A Little Community Growth

Posted By: Nathan Betzen on Apr 21, 2014 in Community Updates, Dev Journal

In this post we aren’t announcing anything or releasing anything or even providing how-to guides. Instead, in honor of our 75,000th fan on Facebook, I’d just like to take a step back and consider the past few years of XBMC community growth.

Some History

Way back in 2010, I decided to create a new job for myself that I labeled Community Manager. That, maybe more than anything else, is one of the most incredible things about Team XBMC. People don’t look for job postings to get involved with the team. They almost never wait for us to ask for something. Instead, every team member has started out as a user who realized a problem existed and stepped in to fix that problem.

This is true at every level. Developers, wiki ninjas, forum moderators. You name a project, and we can point to the individual who saw the need, rolled up their sleeves, and stepped up.

Anyway, years ago it became obvious that the team was lacking, just a bit, on the social front. Around September of 2010, XBMC only had about 6,500 Facebook fans. Our Google+ page didn’t exist, nor did the Google+ community. We didn’t keep Twitter stats back then, because we didn’t think Twitter was important. We only started keeping anonymous forum visitor stats in 2011, when we averaged roughly 35k visits to the forum on a good day. The XBMC Youtube page existed, but not a single video had been posted.

Maybe worst of all, the forums were known, particularly starting around 2008, as an unwelcoming place for new people. Back then, if you weren’t at least a marginal expert in Linux, you were practically required to start your post with an apology for your lack of skills and understanding.

Agents of Change

XBMC at LinuxTag 2011

As I said, I grabbed the title of Community Manager, but the reality is that dozens of people saw the unsociable issues that we had back then, and stepped up to help.

Particular credit goes to team members Martijn, Zag, NedScott, Kib, da-anda, pike, theuni, MaestroDD, Jonathan, keith and blittan, just to name a few who have helped reinvent the site and the forum, developed tons of content for the social sites, created hundreds of links that didn’t previously exist, exposed an incredible amount of info about the org itself, and helped organize in-person outreach with visits to SCALE in Los Angeles and LinuxTag in Berlin (Starting 8 May this year!).


It’s April of 2014 now. Six years have passed since 2008. Four since 2010. In the intervening space, XBMC has added iOS and Android – not to mention the Raspberry Pi – to the ranks of platforms it can support. We’ve added a fully developed add-on and repository system that runs the gamut from online streaming to cool applications like PseudoTV to alternative skins and even to games, both of the python variety and launching the emulator variety. HD video decoding is supported on as many platforms as we can possibly manage. XBMC remains one of the rare platforms out there that can act as an Airplay receiver. Support for 3D, Live TV, and even Hi10P comes baked in these days.

Frankly, it’s been an incredible few years on the development side.

But it’s possible that the most amazing growth comes not from our developers or other administrators, but rather from our users and our community. You all have been carrying the banner for XBMC, and it shows.

Visits to the forum itself have more than doubled to 2.3 million visits a month, and unique visitors have nearly tripled.

We now have a portion of the forum dedicated entirely to showing off incredible XBMC rigs. That sub-forum is like the old Feature Friday blog post multiplied by a thousand, where users are daily submitting incredible and beautifully unique machines and homes.

Our wiki has been transformed from a random collection of pages that almost certainly still referenced the old Xbox to an informative site with pages easily found using Google search or the built-in navigation and guides that can walk a person from their very first hesitant introduction to XBMC all the way to advanced addon developer, all made possible thanks to contributions from users.

The blog and main site have seen even greater growth with triple the visits at 2.4 million visits per month, and almost quadruple the unique visitors per month.

XBMC Fan Growth on Facebook

XBMC Fan Growth on Facebook

And all those social media sites? XBMC on Facebook has just passed the 75,000 fans mark. In less than 4 years, we users have managed to increase the Facebook fanbase by 1150%. XBMC on twitter has 38k followers.  XBMC on Google+ has been added to nearly 29k circles from zero back in 2010. And the XBMC Google+ community just recently passed 10k members who are actively providing each other with answers and support on a constant basis. Our Youtube channel has a video posted that’s passed 650,000 views. There’s even an incredibly active subreddit dedicated entirely to XBMC and XBMC users.

And finally, hopefully, the forums, all these other social sites, and even the blog comment section have become friendlier places, both for newbies and old timers. These days, unless you are specifically asking how to pirate something, possibly the rudest response you’ll ever receive is a link to lmgtfy.com. Beyond that, users are more helpful, more friendly, and generally more excited to carry the torch than they’ve ever been before.



I’d personally like to thank all of you. Thank you to the people who answer questions on the Facebook page and in the Google+ community. Thank you to the forum users and forum mods, who manage, mostly, to remain calm when constantly presented with repeat questions. And, of course, thank you to the folks that have bought our shirts and proudly take pictures wearing them in all sorts of crazy places.

Discussion - 48 Comments

  • Rushingjs Apr 21, 2014 

    I think (or hope) that I speak for all XBMC users when I say we will always know that the XBMC team is truly the group that needs thanking, so thank you for all the time and effort!

    • Magwheels Apr 21, 2014 

      I have to agree with Rushingjs comments in that it is all the people past and present that have put their time and effort into making XBMC the great piece of software that it is that deserve the thanks from all those that use it.

      So many owe so much to so few!!

      Many thanks to you all.

    • BigJRM Apr 22, 2014 

      I totally agree with you. The XBMC team are the greatest, most UNselfish, fantastic, unpaid programmers in the world and as an XBMC user, I THANK THE XBMC TEAM for the fantastic job they freely do for US!

  • martin Apr 21, 2014 

    hablo de parte de nuestra comunidad en mexico que agradecemos el increíble esfuerzo que ustedes hacen en crear algo tan bueno

    Real mente les damos las gracias !!!!!!!!!

  • Chris b Apr 21, 2014 

    Projects like XBMC offer the hope that the simple persuit of quality is enough to galvanise a community into action. Not once, not for a week but continuously. Civilisation is safe. Thanks guys.

  • Karnage Apr 22, 2014 

    Thanks for showing the world what us educated, balding, overweight, white males can achieve when we are just given the chance.


    • Nathan Betzen Apr 22, 2014 

      For the record, all those other words definitely describe me, but I’m NOT balding. :)

    • jmarshall Apr 25, 2014 

      I’m not balding either (if you repeat it enough, it becomes true, right???) ;)

  • Alex C Apr 22, 2014 

    I’ve lurked the XBMC forums and made my fair share of tutorial vids for this awesome program. I can’t thank you all enough for fostering the community behind the best media center app ever.

    Every time we sit down and get some snacks ready, play the movie quiz that comes on before CinemaExperience loads up a few trailers and the dolby surround sound test before watching a great film, I want to thank you guys for what you’ve made.

  • Иван Apr 22, 2014 

    Большое Вам спасибо за Ваш труд

  • Carl Menezes Apr 22, 2014 

    When someone tells me that open source projects are lacking in the usability department, I use XBMC as an example to shut them up. If that isn’t sufficient, my trump is card is that both my wife AND my mum use it and like it.

    I don’t know how you guys did it, but XBMC has definitely attained that elusive goal of being wife approved. There should be an award for that. Seriously.

    From a power user point of view, I love the fact that you guys as a team almost read my mind with regard to new features in major releases. Easy addons management, integrated trailers, PVR functionality, simplified settings, android hardware acceleration and now oDroid support….you guys have read my mind for the past few major releases.

    As a user with an open mind, I keep an eye on other media center projects too, but I keep coming back to XBMC.

    So thank you. I don’t know how you do it, but you have achieved that elusive balance of features, fixes and usabilty. And you have one grateful user here.

  • Chinese Kung Fu Apr 22, 2014 

    Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group?

    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content.
    Please let me know. Cheers

  • ursli Apr 22, 2014 

    I’m not sure if I’m the only curious one but it would be nice having some forum names added to the first picture. I would certainly like to connect some names I see daily on the forums with a face.

    • jmarshall Apr 25, 2014 

      I’m the 22nd guy from the left, up the back if that’s any help :)

      Seriously though, if you want the names, start a forum thread with a copy of the picture there and folk will help fill ‘em in.

      Then maybe someone can do some fancy mouse hover thingee.

  • B Howard Apr 22, 2014 

    Yep, A truly great piece of software…. many thanks to all past and present who have worked on the software.

    Thank You

  • Hedda Apr 22, 2014 

    xbmc.org forum also have over 180,000 registered members

    That too is quite impressive for open source media player :)

  • S Thomas Apr 22, 2014 

    Thank you to all who have made this wonderful software possible!

  • Иван Apr 22, 2014 

    Спасибо вам за ваш труд. Любой труд должен быть оплачен, программисты они тоже люди :)

  • maddis Apr 22, 2014 

    i really like this amazing peace of software…
    thank you…!

  • DanielN Apr 23, 2014 

    XBMC is amazing and so many steps ahead of any other media center software out there

    Been XBMC user for four years know and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!


  • ryan Apr 23, 2014 

    Thank you very much, a great, perfect project

  • zag Apr 23, 2014 

    We still need to do more work on video tutorials, developer wiki guides, getting started guides, more relevant forum stickies, better hardware compatibility lists, add-on feedback and loads more.

    More work to do people, get involved :D

  • Riley.S Apr 23, 2014 

    I cannot begin to say thank you for Xbmc. Not long ago i was troling the internet looking for websites where i can watch movies and series. Xbmc has open a whole new way of thinking. People feel so good when i share xbmc with them. They cannot beleive this is true.

    I am from holland and i made a free ebook showing all in dutch how to use xbmc. My god what a piece of software. Guys thanks from all your users in The Netherlands.

    My only regret is that i had to find out about xbmc via an ebook i bouth for 24.95. But i have to say it was not a problem. But why is xbmc for free and stil some people sell this online?

    Thanks again for Xbmc and keep up the good work:)

  • andre Apr 24, 2014 

    Canada: XBMC rulez!!!
    I’m very happy to wear the T-shirt.
    Supporting the comunity each year, makes me feel pleased.
    Thanks again

  • Todd Apr 24, 2014 

    Good morning, such improments are amazing to see. I do have one suggestion, if you read through the Wiki, it actually doesn’t walk you through how to report a bug. It implies the forum, but does say where or how to, I would update the Wiki but I don’t know how XBMC would prefer to have bug reporting done.

    HOW-TO:Submit a bug report – XBMC
    Sep 7, 2013 … So, you think you’ve found a bug? Great! Thanks for being proactive enough to make it this far. If you want to ensure that your report gets …

  • Todd Apr 24, 2014 

    I meant to say it doesn’t say where or how to

    • Kibje May 01, 2014 

      It links to the forum and the bug tracker in one of the first sentences.

      Seems pretty clear to me how you should report bugs – read through the wiki page, make sure you have all the information and then look through the forum to see if there is already a report made. The more information you give the more chance there is it will be picked up.

      If you know for sure it is a unknown bug, and you can explain how to reproduce it and have all the required logs you can create a bug report at the bug tracker directly.

  • david zimmermann Apr 24, 2014 

    Thank you for all xbmc staff. Im very happy with your good work. from kosovo

  • Deadpool Apr 25, 2014 

    Thank you too for this wonderful soft.

  • mok Apr 25, 2014 

    YOU ARE THE BEST GUYS! Wish you all a nice weekend!

  • chris Apr 25, 2014 

    I love xbmc and appreciate all of the amazing people who have made it as great as it is.

    The photo up top (and even the second one), however, does leave me to wonder: are there people in the xbmc community or on the team itself who aren’t 30-45 year-old white males ?

  • Jim Apr 25, 2014 

    Thanks for all you do
    And all your time and effort you put into XBMC
    You are the a Robin Hoods of the entertainment field :)

  • Garikai Apr 26, 2014 

    Great work guys and Mazel Tov!

  • golly gosh Apr 28, 2014 

    Hey look NO GIRLS – just geeeeeks – how sad :)

    • Kibje May 01, 2014 

      There was a girl – a very pretty one. She took the picture.

      Not kidding, ask Zag :)

      • Martijn May 01, 2014 


  • T14 Apr 28, 2014 

    Thanks guys for all the hard work!

  • Bluezman Apr 28, 2014 

    I’ve been using XBMC since it was the XBOX Media Center on my old xbox. Without a doubt, on any platform I’ve used it, it’s the best Media experience available today.

    Thanks folks for all your work.

  • Jalle19 Apr 29, 2014 

    XBMC has truly grown to one of the greatest open source projects there is. I started using it back in 2010 when Dharma was the latest and greatest. I bought a remote control from Ebay and hustled a bit to find a GPU with an (already then) increasingly rare S-video output so I could hook it up to my Sony CRT TV. Back then one distinguishing feature was that you could calibrate the screen area to exactly fit the viewport of your TV (since it was all analog it was practically impossible to get the PC to output a perfectly aligned picture). At the moment I was the only one I knew who used XBMC.

    Fast forward a year and my dad was amazed one day when he came to visit. I installed XBMC on his Windows desktop computer – he was the first person I convinced to switch to XBMC.

    Due to the increasing feature set and out-of-the-box experience it has gotten easier to convert people over the years. With the introduction of PVR support in Frodo I got my mum and dad dedicated PCs with tuner cards to replace their TVs built-in tuner. The fact that my mum can use it really goes to show how painless the experience is nowadays. Meanwhile at least five friends have switched to XBMC, and the number is ever-growing, in large part due to the proliferation of Raspberry Pis (XBMC is about the only sane thing a non-geek can use it for).

    So a big thank you to all who have made this possible!

  • asphixmx Apr 30, 2014 

    Thank you guys for making my life more pleasant when I return home at night, tired of my work day and enjoying my HTPC at home with this piece of art, XBMC. Thank you very much. Greetings from Mexico City.

  • Spark lee balls Apr 30, 2014 

    I used xbmc way back when it was on the original Xbox and then there was a big gap and I came back to the fold when Eden was in release candidacy. Now it forms the hub of my entertainment setup. I’ve had nothing but good experiences in the forum since then.

  • fantastic74 May 16, 2014 

    Hi there,

    I am just a user, nobody of interesting, but what a big enterprise you guys went in to make this software work. all those different repos..WOAAWWW
    what an improvement after 2 years and nice speech ;)

    p.s. i just wanna say: there is google and there is xbmc.

  • Mateo May 16, 2014 

    Thank you for this awesome software!!

  • Brianljnr Jun 06, 2014 

    Thank you so much, all of you for making the best thing since the invention of the web

  • Abhishek Prakash Jun 17, 2014 

    I thought world was full of selfish people. Thank You guys for changing my view about the world and thanks for providing such a classy media player. Keep up the good work….

  • Brian Jun 27, 2014 

    wow. lots of men. are women not allowed or encouraged to work there? just an observation.

    • kib Jul 04, 2014 

      Quite the contrary!
      Anyone can be member of the Team after being nominated by an existing teammember. A nomination might occur because they stand out in the community or on github, and have added value to the project. For instance, regularly submitting good quality code to the project over a period of time might very well result in a request to join the Team. The chance of this happening is larger when the code is in an a
      Actually the process is pretty much anonymous as for many Team-members meetings like DevCon, Scale or LinuxTag are the first time we meet each other face-to-face. It just so happens that we haven’t invited any people who turned out to be of the female gender.

  • Nianhbg Jul 01, 2014 

    Hi thanks for everything. I have been using xbmc or xbox media player since beginning on my old xbox. And now is it the only media player i would use. You guys have done a great job


About Kodi

Kodi is a free and open source media player application developed by the XBMC Foundation, a non-profit technology consortium. Kodi 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.