Team XBMC would happily like to congratulate Team OpenELEC on their release of v1.0.
OpenELEC, for those who don’t know, is somewhat similar to XBMC Live. The basic concept is that the user interacts with XBMC without once having to visit a non-XBMC screen. The similarities between XBMC Live and OpenELEC end there though. Live is based on a modified and stripped down release of Ubuntu. OpenELEC has been built from scratch specifically to act as a media center. Live is based on minimal Ubuntu, thus you can easily install all services and applications that are available on Ubuntu repositories, and as a pre-requisite, Live includes all the system files necessary for the Ubuntu ecosystem. Essentially, the user who is looking for an XBMC-optimized customization of the standard Ubuntu OS would likely prefer XBMC Live. The user who would like XBMC stripped down to the very most basic essentials for ultimate boot time would likely prefer OpenELEC.
In the streamlining process, OpenELEC cuts out any and all unnecessary drivers and optimizes those drivers that are present. In furtherance of this, specific NVIDIA ION and AMD Fusion-based systems have been developed, in addition to the generic build.
Beyond enhanced boot time, perhaps the most interesting features of OpenELEC are the network of additional addons that are separate from XBMC-proper, which allow for LiveTV functionality, GUI configuration, self-updating, and media downloading, among other things.
With release 1.0, OpenELEC becomes fully compatible with XBMC 10.1 Dharma. Now that most of the underlying architecture is in place, OpenELEC should be able to update to XBMC Eden relatively quickly, once Eden has been released.
For a relatively easy to follow guide on installing OpenELEC, feel free to check out the Lifehacker article on OpenELEC. And, of course, go to OpenELEC to download the goodness. For those of you who have already tried out OpenELEC in the past or are going to in the near future, head to the comments to let us know how the experience went.