XBMC needs hardware accelerated OpenGL rendering

Over the weekend I ran updates on my Ubuntu HTPC, and upon reboot it came up with the following message “XBMC needs hardware accelerated OpenGL rendering”.

It turns out that when I ran the updates it also updated fglrx, the graphics driver to run the AMD chip in my machine.  This update dropped support (or so it seems) for my chip, and as such broke my machine.

The fix as it turns out is fairly simple.  Press ctrl + alt + F1 to drop into a terminal. Then uninstall any fglrx packages that you have installed. Run this to find installed packages then use apt-get to remove them

dpkg --get-selections fglrx*

then use apt-get to remove them

sudo apt-get remove fglrx

Next, add the fglrx-legacy PPA and install the legacy package

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:makson96/fglrx
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install fglrx-legacy

Reboot and you should be good to go, or at least this worked for me.

Fullscreen Firefox with XBMC

At home I run a custom built HTPC running Ubuntu with XBMC as the main interface.  So that the machine boots into XBMC directly, and to avoid any superfluous applications running, I use XBMC directly as the user-session.

Using the Advanced Launcher plugin I was able to launch firefox, but it always launched in what looked like a windowed interface, and only filled about one quarter of my TV.  Clicking on the maximise window button had no effect.

The reason that it was doing this was because there was no window manager for Firefox to use.

The solution that I came up with was to install Fluxbox and with the help of the following script.

pkill -9 fluxbox

The script starts Fluxbox in the background, then launches Firefox, which uses Fluxbox as its window manager, allowing it to be full screen.  Firefox then blocks this script from running until you exit firefox.  Fluxbox then ends and you return to XBMC.

Setup the launcher to use this script, and then you can add it to your home screen, and hey presto, easy access to firefox on you TV.