XBian - XBMC/Kodi for Your Small Factor Computer

Introduction: XBian - XBMC/Kodi for Your Small Factor Computer

Not much a how to as all is on the XBian web page but I thought its worth to share with community here.

I am more than happy to answer what ever question come across to your mind, if I know the answer obviously :)

What is XBian?

XBian is a small, fast and lightweight media center distribution for the Raspberry Pi, CuBox-i, Hummingboard and many more devices to come. It is based on a minimal Debian and therefore offers much of the same freedom as Debian offers. Our slogan is “XBMC, the bleeding edge” as our main focus is delivering the fastest XBMC solution for various small form factor computers.

Small footprint and easily customizable

One of the major goals of XBian is to balance between being lightweight but still offer all the possibilities for customization. This means that a default XBian installation will fit on a 2GB SD card, uses low RAM and low CPU and has XBMC installed by default. It also offers a rich kernel with includes all important drivers for wlan and such. XBian supports AFP, NFS, AirPlay, CEC, Lirc, PVR and autoconnects USB drives. But XBian also allows you to turn it into a full featured download box, music box, or whatever customization you might have in mind yourself.

Rolling releases

Just like Debian, XBian incorporates rolling releases. This means that different from other distributions such as OpenElec or Raspbmc, XBian doesn’t release fixed images that often. In contrast, XBian offers new package updates at least once a week. This means that new improvements and bugfixes are delivered quickly and easily. When you keep your system updated, you will also start using new releases automatically. When all packages belonging to a new release are installed, XBian will also increase its own version. So, you never need to reinstall! This also means you can just install XBian Beta 2 and upgrade to XBian Release Candidate 2 in one go. Just as you can upgrade to XBian Stable 1 once it is released.


XBian incorporates a quick settings menu in both XBMC and inside the shell. Both programs offer the users a quick and userfriendly way to configure your new or existing system. This includes setting up your network, configuring various boot options, setting

Snapshots / Solved Corruption

XBian uses the BTRFS filesystem. Although we could talk about that for hour, the main idea of incoorporating it was the ability to create snapshots and to say bye bye to corruption. Snapshots is a fix state of the system at a particular time. It is much like the System Restore Points as found in Windows but then better. Snapshots only take that many space as there were changes since the snapshot was created. So as in Windows, snapshots in XBian allows you so easily restore your XBian installation to a previous point in time with one simple command, or to boot from a previous snapshot. Another great feature of BTRFS is the ability to track corruption. It does that by storing a checksum of each file. This means that whenever a file doesn’t match the checksum, BTRFS knows a file has gone corrupt. As soon as that happens, it will force the filesystem to become readonly to prevent any further corruption. So whenever this happens, it is a great feature instead of a bug. With the previous EXT4 filesystem used in other distrubitions, your installation would become unbootable and you therefor would be unable to bring your files into safety.

Emergency shell

Whenever issue occur with your XBian installation, it still offers ways to fix it by presenting the user with an emergency program. This means that XBian is actually two distributions in one. One main distribution you use for normal usage, and one rescue distribution in case of errors. If your system become unbootable, users can use this distribution to do some recovery. This proves to work in 99% of the cases. If you ever end up in this shell, ask us for help and we will get your system up and running in no-time.

The community

XBian is not only the ‘product’. It’s also the community around it.

We believe that everyone can help making XBian better. If you have suggestions, wishes or contributions, please share them with us! The basic social ingredients that hold our project together include:

  • Be considerate
  • Be respectful
  • Be collaborative
  • Be pragmatic
  • Support others in the community
  • Get support from others in the community





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