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  1. We are happy and sad at same time to announce that this will be the last v17.x release. When we say very last this, of course, only means for the v17 "Krypton" series as we are steadily heading towards the new v18 series called "Leia". For about a year already our developers have been working on the upcoming v18 release and have been backporting all fixes we deemed safe enough to v17 series. However with all good things there has to come a time to say enough is enough, and that moment has come. From our point of view "Krypton" has been a great release and our group has spend a lot of time improving it since its initial release on 5 February 2017. It has also been one of the series where we did things a bit different with continuous nightly versions for testing and quite a lot of point releases with only minor fixes just because we could.

    We are certainly excited about our upcoming v18 on which we will start reporting at regular basis quite soon - but, until that time, here's the v17.6 "Krypton" version for daily use. We recommend that every one upgrade to this version once it's available for their platform to have the best experience possible. If you want to know what has changed you can browse the list below.

    Fixes done in this release:

    • Fix possible crash in controller dialog
    • Update standard scrapers to latest version available on release
    • Fix possible connection issues with internal webserver
    • Fix crash when peripheral joystick add-on is disabled

    What else is new?

    In the bugfix releases we never include any new features. They are as feature-complete as the initial version, with the difference only being stability and usability fixes. If you are curious you can read up on all the v17 changes here: Kodi v17.0 “Krypton”

    Where can I download Kodi?

    As alway you can find the official builds on our download page. Then click on the platform of choice and select the build you need. You can install these builds just on top of your current Kodi installation without doing a reinstall or cleanup as we do a full migration if needed. All you add-ons or installed skin will keep working.

    For Android devices not connected to Play Store you can install the following add-on from our repo (listed under "Programs") which will make the upgrading easier straight from the Kodi interface: Kodi Android Installer

    Apparel, donations or getting involved

    Getting involved is quite easy. We encourage you to report problems with these builds on our forum first and after that, if asked, submit bugs on Trac (following this guide: How to submit a bug report). Do note that we need detailed information so we can investigate the issue. We also appreciate providing support in our Forums where you can. You can of course also follow or help promote Kodi on all available social networks. Read more on the get involved page. We are always happy to receive a donation by which you show your support and appreciation, and t-shirts and Raspberry Pi cases may still be found on the sidebar for purchase. All donations and other income goes towards the XBMC foundation and are typically used for travel to attend conferences, any necessary paperwork and legal fees, purchasing necessary hardware and licenses for developers and hopefully the yearly XBMC Foundation Developers Conference.

  2. The final day of Devcon - still lots to get through, although, for the sake of some team members, we might need to speak slowly and quietly...

    We started the day with a Foundation financial overview from natethomas. Even as a non-profit, volunteer-run organisation, keeping Kodi going is an expensive undertaking by the time you take into account events and conferences, hosting, legal, development hardware, and similar. This in turn led to a conversation about future logistics: we have a large team now, and it's getting increasingly challenging to get the team together to meet, discuss, work, and socialise while we continue to make your favourite media centre software. We also want to continue to attend and increase our engagement with FOSDEM, ELC, CES, VDD and other open source and multimedia events.

    Our next topic was infrastructure with kib. The Kodi systems respond to literally millions of requests per day for such things as downloads and addon updates, so we're looking after a significant infrastructure. We have multiple servers for the forum, wiki, main web site, build server and mirroring, all of which need to be managed, backed up, maintained, upgraded. Given our recent extended forum downtime, that was clearly part of the discussion as it's unacceptable in every respect. We need to look again at how we host our content, our architecture, and any weak points.

    We then moved onto a brief conversation about addon security. This is a big topic that will need to be progressed separately: addon sandboxing to protect the core code and operating system, for example, or signing and hashing to ensure code integrity.

    Tooling was our next topic, led by razee and martijn. Do we have all the tools that the developers need? Are there better ways and methods? How do we take work out of the system, perhaps through automation of some basic sanity checks? How do we make it easier for people to contribute code and get it accepted and merged?

    We then moved on to forum moderation, with a discussion led by darrenhill. All forum users should be aware that we do not allow forum conversations or support threads that touch on piracy, guided by a non-comprehensive list of banned addons on the wiki. However, new piracy addons appear all the time, so we need to consider how we better maintain and publicise this list, including making it clearer to new forum sign-ups: we still get too many people who sign up specifically to ask for help with an unsupported addon, for example. The conversation then moved on to log files, and users who edit these to deliberately try to hide addons/repositories. Finally, we moved on to the sanctions we take against users who repeatedly breach the forum rules, and the basis on which we take action while trying to remain fair and transparent.

    Moving on, we came back to a topic we covered earlier in the conference: whether an addon should ever be allowed to modify another addon, or whether an addon should be allowed to disable anything when it finds something that it's decided is somehow "undesirable". This is clearly a contentious issue. As a rule, nothing should ever break a working installation, either by changing core Kodi files or by altering some other part of a user's installation that was already there. The current issue with addons checking for the presence of others, however, is clearly more complex as there may be legitimate reasons for such behaviour, such as a compatibility check. Expect a more formal announcement on this subject in the forums in the near future. However, until we finalise our position, we will not be permitting forum support or repo hosting for (specifically) the Caretaker add-on. This also applies to any add-ons that use it.

    Our final conversation of the day, then - and the final one of the conference - was alwinus and the addon subsystem. He talked us through the current addon system, and some of the problems and limitations it presents: it's not easily extensible, there are limitations on interoperability between addons, SQL dependencies impacting performance, and there are some inherent instabilities in the addon handling code that can trigger a crash. Simply put, there is a series of improvements proposed that will address these issues: limit SQL dependencies, remove async thread handling, cache more information, move away from dependency on cpluff.

    And that's it for Devcon 2017: time for people to head out, to airports, train stations, wherever.

    Thank you to everyone for their attendance and contributions!

    Tags: 
  3. Day Two dawns... most people are bright-eyed and ready for another day, although, if I'm honest, some people may be here more in body than in spirit...
     

    LibreELEC Logo

    First on today, chewitt from LibreELEC gave us an update: the installed base continues to grow, with the Raspberry Pi in different forms easily remains the dominant platform, although this is slowly declining in favour of SoC (Android stock) devices. Given the appliance nature of LE - operating system and applications - a large part of the presentation was given over to security, including automated updates and the overall integrity of the process.

    GSoC Logo

    Next up, a series of sessions led by our newest team members - our Google Summer of Code students (or maybe "graduates" now, given their contributions!).

    Vel0city presented his work on multi-pass shaders - programs that run on the GPU to manipulate an image frame at a pixel level between decoding and display - so, blur, enhance, scale, and so on. These are particularly useful for improving image quality when perhaps the display technology has advanced significantly beyond what the source material was created for (resolution, colour depth, frame rate, etc.).

    Next, yol took us through his work on touch and Wayland (vs X11) integration. While we'd had some Wayland implementation previously, this work brought it right up-to-date with native support within Kodi on Linux.

    And finally, arpitn30talked about his project to port over to Python 3 (Python 2.x goes end of life in 2020). As would be expected, this involved changed library calls, removal of deprecated syntax, and updated dependencies and versions. There are significant differences between Python 2 and 3 - they're almost different languages - which give rise to real challenges in a cross-platform, multi-version environment. Of course, the shift to Python 3 will require rework in all Python addons, so this is a long-term migration across many different packages. If you're an addon author, keep an eye out for further information on this topic in the coming weeks and months, as it's not negotiable.

    To close off GSoC 2017, then, razze led a conversation about GSoC 2018 - a call for more mentors, for more developers to get involved. We can bring in students, we can offer project ideas, but we need the experience of the existing developers to be successful: to help orientate people to the code and guide them through the best way to get code accepted into Kodi for release.

     

    After a brief but passionate conversation about trademarks, licensing and similar, the sessions moved on to usability, and the "out-of-the-box" appeal of piracy addons versus "raw" Kodi. While we don't provide any content, we could maybe make it easier for people to catalogue their media, perhaps with more pre-defined skin nodes or similar. We also covered interaction between addons and skins, and what the implications are of some modules either demanding or objecting to the presence of other modules, and what this means for the user experience.

    Following this - in a deja vu moment for many people - the discussion moved to what we can realistically do to support DRM-protected content. People have an understandable desire to watch their legitimate, paid-for content, so we continue to explore what can be done in this area. This is likely to be a conversation that will run for some time, however.

    Next up, Martijn talked about our next major release. We've just launched the latest point release of Krypton 17.x, so it's time to be looking towards Leia 18.x; the code is broadly ready and stable, so it's now a process of locking down features, freezing code, building alphas, and so on. As always, this is a major piece of logistics, so it needs to be planned and timed properly.

     

    Linux (Tux) Logo  Windows Logo  Apple Logo  Android Logo

    As the day started to lurch towards the finishing line, the sessions moved on to platform specifics.

    Fresh from the Embedded Linux Conference Europe, lrusak covered Kodi on embedded Linux - specifically, where we are with Kodi now, and where we want to be as the SoC/embedded market continues to develop. The plethora of boards has caused immense fragmentation, and this is becoming impossible to maintain because of different approaches to windowing, rendering, and so on. There are technologies to address this, however: Linux kernel support for Atomic DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) starts to simplify the problem; V4L2 augments this further. These are not implemented on all platforms, though, so it's sadly not that simple. The level of support, and dependency on specific kernel versions or proprietary blobs, varies between Broadcom, Amlogic, Allwinner, Rockchip, Qualcomm, and Freescale. There's thus more work from the vendors while software packages develop in parallel: improved V4L2 in FFmpeg, Kodi changes, kernel work.

    Most Windows-specific activity revolves around Kodi under UWP, which we've covered before. There were no major updates to report on Apple or Android platforms.

    Final thoughts before we tail away... further conversations about the migration to Python 3 and how that might be phased/implemented, and anything else needed in the 17.x branch for a further point release.

     

    And that's it for Day Two - a few attendees are going to leave early today (or maybe we'll just leave them in a bar somewhere), but there'll still be more Devcon tomorrow.

    Tags: 
  4. Well, 2017 has turned out to be unusual, and we're not just talking world politics. This year, we've managed to bring the newly-extended team together for a second time; it's something we'd like to do more often, although it's unlikely that we'll be able to do it every year.

    So, it's a grey day in Czechia, with ominous clouds hanging expectantly over Prague (picture above not actual weather, sadly!). Team Kodi is assembled - developers, skinners, moderators, the Board - and has been joined by some of our newest team members, Google Summer of Code students, and a couple of key partners.

    Ludi incipiant!

    Keith once again played MC and opened up the session while Natethomas valiently wrestled to overcome the inevitable hotel AV equipment challenges. Our rough format for this meeting will be a partner day today (Friday) before the internal Kodi stuff takes over for the weekend.

     

    FLIRC Logo 

    First up for presentations, then, Jason from FLIRC took the floor. He gave us an overview of the FLIRC products, the history of the company, the rationale behind the FLIRC USB learning adapter, a demonstration of the device in action and a brief glimpse of some possible future plans. It's amazing how excited you can get at, and how long you can discuss, what are perhaps the finest Raspberry Pi cases in the world (but maybe we're a little biased).

     

    VLC Icon

    Next up, JBand Etixfrom VideoLAN- if you don't recognise that name, they're the VLCguys, who came resplendent in their traffic cone hats. Topics covered included what's gone into VLC 3.0, code cleanup and convergence, new features. They also covered some other VideoLAN technologies, some of which go beyond VLC - Mirrorbits, for example. And we finally touched on equivalencies and common interests between the projects, and where we might perhaps collaborate more than we do today.

     

    That's it for Day One - I know that looks short, but it wasn't. There were many side-bar conversations and parts of the presentations that we simply can't put onto a public blog, so you'll have to trust us on those...

    Tags: 
  5. IMPORTANT: If you are having issues with Android v17.5 update please redownload the "v17.5.1"  version.

    It has been a while since we released 17.4 release which fixed several issues. Now the time has come to do another named 17.5 where we tackled several more issues that were identified. Although we already moved on with development towards v18 we do take the time to fix issues for the current release when we can. We recommend every one to upgrade to this version once it's available for their platform to have the best experience possible. If you want to know what has changed you can browse the list below.

    Fixes done in this release:

    • Joysticks: Fix accelerometers preventing screensaver
    • More robust way of handling audio output on variety of Android devices
    • Fix playback of DVD file over network on Linux
    • Update to FFmpeg 3.1.11
    • Fix up and down buttons on ir remotes with macOS High Sierra
    • Added latest apple devices to allow retina support
    • Fix not being able to add content manually to videolibrary
    • Fix power message handling for CEC
    • Fix jumping timeline while switching channel groups in Guide window

    What else is new?

    In the bugfix releases we never include any new features. They are as feature complete as the initial version with the difference is they contain stability and usability fixes. If you are curious you can read up on all the v17 changes here: Kodi v17.0 “Krypton”

    Where can I download Kodi?

    As alway you can find the official builds on our download page. Then click on the platform of choice and select the build you need. You can install these build just on top of your current Kodi installation without doing a reinstall or cleanup as we do a full migration if needed. All you add-ons or installed skin will keep working.

    For Android devices not connected to Play Store you can install the following add-on from our repo (listed under programs) which will make the upgrading easier stright from the Kodi interface: Kodi Android Installer

    Apparel, donations or getting involved

    Getting involved is quite easy. We encourage you to report problems with these builds on our forum first and after that, if asked, submit bugs on Trac (following this guide: How to submit a bug report). Do note that we need detailed information so we can investigate the issue. We also appreciate providing support in our Forums where you can. You can of course also follow or help promote Kodi on all available social networks. Read more on the get involved page. We are always happy to receive a donation by which you show your support and appreciation, and t-shirts and Raspberry Pi cases may still be found on the sidebar for purchase. All donations and other income goes towards the XBMC foundation and are typically used for travel to attend conferences, any necessary paperwork and legal fees, purchasing necessary hardware and licenses for developers and hopefully the yearly XBMC Foundation Developers Conference.

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