XBMC 10 Is Imminent, XBMC 11 Is Already In Planning
We have just been told that the 10.0 "Dharma" release of XBMC is due out this coming week. XBMC 10.0 presents a unified add-on framework and a lot of features related to this work for providing new functionality, initial gesture support for the XBMC GUI Engine, improved mouse support, Broadcom Crystal HD decoding support, native support for unencrypted Blu-ray playback, support for Google WebM, and many other changes. While XBMC 10.0 isn't even out the door, XBMC 11.0 "Eden" is already well into planning.
Besides what's already been mentioned, other XBMC 10.0 features include initial support for OpenGL ES 2.0 to allow the Linux renderer to support embedded devices, SSH file transfer protocol support, a number of new movie/video scrapers have been introduced, an improved video scanner engine, an improved meta-data scraper engine, upgrades against FFmpeg, and much more.
Some of the Linux video fun exciting us in this release is VA-API video acceleration support, OpenMAX video acceleration support, and NEON video acceleration support. While VA-API and VDPAU are the most talked about video acceleration APIs at Phoronix, the OpenMAX video API is used by the NVIDIA Tegra 2 embedded devices and other OpenMAX IL hardware. The NEON video acceleration API targets OMAP3 / ARM NEON hardware. There's also improved VDPAU support with up-scaling and de-interlacing capabilities. Last but not least, there's also improved Linux 64-bit support.
The XBMC 10.0 milestone Trac page mentions over 150 changes for this major release. While XBMC 10.0 is a huge update for this multimedia free software project, initial plans have already been drafted for XBMC 11.0.
Among the plans for XBMC 11.0 are improvements for XBMC's virtual file system with a-synchronous threaded background loading of meta-data, a WiFi manager user-interface based upon NetworkManager for XBMC Live, and all dependencies upon the HAL manager for Linux will be dropped. There's also talks of a possible new "XBMC Appliance" Live operating system based upon OpenBricks or OpenELEC for ARM/MIPS/PPC/x86 hardware. The already-present XBMC Live distribution is currently based upon Ubuntu Linux, but for XBMC 11.0 the developers are deciding whether to base it upon another OS, such as MeeGo. This work is mentioned on their roadmap page.
While XBMC 10.0 offers a lot and XBMC 11.0 is already looking like it too will carry a number of changes, XBMC 11.0 will not offer PVR (video recording) support that's previously been talked about and was slated for the 11.0 release. There's also work under-way on porting XBMC to FreeBSD, but it's not yet known if it will reach an official status or upstream support by the 11.0 release.
Other details of work going on within the XBMC community are detailed in their XBMC DevCon 2010 summary from this event that took place a few weeks ago in the always-great Vienna, Austria.
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