"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." (Robert A. Heinlein)

Sunday, 10 September 2017

KODI on RetroPie (and Raspberry Pi)

I’m not what you’d call a hard gamer ... probably I’m not a gamer at all. So after a little playing with RetroPie, and the few ROM files I managed to find, I continued with experimenting with available RetroPie “ports”.
RetroPie ports are a plug-in system that usually allow you to add open source games or additional emulation engine to RetroPie interface. The “KODI” port instead allow you to install and start from RetroPie interface a full featured media manager giving your retro-computing machine an effective “double life”.

KODI Media Manager

KODI, previously known as XBMC is a media manager software available for various Linux flavours. On the Raspberry it's available both as installation package and as stand alone distribution. KODI is of course capable of playing music and video both stored locally on a remote DLNA source. In addition KODI allows installing a great variety of add-on modules to display, for example, YouTube videos or whether news.

Installing KODI “port”

KODI can be installed and integrated with RetroPie interface from RetroPie set-up script.
sudo RetroPie-Setup/retropie_setup.sh
I selected the “Manage packages” menu, then the “Optional packages” one at last I selected “KODI” package in packages list.
Then the installation script started and I only hat to patiently wait its conclusion.

First run and some troubleshooting

As the installation completed I’ve been able to select KODI from RetroPie interface “ports” section and to start it. KODI worked fine and I had no problems to connect with the other Raspberry MiniDLNA server and play media I keep stored there (I haven’t attached a local disk yet).
Problems raised when I tried to install some optional module from KODI repository, since I continued getting network errors like the RetroPie machine wasn’t connected the Internet.
After some search I found this post suggesting to manually set DNS server instead of letting RetroPie to fetch it from the DHCP server.
I so installed dnsmasq ...
sudo apt-get install dnsmasq
And edited its configuration ...
sudo vim.tiny /etc/dnsmasq.conf
By adding Google DNS servers IP ...
# Add other name servers here, with domain specs if they are for# non-public domains.#server=/localnet/


After setting DNS servers I downloaded and tested some optional module, like the YouTube or the DailyMotion ones. I must say that while KODI has been able to play almost all my videos optional modules I tried revealed particularly slow and almost useless, of course it’s possible things works much better using a newer and faster Raspberry instead of my old PI-one.