« Scrapple | Main | Interface #4 / TFT tennis V180 »

September 02, 2005

Hacking your Xbox



What is an Xbox? The answer seems pretty obvious… A game console...?

Apparently not. Those responsible for the Xbox Linux Project state that "The Xbox is a legacy-free PC by Microsoft that consists of an Intel Celeron 733 MHz CPU, an nVidia GeForce 3MX, 64 MB of RAM, a 8/10 GB hard disk, a DVD drive and 10/100 Ethernet. As on every PC, you can run Linux on it. An Xbox with Linux can be a full desktop computer with mouse and keyboard, a web/email box connected to TV, a server or router or a node in a cluster. You can either dual-boot or use Linux only; in the latter case, you can replace both IDE devices". It is possible to hack your Xbox and turn it into much more than a plain product for playing games.

What was done here, the modification of an Xbox so it can work as a personal computer running Linux operating system, is one of many examples of an increasingly frequent activity, the personalization of technology. Actually it can be thought of a cultural activity within digital culture. Gameboys as musical instruments, personalized AIBOs, the list could go on forever…

Electronic products using computer technology are open to modification and such activity has become very interesting to observe. These products are now seen more as processes than plain objects and thus, easily transformed into something different of their initial purpose, something that suits better their owner’s purposes.

This meaningful use of technology allows the development of communities and a political involvement of its members. It is stated on the Xbox Linux Project: “Welcome to your Xbox. For the first time the box you paid for can do what you want it to do. As the owner you are where you should be – in control”. This last sentence also points to another aspect of user-personalized technology: being an author as part of owning the technology. Authorship in the sense that the object has been transformed into something different, the raw material is the technology before the author’s action upon it and the finished product (“the work”) is the user-altered, hacked, technology.

So if you’re the proud owner of an Xbox and are tired of playing the same games over and over again, go on, visit the Xbox Linux Project and transform your console into a Linux operating computer. Own it to the limit.

The Xbox Linux Project

Posted by luis at September 2, 2005 07:43 AM