I put my Linksys WRT54GS v2.1 back into service yesterday and installed the latest DD-WRT firmware on it, which is based on the Linux 2.4.37 kernel. The ability to SSH into the router (which is how I found out it ran Linux 2.4.37) is really cool and I would like to be able to SSH into more stuff in my house.
That made me start thinking of getting some sort of Linux file server setup so I could pipe backups of my laptop to it like I do with a virtual machine I have running on my desktop at the moment. I asked on the Gentoo forums about the possibility of installing Gentoo on a Linksys NSLU2 to act as a file server, but a developer there told me that the NSLU2 file server performance was poor and suggested that I consider other hardware.
I then about the possibility of using an XBox 360 to do it. From what I have read online, it seems that I need to either boot my XBox 360 with a hacked DVD every time I want to run Linux or I need to physically modify the hardware. It seems that for some reason, I cannot just have it boot Linux automatically when I turn it on, so I am wondering, exactly what keeps me from installing Linux on a XBox 360 similarly to how I did it on my router? Is Microsoft deliberately trying to prevent people from installing other operating systems on the platform?
I realize that I could build a conventional PC for this sort of thing, but I am a computer science student and I find it more educational to take a more unconventional approach to doing this. Assuming I install Linux on both a NSLU2 and a XBox 360, I would have 5 to 6 different computer architectures (i.e. x86-32 via my laptop, x86-64 via my desktop, Sparc via my university's unix server, MIPS via my linksys router, ARM via the NSLU2 and PowerPC via the XBox 360) on which I could run software I compile/assembly, which would give me a wider range of flexibility to experiment with C/assembly programming on different computer architectures in my free time.