I have an ubuntu server with XBMC installed and the server connected to a TV via an HDMI cable. To launch XBMC I am running the command:

sudo init xbmc

By using ssh to remote to the server and then running the command that way. This seems to work fine at the time and I will be able to watch a film or a TV show. After a few hours XBMC seems to stop running whether it is playing something or not, which means that every time I wish to watch something I have to ssh to the server and run that command.

My ideal solution would be to only have to run that command once so that I could turn the TV off and go away for an indefinite period but when I come back I can use XBMC without having to log in and run that command.

I reckon I must be starting XBMC incorrectly or perhaps there is something in the settings that I have not set properly, can anybody help?

  • is this a dedicated server for XBMC? – dawud Apr 15 '14 at 12:32
  • No, it is used as a testing server for other things such as websites and small programs. Just a box I use to learn things with really. – Aesir Apr 15 '14 at 13:07

There are several ways to do this, depending on how is this server used (i.e., if it is a dedicated HTPC or not), an upstart script might be the best fit for you. This one from the same XBMC wiki article linked before:

# xbmc-upstart
# starts XBMC on startup by using xinit.
# by default runs as xbmc, to change edit below.
env USER=xbmc

description     "XBMC-barebones-upstart-script"
author          "Matt Filetto"

start on (filesystem and stopped udevtrigger)
stop on runlevel [016]

# tell upstart to respawn the process if abnormal exit

  exec su -c "xinit /usr/bin/xbmc --standalone -- -nocursor :0" $USER
end script

You can also disable the service from autostarting, so you're still able to log in remotely via ssh and run XBMC.

  • This did seem like a promising solution, but when I went to create the file it already appeared to exist with the same content, so I am going to assume that it does not work as a solution, unless you are aware of anything else I had to do for this to work? – Aesir Apr 17 '14 at 17:59
  • Do you use it to start XBMC? Because it should respawn itself on exit. – dawud Apr 17 '14 at 19:41
  • To start xbmc I just type the command: sudo xinit xbmc. How do I start xmbc using this script instead? – Aesir Apr 19 '14 at 21:26
  • 1
    As you normally would with any other service that uses upstart – dawud Apr 19 '14 at 21:30
  • Ah ok thanks, I wasn't aware of that, I'll try it out, cheers. – Aesir Apr 19 '14 at 21:33

You can run the program in the background by appending an ampersand to the command.

sudo init xbmc --standalone -- -nocursor :0 &

This will ensure xbmc is not killed by a timeout without having to use screen.


You can also use a workaround: Let a cron-job check every few minutes if XMBC is still running and start it again if it is not. The corresponding bash could look like this:


if [ `ps u | grep xmbc | wc -l` != "2" ]; then
    screen -dm init xmbc

Maybe you have to adjust the line count (the "2" part) if xmbc spawns child processes. Depending on your setup, it could also work without screen.

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