ECS Liva: My Nemesis

I bought an ECS Liva a few weeks ago, so I could have a high powered raspberry pi. The raspberry pi was great especially because of the amount of users there were. Whatever problem I ran into, someone else ran into it already and then documented the fix. The ECS Liva is exactly like that except the opposite. The user base is about 15, and only 2 of them use linux.


My needs are pretty simple so far. I don’t want to use it as a media center because it just seems like set top boxes like Apple TV and Roku already do a great job without much fuss. I looked at XBMC and it just sort of annoys me. I hate that it began as XBOX thing, you know, because I hate Microsoft. hah. It just seems way too fiddly to install Netflix and Hulu which I use the Apple TV and Roku for most part. As far local files, I find Plex awesome for this purpose.

So what do I want to use it for? A simple, tuned, audiophile music source. That’s what I used the Raspberry Pi for but had major (major to me) issues with the usb which pushed the DAC. There were too many clicks and pops, and the bandwidth wasn’t fast enough. A cheap fanless proper computer was what I was looking for, and I actually found two: the Liva and a Gigabyte Brix with the same processor. I ran into a few obstacles though with both, but mainly with the Liva.

I’ve listed a few below:

  1. I seem to only be able to install Ubuntu based linux. Ubuntu server and Debian kind of stop at the installation drive part. It just doesn’t know what to do with the eMMC. There are ways to get it to work, I just don’t know how to do it yet.
  2. Headless operation, as far as I can tell, does not work in Linux. Seems like it works ok in Windows 8.1, so I don’t think it’s a BIOS issue, though who knows. Maybe it is.
  3. Bluetooth does not work yet.


  1. Yeah, ubuntu server doesn’t have support for eMMC 🙁 But ubuntu 14.04.1 desktop does, so you can install ubuntu desktop and just remove the X stuff and install all the servery stuff

  2. Thanks for your posts about the Liva. I just got mine, and was hoping that the latest Debian installer would have solved the problems you ran into. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, so I went ahead with Ubuntu Desktop.

    Today, I decided to gather more info about the Debian installer failure so I could file an installation report, and I found that after the initial partitioning done by Ubuntu, the Debian installer was able to reformat the partitions and complete the installation. So I was able to install Debian, without a desktop environment.

    Unfortunately, it still won’t boot without a monitor plugged in, so it looks like for now I’ll have to use a dummy plug too.

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