After more than 14 years, Kodi (formerly XBMC) has more than proven its staying power. First launching as little more than source code for Xbox developers and tinkerers, the platform has developed into a full-fledged media center. It easily competes with for-profit programs by coming more fully-loaded with all of the trimmings (and then some) than most other media players out there. But all programs inevitably have to start somewhere. Like every program ever developed, Kodi has been through multiple iterations to achieve a final product. The media player’s eclectic and interesting development perfectly symbolizes the concept of open source, existing as a hallmark of what is at the heart of the GNU GPL community. While there are literally hundreds of important dates that highlight Kodi’s development from original source code to fully-featured media powerhouse, a few
Like every program ever developed, Kodi has been put through multiple iterations to achieve a final product. The media player’s eclectic and interesting development perfectly symbolizes the concept of open source, existing as a hallmark of what is at the heart of the GNU GPL community. While there are literally hundreds of important dates that highlight Kodi’s development from original source code to fully-featured media powerhouse, a few dates, in particular, stand out as ones to remember.
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October 15, 2002: The Xbox Media Player Project Releases Source Code for the First Time
The two “Founding Fathers” of the Xbox Media Player Project, d7o3g4q (Phil Burr) and RUNTiME (Albert Griscti-Soler), had always planned to release the source code for the media player. Indeed, their initial plan was to release the code after the full, stable release version came out. However, beta testers, eager to get their hands on the source code and begin tinkering with the program themselves, voiced notable complaints during beta 6. With the release of the source code after beta 6, the pair officially opened up the media player to the rest of the world, placing it into the eagerly awaiting hands of the world’s developer community.
November 2002: Frodo Joins the Team, Creating One Player to Rule Them All
While d7o3g4q and RUNTiME were busy working on their labor of love, developer Frodo (Erwin Beckers) was slaving away on his own media player project, YAMP (Yet Another Media Player). The tongue-in-cheek name hinted at the fact that independent and free media players were, at least during that time, a dime a dozen. When Frodo joined forces with d7o3g4q and RUNTiME, the two projects were merged into one. Their offspring, Xbox Media Player 2.0, was released a short time later in December of that same year. Together, the trio released several more Xbox Media Player version in the span of only a few months.
December 13, 2003: Xbox Media Player Development Ends. Xbox Media Center Development Begins
When the development team decided to change the name of the program from Xbox Media Player to Xbox Media Center, this was an effort to highlight just how much the program had grown. Far from just playing media, what had started as a simple FFmpeg and Xvid player had morphed into a rather large, multi-faceted multimedia program. Indeed, this change is particularly noteworthy given the staying power of the new transformation.
April 21, 2004: First Xbox Media Player Beta Released
The kick-off of the Xbox Media Center 1.0.0 beta slid into the Kodi history books with a bit of fanfare. The community was eager to get their hands on the new release, the stable version of which was ready for the public a little more than two months later on June 29.
November 15, 2008: Xbox Media Center Renamed XBMC. First Version Codename Given.
The official name change for XBMC was more cosmetic than anything but highlighted the fact that the community (and developers) were already calling the program by the acronym. However, this date is more notably marked by the release of version 8.10, wherein the first in a long line of codenames was given to a stable release. “Atlantis”, as it was called, was nicknamed after the hit sci-fi show, Stargate: Atlantis, which was popular at the time. Naming conventions have since followed similar lines, borrowing from other popular science fiction and fantasy works.
January 16: 2009: XBMC Foundation Established
The establishment of the XBMC Foundation as a non-profit entity in many ways legitimized the community. It allowed for the organization to maintain some legal controls over the name of the program, as well as afforded the organization the right to more easily collect and utilize funds for the continued development efforts. It solidified XBMC as more than just a few programmers, but as a full-realized organization.
November 21, 2009: Popular Confluence Skin is Released with Version 9.11, “Camelot”
“Camelot” changed a lot of things for XBMC. However, the “Confluence” skin introduced with this version effectively changed the game. A collaborative effort among the vastly growing XBMC community, Confluence made the user interface much friendlier. The move went a long way in helping put a kinder face on the application and bringing it closer toward wider acceptance by users outside of the developer community.
December 18, 2010: Version 10.0 is Released with XBMC’s Official Addon Repository
The continued efforts to make XBMC more user-friendly resulted in the release of the Official Addon Repository. Released with version 10, “Dharma”, this enabled users to more easily access the growing library of addons for the program. As the addon feature remains the biggest draw for the program, a repository direct from the developers was a huge success.
October 18, 2014: Version 13.2 Released, and the Last Version to Use the XBMC Name
Version 13.2, “Gotham”, marked the end of an era for XBMC. The XBMC name had been in use for years. Many users had grown deeply attached to it. However, the decision had to be made. The project was dealing with legal problems as a result of the name and its Xbox origins as well. Likewise, there were issues of the name being used to weasel money from individuals who did not realize that the program is actually free, and open source. The XBMC Foundation felt the need to put these issues to rest.
December 23, 2014: XBMC Renamed “Kodi” with the Launch of Version 14.0, “Helix”
The fateful day of the name change officially occurred. The XBMC Foundation was sure to give the community a heads up about the change and provided a reasonable explanation for it all as well. Most users accustomed to the longer held XBMC name, however, continue to use this term as one of endearment.
July 2, 2016: Version 17, “Krypton”, Alpha Release
The alpha release of v17, “Krypton”, promised to bring some much-needed changes to Kodi. Among the biggest, and perhaps most beneficial, was the retirement of the much-vaunted “Confluence” skin. The skin, which saw its reign last for several years, finally came to a close. In its place were two, unique skins: “Estuary” and “Estouchy“. Both provide a more streamlined experience, with the promise of a more user-friendly experience than even “Confluence” was able to provide.
February 3, 2017: Stable Release of v17, “Krypton”
Version 17, “Kypton” finally released to the public after several beta rounds. Version 17 received some push-back from the community, however. Most notably, many users found that some of their previously installed addons no longer worked. One big change with “Krypton” came in the way of how third-party addons are treated. Where it was once possible simple install these addons by downloading the zip file, the XBMC Foundation developers changed the process. While a zip install is still possible, users must now go to the settings and allow the application to install addons from “unknown sources”. This is the same code word that is used within Android to install apps not located on Google Play.
With 17, the XBMC Foundation has also indicated that it has moved to a more rapid development schedule. New versions will be released multiple times a year. Version 18, “Leia”, is currently in beta and set to be released sometime during 2017.