XBMC August 2012 Cycle

Posted By: Team XBMC on Sep 06, 2012 in Site News

As mentioned previously, we have now moved into a monthly development cycle, in which we merge new features at the beginning of the month and then perform bug fixes through the rest of the month. This means, at the end of every month, developers, bug-reporters, and those willing to deal with potentially highly unstable builds can try a snapshot from the current development cycle, and the organization, in turn, will have a more stable and predictable development process. For those of you who would prefer a stable version of XBMC, we will always recommend the most recent stable release (XBMC 11.0), but for the brave, you are welcome to try the end of the month build. To give an idea of just how unstable/alpha these builds can be, there will almost certainly be months in which some platforms won’t actually have usable builds. As always, we recommend you backup your userdata folder before upgrading.

With that said, let’s review some of the more notable changes in the August Changelog.

Touchscreen Keyboard Optimization

With the push into tablets and the continued support of iOS devices, it’s becoming increasingly critical that XBMC provide a better user experience for touchscreen input. As such, the first feature of this month’s Cycle is a refactor of our GUI Keyboard to allow for native onscreen keyboards. This means the keyboard that you see while using other software on iOS will be the same keyboard you see while using XBMC.

Artist-based Smartplaylists

For those who are not aware, XBMC Smartplaylists are a sort of filter that should not be confused with something like an iTunes Auto Playlist, as they behave differently. An iTunes playlist is typically a list of songs meant to be played in order or randomly, one right after another. An XBMC Smartplaylist is merely a filtered list from which one can pick an individual song or video, and once the song or video has ended, the user will be returned to the list to select another item.

The vast majority of dev Montellese’s GSoC work this summer has been dedicated to speeding up and refining Smartplaylists so that searching and filtering your content is faster and easier than ever before, and all done in real time. This month, he added Artist-based Smartplaylists, so that users can sort and filter their music by topics such as artist, genre, moods, styles, born, bandformed, disbanded, died, biography, and instruments, with the potential of adding even greater filtering support in the future.

Conclusion

As always, this is merely a sample of the many changes this cycle. For a full list of all the August changes, feel free to take a look at our list of August milestones. Also, keep an eye out for both the September Cycle and regular stories on the blog, as we’ve quite a bit of upcoming news. Or, if you are feeling a bit brave and a bit lucky, just start downloading.

  • Windows and OSX (64bit OSX will be available in the morning US time)
  • Apple TV and iOS installation instructions (also available in the morning US time).
  • Given the additional complexities of distribution, builds for Linux are not currently available at XBMC.org.

Finally, a note for those of you who are tracking and submitting bugs. You may notice that Github has an “Issues” section. The Team would very much appreciate it if you did not submit bug reports through that section, but rather continued to use the forums and Trac. At the moment, the Team is using Issues as a concise means of grouping and identifying particular bugs that they gather from the forum and Trac sources. Thanks for your help!

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Discussion - 54 Comments

  • Doug Sep 06, 2012 

    Would it be possible to please include the git revision you build the pre-compiled binaries from in this post so those of us that compile for Linux can be on the same build (which would be considered one of the most “stable” of each month)?

    Thanks

  • KoalaBear Sep 06, 2012 

    Nice. What about native Android keyboard(s)?

  • natethomas Sep 06, 2012 

    KoalaBear :

    Nice. What about native Android keyboard(s)?

    It looks like it’s going to be quite a bit more difficult in Android due to the way the API works. We can’t currently commit to a time frame on it.

  • Doug Sep 06, 2012 

    @Doug
    As clarification, I meant on each monthly update post, not just this single item.

  • Jack Sep 06, 2012 

    What’s the status on the Official Android App? Last time I tried it, the app still had a number of annoying bugs and won’t even work with these in-progress builds.

  • Zyn Sep 06, 2012 

    What’s news about audio dsp support, and xbmc remote develop?

  • BORIStheBLADE Sep 06, 2012 

    Nice work guys keep up the good work!

  • Robert Sep 06, 2012 

    So now that releases are done in cycles of single months, and you state that it is too difficult to provide a build for XBMCbuntu, am I supposed to compile my own? Seems like XBMCbuntu users are left out in the cold now. I have tried apt-get update/apt-get upgrade, but that does not fetch the new features you are releasing each month.

  • Lincoln Sep 06, 2012 

    Robert please reread the first paragraph of the post. There are no monthly releases. This is mainly to improve development. If you feel adventurous you can compile the current version for your Linux distro. If there is a new stable release, you will surely get it via XBMCbuntu’s package management…

  • natethomas Sep 06, 2012 

    @Robert
    These aren’t releases. They are development builds designed to allow users to mess around with new features, so long as they are willing to deal with constant breaking.

  • Robert Sep 06, 2012 

    @natethomas So linux users are left out in the cold? Why can’t the git source be updated so we can use apt-get to update our installs? Or is that not how it works?

  • Martijn Sep 06, 2012 

    @Doug
    Every stable monthly is tagged in github so you find them yourself

  • BORIStheBLADE Sep 06, 2012 

    @Robert

    I agree it has been like this for a while. I use OpeELEC now which is a little more up to date with their beta stuff. I don’t think XBMC devs wants to spend the time doing this for XBMCbuntu.

  • Doug Sep 06, 2012 

    @Martijn
    I had not noticed that! Thanks Matijn. Please disregard my previous posts.

  • Doug Sep 06, 2012 

    @Robert
    Robert, I think the general approach for Linux users is if you’re running the development build, you should be experienced enough in Linux to checkout the git source and compile yourself so you can submit meaningful bug reports/help fix issues.

    apt-get is used for the stable builds (the monthly builds are viewed as alpha releases), used for people who just want a stable HTPC. I see the target users of the repo as people who view their XBMC computer as a more awesome DVD player rather than a computer in its own right.

  • Anonymous Sep 06, 2012 

    Doug :
    Would it be possible to please include the git revision you build the pre-compiled binaries from in this post so those of us that compile for Linux can be on the same build (which would be considered one of the most “stable” of each month)?
    Thanks

    Yes PLEASE! Also a PPA for monthlies would be greatly appreciated.

  • SadMac Sep 06, 2012 

    Chiming in again with a request for monthly builds to be pushed to a PPA. You’ve already got nightly builds, so this shouldn’t be a lot more effort!

  • bossanov808 Sep 06, 2012 

    Kinda feels like a slow news month considering what is looming around the corner ;)

    Pretty amazing what you guys do, though. Just gets better and better….

  • High Ping Bastard Sep 07, 2012 

    Will XBMC make the Google Play Market this year? Would be nice to have a capable network streamer.. winamp for android can’t do it and Mixzing can only play a single file at a time over smbfs. My2c

  • Dums Sep 07, 2012 

    Yay Audio output on HDMI via WASAPI is functional again. THANK YOU !!!

  • Maximilian Sep 07, 2012 

    Why not rename Smart Playlists to something like Advanced Filters or similar so it won’t confuse people? When I think of a “playlist” I think a simply a list that can be played in sequential or shuffled order.

    When I hear that something is “smart” I think of something like iTunes Genius feature in iPod / iPhone. iTunes Genius automatically generates a playlist of songs from the user’s library which are similar to the selected song based on music taste from an online database.

    The MusicBrainz database have a “similar songs” tag feature which XBMC could use to create similar music playlist which is something that I would think would be a better use of the “Smart Playlists” name, don’t you?

  • Michiel Sep 07, 2012 

    I can’t wait for the future :-) I will put on my sunglasses (3D), because the future looks bright.

  • Steve Sep 07, 2012 

    Just downloaded the OSX version and installed “over” my existing Eden install. Unfortunately, it doesn’t open and I receive the error message that there is some form of version conflict. I am running OSX Lion. Can anyone confirm that it is working for them and any idea what I would need to do?

  • timdog82001 Sep 07, 2012 

    @Maximilian

    I have to agree. I would not have guessed smart playlists to be what it is. I had always assumed they were something like Maximillian is talking about. I do like the name of “advanced filter” or even “smart filter” better. It seems less confusing.

  • pittrek Sep 07, 2012 

    Hey guys is there/will there be an alternative to m3u playlists ?
    In other words, what can I do if I want to play my episodes in an order which I want to set ? The good old m3u playlists don’t work correctly since Dharma :-(

  • Oby Sep 07, 2012 

    Anonymous :

    Doug :
    Would it be possible to please include the git revision you build the pre-compiled binaries from in this post so those of us that compile for Linux can be on the same build (which would be considered one of the most “stable” of each month)?
    Thanks

    Yes PLEASE! Also a PPA for monthlies would be greatly appreciated.

    I added ppa from https://launchpad.net/~nathan-renniewaldock/+archive/xbmc-nightly
    and after some minimal fighting with shell (had to install some deps etc from same ppa, did first xbmc-bin), i was able to install these nightlies all the time. But beware, sometimes for a week or so Mr. Nathan has problem with building so you must wait to get latest nightly again.

  • RogerS Sep 08, 2012 

    Robert :
    So now that releases are done in cycles of single months, and you state that it is too difficult to provide a build for XBMCbuntu, am I supposed to compile my own? Seems like XBMCbuntu users are left out in the cold now. I have tried apt-get update/apt-get upgrade, but that does not fetch the new features you are releasing each month.

    Check out http://www.xbmcfreak.nl The owner of this site publishes on a regularly interval experimental XBMCbuntu builds.
    His latest one: http://www.xbmcfreak.nl/en/xbmcbuntu-12-04-with-pre-frodo-mid-august-release/

  • sho Sep 08, 2012 

    @Maximilian
    I guess part of the problem is that for Audio it is a proper playlist.

  • Harley Sep 08, 2012 

    Any news on OpenMAX Player for Android and Android nightlies of XBMC?

  • doraemoe Sep 08, 2012 

    It seems some 7 channel audio in this version cannot be down mixed to 2 channel? I lost some dialog in some movie.

  • Johan Sep 08, 2012 

    Seems that the search function is broken. When entering youtube or vimeo and I try to search, the search executes right away before I have time to enter anything in the search dialog.

  • Oby Sep 08, 2012 

    Johan :
    Seems that the search function is broken. When entering youtube or vimeo and I try to search, the search executes right away before I have time to enter anything in the search dialog.

    AFAIK, here is status: https://github.com/xbmc/xbmc/pull/1281

  • Johan Sep 09, 2012 

    @Oby
    Thanks for the information.

  • Mica Sep 10, 2012 

    Hi does anybody know if this release or future releases will be able to play content with the Dolby Digital + audio track? I still have a couple of hd-dvd movies with this audio track and it would be nice if this audio format is supported. Thanks in advance.

  • dig_it Sep 10, 2012 

    To me the momentum is going the wrong direction. I’m not complaining as I’m not developing, just expressing my concerns. Yes, the Linux versions are available, but majority of contribution is on android and osx/ios side. If ouya takes of, that might be a nice platform for the XBMC. But all the others I don’t get. And maybe the ATV. But why would someone run XBMC on a tablet or a phone? I have literally all of the XMBC rainbow of devices in my household, but only the HTPC Linux will ever be running XBMC.

    Just saying. Recently I have started to consider abandoning the XBMC because the packaging hasn’t evolved much. When the time for the next HW upgrade takes place, I will consider my options. Supporting too many platforms on a thin community like XBMC is IMHO not a good idea…

    But for something positive as well, I really love the way that XBMC communications has developed over the past year or so. It’s surely super nice to read what’s happening. Maybe that’s my problem after all, that I’m seeing more than before.

  • FiroPyro Sep 10, 2012 

    I agree with “dig_it”. I have 2 XBMC-HTPCs, 1 for the TV, 1 for the projector. Its just awesome, everyone envies me ;)
    But every time I read news about XBMC on iOS/Android, I just think “WTF is this? Who at all needs XBMC on his phone/tablet?”.
    I bet 99,999% are using XBMC on TV and projectors, the other 5 people are using XBMC in phones/tablets just to see that its working and to show his friends what his phone/table is capable of.

    So please guys, you are doing a great job and I’ve already donated some money to you, but please, don’t forget what XBMC was developed for. (A Ferrari doesn’t have to be able to dive ;) )

  • natethomas Sep 10, 2012 

    @FiroPyro
    You guys are aware that development for XBMC for Android was primarily financed for the Pivos XIOS DS, a media center box designed to be connected to the TV, right?

  • FiroPyro Sep 10, 2012 

    @natethomas
    take this http://vimeo.com/28436122#at=0
    and you don’t have to invent everything from 0
    (and hey, WATCH what they show in 1:10 ? ;) )

    but maybe I’ve misunderstood “primarily financed for the Pivos XIOS DS”, my english is bad and google-translation isn’t helping me.

  • nedscott Sep 10, 2012 

    @dig_it, @FiroPyro,

    XBMC on ARM platforms does not suddenly stop the desktop devs from what they were doing. XBMC has more active development and developers now than it has ever had. It’s completely false to say that the majority of contributions is on Android and iOS (OS X is not an ARM OS). A lot of work is being done, but unless you’re a programmer then most of that info won’t make a lot of sense, so most announcements and such are about things that most people will understand.

    The reason for XBMC on ARM (via Android and iOS) is for set-top boxes connected to TVs. Phone/tablet support was only a byproduct of this, and that’s something we’ve mentioned in just about every announcement, FAQ, interview, etc.

  • BAM Sep 10, 2012 

    @FiroPyro
    I’m quite eager to get a stable XBMC on my tablet. With my media stored on a NAS and a shared MySQL database in my home, I can use any of my XBMC clients to keep track of what I’ve seen, and if I start watching something on one client, then have to move and finish watching on my tablet elsewhere, I can start where I left off.

  • Existential_Wombat Sep 10, 2012 

    @dig_it

    ++ with @dig_it, @FiroPyro

    Man’s gotta know his limitations. And also what is reasonable.

    If Team XBMC gets pulled in every direction trying to support the latest and greatest platform of choice, then the resulting product will ultimately suffer in terms of quality and functionality. Much better to be the Master of one trade, rather than the Jack of all.

  • MONKEY! Sep 10, 2012 

    What I would like to know is when you will be letting those of us on windows have a 64bit version because you so far only let OSX have 64bit?
    and you also went to apple tablets first…..is there some reason you all seem to be having a love affair with apple?

  • nedscott Sep 11, 2012 

    @Existential_Wombat
    40+ active developers work on XBMC, not one man. At least two of them work on XBMC for ARM as their full time day jobs, whether Team XBMC supports ARM or not. We only support platforms when there are developers to work on them.

    ARM set-top-boxes and the ARM platform are the future for HTPCs. They are not just the “latest toy” or some gee-wiz feature. This doesn’t mean that desktop support is going away anytime soon, but ARM will likely swoop up the majority of installs in the next few years.

  • markc Sep 11, 2012 

    @Existential_Wombat
    That’s a silly position to take because the more users on all platforms that use XBMC the better off we will all be from the experience and feedback from a much larger set of end users. As @nedscott mentions, “At least two of them work on XBMC for ARM as their full time day jobs” so that is 2 extra full time techs working on SOME bugs that will feed back to the XBMC core to the benefit of all users. More platforms = more users = more developers.

  • nedscott Sep 11, 2012 

    @MONKEY!
    A 64 bit version of XBMC for Linux has existed since 2008. Does this mean we’ve been having a love affair with Linus Torvalds? Mac OS X might have a 64 bit version, but it doesn’t yet have support for “HD” audio out, so does this mean we have a love affair with Bill Gates when it comes to audio?

    Fun fact, XBMC’s touch support first showed up in Windows.

  • Yes! Sep 11, 2012 

    Great work! Would it be possible to please include a download link to the monthly builds in the “Downloads” page (xbmc.org/download)?

    Thanks in advance!

  • natethomas Sep 11, 2012 

    MONKEY! :

    What I would like to know is when you will be letting those of us on windows have a 64bit version because you so far only let OSX have 64bit?
    and you also went to apple tablets first…..is there some reason you all seem to be having a love affair with apple?

    This statement requires either a remarkable lack of knowledge or willful misunderstanding. I’m curious which one it is.

    XBMC was first ported to XBMC for iOS primarily because the AppleTV 2 was the cheapest ARM device available that was both mass produced and powerful enough to make installing XBMC make sense. The fact that the iPad also happened to run on exactly the same hardware and platform was, at best, simply a happy coincidence.

    If you can point to another mass produced, sub-$100 ARM device back in January 2011 that had all the guts necessary to run XBMC at a reasonable clip, you are a smarter person than literally everyone else on the planet.

    I’ll be honest, it’d be great to actually have a love affair with Apple, because that’d get XBMC into more hands. Sadly, we don’t have one. Which is why XBMC isn’t in the app store, requires a jailbreak, and quite possibly may never get onto the AppleTV 3 (I have no inside jailbreak knowledge, but it sure doesn’t seem like an ATV3 jailbreak is coming).

    As far as 64bit Windows… XBMC is entirely open source. There’s absolutely nothing preventing you from porting to 64bit yourself. Clearly this is important to you, so I will happily await the results of your attempt at the port. Good luck!

  • dig_it Sep 11, 2012 

    natethomas :
    @FiroPyro
    You guys are aware that development for XBMC for Android was primarily financed for the Pivos XIOS DS, a media center box designed to be connected to the TV, right?

    First time I heard of it. Sounds nice, but is not available. http://www.pivosforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=784

  • S.F.Hasan Sep 11, 2012 

    Can you please guide how to install this August snapshot, I mean I am using these snapshot builds as in a final production environment for my Ihome theater setup. So I have installed xbmc-12.0-Frodo_alpha4.exe on Windows 7 32-bit and have my library scrapped and in order for everything i like. Plus I dont really know how to use GIT hub , so I am just reporting an issue in this build that the screensaver for fanart slide show doesnot work and even after changing and saving settings, it reverts back to the old settings of just dimming the screen, hope it got fixed in the current snapshot release.

    So back to my question, do I save my userdata folder, uninstall the previous version and then install this release, or I simply install it over the current existing release and hope everything would run fine.

    Your guidance would be appreciated.

  • MONKEY! Sep 11, 2012 

    well let me say this. I didn’t mean that to sound hostile or mean even though upon reviewing how I phrased it it does. that said I do admit I haven’t looked for Linux 64 bit because I have never seen it mentioned till now and don’t use Linux much myself. So what from what I understand they have compiled and released a 64-bit version for Apple and Linux but haven’t yet for windows..how come (just curious)? also If it is so hard to get XBMC on to apple machines why do they still port it to Apple Machines first (i.e. I pad) ( also just curious) I don’t claim to be an expert or read everything I can about XBMC. I simply was wanting to know because after searching all I could and seeing so many people mention that XBMC was released for 64bit why I cant find the windows version anywhere. as for the comment about the love affair I do apologies because that did sound wrong even though I didn’t mean it that way. from what i read on the web they came out on apple TV first they came out on I-Pad first, they brought out the 64bit on apple and form what i saw never compiled one and offered it to users for windows. If it is so easy anyone can do it then why don’t they offer one like they do for OS X and Linux?

  • nedscott Sep 12, 2012 

    Because it’s a lot of work and no one has done that work for Windows yet. It’s not even something that provides a significant performance improvement right now, but is something that will likely be useful later on. Developers for various platforms get around to it when they can and if they want to. 64 bit support is also something very specific to the platform being compiled on; just because one OS has a 64 bit version doesn’t mean that it makes it possible for 64 bit versions to be made for other OSes.

    XBMC developers work on what they want and when they want to. Why did XBMC get ported to iOS before Android? Because those who worked on it decided to work on iOS first. iOS and Mac OS X share a lot of things, and for that and various other reasons the iOS port was the logical first step for a stable ARM port, but more than anything it was just that those who were working on it wanted to work on an iOS port. There is no formal decisions or delegation for these things. There is no group-wide decision where we go “This OS or that OS is more important, so work on that first”. We’re all volunteers and we work on what we want and when we want to. It’s as simple as that.

    Also, without that iOS port then we wouldn’t be even close to having something working on Android.

    This happens all the time in XBMC, where in the development stages one OS will gain a feature before it reaches the others. When it comes to stable releases, we try as best we can to keep the OSes on the same feature set, but things have to -start- somewhere.

  • MONKEY! Sep 12, 2012 

    Well that as very informative. Thank you NedScott. I assume from how you worded things that you are one of the XBMC devs.
    From how things seemed to me from reading articles and forum posts on this site I believed that the development process and how things were done was more planned out and organized. From what you depict it seems chaotic. I do love the program and have it on several systems in my home. I respect all the people that work on the core program as well as all those that create plugins and various other implements for the program. I hope someday that I will be able to be a developer and help create stuff for this great program.

    Devs….KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK.

  • nedscott Sep 13, 2012 

    @MONKEY!
    I’m a member of Team XBMC, but I don’t actually code. While it does sound chaotic, all members of Team XBMC agree to the XBMC manifesto ( http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=XBMC_manifesto ) and there is a passion to do things and do them -well-.

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