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Windows 2000 Runs On Xbox Under Linux 258

MBCook writes "Everybody's favorite Xbox hackers have got Linux running for roughly six weeks, and now it runs well enough to announce that Windows has been run inside Linux with common PC virtualization software. They even have a little video of it playing a MPEG 4 of The Matrix fullscreen!"
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Windows 2000 Runs On Xbox Under Linux

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  • by cyborch ( 524661 ) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @06:41AM (#4349468) Homepage Journal

    ...of taking an MS product and hacking at it 'till it runs linux, just to emulate another MS product.

    • I wonder if there's an X-box emulator available for Windows 2000. Now that would kick ass!
    • Or like a multiboot setup I once did (for reasons that escape even myself): boot to DRDOS, use its boot manager to select Win2K, use its boot manager to select Win95, which in turn was set up to start in plain M$DOS. Talk about the long way around! :)

    • Re:oh the irony (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Vader82 ( 234990 )
      What would be really slick is to get VMware (I assume thats what they are using to run win2k) to boot the Xbox OS. If you had that capability, you could boot into linux and do work, then when you wanted to play a game you launch the Xbox OS and pop the game in. When you're done, go back to working by shutting down VMware. While this seems pointless (and perhaps it is) the nice thing about it is that you don't have to always be rebooting the machine. You probably get other cool features too. I don't have an xbox so I can't tell you, but I'm sure it would open up new opportunities to do more cool stuff just because you can.
    • Re:oh the irony (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tdelaney ( 458893 )
      It's called "proving that it works". If it can run Win2K from Linux on the hardware:

      1. It tells them that their port is sufficiently complete to do so;

      2. The hardware is capable of it, and so is capable of pretty much anything a normal PC can do.

      I would consider this a very valuable thing to do. Not to mention that it's a real kick in the nuts for MS :)
      • "Not to mention that it's a real kick in the nuts for MS :)"

        Sounds like a larger market for MS. If people want to pay to run Windows 2000 on Linux, why should MS mind? You'd think Linux advocates would be taking the position that running Windows under Linux is unnecessary, rather than bragging that it can be done.
  • I wonder what Microsoft thinks about this. They oppose Linux on the Xbox, but would they oppose Win2K on top of Linux on the Xbox?

    And if not, would they oppose Linux on top of Win2K on top of Linux on the Xbox? Or even.......nevermind.
  • Win 2k (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rastachops ( 543268 ) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @06:45AM (#4349478)
    What about running Windows 2000 on the XBox? Has it been done? Can it be done?
    • What about running Windows 2000 on the XBox? Has it been done? Can it be done?

      Nope. Unless you're working for MS, or love digging x86 assembly.
    • yes, it can be done: "now it runs well enough to announce that Windows has been run inside Linux with common PC virtualization software".

      • ...without emulating it inside of linux.
        • Well, it isn't emulating it. It is virtualizing the system, with hardware passthru for certain graphics features. Pretty impressive; would be ULTRA impressive if the Linux NVidia drivers also worked on XBox, and could be virtualized, so that Windows 2000 on Linux on XBox had accelerated 3D. Fat chance of that, though (unless NVidia cooperated...)
    • Of course it can be done. The native Xbox kernel is Windows 2000.
      • Re:Win 2k (Score:3, Informative)

        by koh ( 124962 )
        It's a stripped-down version that runs at ring 0 (in short, a small kernel-space "bundled" win2k).

        Maybe it can understand CreateWindowEx(), but it sure won't understand half the routines needed to run PC Windows apps.

        Maybe with a custom library CD...

        • Simple. Port Wine to Windows.

          Problem solved.
          • by Bastian ( 66383 )
            Because Wine is a wrapper - it doesn't implement the various GUI calls on Windows, it simply translates them to equivalent calls (or strings of calls) for X. If the XBox doesn't have these calls at all, you'd have to reimplement them from the ground up. The knowledge the Wine project has on the Windows API would be useful for this, but the Wine code most likely wouldn't.
  • cool but... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    doesn't xbox have a dvd player built in? makes playing a movie [inside doze no less] kinda redundant dontcha think? [br][br] Now, if you could create a small little distro that would make xbox useful for someone who didn't wanna shell out a bunch of money for a desktop 'puter...
  • But... (Score:5, Funny)

    by DarkHelmet ( 120004 ) <mark@seventhc[ ] ['ycl' in gap]> on Saturday September 28, 2002 @06:47AM (#4349484) Homepage
    The obvious question is if they can get an Windows XBox Emulator working within Windows2000 on the Xbox.
    • Re:But... (Score:1, Troll)

      by SeanTobin ( 138474 )
      The obvious question is if they can get an Windows XBox Emulator working within Windows2000 on the Xbox.
      And the not-so-obvious question is will the games run faster because of the improved kernel/software ;)
    • Re:But... (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Nooooo!!! Infinite....loop....frying....brain....!
    • Re:But... (Score:3, Funny)

      by falser ( 11170 )
      Better yet, could they:

      Play an XBox game...
      in an XBox emulator...
      running in Win2000...
      running within Linux.
      • Re:But... (Score:2, Funny)

        by jkramar ( 583118 )
        Or, to complete the cycle, can they run Linux under an XBox emulator under Windows under Linux under an XBox emulator under Windows under Linux under an XBox emulator under Windows under Linux under an XBox emulator under Windows under Linux under an XBox emulator under Windows under Linux under an XBox emulator under Windows under Linux on an XBox?
        • Nobody is allowed to post any more about emulators running emulators until they can provide a rigorous upper bound on the maximum depth of the emulator within an emulator recursion, as a function of system resources.
    • It runs even faster and better with less memory usage!
  • Virtual, eh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ciryon ( 218518 ) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @06:57AM (#4349504) Journal
    Uhm, did I miss something? Which virtualization software? VMWare? Wine?

  • win2k games? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 28, 2002 @07:05AM (#4349516)
    i am curious, i know that xbox runs a stripped down win2k kernel, but is it possible to run win2k with full kernel (maybe even without hardware mods) and run window games? i mean, its the same hardware, and except for the video card driver, which might even be supplied by nvidias unified drivers :P, i think that it would be pretty cool to be able to play all my pc games on an xbox... thnx for any input..
    • The XBox kernel is in a ROM somewhere, I would imagine this gets loaded to RAM and the box starts up. I'm sure the hardware can run a full blown Windows 2000, but since the code to Windows 2000 isn't available you won't see it happening. You would also need some drivers for the motherboard to get it running well.
  • for Pete's Sake! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Naikrovek ( 667 ) <jjohnson.psg@com> on Saturday September 28, 2002 @07:06AM (#4349518)
    Someone PLEASE get these people a decent TV, man! and a better camera! ;)

    Those photos would have a lot more impact on me if i could see them better. hehe these guys are doing great things but someone please donate a TV or bigger monitor or whatever they're using.
    • Re:for Pete's Sake! (Score:2, Informative)

      by Skuld-Chan ( 302449 )
      Thats a commodore 1084 - as I recall its a split video, composite, and rgb monitor with a .45 dot pitch - not bad for the day. I think its made by phillips.

      As far as a TV set goes you'll not find much better for the size. Later versions had stereo sound built in, Commodore's 1942, 1950, 1962 etc were better dot pitch wise and could do ntsc through vga (.28), but they didn't have the composite inputs.
  • by perlyking ( 198166 ) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @07:07AM (#4349522) Homepage
    screenshots of open office on XBOX.
  • by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <> on Saturday September 28, 2002 @07:13AM (#4349528) Homepage
    If virtualization software becomes cheap and effective, perhaps PC clones five years from now will always boot into Linux or another protected-mode OS and then start Windows on the virtual hardware. It would be a nice way to add more power to BIOS setup screens or to allow installing multiple OSes with no hassle. Perhaps also to let Windows 1984 run even on hardware that hasn't been certified as 'trusted'.
    • by weave ( 48069 ) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @09:49AM (#4349791) Journal
      Damn, your post reminded me of another use, securing YOUR Windows YOUR way. I saw it demoed at H2K2 last july. I just can't remember the website addy. It boots debian, then runs vmware automatically and prompts for a secure password. It then loads Windows using a virtual drive. The drive is encrpyted. A USB dongle is also required. Remove the usb dongle, the puppy shuts down automatically. Debian runs without swap to hopefully eliminate any chance of the vmware session being swapped to unencrypted disk.

      The guy demoing it is mainly meant to protect laptop data from common thieves, is targeted towards road warriors, and is not meant to keep the government out because if they arrest you and the laptop, they can coerce you into giving them access.

      Ah yes, google rules. Here's a link to a story about it []. Company name is NAH6 [].

      • That's cool.

        I was thinking to myself a while back that it would be nice to see VMWare as an OS... and that the closest thing to that would be a linux kernel engineered to work tightly with vmware.

        It would be nice to see vmware with proper vesa 2.0 support, along with accelerated video and more hardware support.

        If I could run it on my laptop the way things are described, and only take a small speed hit, I would do it. it's the functionality hit that I don't want to take.

  • by hugesmile ( 587771 ) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @07:13AM (#4349529)
    Six weeks without crashing! That might be a new record!

    I remember when NT first came out, and Microsoft was pushing it as an Enterprise Server. One of their top engineers was involved in the press announcement, and made the comment with pride that some of the systems in the lab have been running for six weeks without crashing.

    The analysts and large customers ROASTED him: "We've had AS400's and HP 3000's and 9000's and Dec Vax's that haven't crashed EVER for YEARS."

    Somehow, Gates wiggled his way into the data center. Those Vax's and 3000's are probably still running without crashing, ten years later, if they're still there....

    ...And Microsoft learned to never reward a top engineer by letting him speak at a press announcement.

    • No those vax's and as/400's have been replaced with solaris boxen. :-)

      However most non mission critical servers do use NT or w2k. IT seems Microsoft ate up the low end server market yet can't reach beyond that. One of the fallacies about the marketshare is that it takes lots of w2k boxen to do the work of one solaris or as/400 box. Not to mention you need clustering due to instability. With these things added up your looking at 4 w2k boxen that 1 solaris box could do. To someone looking at marketshare, it would seem Microsoft would be winning based on the amount of sales. Like it or not w2k marketshare is growing at a fast pace and I think its now %50 of the market! But like I said it takes several w2k boxes to do the work of one big sun server.

      Ignore all the data. Infact alot of bussiness like motorolla and Texas Intrustments actually switched back to unix from NT. Stability and scalability were not as high as expected.
  • by mocm ( 141920 ) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @07:14AM (#4349530)
    Anytime someone gets another program running under
    xbox linux you get a new article on /..
    What is so surprising? Once you got the kernel with drivers for framebuffer, sound and usb running you could run almost any program that runs under ix86 linux.
    The next big news would be that 3d acceleration is running, so that you can run all those 3d games with reasonable speed.
    Anybody try the Xbox as a UT server yet? NWN server anyone?
    Ok, it's not easy to get Win2000 running with just 64MB.
    • by mav[LAG] ( 31387 ) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @08:12AM (#4349625)
      Anytime someone gets another program running under
      xbox linux you get a new article on /..
      What is so surprising?

      Probably because it's one of the fundamental drivers of OSS development - the "hey wouldn't it be cool if..." attitude. Linus originally thought it would be cool to have a Unix like OS on 386s. Scratching an itch may have its limitations when it comes to things that OSS is bad at - like user-friendliness - but it's still the driving force behind this kind of porting effort.
  • For those who have been saying that the xbox-linux project is
    bad for MS because it costs them the loss leader, err, I think
    running W2K on it covers that loss leader fairly effectively.
    Not that it isn't intersting and all, but the price of W2K will
    chew up your savings pretty fast. At this point one of those
    Microtel PCs (without W2K) might actually be cheaper.
  • ... its a really funky case mod?

    Just kidding. They at least have style/some sort of presentation skills.
  • by netsharc ( 195805 ) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @07:19AM (#4349544)
    counts of violation of the DMCA is that?
    • One for cracking the Xbox.
    • Two for pirating Windows.
    • Three for having a bootleg copy of the Matrix.
    I guess if you wanna piss 'em off, better do it all at once. :) Anybody have an MP3 of N-"Stupid f'ing-Capitalist-no-space-trip-for-you!"-Sync for them to play?
    • Maybe there are no counts of the DMCA being breached here?

      Xbox is reversed engineered for operability; running GNU/Linux which the DMCA allows.

      You assume their copy of Win2k is a pirate version.

      How do you know this is a bootleg of the Matrix? They could very well own the original disk / this could well be the trailer.

    • You left out #4: posting the video of it all for the whole world to see. :-]

      There was a recent case in Australia that REJECTED a similar claim by Sony under their DMCA equivalent (which is very equivalent).

      The court ruled that mod chips do not circuvent anything that controls a right of the copyright holder. If this ruling stands (Sony is appealing), it marks the first limiting decision anywhere on what is sure to be an ongoing battle: the dividing line between access control and use control.
  • I was hoping they would be creative enough to go one step further and install Cygwin!
  • by irishkev ( 457679 ) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @07:23AM (#4349549) Homepage
  • by xxSOUL_EATERxx ( 549142 ) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @07:30AM (#4349568)
    So now I can download and watch a video... of an MPEG... being played on an OS... which is being EMULATED under another OS.... which is being run on hardware designed for an entirely different OS.

    It is fitting that the video in question is from The Matrix. I just want to know what combination of blue and red pills to you take understand the whole setup.
    • So now I can download and watch a video... of an MPEG... being played on an OS... which is being EMULATED under another OS.... which is being run on hardware designed for an entirely different OS.

      Um, actually no. The XBOX normally runs the Windows 2000 kernel.

    • It's even better than that. The entire setup you're watching in the video is a really complicated way of playing a movie on a television, which presumably we could do without the Xbox in the first place.


    • Silly Soul_Eater, those pills are *purple* !! :)

  • A cheap Win2k box? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chris Canfield ( 548473 ) <`slashdot' `at' `'> on Saturday September 28, 2002 @07:53AM (#4349595) Homepage
    Great, now you can take a 200 dollar, 800 MHZ machine with a 10 GB Hard Drive, a DVD drive, and no floppy, and (after spending days configuring and futzing) get it to run the same software as a 200 dollar, 800 mhz machine with a 10 GB Hard Drive, a CD drive, and no floppy from

    I'm sorry, I don't mean to be down on the project. But having the nasty green box as a cheap computer just isn't as compelling a reason as it used to be, and Microsoft is getting closer and closer to making a profit off of each one sold. Now, if we could find some way to run unsigned games on the raw system, thus creating a tremendous distribution platform, that would be compelling. If we could find some easy way to translate computer games, that would be compelling. If we could DDoS

    I love the sense of irony these system hackers have and can't wait for the next exciting episode. But somehow anything that might make a Microsoft product more popular in a non-entrenched market just doesn't sit right with me.
    • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @08:34AM (#4349659) Journal
      It's not for practical use. The point is that the thing can run Linux pretty solidly -- enough to pull something like this off.

      Plus, it's a "technically cool" project, not one intended to replace your desktop machine.
    • Keep in mind that the xbox has a GeForce4, and the Walmart machine has some kind of minor integrated graphics chip with 8mb of shared memory.
    • I'm with you 100%

      Even if someone can get MAME running on a Xbox without a mod-chip, I still won't buy one at retail. That retail sale would give Microsoft more clout with game developers but letting them pimp out even more Xbox "consumers."

      And besides the Xbox is UGLY. People might mistake one of the hidious controllers for a sex toy and give me a funny look.

  • since reinstalling on an Xbox just might constitute a "hardware change" sufficient to trigger Product Activation...

    But, that is a good reminder of the reduction in casual copying that WPA undoubtedly has brought about (for better or worse).
    • by slide-rule ( 153968 ) on Saturday September 28, 2002 @08:55AM (#4349691)
      I think a phone call into product activation would've been a hoot.

      Product Activation: "Hello, Product Activation center. What can I do to help you today?"
      Crafty Hacker: "Uh, yeah. I need to re-activate my XP installation. I changed a couple things and it apparently tripped something."
      PA: "Okay, sure. First, what's the CD Key on your XP installation disk?"
      CH: "Err, its [rattles off numbers/letters]."
      PA: "Right. Okay. What type of system do you have it running on now,then? I need your make/model, processor speed, [etc.]"
      CH: "Well, I guess the system is a Microsoft XBOX. [starts ratting off rest of system specs] --"
      PA: "A What? It doesn't run on that. Are you sure you don't mean--"
      CH: "No, really... the verification hash of the system is [rattles off numbers/letters]"
      PA: "That seems like a valid hash, but..." (Increasingly nervous product activation employee has a panic attack as a manager tries to make sense of the ensuing chaos.)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In this screenshot:

    Tux crying []

    is it because he is sitting on top of a Microsoft product???

    He looks fine in this picture [].
  • What virtualization software is that? The only stuff I'm aware of that could run something like Win2K, is VMWare. Is it VMWare? If so, why don't they say VMWare?

    Just curious.

  • Now they just need to get CygWin running under Windows. THEN, they could run an Xbox emulator. . .
  • How do I get the video?

    Is there better software for windows that can play AVIs?
  • So if you line the Xbox up against an equivalent PC, which one is faster running programs?

    If the Xbox is quicker, is it due to it's memory architechture? (sp?)
  • Why have linux in the process at all? If you can win2k on top of linux on the xbox hardware using some sort of VMWare like product, why not just get win2k to work on the xbox itself? Most of the hardware is stardard pc stuff anyway with the exception of video.
    • I guess that win2k on the Xbox isnt a project goal for the The Xbox Linux Project. The Xbox Linux Project aims to provide a version of GNU/Linux for the Xbox, so that it can be used as an ordinary computer. Linux should make use of all Xbox hardware and allow to install and run software from standard i386 Linux distributions.

  • Now, of course, they need to install winlinux and run it from windows, which is running from linux, which is running from an xbox.

    Rinse and repeat!

    • I should have winlinux running on Windows 2000 running on linux running from my X-box emulator I installed on WINE on top of Linux on my Mac... just as soon as I get Mac0S off the machine.

  • Linux guys are creaming their shorts, MS guys are crappin' in their.

    'had to be said.
  • Wake me when you don't need a hardware mod to install linux, and you can still play games afterwards.

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