Oct 132018
 

Since the dawn of time, or at least since 2008 each released version has received a code name next to the version number. Giving each development iteration a code name in a certain category is kind of a tradition that is not only applicable for software but also for hardware. Google does so for Android and Intel also names their chips. Who are we to break this tradition and as such we follow in their steps with a theme that started out with mythical places or  names.

With Kodi v18 Leia heading towards final release (currently in Beta stage) we’ll need a new code name that will be added to v19 which our developers will be working on in due time. Don’t worry we’ll still look after any bug that might pop up in Leia and try to fix it first.

History

Below are the code names we have used in the past to give you an idea.

Atlantis
8.10  (15 November 2008)

Babylon
9.04 Babylon (6 May 2009)

Camelot
9.11 Camelot (24 December 2009)

Dharma
10.0 (18 December 2010)
10.1 (10 March 2011)

Eden
11.0 Eden (24 March 2012)

Frodo
12.0 (9 January 2013)
12.1 (18 March 2013)
12.2 (3 May 2013)
12.3 (24 December 2013)

Gotham
13.0 (4 May 2014)
13.1 (5 June 2014)
13.2 (17 August 2014)

Helix
14.0 (23 December 2014)
14.1 (1 February 2015)
14.2 (28 March 2015)

Isengard
15.0 (21 July 2015)
15.1 (16 August 2015)
15.2 (19 October 2015)

Jarvis
16.0 (21 February 2016)
16.1 (24 April 2016)

Krypton
17.0 (4 February 2017)
17.1 (23 March 2017)
17.2 (21 May 2017)
17.3 (24 May 2017)
17.4 (22 August 2017)
17.5 (24 October 2017)
17.6 (15 November 2017)

Leia
18.0 (Soon)

M******
19.0 (In a far distant future….)

As you can see we now arrived at the next version that will start with the letter M. We thought it might be a good idea to ask the users to send in suggestions on what the next code name should be. You can post your suggestions on our forum: Kodi v19 Name Suggestion. So up to you to suggest a great code name that will be added to Kodi v19. The team will take all suggestions in consideration and picks the most appropriate.


Kodi 19 M***** – Code name suggestion
Source: Kodi

Oct 032018
 

We hereby present you the third Beta build of Kodi v18 as we are heading towards the final release. Since we are now in Beta stage our focus will be on solving bugs and possible usability problems. So far it has been proven to be quite solid to use as a daily driver for those who were brave enough to try it out. Of course you should still keep in mind it’s not a final release yet and that on any upgrade a small glitch could happen as we are still doing rework. Once you decide to give it a try it is highly recommended that you create a backup first.

Currently included

A full changelog is nearly impossible to create and in this release article we will only cover the basics. For a more extensive list you can visit our wiki page v18 (Leia) changelog which will be update along the way. From now on all v18 releases will not contain any big new features as we are focussed on bug fixing only.

Most notable fixes to mention in Beta 3:

  • Fix slow browsing in library that was a regression added in Beta 2
  • Updated button maps for controllers that changed Beta 2
  • Improved playback on Android regarding video and DTS-HD audio
  • Revert changes for smooth video on Windows that caused issues
  • Various other fixes regarding video playback

Of course there are several more changes which are listed on our github repository found here: Beta3 changes.

Make sure to also go through our news sections which contain all past announcements regarding the Leia release and some highlights of what it will contain.

Stability and usability is key

In general the whole stability has been improved quite a lot. The times you still get glitches or occasional crashes haven been reduced due to just ripping out not so well coded parts and replaced with a more structured design and standard. Not that the old code was bad however over time new insights were gained and having newer code standards just make it better. Untangling all parts or components and make them behave better next to each other has been one of the biggest efforts done so far.

Current available skins

Due to changes in how Kodi works skins need to be updated for each release. As of this moment we have the following ones have been update by their developers and are readily available from our repository.

Adnoic, Aeon Nox 5, Andromeda, Black Glass Nova, ChromaConfluence, fTV, Grid, Mimic, NebulaOmni, Rapier, Sio2, Xperience1080

More will follow at a later point in time when we approach final release.

Python 2 & 3 compatibility will be enforced

Currently, Kodi includes the Python 2.7 interpreter to run addons written in Python programming language. However, Python 3 was released almost 10 years ago and the matter of implementing the Python 3 interpreter in Kodi has been brought up on the Kodi forum several times. Now, thanks to a successful GSOC 2017 project, we have a working Python 3.6 interpreter for Kodi, and on the latest DevCon 2017 in Prague Team Kodi decided that it’s time to move on and migrate Python addon subsystem to Python 3. <--break->There are several reasons for that:

  • Python 2 End of Life is planned for 2020.

  • Python 3 is mature enough and more and more Python libraries either convert their codebase to Python 3-compatible or drop Python 2 support completely (Django is the most notable example).

  • Most current Python books, tutorials and courses are focused on Python 3.

  • Python 2 is not actively developed. It receives only security patches while Python 3 gets all the cool new features with every minor version.

However, Python 3 is not backward-compatible with the 2nd version so some transition process is required. Currently the plan is the following:

  • Kodi 19 (M*) will be released with Python 3 interpreter for running Python-based addons.

  • After the release of Kodi 18 (Leia) only addons that are compatible with both Python 2 and 3 will be accepted to the official addon repository. Also, Python 3-only addons will be accepted to the repositories for Kodi 19 (M*) and above.

  • Addon developers are highly encouraged to convert their addons to Python 2/3-compatible so that after the release of Kodi 19 (M*) we will have enough addons that work with the new version.

  • Test builds based on Kodi 18 with the Python 3 interpreter will be provided continuously so addon developers can test their addons for compatibility with Python 3. Test builds for Windows are already available for downloading from here and test builds for Ubuntu can be obtained from this PPA.

  • One the v18 version has been branched off for final release the nightlies will become Python 3 only while the release builds will still be Python 2.

Writing Python code that is compatible with both 2 and 3 versions is totally possible and the “big” Python world has been doing it for years since the release of Python 3.0. There are a number of tools and best practices developed to simplify this process. Please read this Kodi Wiki article for more information and technical details about the migration process. Also a special Wiki section has been created that will be updated with new information. You can post questions about converting your addon code to Python 3-compatible or share your experience in “Python 3 migration” subforum on the official Kodi forum.

A new main menu item

As some of you have seen a new menu item has appeared on the main menu. We will expand more on what this means in a future article.

 

The story continues

Although we don’t really have a clear future plan or clear cut goals (except making a great media center) we would welcome any developer who wants to spend time on getting Kodi better in every way. Either improving the core code to newer standards, fixing bugs or implementing a new feature we haven’t thought of. Compared to years ago the code has become better to understand and follow for newcomers to get started. Once we get something written down of certain to reach goals we will certainly share them.

A great improvement has been made on the documentation that explains how to compile and work on the core code for Kodi. We highly recommend to read the article Kodi’s GitHub codebase new face and better documentation.

 

Release time

Since we now started the Beta cycle a final release will be on the near horizon. When the final release will actually be is yet unknown as it all depends on the stability now more people will start using the v18 builds.

That’s about it for now and we’ll go back at improving this upcoming v18 release. Should you wish to give it a try a new version is readily available each day as well as nightly version. We can certainly recommend trying it out however take in mind that it’s not fully production and living room ready yet (take a backup). So far a guestimate of several tens of thousands users already use it so it can’t be that bad can it. You can get it from the download page clicking on the platform of choice and hitting the “pre release” tab. For Android and Windows we have an easy to use download add-on which you can find in our repository.

Go to the Official download page and choose the platform of choice and you will find these builds under the pre release tab.

If you do appreciate our work feel free to give a small donation so we can continue our effort. Just find the big “Donate” button at the top of the website.

May the force be with you…..


Kodi v18 Leia – Beta 3
Source: Kodi

Sep 302018
 

One more day, with enough content to warrant a separate blog post – partly because people are still here for the most part, partly because of new stuff that’s been added to the agenda as we’ve gone along, and partly because of the topics that, despite our best efforts, managed to escape from previous days.

We began the day with a broad retrospective of the past year: for each person, what went well in the past twelve months, what could have been improved. As you might expect, we covered far too many topics to cover here, spanning as they did nearly every aspect of people, process and technology. However, it was a useful conversation that gave time to both be proud of the positive while reflecting on where we still need to focus more effort. We’ll work through and digest everything that was said and perhaps come back to it as a separate, future post, as the conversation will help shape where we go next.

Next up, lrusak took us through his experiences and presentation at both FOSDEM (Brussels) and Linaro Connect (Vancouver) this year. His talk was mainly aimed at shifting from vendor-specific or closed code (kernel and blob dependencies) to more universal, open source methods, specifically around windowing and rendering on embedded Linux (SoC) platforms such as Allwinner, Broadcom and Qualcomm. As well as simplifying our core code and removing the need for maintenance and use of platform-specific patches, this also has the potential to deliver performance advantages and broader platform coverage. Overall, there are some real benefits once we can tap into specific libraries via standardised kernel calls rather than depend on userspace code that’s in turn reliant on monolithic, all-purpose blobs that may include a whole load of code that simply isn’t needed for Kodi.

We discussed Kodi “remixes” – forks, feature branches, JeOS distributions, and similar variations – and how they link back to our trademark policy and support overheads: what’s allowed, what can we tolerate, what can we manage, how does it appear to our users. This is an area full of opinion and interpretation, rapidly wandering into genuine legal implications. While this is something we really don’t want to have to worry about, it’s something we must keep aware of, as historical experience has demonstrated. As such, we’ll be revisiting aspects of our practices to ensure that we protect Kodi while, at the same time, embracing the broader community where we can see that there’s positive intent and genuine common benefit.

lrusak then returned to the stage to give an update on LibreELEC. That team continues to streamline everything, reducing the maintenance overhead, slimming down the underlying OS overhead, and aligning the user experience more and more closely with core Kodi. He discussed some potential architectural changes that flow out of this goal: future platform support, what libraries could be removed and why (no longer supported or just not needed), what could perhaps be moved upstream so that it becomes part of Kodi and thus not some separate facet of LibreELEC.

And that’s it for day three. Thanks to everyone for their participation, and thanks to the entire community for making Kodi what it is.

One final comment as we close: we really need to offer very many thanks to Roza Zdravkova, who’s been invaluable as our local eyes throughout this DevCon. From helping with transport to pointing out where to go and what to do, she was fundamental to the event’s success. So, “thank you” from the team!

So… that’s it for DevCon 2018. Time to turn to a bit of hacking and development before all going our separate ways once more.

Tags: 


Devcon 2018 – Sofia – Part III
Source: Kodi