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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

OpenElec Upgrade to 2.0 (1.95.1) aka XBMC Eden - How it went so far...

Nothing more nerve racking than preparing for a major upgrade on production hardware. Sure I could have installed the new OpenElec to a external disk then tested from there, but I prefer to jump in with both feet! So how did it go?

So I downloaded the latest image from the site (the 1.95.1 version which to all intensive purposes is 2.0) and extracted the contents as normal. I used my Windows laptop to do the work required below as apposed to my Macbook, simply because it was closer to me... yep I'm hardcore :-p

I then copied the new KERNEL and SYSTEM images (along with the MD5 files) over to the SAMBA location //openelec/updates on my running ER1401 system.

So far so good, system restart is then required to have OpenElec do the upgrade based on the files that I just transferred above.

Apon reboot I got the familar messages than new images had been detected and that it was upgrading. It automatically reboots then starts with the new and updated OpenElec and XBMC.

However, as it was booting for the first time, I received an error message indicating that the incorrect VGA Mode specified was incorrect. I knew this to be false since I had applied the boot screen fix before and this was adjusted to vga=792, it was also reporting a number I had not seen before. As of yet I've not investigated this further.

Skipping this message, I was then presented with the OpenElec boot screen as normal, albeit not in full perspective due to the above issue. Once the screen disappeared, only a black cursor "X" remained on the screen. No error message, no immediate issue was clear.

After some investigation though it turned out that because I was using a MySQL database on my NAS as the backend for XBMC, it was having issues migrating the database to the new XBMC Eden format. I found this error in the /storage/.xbmc/temp/xbmc.log file, however as the log is now gone I cannot share this with you, but you can't miss it if this is happening to you, it keeps printing it.

Just as a note at this point, you have to re-enable SSH support as the guys over at OpenElec have disabled it by default. It's easy to do, simply create a file called "ssh_enable" in the ConfigFiles folder via SAMBA. Username and password are the default as before. Official instructions on this are at the OpenElec site.

So I renamed the AdvancedSettings.xml file in the ConfigFiles folder and done a restart and bingo! XBMC Eden was now showing on my screen. Things to note at this point.
  • Audio was working already although I want to investigate it further. Currently it's set to Analog however I'm using audio over HDMI.
  • I had to adjust the screen over scan, but I also had to do this with previous versions of OpenElec
 After I changed to my favourite skin and did the normal amount of customisation, I tested Audio and Video and both work great. All the hardware (apart from the built in wireless which I did not test) seems to work fine.

However as mentioned above I had to disconnect from the MySQL DB to get XBMC to load without looping infinately with errors. To fix this I created a copy of the original database and modified the AdvancedSettings.xml to use the copy. After restarting OpenElec and monitoring the progress via SSH I could see it was now working. No clear idea on why it failed originally, except that I do have other devices on my network using the same database.

XBMC Eden is now using the copied version of the database which I will migrate my other devices over to once I've squared off my ER1401. Given that this is a prerelease though, it's actually very stable!

Issues still open which if I find fixes for will post on:
  • VGA Mode error on boot
  • Audio set to Analog but coming through HDMI anyway
  • Thumbnails on my shared drive don't seem to work with the new database, this is either because XBMC Eden index's them differently or that during the migration from the old to the new format, there was a conversion fault in the DB. However I haven't checked this out yet in more detail, could well be something entirely different.