As of 3PM British Summer Time, libCEC issues have been resolved. If you already installed Raspbmc please reboot your system to download the updated firmware. The issue was caused by Raspberry Pi firmware.
RC4 is here. This will be the last evaluative build before release, and should resolve most of the issues users have had now and really prepare us for the final release. This is what’s new as well as what’s fixed:
1and1 brought me a few days of downtime in July, when they decided to stop serving A records for the Raspbmc website. It turns out that 1and1 employees themselves are known to enjoy Raspbmc, and I’d like to thank someone there who credited my account and offered help. Sadly, I wish you didn’t have to release software that they are using to get this kind of treatment, but nonetheless, the gesture was very nice. Thanks again Jared.
Thanks testing team
Without the testing team, this release would have taken longer and most likely have been more problematic. Thanks to everyone involved in testing.
Attacks are still ongoing
Some people just don’t let up. So, if the site experiences issues, give it a little while and see if it resolves itself. SYN flood attacks are still ongoing, but I am confident that headway is being made in mitigating them and strengthening the project’s infrastructure. This is an ongoing effort.
Hard floating point & Raspbian
Previously, Raspbmc relied software emulated floating point calculations. Now by using native hardware to perform this action, we see an incredible increase in performance. Navigating the UI is more fluid than ever, and, as before, playback performance is unrivaled and flawless. This is probably the most significant yet understated feature in this release. It brings the best performance increase of any bug fix or feature introduction yet. I would like to thank s7mx1 for working on getting XBMC to play nice with the toolchain, and Dom @ Raspberry Pi for giving us a workable toolchain.
Raspbmc is now based on Raspbian, which is in turn a derivative of Debian Wheezy. Raspbian has been optimised to run on the Pi as it uses hardware based floating point.
A new kernel and new firmware
An updated kernel and new firmware blobs are now available; bringing new features, stability and bug fixes. USB disconnect issues and freezes upon removal are a thing of the past. SD card compatibility is better than ever before, and it is most likely your card will work with little trouble.
- There was previously a bug where overscan would not persist on reboots.
- Fixed ‘mounting filesystem’ error
- Fixed scale of font for xbmc-watchdog. Now if you exit XBMC, you can read the text on non-1080p screens
- Fixed NFS library mismatch issues with new nightlies.
- Fixed webserver issues.
- USB drives now mount at boot as well as during uptime.
- CEC does not interfere with Composite playback
WiFi support out of the box
WiFi firmware is now installed in Raspbmc by default, and using a guide on the forum, it is now simple to get up and running. Support is now added for RTL8712U,RTL8192SU,RTL8192CU,RTL8188CU based WiFi adapters.
XBMC performance tweaks
XBMC’s annoyances are no more. There is no more ‘popping’ noise on Analogue audio anymore, and now, plugins that specified DVDPlayer as their player will automatically route through the omxplayer anyway, so you do not need to edit any plugins to get playback to work anymore.
AFP support gives OS X users a premium sharing protocol that they can now use to stream content to Raspbmc. Remember SMB has a lot of CPU overhead, so NFS is often a much better bet.
The Blu-ray library has been added, meaning that decrypted Blu-ray discs are now playable, however, menus will not be navigatable and you should still realise that the codec limitations of the Raspberry Pi apply.
Raspbmc’s CEC implementation is now based off of libCEC. This brings a greater range of compatibility for devices and a smoother integration with XBMC. Hats off to Pulse-Eight’s Lars Opdenkamp for working with the Foundation to port the library.
Support is now in place for a multitude of remotes, including the Xbox and Xbox 360 game controllers! Most remotes should now work out of the box, and support for more will be added shortly. Check the Wiki for more information about what works out of the box.
The first time run configuration tool is back
This means the first time you login to your Pi via SSH or the command line, you’ll be able to configure your keyboard and timezone with ease.
Better logging, and ‘helpme’
Something might go wrong, but now it’s easier than ever to find out what happened as logging is now more widely used. Furthermore, if you wish to give us a log for analysis, it’s now easier than ever. Just login to your Pi either with a keyboard or via SSH and type ‘helpme’. You’ll get a URL which you can post on the forums which contains logs that are useful for diagnosing problems.
Improved time management
When you booted RC3, you could be suffering from a midnight clock and 1st January 1970 date until NTP resolved it. Now, after booting, time is handled much more effectively:
- Initially, time is obtained from the log to give us a rough idea.
- Time is then resolved via httpd time script and the Google webserver
- Then after a couple of minutes, NTP will resolve time from a time server for a more accurate lock.
Windows installer improvements
The Windows installer has been improved significantly. Here’s what new:
- Refreshing will remove devices that are no longer plugged in.
- A bug where one could not restore to a device if it was not the first in the list is fixed.
- SD cards can now be restored to a formattable state for Windows. You may notice if you plugin an SD card with Raspbmc on it that only about 60MB are available for formatting. This is because Windows cannot see the Linux partitions. Now, by restoring it to the original state, the full size becomes available for formatting in Windows.
System installer improvements
The actual installer that runs on the Pi itself and sets everything up is now optimised greatly. It is now extremely small, as it is a Linux distribution (created with Buildroot) built just for the purpose of installing Raspbmc on your device, and shortly, will receive feature enhancements, such as the ability to install to a USB hard drive as well as an SD card and partition the device how you would like.
What’s coming soon?
- Soon you’ll be able to configure WiFi using the Raspbmc Settings utility, which should make it a lot easier for users to setup their network connection.
- USB sound card support is improving, and shortly, you will be able to use one which is rather useful for getting audio out via an SPDIF connector.
- Tidy up of code and tweaking
- More documentation on the Wiki.
- Much more…
Enjoy this new evaluative build — Raspbmc will be ready for release within a few weeks and will bring you a self-updating, fast and expansible media center experience. Everything has come a long way now, and I am sure you will enjoy this release.
You do need to manually upgrade from RC3 to RC4. This is only for test builds, the final release won’t require any manual updating. To do this, head over to the Download page, and pick your platform. If you have installed Raspbmc before and you are re-running an installer, make sure that you select Yes when you are prompted to redownload the installer image. This is because the installer has been upgraded.
I know that this one took a lot of time, but you will see why when you try it. A lot of energy has been put into this.
Some want to know how to upgrade easily and preserve their settings. This is actually quite simple and all that needs to be done is the following:
- Login to the pi running an earlier Raspbmc build and type the following command (this can be done via the console or over SSH): tar -czf backup.tar.gz .xbmc/
- Now, you need to transfer that file over. You can either do that with WinSCP or you could even login to the FTP server Raspbmc supplies.
- Upgrade your Raspbmc install using the installer.
- Restore the file to it’s original location
- Run the following commands: sudo initctl stop xbmc; tar -xzf backup.tar.gz; rm backup.tar.gz; sudo initctl start xbmc
I have skimmed over the transferring of files, because there are plenty of places you can learn about that online.
Cheers and enjoy.