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  1. 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.


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

    8.10  (15 November 2008)

    9.04 Babylon (6 May 2009)

    9.11 Camelot (24 December 2009)

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

    11.0 Eden (24 March 2012)

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

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

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

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

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

    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)

    18.0 (Soon)

    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.
  2. 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…..

  3. 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, lrusaktook 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.

  4. Good morning/afternoon/evening/night (delete as appropriate - we're a global community). The world has turned once more, the sun has crawled into the sky, and we're back in the room.

    Nate began the day with an update on the Foundation's financial status: income, expenditure, bank balance, sponsorships and revenue sources. The good news is that we're financially stable, but the bad is that we're never going to be rich. Damn this volunteering thing, it's almost like everyone does this for free. Oh, wait...

    Next up, garbear took to the stage to talk about the upcoming (and long-anticipated!) RetroPlayer. This is already available in the 18.x "Leia" builds, so you can try it now if you like. As well as a demo to the team, the presentation covered how we're addressing controller topology (including hubbing and mapping), user interface options, configuration, potential for user profiles, binary add-on repository structure, and some potential future features.

    Martijn next took us through our current user statistics. Because we do no user tracking, it's always been difficult to get any real numbers, so we're reliant on partial data: Play Store active user counts, Microsoft app store figures, what we see hitting our repos for e.g. scraper or other add-on downloads. In aggregate, we probably have several tens of millions of recently-active users across all platforms and versions - including some active installations on every release since 13.x "Gotham" - plus very many more downloads (which may be dormant/secondary devices, or reinstallations, or users who decided that Kodi just wasn't their thing). This presentation also led into a conversation about release management, specifically, the intended schedule for the upcoming 18.x "Leia" release plus very early timing plans for 19.x "M*".

    The next presentation was by kib, giving us an update on all things related to the Kodi infrastructure - build servers, download servers, web hosting, caching. He took us through upgrades to the Windows build system, wiki software upgrade, https implementation, the Kodi paste site, LXD containerisation, OS reinstallation and upgrades, changes to mirror up/down detection, CloudFlare, and more.

    Finally, a1rwulfrounded out the day by talking about the Kodi databases: the basic architecture, current limitations, and potential changes that we need to consider as new features are introduced.

    A shortened day today, with a couple of topics kicked into Sunday for a variety of reasons. Watch this space for an update on those, as we'll add them in due course, either as an update to this post or as a separate one, depending on content.

  5. <blinks in the light>

    What, a year already? Yup, twelve months have passed, we're all a year older, the world is still mad, and we're once again sitting in an overly-warm, windowless, anonymous conference room, discussing everyone's favourite media software while wondering where the coffee is. Welcome to DevCon 2018, coming to you this year from Sofia/Со́фия, the capital city of the beautiful Balkan nation of Bulgaria.

    So: Team Kodi Assemble!

    We hit the ground running this morning. Mixed in with initial logistics, introductions, and the annual battle with AV and hotel wifi, keithled a conversation about github, and how we could perhaps better use it to track code and project issues. We currently use trac for bugs, which presents more than a few challenges to both casual users and the team; we could also potentially use github for bug reporting/allocation instead, and also use the associated project tracking to also keep better notes of e.g. press conversations, Foundation issues, and similar.

    We continued into a conversation about conferences- which are most appropriate, how do we best cover them, what and where, how do we get most benefit. More later on this year's conference experiences.

    Martijnthen talked about the move from Python 2 to Python 3: approach, milestones, timeline. Python 2 is EOL in 2020, so this is becoming a more urgent task. The intention is to combine this into the normal Kodi rolling release schedule, so expect a significant focus on Python 3 readiness and enforcement as we move past 18 (Leia) and on to 19 (M). If you're an addon developer, specifically, then it's time to pay attention to this as "later" is rapidly becoming "now" - everyone has had ten years to think about this, after all!

    The big challenge is how we encourage developers to migrate while not inconveniencing or irritating users. This is a significant change, and some things are likely to break. Blog post here.

    We next moved to conduct and standards - not because we believe there are specific problems, but more because it's generally good practice to have some expectations regarding behaviour of team members and contributors: if you follow the news, you won't have missed some of the headlines around what can happen when people go beyond constructive disagreement and move into personal attacks, particularly when social media or public discourse is involved. As such, we're putting in place some clearer ground rules and management policies around our own behaviour, just as we have done around the standards we expect from our forum contributors.

    The conversation then moved on to engagement and communication - how we keep people informed, updated, involved. Kodi is a big project, with very many moving parts, and nearly as many ways to interact. That's not just about the code, but it's Foundation stuff, user support, strategy, wiki, external conversations, release management: keeping on top of all of these is undoubtedly a challenge. This is very much an internal Team conversation, but one that we'll continue to progress, as even orientation to the project can potentially be a barrier to new contributors.

    Moving on, Martijnled a conversation around issue tracking - trac vs github. While we currently use an internal trac system, and it has some genuine benefits, it's neither the most usable nor maintanable of systems. By contrast, hosting and managing the issues on (public) github means they're more closely linked with code and commits, so we'd get some significant advantages there that should more than offset what we'd be missing. If we do make this change, which is likely, it won't happen overnight, as we've much to decide: what to do with old (and maybe no-longer-valid) bug reports, what labelling/tagging structure we'd need, what systems we'd need to have in place to ensure that we receive "complete" reports going forward, and so on. More to come.

    Related to this - because github is, in general, a more public platform than trac - we had a conversation about embracing this as a benefit and how we become more open. Again, Kodi is a hugely-complex project and is very daunting to a potential contributor: where to start? Who to talk to? How to get help? Who are all these people, anyway?? So, many thoughts: github conversations, GSoC experiences, public discussion channels, updated build/"getting started" documentation, code documentation/architecture. If you're a potential developer and feel like you don't know where to begin, please, contact a member of the team to help us address any concerns you have. We can always use some more help, particularly on the features and multiple platform support that everyone values so much.

    Returning to a topic introduced earlier in the day, garbear, Razzeand yoltook the floor to report back on their attendance at VDD(Video Dev Days) earlier this month (also attended by Martijnand RomanVM). This was also touched on in a previous blog post. Sessions included AV1 CODEC development, including the dav1d decoder and rav1e encoder;  the x265 HEVC encoder; VLC 4.0 plans and features; a series of short "lightning talks" on various AV-related topics; and, of course, many networking opportunities across a common community of interest (website hosting and load balancing, request handling/download management, breakouts on FFMpeg, programming languages...). Useful bridges built with like-minded people, which is ultimately good for the whole open source multimedia landscape.

    As the day started to draw to a close, mohit-0212, one of our 2018 GSoC students, gave a presentation on his project around episode intro/outro detection. The goal of this project is to improve the user experience by editing out the endless theme tunes and credits you get, particularly when binge-watching a box set. This involves searching for common scene transition points across multiple episodes of a series, and using hashing algorithms on the video stream to work out when the likely sections begin and end. In the first implementation, then, the detection is run and then the user is presented with a "skip" button as a the section begins. Fully-automated skipping would perhaps be a later addition, but more work is needed yet on the code, detection of "edge cases", and UI, and similar.

    Finally, natethomasand the other Foundation board members spent some time talking about the board responsibilities: who, what, how, why. The XBMC Foundation has a legal status, and thus there are ongoing administrative, legal and financial activities around our overall direction as a project, non-profit status, trademarks, incorporation status, revenues from sponsorship and donations, approval of expenditure, taxes, PR/press, GSoC admin, Foundation membership and bylaws, internal policies, and any formal legal communications as required.

    And that's it for day one. Time to head out into the fading evening light before reconvening in the morning.


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