- See also: Wii-Linux/Distros
DEAR PEOPLE FROM THE FUTURE: Wii Linux is several years old (last release in late-2009) and is no longer actively maintained. In recent times, there's been newer alternative hardware platforms released that cover what people used to use Wii Linux for, eg the Raspberry Pi computer. By all means people should play around with Wii Linux still, but consider if you want to use an unmaintained, buggy Linux port for the powerpc-based Wii or the well-supported linux distributions and large community of the ARM-based Raspberry Pi (hardware that has comparable graphical processing power to a Wii)
That said, don't be discouraged from having a play with Wii Linux if you already own a Wii. It's great fun! END TRANSMISSION
Wii-Linux is a port of the Linux kernel and related GNU userspace utilities to the Nintendo Wii video game console. Many distributions of GNU/Linux are available for the Wii. All current distributions use a version of the "gc-linux" kernel, a port of the Linux kernel by the GC-Linux project.
The kernel itself can communicate with nearly all Wii peripherals; Wii Remotes, Wi-Fi, USB, Bluetooth, GameCube controllers, USBGeckos and the DVD drive are supported. GameCube Memory Cards are currently unsupported.
The GC-Linux kernel can run under IOS (Nintendo's official operating system), while other versions run under the alternate operating system by Team Twiizers known as "mini" (which stands for MINI Is Not IOS)
MINI has an advantage over IOS: full and complete access to Wii internal hardware, such as Wi-Fi, USB2.0, the DVD Drive and more.
The IOS-based kernels can be loaded through the Homebrew Channel but MINI-based kernels must be loaded through MINI (that means "bootmii" must be installed). BootMii can be installed in two ways: 1) in boot2 (ie. Wii powers up into BootMii) or 2) in IOS (BootMii is loaded through the Homebrew Channel). Confusing, but this is current the state of Wii homebrew.
The latest version of GC-Linux is MIKEp5 (which stands for MINI Kernel Preview 5). The MIKEp5 kernel has an IOS and MINI version available.
- Nintendo Wii Console (Homebrew Channel/alternate loader installed. bootmii installed in boot2 and/or ios for Wi-Fi)
- SD Card (Will be formatted. 512MB Required. 2GB Recommended)
- USB Keyboard
Note: A computer already running Linux is useful for manual installation.
Note: The SD Card or USB Drive will likely be formatted and repartitioned.
The GC-Linux team has released a Simple GUI-based installer can be used with Whiite, Bliight and XWhiite distributions. The installer can be loaded via the Homebrew Channel or Twilight Hack. Note that these instructions are for a very old version of Debian Linux which predates the version 5.0 mentioned in here.
An ext3 filesystem is created on a removable disk (SD card or USB drive). The kernel image ELF can be loaded through Homebrew Channel. It is recommended to replace the kernel image ELF with the compatible MIKE (MIni KErnal) ELF binary. This will enable Wi-Fi and the DVD drive to be used. The latest MIKE version is currently MIKEp5.
Users may install a Wii-Linux distribution manually. Isobel has written the official instructions for manual installation.
Once a Wii has booted Linux, there are lot's of things for users new to Linux to do.
- A GUI is available, in the form of an X.org server. Although it is not optimized for a "10-foot user interface", like that found in the Wii Menu. A Wii Remote may be used as a pointing device with the X.org server, but manual configuration is needed. (See xwhiite)
- It's possible for a Wii to powerup directly into Wii-Linux. BootMii must be installed in boot2 for this feature. To enable this, replace the file /bootmii/ppcboot.elf (on the front SD Card) with the GC-Linux kernel of your choice (Remember to back up the original ppcboot.elf somewhere!!)
Before Wii-Linux supported internal Wi-Fi, users were forced to use USB Ethernet Adapters and USB Wi-Fi dongles for an Internet connection. Supported external hardware is listed.
Note that currently all internal "native" Wii hardware is supported. Some classic hardware (such as GameCube Memory Cards) are still unsupported. A full list of supported hardware is available here.
For frequent problems when installing and setting up Wii-Linux
Many distributions of GNU/Linux are available for the Nintendo Wii.
Whiite-linux is a Debian 5.0 (lenny) based Linux distribution for the Nintendo Wii.
- Wifi, USB2.0 and DVD drive support when running with MikeP5
- Easy Wifi configuration tool in /root/ to run type ./whiite-ez-wifi-config
- Version 1.10 (Debian Lenny 5.0) Download
- Written by the gc-linux team.
- Last updated: 21 Oct 2009
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
- Last update: 29 October 2009
- 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 Wii Remote 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
- File-system tars could be found here (now removed from server)
- Last updated: 11 July 2009
- A video showing Arch Linux on the Wii called, "Archii."
- A video showing a playable pacman console game with Wii Remote 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