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Ubuntu Linux running on Xbox 360

It was just a matter of time of course. As reported about a month ago, Xbox 360 Dashboards version 4532 and 4548 contained a severe bug, allowing direct code modification in the system to execute arbitrary code in so-called hypervisor mode. Technical blabla aside, that means the Xbox 360 could run any kind of code, if equipped with one of the vulnerable kernels. Logical first target for homebrew is always Linux, and today we hear news that someone managed to get his 360 to boot Linux distribution Ubuntu.

Over on the forums of MaxConsole, member Cpasjuste claims to have achieved this breakthrough, and as always a picture says more than a thousand words:

For the uninitiated: that’s Ubuntu, running our favorite Mozilla Firefox web browser in the Gnome desktop environment, and a console window dumping the system’s processor info, showing a sweet total of 3 Xenon CPUs running at an approximated 3192Mhz. Although any system could show this information with a little bit of kernel C++ code modification, we’re not too skeptical of this, it’s just a logical application of the hack. Also, it notes that, apart from one of the vulnerable kernels, you will need to boot the system via the King Kong disc, known since ages to be an easily hackable and well explored game disc, having been used to demonstrate both the original exploit and older hacks targeting unencrypted shader code.

Don’t go jumping for joy yet though, as noted before in our article the only kernels vulnerable to the exploit were patched before the hack was released to the public. If you have an old 360 with a kernel prior to version 2532, you’ll need to do some damn smart work to upgrade it to a vulnerable version, and if you have a patched kernel already you’re screwed since Microsoft used IBM’s eFuse technology to disable kernel downgrades. And whenever you connect to Xbox Live, you’re automatically upgraded to the latest kernel anyway, so let’s just say chances that you can ever run this hack are minimal, and if so it’ll keep you from Xbox Live at least until a proper workaround for the automatic upgrades is found.

A video is also supplied for your convenience, or in low quality YouTube glory here:

Many thanks to The M.A.R.T. for letting us know!

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17 comments on 'Ubuntu Linux running on Xbox 360'

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Now for XMC360 :D

So, you have to own a console that hasn’t been updated since update no. 4532 and 4548? I don’t know what update we’re on now, but wouldn’t it very hard to get a console that’s on that particular update?

Yes. You’d need to have a console built in a month’s timeframe, which hasn’t been on Xbox Live since or hasn’t run games released since.

Xbox Live and new games all enforce the dashboard update, so there won’t be too many 360s with exactly the right hackable kernel on board.

Comment by frednut on 2007-03-26 00:46:24 | Reply

what does the code at the end of that video mean?

Comment by MIKEAWESOME on 2007-03-26 01:00:07 | Reply

That’s how Linux boots up.

Windows does the same thing, it’s just not visible to the user.

That’s what a typical Linux bootlog looks like.

Comment by Halo Man on 2007-03-26 01:37:22 | Reply

thats cool and all BUT WE WANT HALO 3,
j/k
thats what i keep my psp around for, im screwed tho cause i got all the latest updates for my 360, o well

Comment by DaffyDuck on 2007-03-26 02:42:44 | Reply

Making xbox to run linux is nothing comparing to making linux to run games :)

Now that’s a true word if ever I heard one :D

xwin???

Comment by x El Scorpio x on 2007-03-26 10:52:31 | Reply

King Kong once again, it’s Ubisoft’s fault :P

This is more bad than good because it’ll enable cheating

Comment by Sean on 2007-03-26 17:00:05 | Reply

Barely. Most people will never get this to run, as they’ll have newer firmware, and the people who do get this working are generally the good kind of nerds, not the halo2-ZOMGTEHHAXXX pseudo-nerds who downloaded auto-map patchers.

Comment by audiolab on 2007-03-27 17:51:08 | Reply

why bother using a 360 when you could run linux on any old garbage pc,seems like a waste of time to me

Comment by Icekiller on 2007-03-27 22:55:04 | Reply

euh.. sure i would like to see you playing a HD (1080i) video on a P2 333 mhz..
The power of the xbox360 is the cpu power.. think about it.. How much power does an xbox 360 have? a lot. You can use it as a desktop or as a Vid encoder.. or XBMC with HD playing capability..

i’m wondering when somebody is going to transform linuxMCE for the xbox360

Comment by krazy on 2007-06-23 03:14:22 | Reply

So lemme get this strait…there is a hack that 5/100 people cna do…Is there another way to turn the 360 into a PC? (Without Mod chips.)

Comment by (super)Mario on 2010-05-19 14:02:28 | Reply

@Icekiller xbox can’t upscale to 1080i, you know?

Comment by The_Glovner on 2010-05-20 13:27:08 | Reply

A little late to the party don’t you think?

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