XBMC has gone a long way since its first stable release in 2004. It has evolved from a xbox only application into a sleek cross platform media center that runs on almost anything you throw it at. XBMC has thousands of users, is the mother of many successful derivative projects and commercial spin-offs and is written about in the international press on a regular basis.
It has been key to XBMC’s success that its user (or little Schumpeter’s) apply their creative destruction to the application and move it into new directions on a regular basis. Agathorn has done so with the integration of FanArt into XBMC, Yuvalt with the port of XBMC from xbox to linux which gave rise to XBMC’s cross-platform nature or motd2k with the addition of GPU accelerated video decoding. XBMC wouldn’t be where it is today without the contribution of the many designers, writers, coders, helpful forum users and bug reporters.
Community contributions: Noir... A skin concept by Ayala
The folks at AnandTech reviewed two IONs which, due to XBMC’s VDPAU support, make decent platforms for cheap linux based HTPCs capable of playing HD content.
A section which you might of particular interest is titled Ion Meets Linux: XBMC:
What impressed me most about the XBMC experience on Ion was how easy it was to setup and how fast the interface was. Obviously we’re still quite limited by the Atom processor, but this thing felt much quicker than when I tried MCE Video Browser on the Ion earlier this year. It didn’t actually feel sluggish; I saw some choppy transitions at times but it was totally usable. Not to mention much better than most UIs on traditional CE devices.
If you’re looking for a way to stream content to your TV, I’d strongly recommend giving XBMC a try on the Ion. It works very well and delivers a clean, easy to setup, easy to use HTPC experience that’s fully hardware accelerated by NVIDIA’s Ion.
If you are curious about what sexy new features XBMC developers are (not sooo secretly) working on, you might find the following links to our forum enlightening:
Please note that most of these threads are development discussions and should therefore be kept at a technical level!
Some of these (sub)projects have their own branch on the XBMC subversion repository (check out trac) while being in development.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that there is a new XBMC forum dedicated to ‘supplemental tools‘ i.e. tools developed by our users which interact in some shape or form with XBMC.
Note: Team XBMC does not officially support (and in some cases endorse) these tools!
If you can contribute in any way to these or developments or other parts of the XBMC code base, I’d encourage you to do so. What’s more rewarding than improving the life of thousands of Media addicts?
A very sought after feature for many in a media center application is the ability to banish these terrible optical disks, which every so often get scratches or never returned after lending them to friends, to your hard drive. While XBMC has been capable of ripping Audio CDs for a long time this wasn’t possible for DVDs.
In order to keep XBMC’s core lean and not clutter it with, what some might consider, unnecessary bloat, XBMC is capable to run python scripts – which gives users the ability to easily install and write addons themselves for xbmc (a bit like the Firefox addons which you might be familiar with).
One of our forum members, linuxluemmel, made use of this feature and added DVD Ripping functionality to XBMC. While development is still under way, at least the Linux version has reached the point of usability.
If you are interested in this development I’d encourage you to provide feedback and bug reports in our forum in order to help linuxluemmel make this plugin fully functional and add all ‘bells and whistles’ on Linux, Windows and OSX.
Note: Please make sure making personal backups of copyrighted DVD’s is legal in your jurisdiction before using this add-on.
As promised in my previous post, TheUni and myself are trying to keep you informed about developments from within the XBMC community. To kick it off I’ve decided to pick one of XBMC’s most admired feature – it’s skinning engine.
Thanks to the great work of many, foremost jmarshall, XBMC has the most flexible skinning engine you’ll probably find in any open or closed source project. Skins basically control the GUI i.e. the overall look and, for a large part, feel of XBMC. Skins control everything you see in XBMC, from images, the sizes and positions of all controls, colours, fonts, and text, through to altering navigation.
XBMC ships with PM3.HD, created by Jezz_X, which is a revamped HD version of Project Mayhem III, designed by Chokemaniac. However, many user created skins can be found on our forums – for you to download – many which will completely change your XBMC experience. Additionally, one of our forum users (juju0) has created “XBMC Skin Manager” which makes it easier to download the latest versions of many skins.
If you are not familiar with any of the custom skins I’d highly recommend checking them out!
Related XBMC wiki reading:
- Installing Skins
- Skin Development
Boys and Gals
By now you’ve probably realized that XBMC developer’s aren’t into doggies or other unrelated BS that gets them distracted from their key goal – polishing, continuously improving and delivering the finest media center application to its users.
What you might have missed is that XBMC, unlike many other open or closed source projects, has a huge active user base creating skins, scripts, plugins, scrapers and other addons on a regular basis – making full use of XBMC’s flexibility. Since not everyone seems to have the time to read through the hundred’s of new posts on our forum every day, much of this work does not get the attention it deserves. In order to correct this shortcoming, TheUni and myself will try to summarize newsworthy additions from the XBMC community on a regular basis going forward.
At the same time, we’ll try to get any developments in Team XBMC to you – welcoming new team members, pointing towards newly created branches and features under development.
DonJ & TheUni