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Finally out the door: Dharma Beta1

Today we announce the first beta in what we hope is a very short pre-release cycle. Dharma has been in development for over 9 months now, and we’re quite happy with the result.

The improvements are too many to name, but head over to the milestone page to get an idea. By far the biggest new feature is the Add-ons system. Our community is full of talented script-writers, skinners, and designers; we wanted XBMC to display their full potential. The result is a powerful and flexible system that allows for complete customization of the XBMC experience. Gone are the days of digging for the latest version of buggy plugins, or incomplete skins in our forums. Most of our users probably never even made it that far.

Currently available video sources.

We have refactored everything that doesn’t belong inside the core of XBMC to be an addon. So in the future, your scrapers, visualizations, skins, etc. will update automatically (unless disabled). Since opening the repository a few weeks ago, submissions have been pouring in. We expect to have a very nice  collection by the time we reach our final release.

But don’t let the add-ons take away from the loads of other features (hardware acceleration, anyone?) that have gone into XBMC in the last 9 months. We’ll be sure to hi-lite some of the other big features in the coming days/weeks.

Install new skins from inside of XBMC

For those brave users, please give beta1 a shot. Builds are ready for all OSs, visit the download page to grab them. If you stumble upon any nasty bugs, be sure to send us a QUALITY bug report. Beware of (at minimum) the following:

  • As always, treat this as beta-quality software. Be sure to back up your profile in case you decide to roll back.
  • The clunky old web interface has been removed. We’re working hard to have a new one ready for final release.
  • svn-ppa users may have to remove old xbmc packages before installing Dharma.
  • You may have to reset your screensaver and visualization settings after upgrade. These are now addons.
  • Pre-Dharma scripts/plugins/skins will NOT work with Dharma, but most have been updated accordingly.

Enjoy. And to the add-on creators: keep the submissions coming!