I am using XBMC as the primary media player in my home, and it is great. The one problem I have is that it sometimes -- not often, but sometimes -- crashes or freezes up. For me, that is no problem, but for the rest of the family I need a solution where they can restart XBMC from their own Macs short of restarting the NAS on which the XBMC is located the 'hard' way, ie with the power cord (that they can).

My current idea is a copy-and-paste checklist for them for ssh-ing into the machine from Mac terminal. But I am not knowledgeable enough to know how to start XBMC on the right display. When I just start (or kill and start) the process from ssh, it seems to me that it tries to direct it to the (non-existent), and just complains when that does not work. So how do I tell it to start the program on the right (ie TV) display?

Of course, if there is a better suggestion than my ssh idea out there, that is welcome as well. The overarching aim is that my computer illiterate family may all restart XBMC without having to deal with the Linux GUI directly, since that is all Greek to them (and they are Swedes like me).


I run XBMC from lightdm, if XMBC crashes, it automatically restarts.

I followed the instructions from http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Archive:HOW-TO:Install_XBMC_on_Ubuntu/with_AMD_GPU#Step_5a_.28optional.29:_Set_XBMC_to_start_automatically_.28works_on_lightdm_on_Ubuntu.2C_not_tested_on_Lubuntu_or_Xubuntu.29

sudo apt-get install lightdm lightdm-gtk-greeter
sudo adduser xbmc video
sudo adduser xbmc audio

Auto start XBMC

edit /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf


edit /usr/share/xsessions/XBMC.desktop

[Desktop Entry] Name=XBMC Comment=This session will start XBMC Media Center Exec=xbmc-standalone TryExec=xbmc-standalone Type=Application

  • Great advice, I will try it out as soon as I get a chance. – Nick The Swede Sep 10 '14 at 19:24
  • Finally I have had the time (and TV screen access, which is not the easiest in this family) to get to this, and I feel that I need to ask some questions before entering into this uncharted territory. At the moment, I am running xbmc, not xbmc-standalone. Since everything is working perfectly I would like to know what the difference is between the two, or rather if choosing the standalone might be problematic in terms of the graphic drivers etc I have currently installed. If the standalone version boots into xbmc w/o the desktop GUI, will that be good or bad for graphics performance? – Nick The Swede Sep 13 '14 at 20:00
  • 1
    Standlone is very very similar to the standard build, I think it has a few extras in such as network and power management. Standalone is design to be run without a desktop and supports gfx drivers the same as the normal version. I think there is no different in performance. – NGRhodes Sep 14 '14 at 8:19

If it runs as a service, then you (they) can restart the service with something like sudo service xbmc start (adjust the service name).

If that fails, ssh to the media player and export DISPLAY=":0.0"first, then start xbmc.

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