Beating a bug in OpenElec 3.0’s Mac OS X installation code

Just as I’m about to start using an Intel “Next Unit of Computing” (NUC) as a media device in place of my 1080p-unfriendly original Apple TV, up pops a major new release of OpenElec, the XMBC and Linux-based media centre software.

I’d already installed XBMC on top of Ubuntu 12.10, but I was having some issues with Ubuntu’s Plymouth boot screen loader and HDMI detection. OpenElec, being a more streamlined package, would solve my problems I hoped.

It has, but not without a little hacking on my part. Installing OpenElec is easy, with clear instructions posted on its Wiki. But I couldn’t get it to work. I kept getting an error, a little way into the process:

‘Error in: mount_flash: mount_common: UUID= ’

The solution: edit the syslinux.cfg file on the installation USB Flash drive. The Mac OS X-hosted script that prepares the USB key for installing OpenElec doesn’t correctly complete the install script with the key’s UUID. So I replaced:

APPEND boot=UUID=$UUID disk=FILE=STORAGE,512 quiet vga=current

with:

APPEND boot=LABEL=INSTALL disk=FILE=STORAGE,512 quiet vga=current

INSTALL is the name of the key after the key-preparation code has done its job.

Now OpenElec installs correctly on my NUC. First thoughts: it’s good. It boots a treat, and with the Official XMBC Remote app on my iPhone I can remove the keyboard and mouse connected to the NUC and have the computer operate as a set-top box.

Update
You can read my review of the Intel NUC over at The Register.

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