Operating System Details
This guide was written using the latest version of Linux Mint with all the available updates installed. LinuxMint is based directly off of Ubuntu and as such the steps for Ubuntu should be almost identical in terms of installation, configuration, and setup.
Note: The main difference is going to be which menu items you navigate through to get to where we're going, but all of the modern desktop environments provide easy to navigate menus so this shouldn't be a problem (and if you get stuck feel free to ask me in the comments below!)
Similarly, Linux Mint and Ubuntu are based upon Debian and as such this guide should be a close approximation for Debian Testing, and Sid as well as other Debian derived Operating Systems such as Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) and aptosid.
For our recommendation of personal computer operating system please see here.
With that said, on to the topic at hand! XBMC Media Center, also known simply as "X-B-M-C," is a full featured, skin-able, and extensible, media front-end, library manager, and, who'd of thought, media player. It can play nearly any media you might throw at it. Video and music files, CD's, DVD's, Blu-rays, you name it! (Though anything with "DRM" requires some extra unnecessary work.)
With the right skin (Simplicity), XBMC Media Center provides a highly polished (second to none) front-end for any media playing computer along with oodles of art, posters, ratings, trailers, lyrics, plot summaries, TV guide like functionality, and so many more bits of supplemental information that I cannot feasibly cover them all here.
For those that have used my Sick Beard and SABnzbd+ guides (and upcoming Couch Potato guide) XBMC Media Center rounds out the whole suite by providing the polished front end media player and library.
Anyway, with that mountain of an introduction out of the way, lets get to installing XBMC Media Center shall we (next page!)?
The complete, fully-formatted guide can be found at Ainer.org