I recently install Raspbmc on my pi, which as I understand is a stripped down version of raspbian. I'm pretty new to using linux, so my question is, is it possible to use Raspbmc to do more stuff than running xmbc? I'm planning on using the pi as a time machine for my mac, and trying to using it as a torrenting box. Is all of this possible on Raspbmc, or should I switch back to Raspbian?

Any help is appreciated.

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Sure.

Right now I'm using Raspbmc as a torrent machine and running XBMC. I suppose using it as a time machine shouldn't be hard.

However torrenting and running XBMC at the same time can be hard for your Rpi, the GUI gets somewhat slow, but the movie playback doesn't suffer (at least 720p, since I've read elsewhere that 1080 can get somewhat sluggish).

  • Decided to just go with raspbian for now, and install an xmbc package. Might revisit when I get better at this. Thanks for your input! – Malfunction Apr 26 '13 at 18:11

In short, yes. You can install whatever you like on distributions that use apt-get (Raspbian, RaspBMC), including packages for desktop environment, using sudo apt-get install <package name>. That being said it tends to be easier to start with an image that matches most of your requirements (to save searching for packages). With XBMC you can also install 'addons' for a variety of purposes through the XBMC GUI (including BitTorrent with Transmission).

If you would like a media center that shares files out of the box I would recommend OpenELEC which can be easily installed with BerryBoot. However, OpenELEC does not use a package manager such as apt-get so you will need to install anything additional manually or as an XBMC addon.

Using the OpenELEC image as default boot with BerryBoot will automatically set up a network share on loading that you can use to copy additional images to your SD card over a windows network by entering \\<Your Pi's IP Address>\Media\berryboot\images\ into the explorer address bar.

Not sure what this translates to on a mac but if you find out please let me know.

I've also written a QuickStart Guides for RaspBerryPi and OpenELEC if they're of any help - feedback welcome.

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