Wii-Linux

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See also: Wii-Linux/Distros
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


Please note:The current kernel builds/code patches at gc-linux.org quite dated and it seems they are no longer being actively maintained by the original authors. However, since January 2013 someone else has continued development here [1]


Wii-Linux or GC-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.

Wii-Linux may be loaded through the Homebrew Channel but is recommended to be loaded through bootmii/MINI to enable Wi-Fi and USB2.0 support.

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 that runs on the Wii's Starlet coprocessor, while other versions run under the alternate operating system by Team Twiizers known as mini or "MINI" (which stands for MINI Is Not IOS)

MINI has some advantages over IOS: full and complete access to Wii internal hardware, such as Wi-Fi, USB2.0, the DVD Drive. Seehere.

The IOS-based kernels can be loaded through the Homebrew Channel, or the Twilight Hack. But MINI-based kernels must be loaded through MINI (which means "BootMii" must be installed). BootMii can be installed in two ways. First in boot2 (where the Wii powers up into BootMii) or second in IOS (where 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 Five). The MIKEp5 kernel has an IOS and MINI version available.

Contents

Hardware Required

  • Nintendo Wii Console (Homebrew Channel or an alternate loader installed. bootmii installed in boot2 and/or ios)
  • 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.

Installing

Whiite-Linux Installer

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.

Manual Installation

Users may install a Wii-Linux distribution manually. Isobel has written the official instructions for manual installation.

Using Wii-Linux

Main article: Using Wii-Linux

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!!)

Hardware Compatibility

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.

Also note that NDISwrapper is not available for Wii-Linux since the Nintendo Wii uses a PowerPC-based CPU (NDISwrapper does not have a PPC version and it would take a lot of work to port it)

Troubleshooting

For frequent problems when installing and setting up Wii-Linux

Distributions

Many distributions of GNU/Linux are available for the Nintendo Wii.

Whiite

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!

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

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 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 can be found here.
  • Last updated: 11 July 2009

External links

  • 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
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