Happy New Year !!
The project had an interesting and fun 2016. We are now 9-months old and the founding group of 8-10 refugee forum moderators and Kodi patch hackers has evolved into a collective of 65+ people with additional interests in Plex, Docker, Retroplayer and more. Being a friendly neighbour to projects who share our OS base continues to add new developer talent to our extended team and we are proud of the overall positive and respectful atmosphere we have fostered around the project.
In the last week we exceeded 130,000 active installations. Large numbers are not a core objective but consistent solid growth shows we are doing the right thing. Raspberry Pi hardware remains the most popular LibreELEC platform (78% of installs) followed by Generic 64-bit x86 (10%) and lots of Amlogic variants. Some of us discovered computing on a BBC Model B so it’s great to see our project play a small part in the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s success and educational mission. We receive A1+ support from their technical staff and Pi hardware continues to make us smile.
We gathered names from the Amlogic community and established a common linux kernel that allows developers of multiple platforms to work together and benefit from each other. Krypton VideoPlayer changes required us to move away from Jarvis era hacks and redo things properly; a hard task with no documentation. We now have direct contact with Amlogic Engineering, and the BayLibre developers working to upstream Amlogic support to the Linux kernel. Our 2017 stretch goal is to run 64-bit Amlogic devices on a mainline kernel and establish a reference project in our GitHub repo.
Installation and first-run workflow is important so releasing our USB-SD Creator app was a huge leap forward. It is now the top download on our website and continues to collect praise from users. We also added a working “LiveUSB” mode and purged dead options and glitches from our Generic installer. In 2017 we expect new localisations for USB-SD Creator as our global audience grows, and new features and improvements to the install and first-run experience.
OS minor/major updates can now be done via LibreELEC settings (in Kodi) without users having to copy .tar files to samba shares or run SSH commands – making update to Kodi Krypton much easier when it arrives. On updates: in June our 7.0.2 release followed Jarvis 16.1 and we kept pace with Krypton alpha and beta with updates 3-7 days after Kodi release. We emphasise proper testing and stability over speed of release, but updates in days (not months) show organisation and commitment. The team goal for 2017 is .. more of the same.
Bundling common tools together and publishing add-ons from a single repo made life easier for users and maintainers. Community contributors have added support for Docker, Emby, Hyperion (and our own HyperCon), Inadyn, Mono, Moonlight, MPD, ProFTP, Syslog, Syncthing, tinc, Touchscreen, VNC apps, WebGrab+, and we published many updates to Tvheadend 4.0/4.2 and VDR back-ends, and Kodi front-end clients. We included the popular Kodinerds repo installer for our German users, and 2017 additions start with a linuxserver.io repo that wraps some of their containers as Kodi add-ons to make install, use and update easier.
GitHub contributions and contributors are up. Sharing changes and fixes to benefit others is something we encourage, and seeing the numbers of first-time and repeat contributions increase is a strong-positive sign of project health. We now have our first submission of new hardware to our repo which brings some fresh challenges. Providing community builders with web and forum space has encouraged participation and the forums are active and friendly. Early in 2017 we migrate to new forum software (thanks to a donation by Kodinerds) bringing easier updates and better anti-spam controls.
We had donations of build servers (thanks Mike!) and reference hardware (thanks WeTek) and we’ve raised enough funds to keep servers online (donors have special forum tags, have you donated?) and to start some legal things. To participate better in the Open Source community we need to start attending events where the Linux world gathers, presents, and meets face-to-face. This requires volunteers to take time away from jobs and families, and incurs expenses from trains, planes, and hotels when not couch-surfing. We have avoided the distraction of sponsorship in 2016 to find our way as a team, but to raise the project profile in 2017 we will need to fundraise.
KRYPTON AND BEYOND
Krypton beta (LibreELEC 8.0 preview) releases continued for longer than we expected but beta will commence shortly. Once beta starts we freeze the release branch to new features and refuse software package bumps unless they fix a known issue or major security bug. Our first 2017 priority is shipping a well-tested and stable 8.0 release. Once Krypton has settled the team will start working on LibreELEC 9.0 and Kodi v18 which includes an inconspicuous fix that should be lots of fun to test.
LibreELEC wishes a Happy New Year to all of our contributors, collaborators, donors, users and absent friends; even drummers 🙂