Raspberry Pi and XBMC: A wasted opportunity

I bought a Raspberry Pi for myself this Fall in order to play around with the minicomputer that is so popular these days as an opportunity to teach myself a little more about Linux, hardware, and networking. I read many many posts about lots of individuals running the Pi as a media server for their first experience with this computer. Seemed like a reasonable place for a Pi noob like myself to start as well…

If this previous paragraph sounds anything like you, consider this post a warning.

TL;DR version: DON’T! Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

  1. Install RaspBMC to SD card
  2. Boot Pi
  3. Wait for OS to initialize
  4. Realize process is frozen
  5. Reboot Pi
  6. See that installation is corrupted because previous attempt to start failed
  7. Go back to step 1
  8. Continue previous steps until the XBMC interface actually installs all updates without freezing or corrupting itself
  9. Try to do something once interface is loaded
  10. Oops, you moved the mouse too quickly or used the wifi connection and pulled too much power; system is hung
  11. Reboot
  12. Continue this process until you can get to the “Plugins store”
  13. Browse available plugins
  14. Peruse the vast wasteland of useless XBMC plugins
  15. Realize that nothing worth loading runs on an ARM processor (Want Netflix/Hulu/CW/ABC/etc? Too bad!)
  16. Say fuck it all and install something else your SD card. This thing wasn’t meant to run XBMC

If you want a media player, just buy a commercial product like a Roku 3 or Apple TV. By the time you’ve invested enough time, money, and energy in just getting what the Pi needs to run (case, 5V/1A+ PS, USB cable, HDMI cable, powered USB hub, SD card, mouse, keyboard, wifi dongle, etc), you will have spent MORE on an inferior product!

But wait a minute, this was supposed to be a learning exercise for you, right? Didn’t you at least learn something about the hardware or Linux? Well maybe, I did learn how to get my TV tuner working on my laptop, in an attempt to get it working on the Pi. So there’s that. But the time I wasted and frustration I endured was absolutely not worth learning that bit.

I’ve got Raspbian wheezy, a Debian derivative for ARM processors, installed on it now. That is running great so far. Probably just going to keep it there too. I’m still running Mint, also a Debian-derivative. Its easier to keep everything the same for the sake of learning

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