XBMC: Get involved!

Posted By: Team XBMC on Oct 27, 2009 in Site News

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.

Noir

Community contributions: Noir… A skin concept by Ayala

Since XBMC prides itself with being an extremely versatile and flexible media center there are a wide-range of areas where YOU can contribute:

  • Manual: Help us tidy up and organize the long neglected XBMC wiki manual
  • Bug reports: Help the developers of XBMC get rid of any glitches
  • User support: Give a helping hand to the many first time XBMC users and novices on our forums
  • XBMC.org: Contribute to XBMC.org contents/news posts
  • Submit patches: Add features and fix bugs
  • Skins: Re-design or modify the overall look and feel of XBMC
  • Scripts and Plug-ins: Add streaming support for your favorite streaming website to XBMC
  • Scrapers: Get Movie/TV/Music information and FanArt from your favorite website
  • Supplemental applications: Create applications that supplement XBMC (e.g. remotes, configuration tools, media managers)
  • Suggest features: Let developers know how they can improve XBMC or develop the suggested features yourself
  • Donate: Help Team XBMC pay for the website and development tools

Many more concrete suggestions on how to contribute can be found on our forums:

Please rest assured that all your contributions are welcome and Team XBMC will encourage and facilitate your efforts. At the end of the day it’s all about giving and taking and hey – what’s more rewarding than improving the life of thousands of media addicts?

Yours truly,
DonJ

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Discussion - 12 Comments

  • pam-mo Oct 27, 2009 

    There have been lots of changes to XBMC since the last posted release.
    Think we’re ready for some prebuilt public betas?
    That will get some feedback pumpin and possibly some bug fixes pushed.
    Thanks for the awesome work everyone.

  • redtapemedia Oct 27, 2009 

    There are two stable releases per year, but you can always try 3rd party SVN releases pam-mo.

  • Jezz_X Oct 28, 2009 

    Sign me up :) Oh wait I allready am :P

  • Dan Dar3 Oct 28, 2009 

    I would suggest two things that Team XBMC can do with the website and I believe would get people more involved:

    * an option to “ping” the website when XBMC is started and capture statistics like platform, version etc – this could give important information to the team as well as publish that on the website as well as maybe display somewhere in XBMC itself. That would create a better sense of community, most people don’t visit the website unless they have a problem.

    * start an integrated installer for plugins, scripts and skins. Getting reviewed / high quality content (like you did with the skins section on the website) might get more people excited about it and more involved in the creation process.

    An another thing, you need to release more stable versions, say every 4 months – they don’t have to be perfect, just stable enough to be promoted. An integrated updater would be a HUGE help, there’s a lot of people running older versions and never even bother to update and get new features. Those people will remain with the idea that XBMC is a stagnant process, nothing happens, so what’s the point in them getting involved?!

  • jmarshall Oct 28, 2009 

    @Dan Dar3
    We already have the RSS feed which allows us to get some numbers, though it doesn’t allow us to compare versions. Ofcourse, google analytics allows more on the website itself. We’re not particularly keen in tracking how many users we have really – we know we have far more than we could ever count via such methods. I’m interested in how this would give a better sense of community, however. Any such setting would necessarily be opt-in, so only those interested in joining the community would actually be tracked in this sense, similar to how those that come to the forums are generally interested in the community side of things (or they want support and are then subsequently sucked in to the project!)

    Completely agreed regarding the addons – we want to do a lot of work in this area (and there has been quite a bit done) unfortunately the people that have been working on it have hit time constraints (after all, it is a hobby!) so it won’t be hitting the next stable. We do hope we can cleanup the svn repo installer to make it a little bit less intimidating for this release, however.

    As for more stables, our idea currently is that we want to push more releases for sure, but they’ll necessarily be less stable. In particular, we want to push new development releases once major changes (skin, plugins, major new features) require an update to get the best out of the application. As I’m sure you know, most of our nightlies are actually reasonably stable, so once we have a new feature in and it’s tested, we’ll be in good shape to push out interim builds between the twice-yearly stables.

  • DonJ Oct 28, 2009 

    @Dan Dar3

    I think you mentioned a few fair points and this is exactly why we need people to step up and get involved i.e. submit a patch for an update function for XBMC, or help Team XBMC build a better platform for plugins/scripts in order for the project to move forward.

    XBMC is a hobby project and relies on individuals to step up and take initiative. Team XBMC will always be helpful and facilitating to these efforts.

  • Dan Dar3 Oct 29, 2009 

    I guess what I was trying to say earlier would better summarize in couple of words, XBMC Live :) not the live product, but something similar to Xbox Live I guess – a network of XBMC users that could other XBMC users as “buddies”, chat with them, with the option in XBMC to push information in a central repository about what they’re playing, where they were last online, and in the future maybe even features that would allow them to share plugins, scripts and skins through the same feature! I know it sounds like a lot, but I’m sure it’s all doable. We all appreciate your efforts and it’s a hobby for all of us that we’re trying to contribute – but somehow I think you need to find a way to integrate a second team of developers that builds up stuff together and allowing the main XBMC Team to review the code and features – true, there’s the forums now, but maybe that’s not enough for a team to work together.

    That’s the thing, most of the builds are stable enough, why not label them as night builds or beta and find a way to distribute them in an easier way, maybe integrated through XBMC – rather than having a few people doing night builds on their own and letting the users find the proper channels to get those builds. Why not have a single set of builds (ok except for Xbox for obvious legal reasons) and push them as they are, beta builds.

    What I’m trying to say is that I see a lot of people making the efforts on their own and probably eventually giving up or not pushing in the same direction. Finding ways to integrate a second team or more to work on certain modules, while relying on the main team for technical guidance and feature approval I believe might speed up the process. The current way with a single team and a lot of other developers / contributors doing their thing on their own might not be the right thing, but maybe it’s just me…

    Back to SVN Repo Installer, it’s a great tool, but I don’t think it might be the right tool – I wrote for example an plugin installer for XBMCZone.com (addons) and trying to do one for XBMCSVN.com (skins), I would see all that on the XBMC.org website with accounts from where people can upload stuff on the website, maybe having a team that reviews the content and a single installer that downloads all that approved / reviewed content.

  • queeup Oct 30, 2009 

    @Dan Dar3
    @alcoheca working on new addon installer integration to XBMC. http://trac.xbmc.org/browser/branches/addons-fwork

  • Dan Dar3 Oct 30, 2009 

    Good work! I for one would be interested to know more about it, and willing to contribute with ideas if not actual code.

  • Jonas Nov 02, 2009 

    Are you looking for contributions in any other form than actual C++ code?

    I’m a very experienced C#/.NET developer, but my skills in C++ if not useless, then very rusty.

  • daniel Nov 02, 2009 

    no puedo iniciar mi xbmc en mi pc tengo el xp sp3 2009

  • spiff Nov 03, 2009 

    jonas; sure. an example would be an external configuration tool for advanced settings (xml scares some people).

About XBMC

XBMC is a free and open source media player application developed by the XBMC Foundation, a non-profit technology consortium. XBMC is available for multiple operating-systems and hardware platforms, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet.