TechDigital HomeRaspbmc for Raspberry Pi release candidate 3 released

Raspbmc for Raspberry Pi release candidate 3 released

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If you have your Raspberry Pi, you might be interested to know that Raspbmc release candidate 3 has just been released.

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This is what was just posted:

RC3 is here and brings us very near to release quality. This makes the XBMC experience truely complete with improved performance and stability. Aside from bug fixes and patches, here’s what’s new:

The UI installers are now available

Many people kept going to the Download page, imaging a card and then Tweeting / Emailing / Forum posting going “Huh? I installed it but it didn’t work, just left me at a blank screen”. The reason for this was that there are two branches of Raspbmc: testing and release. At the moment, everything is in testing, and when it is stable, it will migrate to release. What the UI installers do, is install release on your card, which at the time, left you with a blank screen saying it wasn’t ready yet.

So, to make it absolutely easy, I’ve enabled the UI installers, as we are after all stable enough. I haven’t populated the release branch, but instead, redirect calls to the release installer to the testing installer, and that will do the trick.

So, to summarise, Raspbmc now has a nice Python installer for OSX and Linux and a 1-click your done installer for Windows. Tell me how that can get any easier!

Raspbmc CDN is online

Raspbmc’s CDN is now online. This means the project has more mirrors than ever, and I don’t feel guilty for stealing all of the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s bandwidth, bless them for letting me use it! The CDN brings you high-speed mirrors to make Raspbmc installations and updates easy, simple and fast. Many thanks to those mirroring. More can join the party if you have a Linux box with rsync, just see this page here. You can find out who’s mirroring Raspbmc on the download page.

Thank you UKFast.net

UKFast.net Ltd have provided me with a new server to compile XBMC nightly builds. This occurs after a certain host who shall not be mentioned decided to change their Terms of Service without any notification and suspend Raspbmc nightlies. Neil at UKFast stepped in straight away over at the forum and furnished me with a new server. So when you’re installing a nightly (read more below about that), thank Neil. And if you’re in the mind for hosting, see what they offer here, it might just suit you.

New XBMC build with AudioEngine support

This new build brings us the new XBMC AudioEngine and some patches for fanart, SMB and some stability improvements.

New Raspbmc plugin

A new Raspbmc addon accessible from within XBMC allows you to configure your hostname, change the pi user’s password, turn updates off and on and disable nightly builds. What’s cool is not only can you download and install nightly builds from within it, but you can dynamically switch between any build of XBMC with no command line knowledge. Your settings, of course, are preserved across versions. I’m looking at adding some more features to this, but thanks go out to s7mx1 for the initial version.

New ‘exit’ behaviour

Now, if you exit XBMC or it crashes, you’ll find yourself given the choice of going to the command line or relaunching XBMC. Do nothing and XBMC relaunches, press Esc on a keyboard, and you’re straight into the command line.

Better 1080p playback

Some updates to the way the system configures the minimum amount of memory allocated to the kernel mean less buffering and smoother full HD playback. The screen ‘blanking’ issue, where the screen cuts out for a couple of seconds, is now eliminated.

OGG playback is fixed

A dependency was missing, and now it is included by default.

Wireless support

As requested, wireless support is now enabled in the kernel and I have bundled in the default modules for you. You’ll still need to configure everything, and probably need to install some firmware too, but with wireless modules, you won’t need to compile the kernel again. I didn’t include all the drivers people requested on the tracker, but for good reason, I included all WLAN modules not to be considered staging.

Firmware update

The firmware is updated again, fixing some PAL issues when watching over Composite. The resolution is now correctly set and should yield no further problems. Furthermore, the new firmware improves reliability, bringing significant speed improvements to the mmc controller. This means better IO throughput for SD cards. Rather brilliantly, I have seen some members of the forum report up to 19MB/s throughput with dd when they were testing the new kernel.

CEC support

This is extremely experimental, but Raspbmc now has CEC support allowing you to control Raspbmc with your TV remote. This won’t work with all devices, and will need you to be connected over HDMI.

New kernel

Our new kernel brings stability improvements, as well as support for more devices. I’ve now included:

  • IPV6 support
  • Webcam support
  • Bluetooth support
  • ALSA support (experimental, alpha-quality)
  • HFS and HFS+ support
  • LIRC GPIO support

Splash screen

This is undoubtedly a more welcoming way to begin your media center experience — the splash screen takes place in favour of the former console output that would litter your screen with unnecessary startup details.

Tighter root filesystem

The root filesystem has been précised so that unnecessary packages are not present on the target filesystem. This ensures that as much free space is available on your Pi’s SD card as possible.

LIRC changes

LIRC is now initiated from within XBMC when remotes are detected. This means that LIRC is stopped and started independently of its self. This improves reliability greatly and by configuring LIRC as an ondemand service it is more targetted.

It boots in 20 seconds now!

Obviously I am constantly striving to improve boot time. The most obvious way to do this, was to port the current SysVinit system to Upstart. Canonical’s Upstart allows the asynchronous loading of services during bootup. While the standard SysVinit init.d system will allow initialisation of a single process at a time, Upstart allows multiple services to load simultaneously, provided that they are not dependent on a service that is not yet loaded. Therefore, we can get from Off to On in a much shorter time as much of what we were loading was not dependent on anything else that we were loading, but was being synchronous, and thus had to wait on the previous service to start. Now, we load the bare minimum of what we need for XBMC to start, then XBMC will emit itself as started and the remaining servers will initialise. This is comparable to Microsoft’s new ‘delayed start’ available for Services.

Getting it

Getting it is now very easy thanks to the UI installers. Head over to the Downloads page to get Raspbmc RC3!

Other than that, thanks for using Raspbmc and enjoy! Raspbmc has excelled fantastically over the past month and is almost ready for prime-time. Expect some teething issues, as these changes are very new and untested.

Check out the videos we made with Eben Upton Check out our unboxing of our Raspberry Pi

Have you ordered one? Let us know if you get yours and what you do with it.

Andrew Edney
Andrew Edneyhttps://moviesgamesandtechcom.wpcomstaging.com
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.

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