I tried a couple of methods of installing LibreELEC in a VMware virtual machine before finding the solution. The first was to simply pass through a Jump drive with a bootable image to the virtual machine. This didn’t work as I discovered that vSphere virtual machines cannot boot from USB.
I also tried converting an image file to an .iso and booting from that – that also didn’t work.
I finally discovered the LibreELEC virtual appliance and simply deployed that to vSphere.
I would typically just post a link, but it appears that the LibreELEC mirrors seem to change so it is best to know how to get a link to the .ova file.
First head to the LibreELEC download page. What we are looking for is a link named info behind which is a mirror list.
On the mirror list page you can see that I have two mirrors available in the US:
Notice that I have the first portion of the path to a LibreELEC image selected. This URL takes me to the full listing of available LibreELEC images on that mirror.
Copy the link to the LibreELEC .ova file and then run the vSphere Client to start deploying the virtual appliance.
Click the File menu and then Deploy OVF Template.
Paste the LibreELEC .ova hyperlink and then click Next to continue through the rest of the deployment wizard.
Recently though The Movie Database plug-in on my OpenELEC installation has become broken and will no longer retrieve movie metadata, posters and fanart.
After troubleshooting the issue a little and waiting to see if it would be fixed I decided to move on and discovered LibreELEC – a fork of OpenELEC.
While I always liked OpenELEC I have to say that LibreELEC has already impressed me more since installing it. In my opinion the GUI and menus are much improved – everything is visually appealing and better organized.
I have encountered two minor issues though:
Close to 200 of the movies that were scraped upon adding their sources have the incorrect year of 1969 as their date. This can be fixed manually by refreshing the meta-data but is still a little annoying.
I created a 2nd profile for kids content and could not see the add network location option when selecting a content source. The fix for me was to toggle the unlock sources switch to on under the view settings.
Installing LibreELEC was very straightforward. While I believe that you can update an existing OpenELEC installation to LibreELEC I opted to simply install LibreELEC over it. If you are starting from scratch with a new Chromebox please refer to the first half of my original blog post here. Otherwise I would recommend an Intel NUC over the Chromebox because of the ease of installation. A NUC can much more easily be re-purposed should the need arise.
To install LibreELEC visit the download page and grab the USB-SD Creator for your PC, Mac or Linux box.
For a Chromebox installation:
Select Generic AMD/Intel/NVIDIA (x86) from the select version drop down menu.
Click the Download button.
Select your USB drive from the drop down menu and then click the Write button.
This will erase your USB drive and create a bootable LibreELEC installation.
From here simply put your USB drive in your Chromebox and boot from USB. To do this press the Escape key on your keyboard while your Chromebox boots and then select option 2 to boot from USB.
Follow the prompts and LibreELEC will very soon be up and running!
Remove your USB drive once LibreELEC is installed.