What A big Family We Have Become….

It’s been a while since I’ve had a bit of a write on the front page but here I am. As most of you know, we have hit over 2000 members and this is rising by the day which is always good to see. I’m always amazed at the versatility of “the old black box” as it hits it’s 10 years of reliable service. I only wish they made P.C.s with such reliability, something I don’t think Microsoft intended when they designed these machines.

There has been much development since the last stable release and Arnova and Exobuzz are continually improving on the way XBMC works for us all. It’s always good to check out how the latest builds perform on your machine with there smoother operation and extra features. Just make sure to read up on the forum on how to upgrade your build and it’s a relatively simple operation. It’s also good to try the different skins other than the default 3 that come with each new build. Simply grab the skin or skins you’d like to try and add it in your skins folder in the XBMC folder and select it in your XBMC appearance settings and your XBMC’s appearance will change to that of the new skin. I also like to change the sounds but that’s a more in depth procedure that is best left to the forum.

Anyway, I’d like to welcome all the new members that have joined the forum since I last welcomed new members and look forward to there input and comments on the forum.

Xman.

Linux Mint 11 Image, Joli OS and Ubuntu Natty

New images released with Linux Mint 11. Linux Mint 11 is still heavier on the Joggler than Ubuntu, but may have a more familiar interface for some. It can also be slimmed down easily.

Joli OS and Ubuntu Natty are also updated. Updates include:

  • New EMGD v1.8 – xbmc now works without having to build against gl-es
  • Don’t ship squeezeplay by default, but add install script to install squeezeplay from birdlikewires (Thanks Roobarb!)
  • Updated packages to current versions – including latest xbmc with excellent Xeebo skin (Thanks Hitcher)
  • Ditch uncompressed btrfs version – the compressed works better and there seems little use case for the uncompressed currently compared to ext4.
  • Use 256MB swap by default. On a smaller memory stick, it makes more sense.

XBMC4XBOX 3.0.1 Stable Released!

We are pleased to announce stable version 3.0.1 of the popular media center platform XBMC
for the 1st generation XBOX (now called XBMC4XBOX). A huge amount of work has been put into this, and it features numerous additions and improvements over the last release such as:

  • Updates to dvdplayer’s ffmpeg libraries, including some tweaks for additional speed. Performance with h.264 for example is much improved from previous releases thanks to plenty of optimisations upstream.
  • Many improvements and bug fixes to the video/music libraries and scrapers.
  • Python updated to 2.4.6 as well as improved compatibility for addons intended for mainline XBMC.
  • Support for encoding CD’s to the FLAC format.
  • We now ship with a customised version of the Confluence skin optimised for the XBOX.
  • Bug fixes and updates to many core components such as Samba and libCurl – such as compatibility with Windows 7 shares.

and plenty more!

Join the community at http://www.xbmc4xbox.org. Nightly builds can be downloaded from http://www.xbmcsvn.com, where the stable release should also soon be available.

Further information and history

XBMC4XBOX was once called XBMC (XBOX Media Center), then it was ported to other platforms and became plain XBMC or XBMC Media Center without the XBOX connection. To differentiate our version from the mainline multiplatform XBMC we renamed to XBMC4XBOX.

Apart from the name the next noticable thing is the changed version numbering. The last official release was 9.11 Camelot, which at the time was more closely connected to the multiplatform XBMC that had been in development for some time. We have reverted to version numbering that doesn’t include a reference to a date for release. Now it’s a simple major.minor version – which is what was used also before XBOX Media Center became XBMC. New releases will be made when they are ready rather than having set release dates.

In previous years there has been less developer interest in the XBOX version, as the new multiplatform version of XBMC became the primary concern. As of last year, only one developer (Arnova) still looked after the XBOX version. Lack of interest from the XBMC developers got to a point where a new home was needed for the XBOX codebase, and earlier this year it was moved to its own home on sourceforge:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/xbmc4xbox/

A community site had already been set up at http://www.xbmc4xbox.org and was chosen to replace the forums on xbmc.org where XBOX discussion was no longer relevant. http://xbmc.org only deals with the versions they develop for.

After the move, interest seemed to increase with some new developers joining to help out. Over the last year the XBOX has seen more development that it has for a long time. In fact even the mainline XBMC has benefited from at least a few fixes from our code base.

The new release is the result of a great community effort with many people contributing bugs, patches, translations and scripts.

Future

We all like improvements on our favourite software, and so, to everyone looking forward to the next release, please do consider how you could help us improve the software and make it even better. We are always after new developers, people to help maintain scrapers, translators, python script coders, and anyone else who has a great idea or even just a bug report or feature request.

Credits

Thanks to all those who have contributed – especially to Arnova, Bomb Bloke, Buzz, Craig, Dan Dare, Highland Sun, Nuka, xbs, Geeba and all the others who have helped. Thanks everyone!

New Kernel, Wireless Drivers, and Ubuntu Natty beta.

Decided to do yet another update to all the images, including updating the Kernel to 2.6.38.2. This kernel as well as some multitasking responsiveness improvements brings a fix to the EFI framebuffer that solves the palette corruption issue. Now all the distribution’s fancy bootscreens work as they should. I also built a DKMS package with the vendor wireless drivers, after reports from users it gives better stability and wireless N support.

As an added bonus, I also include a download to an Ubuntu Natty beta image. Note that it’s preset to the “classic” desktop. You can log out and then log back in with “Unity 2D” to see one of the newer interfaces, but it still seemed somewhat buggy here. Unity 3D does not work with the current EMGD drivers however.

    Changes include:

  • Updated Kernel to 2.6.38.2 – Includes fix for EFI framebuffer palette bug, so graphical boots now look right
  • Packaged vendor wireless driver due to reports of improved stability and better wireless N support
  • Beta version of Ubuntu Natty image for testing

New versions of all Linux images (again)

Another update for all images. Sorry to do one so soon after the last (It has been a lot of work this weekend – after this i’m having a rest!). There were some stability concerns with the last images, and I have done some tweaks and performance improvements. The latest images work well for me in testing so far, and fingers crossed they will work for you too.

    Changes include:

  • Use NOOP io scheduler by default that should be faster on USB flash devices
  • Shutdown/Reboot should be more reliable
  • Use text splash screens on boot
  • Updated firmware for the wireless card

New versions of all Linux images, including Joli OS 1.2

The Jolicloud OS has been renamed to Joli OS, to avoid confusion with their online desktop app. With this change, the new 1.2 version was also released bringing new functionality and performance – see http://www.jolicloud.com/blog/2011/03/09/welcome-to-the-new-jolicloud/. The 1.2 version has now been adapted for the Joggler and can be downloaded from the Jolicloud page.

Ubuntu Maverick and Linux Mint have also been updated. Changes include an updated kernel (2.6.37.3) and a new btrfs with the much faster lzo compression.