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  1. In our ongoing mission to bring you the very greatest (and most reliable) media centre software in the world, it's time to let another point release escape into the wild. Usual rules apply: this isn't about features, it's about stability and usability. As usual, you can find a full summary of closed pull requests on GitHub, but the summary would be... Interface/Look-and-Feel Estuary and GUI info fixes, including scrollbar behaviour, icon names, label changes Add dual support for Artist Slideshow 2.x and 3.x Fix to always allow 'Black' screen saver Fix wrong sort order list for music playlists node Playback/Display Fixes to external subtitle playback Fixes to support for archives over UPnP Fixes to "queue item" and "play next" for STRM files with Plugin URL Fixes to "hide watched" status for videos Fixes to resume handling when marking a file as unwatched PVR Fixes to EPG database storage, start/stop of PVR service Fix handling of open modal dialogs Fixes to commercial skip (EDL) processing Other/General Fixes Multiple Android changes around windowing, secure decoder and SDK versions Multiple iOS changes, including support for iPhone 11 and 7th generation iPad, plus fixes for touch input, overlapping drawing surfaces, sandbox checks, notch support. MacOS fixes around windowing, where only a portion of the screen was correctly rendered Log files improvements around verbosity and security Shoutcast improvements Various fixes and improvements to add-on settings, package build documentation, build system, advancedsettings.xml, skin/profile changes and many other subsystems The nature of point releases is that most of these changes won't be visible to most people unless they address a specific problem you'd stumbled across. That said, they're all real bugs, and real fixes, so thanks as always to all who found a bug, took the time to report it and, in some cases, provided a fix. The full v18.5 changelog can be found in our GitHub milestone. If you want to read back on what was actually changed in v18 itself, you can find the corresponding articles in the blog posts - Kodi 18, Kodi 18.1, Kodi 18.2, Kodi 18.3 and Kodi 18.4. Application delpoyment on different platforms (notably, Google Play and the Microsoft Store) varies due to circumstances outside of our control. It may thus take a few more days to appear everywhere, so just stay tuned. Tags: Release Announcements View the full article...
  2. Windows Developers - Kodi Needs You! It will probably come as a surprise to many of you that the active team of Kodi developers is tiny - millions of users and yet only a handful of volunteers spending their spare time to do all the technical stuff at the heart of Kodi. In turn, there is another handful of valuable people providing user support, forum moderation, supervision of the addon repo, and so on. Sometimes, we have a need for specific skills that the team does not currently have. Well, that's what has happened. You can read all about the switch to Python3 here, an essential upgrade to one of the underlying tools which Kodi uses. This is a breaking change for us, and there is a lot of work that needs to be done to get things functional again. In turn, this has brought the lack of experience of (or even interest in) developing on the Windows platforms in the team to a crisis. We are currently very short of active developers with in-depth, practical knowledge of developing and deploying C++ applications on Windows platforms, for both the both desktop and UWP versions of Kodi. We especially need people: who know and understand CMake, to bring packaging of Windows dependencies into line with those of our other actively-developed platforms. with knowledge of the UWP API, and an interest in implementing Kodi as a UWP app running on Xbox, etc. We cannot hold up releases of Kodi just for one or two platforms, no matter how large or active they may be or how many users they have. So there is a real risk that if new blood does not join the team, at least UWP (XBox) will have to be dropped for Kodi v20 and probably even Matrix v19. Put bluntly, we need Windows developers. If that is you, and you'd be willing and interested to work on a project like Kodi, then we'd love to hear from you. We really want to say that our existing developers would be able to mentor as much as required, and we will certainly assist as much as we can, but in reality you need to be self-reliant and sufficiently experienced to be able to hold your own. Kodi is not a starter project, more a serious mountain that few conquer; it's complex, but very rewarding too. A sense of adventure and enjoyment of unravelling mysteries and puzzles would help a lot. Bottom line, without developer interest, the likelihood of there being a UWP release for v19 is slim, and v20 would be zero. Your Kodi needs you! Footnote: for those who may be interested, Team member Rechi has provided the following technical notes. The current dependency system is mandatory for compilation on Android, iOS, macOS and tvOS. It can be also used for Linux, but we usually use system libraries (provided by the distribution). The process compiles all libraries needed for Kodi (link) from source, along with some required tools (link). For Windows, however, pre-compiled libraries (except FFmpeg and libdvd) and executables are downloaded (download-dependencies.bat) and then used to build Kodi. Because some libs depend on other libs, one has to recompile all reverse dependencies to be sure everything is still working. If an issue then shows up within a library, that one has to be compiled again (and maybe also, in turn, its reverse dependencies), packaged and re-uploaded, instead of simply fixing the issue in source code. Where we're trying to get to with Windows, then, is to have all necessary libraries compiled from source, as an integrated part of the build process, and thus replace the download-dependencies.bat, download-msys2.bat and make-mingwlibs.bat scripts. The main changes for this can be found here as detailed in this pull request (link). It switches from downloading pre-compiled native executables to building them from source. Target libraries are only switched to compiling from source for x86-windows, arm-windowsstore, x86-windowsstore and x86_64-windowsstore, because it currently contains only required dependencies. This means those platforms will lose some functionality until the libs are added. This can be done one by one and I can guide anyone who is interested. Once all optional libraries are added, x86_64-windows platform can also be switched to this dependency system. Tags: Windows Development View the full article...
  3. Kodi 19 with Python 3 Goes Live Nearly two years ago, we announced that Kodi was migrating to use the Python 3 interpreter for its many addons (see here) and we explained both why we were doing it and what would change. Since then we have been encouraging all add-on developers to work towards that goal. If you want to read more about how to make add-ons work with the new Python version, see this page on our wiki. As Python 2 is imminently reaching end of life (1st January 2020)m we've needed to pull this forwards, so have just taken the next big step: the nightly builds for Kodi 19 "Matrix" are now using the Python 3 interpreter to run all Python-based add-ons This means that not only can add-on developers test their work using the most recent Kodi builds, but that early bird users of v19 also are able to use them. However, this migration is very much a breaking change for us, and there's a lot of work that needs to be done to get things fully functional again. This also needs to be done quickly, as we need to be complete before the end of life of Python 2 happens. The support of the wider community in this phase will be very welcome. For early users of Kodi v19 via the nightly builds, the obvious issue is that a large number of add-ons are non-functional. Problems with specific add-ons can best be reported on the forum thread for that add-on - read up if the author is already aware before posting. However, the developers of some older add-ons are no longer active, so anyone with Python skills and an interest in Kodi is encouraged to get involved with updating some of the now otherwise-unmaintained add-ons and scripts. There are also issues that need core developer knowledge to fix. Since moving to Python 3 there are some difficulties on all Windows platforms in particular. The version of Kodi for UWP (Xbox) does not compile at all, and needs someone to champion it. There are also issues with certain libraries e.g. Pillow, PyCryptodome, cTypes etc., being missing or incompatible versions, so those add-ons that depend on them don't run and can't be tested on Windows. Things will be a little raw at the edges until we can get these things fixed, so bear with us and if you have skills and can step up and contribute then please do. Tags: Release Announcements Python View the full article...
  4. So, here we are, the third and final day of DevCon 2019. It's likely to be a short list of topics this morning before some people head home while those who remain use the time together to write some fabulous code. So, let's get straight to business. We kicked off with kwiboo and jernej (from the LibreELEC team) talking about HDR support on Linux. This goes way beyond Kodi, as it's kernel-level work to improve GPU support; this then ripples through the operating system before finding its way to Kodi via V4L2 and ffmpeg. We've been working mostly with the Intel team to complete support for their chipset, but there's also basic work in place for Allwinner, Amlogic and Rockchip. This means that we're well on the way to having a common implementation across all major chipsets that are likely to be running Linux. The industry-wide, concerted focus on V4L2 (driven significantly by Google/ChromeOS) also means that we can finally strip away large chunks of proprietary, vendor-specific code as all of these chipsets move to a common, standardised API model. We've grudgingly tolerated these for a long time, but they make maintaining and updating functionality so much more difficult when you need to consider dozens of different code paths, so we'll be glad to see the back of them. A couple of topics that took some time but didn't really make it to the final sessions, so perhaps we'll come back to them later: roles and responsibilities within the Board, the overall Kodi architecture and how it could be improved, potential for web browser support in Kodi. Just headings for the moment, so don't get too excited. Following this, we spent a chunk of time on introspective activities: admin rights, system and application access, social media access, password lockers, two-factor authentication, and similar. We also talked about Team matters: new members, absent friends, acknowledgements. Maybe not really interesting to the outside world, but still stuff we need to worry about if we're to keep everything running smoothly. And now it's time for what a room full of developers ("a segfault of programmers", perhaps?) with laptops does naturally. All around me, I can see screens scrolling as code compiles, the brightly-coloured syntax highlighting of IDEs, the transient flash of windows and terminal prompts as people cycle between them. The mob is talking animatedly about CODECs, rendering planes, operating systems, APIs, kernel calls. In the distance, a heated debate begins about the relative merits of Linux distros. There's a constant murmur of noise, the combination of conversation, keyboard taps and error sounds. The mood for the rest of the day is set... let's hope no-one breaks anything important... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ So, that's it for this year. Thanks for listening, and I hope you've found these posts informative. More than that, though, thanks for continuing to support Kodi! All the best, Team Kodi. Tags: DevCon View the full article...
  5. Morning, all. It's a beautiful day here, and we're just waiting for the last few latecomers to arrive before another day of DevCon... We kicked off with Python 3, following on from yesterday's conversation. The general consensus was to get this merged and live with any minor breakage - we need to get this done, and can't wait for absolutely every add-on to be updated before we merge. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, after all. The conversation then quickly shifted to sarbes talking about features that would make life much easier from a Python developer's perspective. These are really around how the core code handles items, lists and displays, and how this could be modified to improve the user experience (e.g. pagination of long lists). The obvious affect is on lists of Internet content, but it would also improve PVR/EPG display, searching, and others. Similarly, allowing add-ons to specify viewtypes or just know more about what views the user prefers would make things more consistent and usable. Other ideas included subtitle support for use within add-ons, and some kind of URI mechanism so an add-on could transfer a path from one Kodi instance to another - this would allow you to move playback from your 'phone to the TV, for example. Next up, jimcaroll stepped up to talk about Codegenerator, which is a core part of Kodi's Python (and, in theory, other scripting language) API, auto-generating the C++ API code as required. The main purpose of this is to reduce code size and improve maintainability, but it could potentially scale to give a more flexible, standardised approach to supporting multiple different types of external module. Only a concept, but that would open up huge possibilities for add-ons in C#, JavaScript, Groovy and many others, bringing very different functionality, security models, and scope. This was followed by an update on tvOS by kambala and fuzzard. Much of the Apple-specific code has been floating around for a while in various forks and branches, so this is a more concerted effort to bring it all back together, update and augment it to form a complete package for the Apple TV 4. Still a work in progress, but getting closer. Next up, lrusak took the stage to lead a session on how platform specifics can block or delay overall development - for example, when a pull request affects all platforms but there's some obscure issue on one particular operating system. Older versions of operating systems may come with different libraries or different development toolchains; different platforms might diverge totally or even miss out components that are business-as-usual on everything else; API calls can behave slightly differently even when they shouldn't. So, should we hold everything back because of one platform? Should we hold back all platforms because, say, an older but still maintained (e.g. LTS) OS release can't support some aspect of newer functionality? Should we merge a change if it compiles on all platforms except one, effectively breaking that platform until "later"? This isn't an easy issue: ultimately, we want to get new functions and fixes out there, and that may mean living with some dead code and platform-specific workarounds in the meantime; alternatively, we simply freeze older platforms at a previous Kodi release, and move on (as, indeed, many other application developers do). As always, though, if you're a developer who could help here, you know where to find us... After a break for lunch, kib and keith kicked off a conversation about Foundation responsibilities and costs - some activities are legal in nature, many of them administrative, all of them important. As a registered non-profit organisation, we're obliged to submit certain paperwork on an annual basis to keep that status along with US tax declarations. Forget this, or get it wrong, and we face losing our status and either incurring significant taxes or else paying lawyers to re-submit and regain it - neither scenario being something we want. As such, we have an ongoing task to better document what people do and highlight the imperative tasks within that list: even as a bunch of volunteers, there's a degree of professionalism required behind the scenes, and that means sometimes paying for help. Time to return to more technical matters: jimcarroll once again took the floor, this time to talk about threading in Kodi. Given the history of Kodi, there was a lot of platform-specific threading mechanisms. That creates complex code, with dependencies and checks that just get in the way - so, can we collapse it down into a more platform-independent model, or, at least, a minimal set of variations? It turns out that you can slim down to two main models: POSIX and Windows, and that's where the work has been heading. Some code will still need variations, though, although other code can be collapsed still further into newer, more standardised threading mechanisms that have been implemented on all platforms since the original code was written (e.g. as implemented in C++11). Bringing the afternoon to a close, then, jimcarroll stayed on his feet to talk about DI - dependency injection. This is a mechanism to move away from a monolithic main() routine that directs all other application activities, and instead having a suite of dynamic dependencies between modules that are resolved at runtime. In this instance, the code can declare a constructor that has a dependency on some other component without explicitly knowing about that other component when the code is written. And that's it for Day Two. A few more topics to roll over until tomorrow, along with a hackathon while everyone is together - but, until then, that's all for now. Tags: DevCon View the full article...
  6. Another year passes, and here we are once again, locked in a windowless room to discuss all things Kodi-shaped. Genuine thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and users - that means you, you lovely people - whose donations make these meetings possible. Old faces, new faces, guests - these events really do help us to come together, share ideas and shape the direction of our favourite media software. So, where are we? Well, this blog post comes to you from Belgrade, the capital of the Balkan state of Serbia, at the crossroads of central and south-east Europe. A city of some 1.25 million people, Belgrade has a long and turbulent history: the area has been inhabited for some 8,000 years, and has been home to, or part of, the Vinča culture, Celts, the Roman Empire, Slavs, the Bulgarian Empire, the Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburgs and Yugoslavia. On with the show... After the usual round of introductions, kambala opened the show with a session on crash reporting: whether and how we could collect more crash logs by making it semi-automated or just generally easier ("Kodi has had a problem, would you like to send a report to the developers?" sort of thing). If we can get better insights, particularly into "silent" crashes, then we can get to work on eliminating bugs without waiting until someone gets annoyed enough to report it. Of course, we need to balance data volumes, human workload, user privacy, platform/component-specifics, and several other factors before we go down this road, so it isn't something that would appear tomorrow. Next up, DarrenHill gave an update on forum activity and moderation. Overall, we've got a solid, worldwide team of moderators and a good suite of supporting tools that have had a significant positive impact on volumes of spam or undesirable posts. There's more user-led engagement around what we can and can't support on the forum; we've improved how we can notify our users when there's an upstream problem (e.g. with metadata providers) that might cause issues with Kodi; spammers are either blocked at source or removed from the forum very swiftly. What we're perhaps lacking, though, is more diligence around the wiki as a source of help - keeping this up-to-date as Kodi continues to grow and improve. As usual, volunteers are always welcome. Our 2019 Google Summer of Code student, gusandrianos, took the microphone next to talk about his work on multi-pass shaders in RetroPlayer. Shaders are GPU routines that handle scaling, colours, lighting, shading, etc., and are used in RetroPlayer to change the look-and-feel of games as individual frames are rendered: pixellation, colour saturation, scaling, video effects, and similar. More information can be found via the GSoC website here. Keith then stepped up to lead a discussion about Kodi's trademark policy and how we work with community groups that wish to use our code and/or branding. This covers projects which effectively bundle or build Kodi for specific purposes (e.g. LibreELEC or Debian) as well as complete rebranding (e.g. OSMC, SPMC). What we're really trying to do is protect our intellectual property while being as easy to work with as we can be: we've probably been a bit heavy-handed in the past, and this isn't helpful when people are simply trying (for the most part) to do the right thing. This conversation then led into how we include more "stakeholders" into our conversations - people who aren't team members, who maybe aren't specifically contributing to Kodi, but who are still doing interesting, relevant things that should be embraced. The conversation also covered "best practices" and how we can more easily advise people what they can and can't do, or under what conditions. The afternoon session kicked off with Keith giving an overview of Kodi's financial position - where our money has come from, where it's gone back out to, what we have left. Changing financial regulations around the world also mean that we need to re-assess our bank account setup, specifically in terms of how we keep "local" accounts to receive donations and pay expenses in e.g. EUR when we're incorporated in the US. Within the team, we use Slack extensively to talk to each other on both broad (e.g. "moderators") and narrow (e.g. "HDR on Windows") topics, so we had a conversation about all the channels we have that team members may have missed. We also talked about external channels, which we have so we can invite guests, bridge to IRC, and similar. If you collaborate with Team Kodi in any way and would find this useful, please let us know and we'll set something up. Next up, yol and DaVu led a conversation about how, now we've completed the move, switching bug tracking from Trac to GitHub Issues has worked out. In general, it's working well, although we need to tighten up how we tag issues to both make sure they get routed correctly and, ultimately, to ensure that they get closed off once complete. You can find the current list of open and closed issues on our GitHub code repository. We've adopted a similar process for tagging pull requests, although we clearly need to improve our approach for notifying, reviewing and merging PRs given the backlog we've built up. We talked a little about the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and what this means for us - specifically, the forum, as that's arguably personally-identifiable information. Generally, we don't aim to collect such information, and people's posts are made publicly and thus outside of the scope of the legislation. However, there are still perhaps some tweaks we can make to ensure all "fingerprints" are removed should someone ask. The next topic was around the vision for Kodi and how it fits into the streaming world we find ourselves in. The conversation was started off by da-anda, reflecting how we, as individuals, have seen our viewing habits change in recent years. This is a big topic, as there are as many political issues as there are any others: as part of the battle between themselves, the "walled garden" content providers fiercely defend the 'user experience' via their specific interface and applications. This obviously has real implications for any attempts to bring streamed content into a combined library view. The conversation moved on with a conversation about add-ons - specifically, how they're listed and shown, which is currently best summarised as "in a long list, not all of which will work for everyone even if you know what they might be for". Can we group them? Can we tag them? Who would, how? We also touched on use cases - how clumsy it is to add your own home videos or similar content, for example - and also how else people do or could use Kodi. And we also talked about the implications for core developer time (both as mentors and programmers), and our constant need for more people who are motivated and interested in contributing significant features to the project; if nothing else, it's futile to have a roadmap or list of features if we then can't actually implement them. Kodi is a fantastic playground for experienced C++ developers and for those who wish to develop these skills; you don't need to be a video guru either, as there's an awful lot of code around the core player/renderer routines. Go on: you know you want to... The day continued with a1rwulf and the work he's been doing on metadata and database storage. This is major re-work that impacts large pieces of code throughout the application, so merging it needs to be done carefully. However, it brings about significant performance improvements, scales to large databases better, and brings new functionality around music sources and playlists. Some of these functions might better implemented as binary add-ons so they can be ported to the core application sooner rather than later - the benefit of taking a more modular approach. Rounding off the session, then, garbear introduced a discussion around Kodi versioning which quickly led into plans for Kodi 19 "Matrix". New features or capabilities notwithstanding, Python 2 goes end-of-life on New Year's Day 2020 - the clock is literally ticking down - and that gives a growing imperative to release the Python 3 version of Kodi into the wild. There are, of course, other issues to address and other code to include before we can release, and a final check that Python 3 doesn't break more than it solves, so it's a balancing act now. And that concludes our first day. As the sun sets on Belgrade, it's time to head out into the Balkan night in search of beer and something to eat. Okay, mostly beer. Tags: DevCon View the full article...
  7. Is it legal? After "What exactly is Kodi?", the second most common question we often get asked is "Is Kodi legal?". The two questions are of course linked, but with the recent media reporting concerning piracy the answer to the legality is sometimes not so clear to the man in the street. Due to various 3rd party addons, the app has gained an unwanted reputation as being a "way to get movies and TV shows for free". This is not helped at all by certain unscrupulous websites and YouTube bloggers who encourage and perpetuate the myth, simply to increase their traffic from web users and earn more cash from the site sponsors. So it may be worthwhile to try and officially answer the legality question, and at least in part for usage one as well. So what is Kodi? Put simply the "reference Kodi", which is the one supplied by Team Kodi and available from our website along with selected official app stores (Google and Windows for example) is a media centre. Underneath the hood is a powerful media player to play back video or audio files, but coupled to that is the flexible user interface and library system for storing and displaying posters, plot and cast information and other supporting metadata. As supplied, reference Kodi does not ship with any media at all, nor are any media-providing addons pre-installed. What it does come with though is a catalogue of vetted and approved addons (our official repo) which can be installed from within the Kodi GUI by the user, enabling access to a selection of legitimate sources. The intended usage case is that the user will either supply their own media files stored locally on their network for Kodi to access, or that they will install the addons that they wish to use. Then is it legal? As we supply it, Kodi is totally legal. If the user is supplying their own media for Kodi to play, then the provenance and legality of that media is their own responsibility, as is any possible consequences of them having it in their possession. Similarly if they actively choose to install an addon within Kodi, it is their decision and responsibility to do so. Where things become murkier is the area of third party addons. Kodi is designed to be extendable, and addons are available through third party repositories as well as from the official sources. It should be noted firstly that in reference Kodi this third party capability is disabled by default, and must be specifically enabled (along with a warning message and confirmation) by the user before third party sources can be used. If this is enabled, then additional repos can be installed and addons obtained from them. As the name suggests, these third party addons and repos are neither produced by, supported by nor endorsed by Team Kodi. Sadly there are many third party addons out there which enable access to pirated media or streams, in violation of copyright laws. This has in the past led users who make use of them into legal difficulties alongside legal action being taken against those who write and supply such addons. This of course is something we wish to avoid, as by the nature of the press our name and brand gets associated with their activities, and the infamous "Kodi Box" has become synonymous with piracy (even though there is strictly no such thing, as we do not produce, sell or endorse hardware media devices). How do I spot a dodgy deal? As with any deal, common sense is your best yardstick. But there are a number of pointers to guide you when things may be less than kosher, be it for a device or for a third party addon: if you are being offered media (TV shows, TV channels, events or movies) for free that you would normally expect to pay for. if you are being offered media that you wouldn't normally have access to privately (for example movies currently playing in theatres or not yet on DVD/streaming release). if you are being sold a device by someone claiming to be Kodi or officially endorsed by them (for example by their website using our brand name and/or logo). if the device is being sold as preconfigured to enable immediate access to online media sources. if the supplier website or channel is plastered with ads for VPNs and other similar methods to "cover your tracks", and doubly so if the article says that they are required. if the deal is "too good to be true". In the end always ask yourself this question - "if I were offered this in a pub car park or a market, would I buy it?". The official built-in repo has been audited by Team Kodi. No addon within it makes use of non-legitimate sources, nor does their code pose a malware risk if installed. As this audit is not done on any other third party source, the user should beware and confirm that they are happy to trust the source before using it, or at least are prepared to accept any repercussions from doing so. So what about torrents, storage sites and builds? These again can be grey areas in terms of legality and trustworthiness. Whilst we do allow addons which give access to torrents and web storage sites (OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, Mega etc), we do not allow any into the official repo which come pre-packaged with sources included. Again this comes down to user choice and responsibility. The user can do what he likes with the software, as long as it is done with their understanding of what they are doing and that they take personal responsibility for their actions. One thing that we do not support at all is builds, as by their very nature they take away that user choice. Even aside from the fact that most are simply there to provide access to pirated media via dodgy addons, they also take away the users consensual choice as to what is being installed on their devices. There has been more than one example of malware being bundled into certain builds, or other unwelcome inclusions which subvert and often break Kodi functionality. As we had nothing to do with such breakages, we of course do not wish to have to support fixing them. The final verdict So is Kodi legal? As we supply it, the answer is yes. But as the old saying goes, "it's not what you have, it's how you use it", and in this case also where you got it from. If it has been sourced from elsewhere, or if something has been added or modified since it was obtained, then all guarantees are null and void. We won't tell you what to do, not to do or how to use our software. We guarantee the reference Kodi we supply, anything beyond that is up to you. View the full article...
  8. As we approach Kodi DevCon (our annual team member conference) we continue our quest for greater transparency and openness in how the project is managed. We’d like to touch on project finances: specifically where the money comes from, and where it goes. Outreach is a major expense. In the last year Team Kodi members presented at: FOSDEM - both @yol and @lrusak gave talks (here and here) Open Source Leadership Summit - @natethomas spoke (slides) SCALE - @natethomas spoke, How to Destroy a Community (video, overview and slides) Linaro Connect - @lrusak spoke (video) Team members also attended: Embedded World Community Leadership Summit Open Source Summit North America OSCON GSoC Mentor Summit Videolan Dev Days 35c3 Some attendance costs are fully covered by the conference organizers. Sometimes our team members pay their own way. Mostly Kodi funds or part-funds a trip. Your donations allow the team to play an ongoing and active part in the Open Source community; both sharing our own knowledge with others, and learning from them so we can make Kodi better. Server infrastructure, hosting, bandwidth and CDN services, build servers, hardware items for testing, and some minor subscriptions, e.g. accounting software (as we need to file tax returns) are lesser but regular recurring costs. Some are offset by sponsors, most we fund ourselves. Kodi DevCon is our largest expense of the year. We are a global team and the project talks mainly in text, via the forums or Slack. This creates endless opportunities for cultural, linguistic and more general misunderstanding. DevCon typically brings 20-30 team members together somewhere in a cheaper part of Europe and gives them a chance to speak face-to-face, share ideas, share some drinks and laughs - helping to defuse tensions that build up. We also get to talk about Kodi a lot (even more than normal) which spares our partners for a few days. They do get sick of hearing about it :) The project has three sources of funding: sponsorships, public donations, and sales of Kodi branded tee-shirts and Raspberry Pi ‘flirc’ cases. There is zero advertising on our website and in our application - and this will never change (we reject many emails from advertising sales people each week). While we need to raise funds to cover our annual costs, we are not motivated by money, and nobody is paid by our foundation - we are 100% volunteers. Kodi is free - and will always be an Open Source (GPL) project - because we chose to be Open Source and because it is impossible for us to change our license. We have never required contributors to submit a CLA, so they own the rights to their code, and a license change would need the permission of all contributors. Our oldest code (c.2002) cannot be attributed to a single author, and solving that would need us to rewrite an impractical volume of code. And the team simply wouldn’t allow the license change; especially @spiff our resident Viking who has been around since the original Xbox days. We do like sponsors - as long as they are relevant and publicly supportive of Open Source software. Sponsoring Kodi does not bring any special treatment or influence on the team, and all sponsors are vetted by the board. Past sponsors have donated cash to our Foundation (our preferred option) or provided developers with hardware (spec. kit to write code on, not test samples) and one even bankrolled DevCon which was awesome. Current Gold sponsors provide us with free services (e.g. site hosting) which saves us a fortune. You can see their names in the footer of this page and we cannot thank them enough! We are proud to announce our latest Diamond sponsor - Libre Computer, who manufacture a range of Allwinner, Amlogic and Rockchip single-board computer hardware for industrial and hobbyist use-cases (including HTPCs). We are normally shy when hardware vendors approach us with an offer of sponsorship, but Libre Computer has been funding a range of Open Source projects and Linux multimedia development that directly benefits the ecosystem around them in addition to their own products. We like their approach to FOSS, and we appreciate their support. Interested in individually supporting us? - there are several ways: Our Donate page has Credit Card, PayPal, BTC and Wire Transfer info Our Patreon page. Amazon (US) will donate 0.5% of your purchases to registered non-profit organizations of any US purchases via smile.amazon.com. We are listed as “Kodi Foundation” and here is a link to sign up: Amazon Smile Thank you to everyone who contributes to Kodi and hopefully makes it possible for the team to have our developer conference in October - and if you know of a company contributing to Open Source who might be interested in becoming a Kodi sponsor, please drop us a line. Tags: finances admin View the full article...
  9. Another couple of months have passed since we last pushed out a release, and so, in our ongoing efforts to produce the best media software in the world, it's time to squash another few of those more irritating bugs. Usual rules apply: don't expect any new features, don't think that this will change your life, it won't make you richer or more attractive, but it will hopefully be more stable and usable for people who've been victims of any of these bugs. So, what have we done? Well, you can find a full summary of closed pull requests here, but the summary would be... Interface Fix Missing text when sorting from inside addon Clear/save focus-history when leaving window with focus on parent folder item Picture slideshow fixes (Estuary) Subscribe to controller install events (games) Fix radio button text length (Estuary) Fix season/episode formatting for video addons (video) Don't consider display mode ids constant (Android) Playback/Display Fix PlayMedia builtin for playlists (.strm) and "artists" smart playlists (music) Fix PlayMedia builtin for smart playlists and playlists (music) FFmpeg: Bump to 4.0.4-Leia-18.4 Load program from stream property without using streaminfo (video) Fix initialization of AVD3D11VAContext structure (video, Windows) Fix TS resume point, related to PR16314 (video) Fixed memory leak, fixed segfault (video, Linux) Fix PAPlayer to handle passthrough for TrueHD (audio) PVR Fix component dependencies PVRRecordings: Prevent concurrent calls to video database Other/General fixes Use first protocol from add-on in add network dialog Use exact matching for protocol in file+dir factories Use of absolute paths in combination with hosts in URLs Fix file times for vfs addons Fix + sign HTTP folder Corrections to filesystem CircularCache initialization and termination Controller fixes Delete stream details when video info is refreshed Do not attempt to further resolve plugin paths for failing entries Revert "fixed: We should always update stream details from player..." Many - indeed, most - of these fixes are hidden deep inside Kodi and really shouldn't be obvious to most people; unless you're doing something that regularly hits one of them, you'll really never notice. That said, they're all real bugs, and real fixes, so thanks as always to all who found a bug, took the time to report it and, in some cases, provided a fix. The full v18.4 changelog can be found in our GitHub milestone. If you want to read back on what was actually changed in v18 itself, you can find the corresponding articles in the blog posts - Kodi 18, Kodi 18.1, Kodi 18.2, and Kodi 18.3. As usual, Kodi roll out on different platforms (notably, Google Play and the Microsoft Store) varies due to circumstances outside of our control. It may thus take a few more days, so just stay tuned. Tags: Release Announcements View the full article...
  10. The Freedom of Choice One of the main tenets of both Kodi and open-source software in general is freedom of choice. By making the software freely and publicly available without charge, users are able to try the software with no financial outlay or risk. As the source code is also available for inspection, the risks of "hidden nasties" such as covert information gathering and other data mining can also be alleviated. Anyone can download, review and audit any part of the software that they wish, as well as submitting any updates, improvements and bug fixes that they may make. This notion of user choice is also key to the operation and support offered by Team Kodi, both through GitHub and the web forum. One common question is why we don't do more to combat piracy, especially given our zero tolerance policy towards support (or lack thereof, aside from attempts to completely remove from infected systems). The simple answer is that we believe in user choice, and that if the user makes the conscious and informed decision that they want to use Kodi for such purposes then that is up to them. Similarly, any resultant technical or legal problems which may arise are also down to them, and there's no liability or responsibility on Team Kodi for what a user has chosen to do. An Informed Choice Key to that stance, though, is that the user has made an informed choice. This is the reason why third-party repositories are not usable by default in Kodi. The user has to make a specific action to enable their usage, complete with a warning pop-up message about the risks and liabilities involved. We take responsibility for our official repository and what we we allow into it, and content is reviewed and audited before it is included. Any fork of Kodi which seeks to override or remove this default setting would immediately be blacklisted by the team, and no support for it at all would be offered by any official Team Kodi outlet. Similarly, this is why the team does not allow forks with pre-installed add-ons to be made without complete rebranding and disassociation from Kodi, and why no "builds" are supported. By "build", here we use the term in the common user parlance (as can be found on many of the third-party YouTube videos and parasitic "fan" websites that we would rather did not exist) for collections of add-ons either grouped into an "all in one" installation, or even images of Kodi with such add-ons pre-installed. This obviously completely removes the user choice element, aside from the choice to install the build in the first place. The main issues here are twofold. Firstly, whilst such builds tend to install popular piracy add-ons, they often also quietly install other code under the hood with little or no visibility to the user. This can range from scripts that try to maintain the installation (given the limited lifespan of such add-ons) to ones that aim to sabotage or remove those of rival suppliers - and, in the extreme, even to malicious malware scripts to form botnets, mine digital coinage or perform other nefarious actions behind the user's back. Secondly, such builds tend to be advertised on websites and in videos as being official, legal and legitimate. This is often deliberately done to confuse the naive user that they are getting something for nothing and a good deal. Of course, a moment's thought and common sense should tell anyone that if media providers such as Sky, HBO and Disney charge people what they do for their officially-provided services, then offers of them for free cannot be above board. Similarly, sources or add-ons offering media that wouldn't normally be available, such as movies that are still in cinema theatres, should also ring alarm bells in the head of any consumer. Uncommon Sense, or Stating the Obvious? Unfortunately in this day and age such common sense does not seem to apply to the internet. We often see this on the forum when new users request support for such installations and then apologise with "sorry, I didn't know" or similar when we decline to assist. They completely miss the point that it was their choice and basic greed that led them there, and a moment's thought should have given them pause. For some reason users seem to willingly accept the most obviously dodgy deals on the internet, ones that they wouldn't touch if offered in a pub car park, car boot sale or other "real world" environment. Our simple advice is to apply the same judgement to your Kodi installation as you would to anything else in life. If the deal you're being offered seems too good to be true, it quite probably is and there will be a catch somewhere. The team works hard to provide the Kodi software and also to curate the official repository. Both of these can be safely used when obtained from our official site. However, beyond that, the principles of caveat emptor apply. We expect and enforce that users are responsible for their own actions and the repercussions from them. So before using any third party repository or add-on, take a moment to consider what you know about the authors, their reputation and what they are offering. Don't be fooled by false promises and dodgy deals - in the end the person responsible for your devices' safety and security is you. Tags: Addon Banned addons Education tips View the full article...
  11. Two months have passed since our last bugfix release and already we have a new one ready for consumption. Fancy a few more features? There aren't any, with one teeny-tiny exception. Apparently DTS-HD audio only tracks are a thing and Kodi can now play them like any other music format. That's it. No more features. Seriously. However, since Kodi 18.3 is a bugfix release, we have a boatload of erm... fixes. In fact, too many to mention. Below is a non-exhaustive list of (mostly) usability fixes. Estuary Fixed favourites widget not scrolling properly on 16:10 displays Fixed API button was not reachable with a mouse on Settings window Fixed Skin Settings window scrollbar focus Fixed order of TV Show title and Episode title in Video Info dialog Added Search button to the side menu in the Video and Music windows Fixed Wall and Infowall views scroll to bottom on certain aspect-ratios Fixed broken side menu navigation in the Addon Browser window PVR Fixed a Group Manager crash when adding a new group Fixed EPG UI corruption and/or EPG data not showing with newly added channels Fixed PVR guide window channel data being overwritten Music Added support for DTS-HD audio tracks Fixed wrong album or artist thumb art being picked from scraper results The remaining fixes are under the hood and range from addressing nasty memory leaks to DVD playback from HTTPS sources, with a couple of crash and burn events in between. A special thanks to all the users that found a bug, took the time to report it and, in some cases, provided a fix. The full v18.3 changelog can be found in our GitHub milestone. If you want to read back on what was actually changed in v18 itself, you can find the corresponding articles in the blog posts - Kodi 18, Kodi 18.1 and Kodi 18.2. As usual, Kodi 18.3 availability on Google Play and Microsoft Store may take a few more days. Stay tuned. Tags: Release Announcements View the full article...
  12. Yesterday the new Raspberry Pi 4B was unveiled with a revised spec that guarantees it will be super-popular with Kodi users. It brings 4K media support, faster CPUs, faster memory, faster Ethernet, faster USB, and now handles HEVC natively. It's a great update on the previous 3B+ model, and at $35 for the 1G model it's also a bargain, and we predict it will be a massively popular way to run Kodi via distro's like LibreELEC, OSMC and Raspbian. The 4B's board layout is different to previous models so upgrading (and new) users will need a new case – and what better to wrap a Pi 4B in than a Kodi Edition Flirc case! Retaining the design language that made the original case great, the Flirc case has been re-tooled to accommodate the Raspberry Pi 4B's ports and CPU placement ensuring maximum cooling efficiency. Otherwise it's the same winning formula and gorgeous design as the previous 3B/3B+ Kodi Edition case. The main body is Aluminium and designed to act as a heatsink that keeps the BCM2711 chip in your 4B cool. The top surface of the Aluminium has been mirror-polished to catch your eye, and the Kodi branded top uses soft-touch plastics so it not only looks great, it feels great too. Flirc is well into manufacturing and are offering an early bird discount of 30%. At USD $11.20 (normal price USD $15.95) that's a steal! – and orders will ship in late July. Flirc is also offering the 3B/3B+ case at the same discounted rate to clear remaining inventory. Team Kodi receives a royalty on each Kodi branded case sold – and alongside t-shirt sales it's one of the main sources of funding for the Kodi Foundation. Flirc also donate a percentage of the sale to Cancer research at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, which plays a key role in personal back-story to Flirc. Tags: Community Updates Featured Software and Hardware Site News Galleries: View the full article...
  13. Repos: When All-in-one Can Be No Fun. For better or worse, one of the most powerful features of Kodi is the ability to extend its capabilities via addons. Key components in this are the repositories, or "repos" as they're more commonly known. They allow for quick and simple installation and upgrade of addons, but as with the whole topic they too have a darker and riskier side that many users do not consider. Before we go into details of those risks, let's first set the background by considering what a repo actually is and what it enables. As most users know, there are two main ways of expanding Kodi's functionality with addons - install from zip and install from repo. Install from zip does exactly what it says on the tin: it installs a given addon into Kodi using a zip file package that contains the addon code. That zip file may be either downloaded from the internet and transferred onto the device where Kodi is running, or it can be accessed directly over the internet via an added source (most commonly through the Kodi file manager). This route is mainly intended for addon development purposes, prior to release and inclusion in a repo. There are two main issues with this approach. The first problem is that the installation is then static. If the addon is updated or modified, Kodi won't know this and any updates will need to be manually installed by the user. The second issue, however, is the one most commonly encountered by users, in that any other addons or code that the original addon depends on (that it uses or references, and requires to be installed for it to run) will not be automatically installed. Thus, for the original addon to operate and not just generate log errors or crash, all of its dependencies, both the correct packages and the correct versions, need to be manually located and installed separately. So, What's a Better Way? Using a repo can solve both of these issues. A Kodi repo contains links to the current (and, commonly, also older) versions of the addon plus any required dependencies. So it acts as a "one stop shop" to install the given addon, with the bonus that it can be done via the Kodi GUI using the Install from repo option. With the exception of the official Kodi repo (which comes built into the Kodi core code), the only install from zip that is required is the original one to install the repo itself. The real power of the repo, though, is that when the addon author updates their addon and pushes that new version to the repo (whether the official one or their own third-party one which the user has installed), then Kodi will see that the update is available and can either offer the update or just update it automatically, depending on configuration. So, with minimal or even no user effort, addons can be quickly and easily maintained, and distributed, keeping all user devices up to date. Sounds Great - What's the Catch? That update functionality is where the potential risks come into play, however, especially for the common third party "all-in-one" repos (containing addons from multiple authors) that can be obtained from various internet sites and sources. Currently, if a newer version (with a higher version number) of a given addon is pushed to an installed repo, then the addon can be updated regardless of which repo the addon originally came from. Hence, if a malicious programmer pushes a new version of an addon (which may or may not be their own) to an installed repo, then anyone who had the original version will get the poisoned version installed onto their device instead. This is a obviously a very undesirable outcome and would lead to widespread issues if a popular addon were to be subverted. Another big issue with third-party repos is the fact the domain name might be abandoned and expire while users still have the repository installed. This could enable an attacker to later register that expired domain, effectively taking it over. They could then replace the existing addon content with malicious code. This exact scenario is a significant enough risk to have been covered in several security conferences last year, for example this one. If Only Someone Could Do Something... There have been internal Team Kodi discussions on how to manage this risk, ranging from disallowing third-party repos completely, through to only allowing addons to update from their original repo, and on to the official stance of leaving things as they are as all of this should be the user's responsibility anyway. Another issue is that there are cases which complicate any such restrictions, such as the use of testing "beta" repos for unstable versions of addons either under construction or for adding new features. This most commonly applies to skins, but also when addon authors make early or "bleeding edge" versions of new or existing addons available for public testing using this method. In the case of the built-in official repo, each and every addon submitted to it is thoroughly reviewed, examined and tested by the repo maintainers (all Team Kodi members) to ensure it poses no risk to our user base. There are also limitations placed on addons - such as containing no pre-compiled, obfuscated or executable code ("binary blobs") - all to try and stop our addon update system becoming a distribution path for malware. For third-party repos though, no such checks are, of course, performed by the team. So for each repo to be installed, the user - that means you! - should consider where it has come from, and whether they trust the author or organisation that has supplied it. Ask yourself whether they maintain such diligence over what is included in the repos they provide. For cases such as the well-known individual addon author and their beta repos containing only their own work, the risks are often minimal. The "all-in-one" style repos, though, obviously offer a significantly higher risk of problems, especially for those that just seem to scrape any and all repos that they can access on the net, often without author agreement or consent. This is why many such repos are included on the Team Kodi banned addons list, although their common inclusion of banned piracy addons would place them on the list anyway. It's also why Team Kodi offers no support for "builds" which pre-install addons or repos, as this is another common gateway to malware problems. And for those who may be under the illusion that this is just a hypothetical scenario, the stark reality is that such hijacking cases, "code flame wars" and distribution of malware-infected code have all actually occurred in the past using these exact methods. It is a genuine and real risk. Team Kodi and its members are working towards improving the addon/repository infrastructure. A lot of tools have been developed in the last few years. Some examples of this include: Kodi-addon-generator by Razzeee - simplified creation of new addons based around a standard requirements template. Kodistubs by romanvm - stubs for the Kodi Python API. Kodi-addon-submitter also by romanvm - simplify addon submissions to the repository via Travis. Addon-check (initiated/mentored by Razzeee and implemented as a GSOC 2018 project) - check addons for known problems and deprecations. In conclusion, then: before you install any third-party addon, repo or build onto your Kodi device, pause and consider whether you really trust the source you're getting it from and any repercussions that may result from that install. Tags: Addon Banned addons Education Repos tips View the full article...
  14. It's that time again. After unleashing Kodi v18 Leia into the wild, it's time to give the upcoming Kodi 19 a codename. As usual, our users suggested a myriad of names, most right up our alley, some less... erm... "appropriate". After compiling suggestions from the community thread, Facebook and Twitter, we arrived at the top 10 list: Magneto Mars Marvel Marvin Matrix Megatron Merlin Metropolis Mordor Morpheus At first glance it seems a consensual list. Nothing out of the ordinary and, with the possible exception of "Mars", all science fiction related. Next, we needed to decide what to do: follow the users' top suggestion as we've done in the past? Have team members vote to decide the name? Or maybe pick a completely different codename for Kodi v19 – Kodi "Muppet", maybe? With so many great suggestions, we decided a team vote was the way to go. So we did, and "Matrix" won the vote. And then all hell broke loose. Some team members argued we should be less predictable and geeky, that we could use some out-of-the-box thinking, choose something completely different, etc. What ensued was truly horrific. Geeks cursed each other, pizza boxes got thrown, beer was spilled, perfectly-formatted CSS insults flew, moms' basements destroyed all over the world. I mean, spilled beer! Utter madness. Bottom line – with such a great list of suggestions and a team vote, we still couldn't reach an agreement. And, for a while, we actually contemplated settling for Kodi "MultiPass". Nahh, just kidding! The users have spoken, the team has voted and, in the end, geekiness has won! Kodi "Matrix" it is. Tags: Community Updates View the full article...
  15. Just when you thought we were all having a rest for Easter, here's some surprise news for you: Kodi "Leia" 18.2 is ready to roll. The sun is shining and the sky is blue here in western Europe, and we're all tied to our keyboards to bring you the latest Kodi loveliness. We're kind like that. In keeping with the 18.x maintenance release cycle, this is a bug fix release, with no real new functionality. What's worth noting, however, is how we've identified and managed the bugs this time. We've always valued high-quality bug reports, and, for this reason, for 18.x we implemented an issue template and an automated verification system in the GitHub issue tracker. This makes the bug reports more complete, and gives the Kodi developers a better chance to pinpoint problems more accurately and fix them more quickly. The aim is to solve the problem of waiting for proper full debug logs, samples and suchlike, hopefully saving a lot of time and getting issues resolved more quickly. Hopefully, you can see the results of this new process in the 18.x bug fix releases. For this 18.2 release we are also grateful to have received many code contributions from outside Team Kodi. With this help we were able to fix performance and dependency regressions in our GLES rendering path. Similar fixes were contributed for the AML platform, which really hasn't received much love over the past years. VAAPI on Intel has gained some corrections for interlaced content that toggled interlaced flags during playback, and therefore caused stutter by reconfiguring the decoder. Amongst other things, work has continued on Kodi's music experience: database access speed has been optimised as well as improved import functionality. Similarly, there have been fixes and improvements across all aspects of PVR, with a couple of particularly nasty bugs sent on their way. You can also find a huge number of improvements for the Android platform. Because of the automated Google tests done in the Play store, we were able to track down and resolve a lot of issues revealed by those "drunken monkey" tests. Beside all the fixes, we have introduced a Codec Factory (Android only) where power users can configure HW-Decoder usage in a fine-grained way. Most box sellers only provide usable codecs for formats which they use to sell content. Other format support tends to be poor, and therefore a configurable heuristic-based codec and video dimensions was added. The settings can be configured by the user in human-readable and writable XML format. More information can be found in the related pull request. We will continue to work on Leia: an 18.3 release will be drafted once we have important fixes for this release. In the meantime, development on version 19 M* has begun. We will officially announce its new codename shortly. A small spoiler: "May the force be with you - always". But this time we will switch universes (and here's another hint: you might find it on GitHub already if you know where to look...). The full v18.2 changelog can be found in our GitHub milestone. If you want to read back on what was actually changed in v18 itself, you can find the corresponding articles in the blog posts - Kodi 18, Kodi 18.1. Tags: Release Announcements View the full article...

About Us

CinemaVision began in 2014 as a collaboration to create content for use with your home theater, offering movie trivia slides and video bumpers. It has since grown to be THE PREMIER WAY to create and customize your preshow experience. Download the CinemaVision add-on for Kodi today from the official Kodi repository, and easily create a sequence of trivia, videos, trailers, home automation triggers and more that will bring the experience of a movie theater straight to your screen!

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