Kodi builds, streaming add-ons and free lunches
Cris Silva (h.udo)
So-called Kodi "builds" are essentially a preconfigured Kodi installation that someone has created, ready for you to use. They often come bundled with wizards, tons of third-party add-ons, and a boatload of stuff you don't need or doesn't work. In essence, Kodi builds take out of the equation Kodi's most prized feature, the "endlessly configure and customize" part.
Yes, we all know Kodi isn't exactly easy to set up for the novice user. That's the main reason why so many people use Kodi builds - that and the streaming add-ons already installed and ready to use.
Speaking of which, there's an important distinction to be made between official and third-party add-ons. Official add-ons are reviewed and curated by Kodi Team members and if they meet all the rules, included in our official add-on repository. Of course, this means that no add-on is accepted in our repository if it circumvents a paywall or provides illegal or free access to content that you would otherwise have to pay for.
Enter third-party add-ons. It's noteworthy to point out that most third-party add-ons aren't illegal. They are authored by legitimate developers that, like us, give their free time to the benefit of the community. Those developers choose not to submit the add-ons to our repository for a variety of reasons, but the add-ons are legal. Just not official.
But some are illegal. A few are both illegal and just downright nasty, and some rogue developers even think your hardware is their hardware. These developers and the surrounding ecosystem only care about popularity or money. Yes, they do make money from you, selling that marvellous VPN that you so desperately need to feel safe, showing you ads galore, promising everything for free.
We know the story. A work colleague told you about some wonderful software that makes it very easy to watch your favorite sports, movies and TV shows online and for free. You go out and buy a Kodi box. You plug it to your TV set and voilà - instant free entertainment!
Now, if it sounds like it can't be legit because it literally sounds too good to be true, and that they must be dodgy or bonkers doing all this for nothing, I can tell you your spidey senses are absolutely correct. It is too good to be true and there is no such thing as a free lunch.
We can see the appeal of Kodi builds, but please stop using them. Help us improve our documentation, suggest usability improvements, a feature, whatever helps us improve Kodi.