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Wii-Linux turns a Nintendo Wii into a quiet and energy efficient PowerPC-based Linux system. This page details useful and interesting things for beginners to do on a Linux PC.

If you cannot see the prompt (off the screen), you suffer from TV Overscan. Please launch the correct ELF for your video mode.

Note: For technical reasons you must launch Linux from bootmii for Wi-Fi to work.

Logging in

First thing you want to do once a Wii has booted Linux, is log in.

  • For debian-lenny-5.0+whiite-1.10 :
   Username: root
   Password: whiite

You will need a USB keyboard to use whiite.

General Linux Usage

While running whiite-linux, your Nintendo Wii acts as a standard Debian system.

Linux uses the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS), it's a very different layout from Windows.

New to Linux? Here are some quick commands:

  • Type "ls" to list the files in the directory.
  • Type "cd [DIRECTORY_NAME]" to change directory.
  • Go to these directories: /bin, /sbin, /usr/sbin, /usr/sbin and type "ls" in each. These are the commands you can use from the terminal (The "PATH" environment variable specifies these directories). Type: "man [COMMAND_NAME]" to bring up the manual for those programs. Alternatively type: "[COMMAND_NAME] --help" for a simpler inbuilt help.
  • Hold CTRL and C send an "interrupt" to a program. If that fails, try CTRL-Z suspends the program.

Quickest way for a beginner to safely shutdown a Linux system is to type "halt" or "poweroff". Alternatively press and hold the reset button or press CTRL-ALT-DEL on the attached keyboard.

A well written guide for learning how linux works (and how to use it) is here Another good guide for learning the shell is here. Refer to http://www.debian.org/doc/ for more information on how to operate a Debian system.

Setting up Wi-Fi

Once logged in you will probably want to get Wi-Fi working. Ensure the kernel ELF file was launched from MINI (bootmii installed in boot2 or replace /bootmii/ppcboot.elf for autostart on Wii poweron). The best kernel ELF file at the moment is MIKEp5.

Go to the /root directory. Type ./whiite-ez-wifi-config

Follow the prompts. Press UP/DOWN directional keys and SPACE to set the encryption type and ENTER the rest of the way.

Hopefully your are now connected to your Wi-Fi Access Point and the Internet!

Edit text files

   nano [text file]

Play MP3s

   mp3-decoder <mp3 file> 

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:


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 
  • 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:

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


Install Debian Packages

After setting up an internet connection, you should be able to install new Debian packages directly onto the Wii using apt-get. (Alternatively you can download on a PC then use dpkg to install packages manually.)

(NOTE THAT THE DEFAULT REPOSITORIES ARE INCOMPLETE! apt-get will fail to download many dependencies. You must change add a mirror repository to /etc/apt/sources.list to have it work correctly.)

  • 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 (Warning: It's about 70mb)
  • Copy these files to the corresponding places on your SD card:
  • Extract the contents of these archives to your SD card:
  • Log on to whiite and type (you only need to do this once):
 mknod /dev/fb0 c 29 0
  • Type:
 mplayer <file>.avi