Archive for the ‘technical’ Category:

New Raspbmc update!

Hi!

There’s a lot that’s new — after all, it has been three months since the last update. The update before the New Year put the project in solid standing and I felt that the project was maturing. Rather than release small incremental updates each month, I decided to let things rest a while. There wasn’t that much to fix or push — so I took a step back.

In the past couple of months, I’ve been working on a few things, including working with two hardware developers to establish a reference platform for the upcoming linXBMC project, speaking to a prominent Internet streaming company about adding their service in a less ‘hacky’ way and trying to get more resources for the upcoming project. More will be revealed on that soon.

As we get increasingly near to the release of XBMC 13 (Gotham), I’ve done the following:

  • I’ve cleaned up the nightly builds list. Although there were plenty of builds available, it was quite messy, and users were not sure why they should try one build over another.
  • I’m producing 24 hour nightly builds of XBMC 14.0
  • I’ve published all XBMC 13.x Betas — which are installable via Raspbmc Settings
  • I have now prepared all the patches for XBMC 13 (Gotham), meaning that upon its announcement by Team-XBMC as final, I will release a build for Raspbmc a few hours later as an update.
  • Those wishing to stay with Frodo will not be left in the dark however. If you’d like to stay with Frodo, perhaps because it’s tried and tested, or perhaps because you have a shared library and you need to stay on the 12.x series, then not to worry. I have made a stable 12.3 build and that’s pushed as an update today. Even when Raspbmc moves to Gotham, this Frodo build will be kept available to install via Raspbmc Settings.

Here’s what’s new to Raspbmc as a whole:

  • Updated build filesystem to satisfy new XBMC build dependencies and fix a locales issue
  • Fix an overclock setting for ‘Fast’ mode that would force a high (and potentially incompatible) PLL divisor
  • Allow XBMC to adjust task priority for improved playback performance
  • Fix for the Heartbleed vulnerability. Note that this affects both clients as well as public facing servers, so fixing this issue was important.
  • Fix a bug where playback fails when accessing files from WebDAV or HTTPS shares
  • Firmware is updated to resolve issues with CEC on Panasonic sets and bring improvements to playback
  • Updated the standalone image to the latest version of XBMC, kernel and firmware

Here’s what’s new, thanks to XBMC Gotham will bring the following features and improvements:

  • Issues streaming with iOS 7 using AirPlay are now fixed completely
  • In the past couple of months, some new sound cards for Raspberry Pi have come out, so I’m adding support for the following sound cards:
    • Wolfson Microelectronics Raspberry Pi Module – Wolfson’s patches for this had issues, so I’ve done my best to manually resolve these myself. I have reached out to a developer at Wolfson who tells me patches will be released in the future.
    • HiFiBerry sound cards
    • IqAudio sound card
  • Add ALSA support to XBMC Frodo without need for manually enabling in Raspbmc Settings. This approach is done with ‘dvdplayer’ rather than an OpenMAX ALSA component.
  • Improved JPEG to texture decoding (thanks Ben Avison)
  • Hardware accelerated resampling and downmixing (thanks Dom)
  • dvdplayer with OMXPlayer acceleration:
    • this provides full DVD menu support and is suitable for playing back most content. To use ‘dvdplayer’ instead of the standard omxplayer, you need to select ‘Play with’ which can be done by invoking the context menu on the file that you would like to play. This is necessary for sound output with ALSA. omxplayer is being kept as the default player as it is more capable of playing back HD content; dvdplayer with OMX acceleration falls down with Blu-ray playback.
  • I have added support for encrypted DVDs — and in turn, the ability to play straight from DVDs with an external drive
  • ALSA sequencer support added for external sound cards
  • Adjust read buffer factor for better buffering of content and less pausing during playback
  • Ensure the web server is on by default with no username necessary for XBMC Gotham — allowing the user to use their smartphone to control Raspbmc out of the box without additional input devices

To accelerate development on the new project, linXBMC, I’ll be holding a competition soon, stay tuned for an announcement! I think I’ll be changing the name soon, so that may give you a hint as to what the competition might involve! The new content delivery network is coming along soon, and I hope to make the switchover to the new system later this month. The Raspbmc Shop will offer international shipping by the end of the week and more competitive pricing too!

To get the update, all you need to do is reboot your Raspberry Pi. If you’re running an XBMC nightly, be sure to switch to ‘xbmc release’ in Raspbmc Settings to get back on the stable Frodo build. If you’d like to try the vanilla Gotham builds: they are installable via Raspbmc Settings; however I’d recommend the custom Raspbmc build ‘Gotham-Raspbmc-Release’ which has support for sound cards, DvdPlayer support and the JPEG texture handling improvements. The process for playing back with an external sound card is not yet streamlined (it will soon simply involve a Raspbmc Settings based checkbox to enable), so for now you should see this thread for information.

If you enjoy Raspbmc, and this update, and would like to support continued development, you can make a donation here.

As always, enjoy!

Heartbleed vulnerability

Hi,

I’m posting this to reassure users about the Heartbleed bug and Raspbmc. This vulnerability is now patched — to get the update, you need to just reboot your device (make sure you have updates enabled in Raspbmc Settings). If you weren’t running a front-facing service, i.e. an HTTPs enabled web server on your device (which is unlikely), that’s all you need to do to stay safe.

I’ve posted a bit more on my personal blog about the vulnerability and how to check that you are up to date.

Sam

(And yes, an update is coming soon. Very soon.)

Raspbmc December update

Hi everyone!

I hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate it and that you’re looking forward to a prosperous new year. In a few days I’ll talk about Raspbmc’s roadmap for the new year and reflect on what’s been achieved this year. I’ll be addressing some interesting stuff such as Netflix and Chromecast and the future of Raspbmc — so it’ll definitely be worth a read.

For now, here’s what this month’s update brings:

  • Fixed an issue where SD cards were not ready at boot
  • Updated web browser:
    • Fix issues with date and time
    • Allow static wired networking configuration (WiFi is still pending)
    • Update kernel for performance
    • Fix issues where closing or quitting the browser would not go back to Raspbmc
  • Added traditional ‘rootdelay’ option to initramfs to allow custom waiting time for device if truly necessary
  • Added ALSA for SoC audio support. This allows you to use high quality external sound cards such as the HiFiBerry Mini via I2S. This eliminates some of the problems with USB soundcards such as occasional popping.
  • Silence rpcbind message on reboot
  • Resolve issues with WiFi installs not completing correctly
  • Updated CEC library for better TV set support and bug fixes
  • Fixed a bug where external soundcard support in Raspbmc Settings was not toggling properly
  • Do not broadcast CEC init when booting so the TV only receives one CEC source from XBMC
  • Install using F2FS filesystem on USB drives <=64GB (as F2FS is a filesystem optimised for flash drives). Unfortunately F2FS does not allow us to use UUID labels, which means you will need to ensure your USB drive is in the top USB port. You can also fall back to the original ext4 filesystem: simply create a file called ‘ext4′ on the fat32 partition before installing.
  • Updated standalone image to the latest kernel, filesystem and XBMC version
  • Updated NOOBS image to the latest kernel, filesystem and XBMC version

To get the update, all you need to do is reboot your Raspberry Pi. If you’re running an XBMC nightly, be sure to switch to ‘xbmc release’ in Raspbmc Settings to get back on the stable Frodo build.

If you enjoy Raspbmc, and this update, and would like to support continued development, you can make a donation here

Enjoy!