update immediately. Let me know how it goes, and consider making a donation to help fund future enhancements such as the aforementioned.

New Crystalbuntu Update: December 2011

I’m back with an update! It’s not the biggest, I was waiting for the finalisation of XBMC Eden, a Spotify issue to be resolved and a CEC driver for Hardy so I could offer Eden with Spotify and CEC support for Christmas. However, it seems like the necessary bits to incorporate into Crystalbuntu won’t be ready for a while yet, and it’s been an awful long time since I got something out the door, so I felt something was better than nothing. Also, there is a new configuration utility, as many forum users have requested that configuring some settings can be difficult and that this could be automated. Simply run sudo ./configure from an SSH session to run it:

I’m happy to announce I have secured a 10% discount on CEC adapters for Crystalbuntu users in advance of support which should see its way into Crystalbuntu by the end of January. If you order before the 16th January using the coupon code CRYSTALCEC at the checkout you can take advantage of this offer.

So here are the offerings of this month’s update:

  • New PVR build
  • Eden Beta 1
  • New configuration utility – beta
  • Wireless support (BCM43228)
  • Blu-ray ISO support (decrypted only)
  • Optimised update system
  • Fixed PVR bugs
  • Fixed weather issues
  • Fixed OSX Terminal bug
  • Fixed update notification bug

Update: Some users were reporting issues with pausing. This has now been resolved.

Just restart your Apple TV to get this update immediately. Let me know how it goes, and consider making a donation to help fund future enhancements such as the aforementioned. To see what’s coming in the new year, click here

I wish you a

Merry Christmas, and

A Happy New Year!

Thank you.

Crystalbuntu: Project Roadmap 2012-2013

The year is coming to a close. Crystalbuntu has now been available for Apple TV since June 2010, although the self-updating and UI installer mechanisms have only been available since March. I would not be blogging about such a bespoke platform had it not spiraled into such a large project. Here are the achievements of 2011:

  • Crystalbuntu has over 9,000 daily users. That only covers the users that are synchronizing with the update server every day. I’m willing to guess most users reboot once a week or don’t use their aTV that often, so this number is quite impressive. At this rate, it will be 10,000 by the end of January. Crystalbuntu downloads have accounted for 23,283,706 megabytes of traffic between March and December.
  • The distro has an unsurpassed one click install utility, allowing the average user to install Crystalbuntu with no prior Linux knowledge. There’s no need to do any dodgy CLI wizardry and in 20 minutes, the distribution is running on a USB or the internal drive.
  • Crystalbuntu is the distribution of choice for those serious about HD content on the Apple TV. It delivers better performance than any other software combination running on the Apple TV. It’s optimized to run on the device in every way, be it power consumption, heat output, system performance or usability.
  • I’ve enjoyed pushing out updates (almost) every month for the past nine months. It’s taught me a lot of things: maintaining a distribution used by such a vast user base without messing things up is hard. I particularly enjoyed the July update, which saw the introduction of a number of new features. Crystalbuntu was the first XBMC based Linux distribution to feature AirPlay and AirTunes, ahead of OpenELEC, XBMC Live and XBMCFreak. It still has some unique features, such as PVR and USB Automounting, that you won’t find in every run of the mill distribution.

Goals for 2012-2013:

  • I plan to release XBMC 11 (Codename Eden) as soon as it is finalised (expected this month) and after this start offering nightly builds for release twelve, codename Frodo.
  • I’d like to make some significant system improvements, not just functionality as I am always striving to do so, but also in the fields of performance and support, such as for new hardware such as Pulse Eight’s new CEC Adapter. I will also be releasing a service pack to combine all the updates and be making some improvements to the update system.
  • The dual boot model seems increasingly attractive. A lot of people want to retain the original Apple TV OS so they can rent films or access their iTunes library. I definitely see this as a good idea for the future.

My support

  • Crystalbuntu really thrived this year. Since I developed the UI installer, the counted installs went through the roof. I’m going to attribute that to the ease of installation.
  • What’s also important to realise is that while the 1st generation Apple TV is no longer sold, the Crystalbuntu user base is growing, not declining.
  • It’s for that reason I pledge to support the distribution for as long as I can which will be until at least 2013. This is a stark contrast to Apple who have not released an update in 21 months!

Your support

  • Bandwidth, hardware, even my own time is in heavy demand.
  • A small donation really shows me that the distribution is worthwhile to you. If the distribution has given your device a new lease of life, help keep the project alive for as long as possible.


  • Thank you for giving me the opportunity to expand my skills by developing for you, I hope you enjoy your XBMC experience.
  • Here’s to another year.

Crystalbuntu: No November update

Sorry to inform you that I cannot put out an update this month. I have deferred it until December at the earliest. My reason for not being able to deliver the update is due to my heart problems which I now know to be caused by mitral regurgitation. This has occupied my time significantly this month and meant that I have not had enough time to deliver what I would consider a quality update.

Thank you for your understanding.

Crystalbuntu and XBMC: recent issues

Hello everyone,

It’s not been a good couple of weeks for the XBMC at all. First, we had the MySQL issues plaguing users with multiseat setups which resulted in the preliminary update (not exclusive to the PVR branch), and then we had an issue where the PVR system constantly tried to remove entries from the EPG. I’d like to thank Bharath for pointing this one out, which he found through increased heat output from the AppleTV. The problems caused were:

  • Excessive hard drive usage
    • Bad IO throughput, resulting in degraded performance of XBMC and plugins
    • Hard drive could not standby due to permanent usage
    • Heat output was great due to hard drive in constant activity.

A quick scouring of a debug log and PVR branch led me to the conclusion that recent changes to XBMC was causing an infinite loop. While this has not been resolved in the PVR branch, I have patched the offending source code to fix the issue and raised an issue report on Github here

Users should see an increase in performance almost immediately. Please bare in mind these issues are not the result of incompetence, either on Team XBMC’s part or my own. The fact is that issues can arise in using nightly builds on a bespoke platform. What I feel makes the difference, is how quickly a response is made to the problem and how it is dealt with. I am starting to see the need for Crystalbuntu to perhaps get its own XBMC repository.

Please restart your AppleTV for resolution of these issues.