Wii-Linux

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Wii-Linux
Icon WiiLinux.png
General
Author(s)GC-Linux Team
TypeOperating system
Version1.10 (whiite)
LicenceMostly GPL
Links
Download
Website
Source
Peripherals
Wiimote1.svg GameCube Controller USB Keyboard Loads files from the Front SD slot USB mass storage device USBGecko2.svg

Wii-Linux is a small Linux distribution for the Wii, based on GC Linux.

Summary

  • Creator: GC-Linux Team
  • Software type: Operating System
  • Accessories needed: Computer running Linux, SD card with a FAT16 and an ext3 partition, USB keyboard
  • Optional accessories: GameCube controller, USB Gecko, Wiimote, Nintendo Wii LAN Adapter, USB drive
  • Best PAL mode: 480i/p
  • Loaders usable: Twilight Hack, Homebrew Channel
  • Button to return to loader: No
  • Alternate installation: Setup USB Gecko and load the software on the PC beforehand (see the readme).

Getting Started

The Whiite Installer

  • The GC Linux team has released a new installer for certain distributions including:
    • Bliight
    • XWhiite
    • Whiite
  • Download/Discussion

Manual Installation

Isobel has made some Official Instructions.

  1. Make a second partition on your SD card and format as ext3.
  2. Extract the debian-etch-4.0+whiite-0.1.tar.bz2 package to the ext3 partition of your SD card. You must extract the package as root or sudoer if you are using Linux or else files under /dev will not appear correctly.
  3. Copy the whiite-linux folder from the whiite-linux-0.1a.tar.bz2 archive to /apps/ for HBC or put the boot.elf on the root for bannerbomb.
  4. Load the file using bannerbomb or HBC.
  5. Log in to access the terminal. You can now run commands and navigate directories.
  6. Configure Bluetooth with hciconfig then type hcitool scan and press 1+2 on your wiimote to connect it.

Logging in

After you have booted Linux you will have 60 minutes to log on with the credentials below before it times out.

  • For debian-etch-4.0+whiite-0.1:
   Username: root
   Password: whiite
  • For PoC:
   Username: root
   Password: cube

Things that work

The Debian release comes with a lot of news, only available if you boot using the kernel that comes with that package. You will need a USB keyboard to use this release. If you are able to boot with it and login, you will stop in a command line where you can navigate through the filesystem, and execute some applications. There are working drivers for the USB bus and internal Bluetooth, but not for the internal wireless adapter. Here are some things that you can do:

Edit text files

   nano [text file]

Play MP3s

   mp3-decoder <mp3 file> 

There is an mp3 sample in the /root directory. You can play it if you type:

   mp3-decoder Synapse-Stealing_Science.mp3

You can also use this:

   mpg321 <mp3 file>

Type & after the command to have the mp3 play in the background:

   mpg321 Synapse-Stealing_Science.mp3 &

To play MP3s from a USB flash drive, mount the drive (see below). Navigate to the directory where they are stored on your USB flash drive, and use the "mp3-decoder" or the "mpg321" tool to play them.

Mount USB Drives

  • Mount an external USB hard disk

Not all USB hard disks work, but if they are formatted in FAT or EXT2 they might be recognized. Connect a USB flash drive, and type:

  dmesg

The dmesg command will show you the last kernel message. If the USB flash drive is compatible, it will show you some debug messages, and a message with the status of the new drive. If it is recognized as sda, you can mount and navigate to that using these commands:

  mkdir mnt
  mount /dev/sda1 mnt 
  cd mnt 
  ls
  • To show the identifiers of the devices connected to the USB: Type lsusb
  • USB hubs work.

Use the internal Bluetooth

There is a driver that manages the Wii internal Bluetooth. You can connect to the Wiimote, but there isn’t any application to manage it yet. You can type these commands to configure it:

hciconfig 
Shows you the Bluetooth configuration.
hcitool scan and press "1&2" on the Wiimote
This will find the Wiimote and show some information.

Chat on IRC

   irssi

Install Debian Packages

If you find a USB network adapter that works with this kernel such as the Nintendo USB network adapter, you will be able to install new Debian packages directly onto the Wii using apt-get. Or you can download on a PC then use dpkg to install packages manually.

  • cmatrix is confirmed to run which displays a simple curses screensaver. The font suggested for it has not been tested.
  • ninvaders is a simple curses based game played like Space Invaders. Seems to work 100%
  • pacman is a curses pacman game. Currently the Linux console is not large enough to view the lives, levels, and score. The game is compiled from scratch with wiiuse and Bluetooth and ncurses devs.
  • sc is a curses spreadsheet application.

Install MPlayer

  • Download the source to Wii MFE Port
  • Copy these files to the corresponding places on your SD card:
/src/native/fs/shipped/lib/
/src/native/fs/shipped/root/
/src/native/fs/shipped/usr/
  • Extract the contents of these archives to your SD card:
/src/native/libsdl/mfe-libsdl.tar.gz
/home/zach/Desktop/src/native/mplayer/mfe-mplayer.tar.gz
  • Log on to whiite and type (you only need to do this once):
 mknod /dev/fb0 c 29 0
  • Type:
 mplayer <file>.avi

Things that Don't Work

The latest Mini Kernel Preview Four does not support the following Wii hardware:

  • Nintendo GameCube memory cards
  • Internal DVD drive

Hardware Compatibility

Compatible Ethernet adapters

Device Hardware ID String Description Cost
Nintendo Wii LAN Adapter Official Nintendo Product $24.99 US
Datel's LAN Adapter $29.90
Linksys WUSB54GC USB Wi-Fi Adapter $24.99
Linksys USB200M rev 2

Incompatible Ethernet adapters

Device Hardware ID String Description
Linksys USB Network Adapter USB10T VID_0x066b & PID_0x2206 device not supported
Eminent EM4090 USB Network Kit

Troubleshooting

I get a black screen when I load the DOL.
Something is wrong with the filesystem format your SD card and try again.
It boots up with a lot of errors saying file system read-only then it freezes.
Turn off Wiiconnect24 or load from bannerbomb (please confirm).

GUI

A GUI is still needed.

There is a work in progress project to create an X.Org driver for Wii/GameCube. You can download and find more information here.

Note

  • X.Org is available!
    • Miight
    • XWhiite
    • Bliight
    • Archii
  • KDE in the near future?
    • No, never will happen. Something light weight like Openbox or xmonad is recommended.
    • For people who do want a full Desktop Environment, you can use LXDE which is simply Openbox with a panel, file manager, etc. This is easier for some people and should still be lightweight enough unlike Xfce, GNOME, KDE.
  • When Enlightenment finally releases a 1.0 it might also be suitable for Linux on Wii as it is also fairly light in comparison to other Desktop Environments but still not as light as LXDE.

Releases

Note

No current releases yet support the Wii's wireless networking capabilities. This means, that if you want to access the internet or another aspect of your network, you will need a Wii USB-to-Ethernet adapter.

It is also possible to setup a Bluetooth network connection, provided that you have another Linux PC with Bluetooth support nearby.

WiiToo!

WiiToo! is a minimal precompiled stage4 made to let you run Gentoo on your Wii using MIKE and Mini. It provides all the basic software required to compile and install new programs on it, and some other software ready to be used. The kernel used is plain vanilla-sources & Wii-Linux patches, so expect WiFi working out of the box.

  • Ready to use, uncompress, copy, configure and run
  • Highly configurable, like Gentoo
  • USB keyboard isn't a requirement, simply configure your network and use SSH
  • Can use all the hardware that Wii-Linux is able to use

Miight

  • Seems similar to bertjan's but was announced first, * It can be installed normally like any other homebrew app (no partitioning needed), and includes many more features. Including the following:
    • An easy way to switch between TV types (although it does require a restart)
    • The ability to install a disk image directly onto a normal partition on an SD card or USB flash drive, meaning absolutely no partitioning or anything.
    • Many, many more apps
    • An easy-to-use media mounter
    • Contributions from many users
    • Supertux
    • A pretty screensaver
    • Probably a lot more that I forgot to list
  • It was momentarily leaked but it was soon, for lack of a better term, unleaked.
  • A release is expected within the next few weeks. This never happened.
  • After it is released, bertjan has said he will abandon his own distribution and contribute to this one instead.
  • For progress updates, see http://hbcapps.com/miight/blog. For older posts see http://tehum.blogspot.com, a blog I shared with someone else when I couldn't be bothered to get my own.
  • Made by Muzer

Bliight

  • A full Gentoo distribution for the Wii.
  • It uses the whiite method of installation.
  • Made by T7g
  • Download/Discussion

Archii

  • Arch Linux PPC for the Wii
  • Designed for use with the new MIKE p1 kernel but can be made to work with Boot it or any other kernel release.
  • Made By TheStorm/JonimusPrime and zc00gii
  • Is designed for more advanced users to create from scratch but minimal and X11 file-system tars are available
    • The X11 tar has X.Org installed along with the OpenBox3 WM and Cwiid for Wiimote input
    • It also includes the Opera Browser, X-Chat IRC client and Pidgin IM client
    • The Minimal image is just enough to get you booted and the end user can install any packages they wish using pacman
  • ArchWiki-WiiTutorial
  • File-system tars can be found here

XWhiite

  • Whiite but with the X.Org environment successfully implemented.
  • It currently uses kernel 2.6.27b.
  • It also includes some applications including Firefox.
  • It uses the whiite method of installation
  • It has now been updated to v0.2
  • Made by bertjan
  • Download/Discussion

Kernel 2.6.27

  • New drivers with SDHC support, and optimized memory. Updated versions (2.6.27a & 2.6.27b) are also available.
  • Just replace your current boot.elf/dol with this(for any whiite-linux-method distributions).
  • Download

Whiite

PoC

These are small, stand-alone distributions that were merely to demonstrate that Linux could run on the Wii. These distributions are very limited in functionality and are not recommended. Instead, use one of the above distributions (XWhiite, Bliight are recommended).

Proof of Concept 0.4

Proof of Concept 0.3

  • Adds read and write support for the front SD card slot.
  • Download

Proof of Concept 0.2

Proof of Concept 0.1

External links

  • A video showing Arch Linux on the Wii called, "Archii."
  • A video showing a playable pacman console game with Wiimote support
  • A video showing how Wii-Linux Debian boots, with some features and applications
  • A video showing T2 SDE 6.0 Linux booting from an external HDD using the SD card as pivot root. X runs!
  • A video showing T2 SDE 6.0 Linux booting from an external HDD using a ramdisk card as pivot root. In this video the xserver works with a driver for Wii/GameCube and has correct colours
  • GC-Linux.org
  • The Official GC-Linux SourceForge Page
  • TehSkeen Forums
  • Muzer's Miighty Blog