Archive for the ‘technical’ Category:

Raspbmc’s November update!

I apologise for slightly slower development. I’ve been a little unwell. Anyway, this month brings plenty of new features and performance improvements. Here’s what’s new:

  • popcornmix has now completely fixed SD card corruption issues that occur when overclocking. This is excellent and much needed progress.
  • He has also fixed a bug where having DDS fanart enabled crashes the Raspberry Pi.
  • Installs now use the new F2FS filesystem by default which offers better performance. I’m staying with the ext4 filesystem for USB drive installs though, as many users won’t be able to mount F2FS on their desktop and may wish to do so.
  • USB soundcard support is available again. Simply select ‘Enable external soundcards’ in Raspbmc Settings. Thanks to ‘stupid-boy’ for working on an OpenMAX ALSA sink. This is much better than the previous Pulse Audio approach we had, because the audio and video are in sync. Be aware that this is experimental though. As such, I’d like feedback in this thread here.
  • AirPlay streaming is fixed for iOS 7 devices. Be sure to reboot your iOS device though. I’d like to thank Memphiz for letting me know where the issue was which made it easier for me to detect and fix.
  • Raspbmc now has a web browser! This is available under the Programs option where Raspbmc Settings is located. Note that for now only wired network connections that support DHCP will work. I’m also aware HTTPS is broken and am looking in to that — but it’s a good first attempt that showcases a browser is more than achievable on Pi. I’d like to thank Rob Bishop for his work on Arora, Karnage for developing the addon for XBMC and popcornmix for helping me work out what attributes ‘recovery.elf’ normally sets.
  • Speed improvements have been achieved via kernel backports and higher default overclock settings.
  • I’ve upgraded Windows Media Center PVR addon for Gotham and Frodo.
  • Fix for issue where WiFi cards disconnect after a period of time
  • Added support for IPV6 Privacy Options
  • Added support for LVM modules and RAID in the kernel (device mapper support)
  • Added IR to LIRC bridge support
  • Improve PPP support for users wishing to use VPN
  • Fix for a bug in XBMC 13 where the option to disable the 720p UI cap was not working
  • Fixed a message that would show above the splash screen
  • Add hotplugging to XBMC Frodo. This allows connection and disconnection of keyboards without having to restart XBMC
  • Fix incorrectly reported run time in the web interface.
  • Raspbmc no longer warns the user if /boot/config.txt does not match the settings addon.
  • Fix memory leak when playing multiple files from a playlist
  • 24 hour nightly builds are resumed again
  • Added V4L2 Raspberry Pi camera support in the kernel
  • iptables logging in the kernel for users who would like debugging
  • I’ve reverted to the classic Confluence skin as our Raspbmc skin developer is no longer maintaining it. You can still select it under Skin settings, but it’s no longer the default skin.

Unfortunately, Pebble have decided to upgrade their SDK and break compatibility with existing applications. That rules out the XBMC remote for now — but fortunately a good chunk of it is dedicated to a Python service I wrote, so only the HTTP request code from the watch must be changed, not the entire architecture.

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


Raspbmc’s October update


Yesterday, one of our core mirrors went down, so releasing the update would have been a bad idea. Instead, I’m a tad late, so for that I apologise. Here’s what’s new this October:

  • Fix for lists being in an incorrect order in XBMC
  • popcornmix introduces some fixes and features to XBMC:
    • fix for a bug where changing channels on live tv results in a black screen
    • the ability to stream silence via HDMI. This is useful if you ever press play and it takes a couple of seconds for your AV receiver to start producing audio. This must be enabled via advancedsettings.xml
    • avoid clipping with amplification
    • fix for stalling on seek when using deinterlace
    • avoid jumping volume to maximum after ff/rw
    • the speed improvements are now available as well — thanks Dom and Ben
  • Based on XBMC Frodo 12.3
  • Support for multi-channel audio
  • Improvements to IO through use of BFQ and zcache
  • Improvements to update system integrity: thanks Rob1698!
  • Fix noisy syslog issue with spidev module
  • Fix issue in initramfs where netmask was not substituted properly on static IP reservations used in NFS boots
  • Now using libshairplay (an improved AirPlay library) for XBMC 13.x nightlies. I’ve also backported libshairplay to XBMC 12.x, so you should see improvements to AirPlay on the official Frodo build distributed with Raspbmc as well, however I still recommend you stay away from iOS 7. I’m investigating issues with iOS 7 at the moment, but it’s very difficult, as I don’t have any iOS device.
  • Fix a race condition for UUID mounting in initramfs
  • Following on from adding UUID support to the initramfs last month, I now use UUID labels by default. This means that you do not have to worry about putting the USB drive in the top port if you have multiple drives attached and are running a USB install
  • NOOBS installations will now update themselves just as regular Raspbmc installs will
  • Make sure Raspbmc skin is used in 24 hour nightly builds by default
  • Fix issue where Raspbmc does not present itself correctly to a Mac OSX client. Thanks “Mausy5043″ for spotting this issue.
  • Nightly builds can now be deleted from Raspbmc Settings. Thanks to ‘karnage’ for this.
  • Support for many real time clocks out of the box
  • Add eGalax touchpad support to XBMC
  • Add Deluge torrent client (enable via Raspbmc Settings)
  • Update sabznbd news reader to 0.7.16 to fix some PAR issues
  • Fix a bug where logs were not rotating due to missing /var/run/
  • Quieter boot and less ‘init:’ messages are printed to the console

Raspbmc 24 hour nightlies of xbmc/master are moved to Jenkins to make it easier to fix and update patches when they become desynchronised with upstream. You can get more information here

I looked at adding Siri voice support via Siri Proxy, however it appears that this does not work on iOS 7, so I decided not to include by default. If you’d like to try the experimental Pebble watch support, tweet me

Update: If you’ve experienced a slow down with this update, just reboot your Raspberry Pi twice and you’ll be back to normal speed!

Update2: libshairplay libraries were missing, if you reboot, you’ll get them and XBMC will update itself.

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


Raspbmc hotfix

Hi guys,

I’d like to take a moment to fix some issues with Raspbmc introduced by the September update and cover a couple of things.

Support for WiFi dongles

With the new kernel update, some Atheros chipsets stopped working. I’ve re-added the modules back in to the kernel, so these adapters should start working again. Furthermore, it came to my attention some users were using a TP-LINK WN725N V2 adapter. Raspbmc never supported this out of box, and this required users to install their own kernel module. I’ve fixed this by adding support for 8188EU chipsets into the Raspbmc kernel. I’ve also added support to our installer, so you can install Raspbmc using this WiFi dongle as well.

Terratec Elonics E4000

I hear users have had low signal / poor reception when using this device, and I’ve done my best to resolve this by backporting a patch that should hopefully rectify this issue. If it doesn’t, let me know

Issue mounting CIFS shares

Due to changes in the kernel upstream, Linux now expects NTLMV2 security when mounting CIFS shares. I’ve reversed this functionality and reverted back to standard NTLM negotiation. You would have only seen this issue if you were mounting shares through fstab or the mount command. This was introduced by this commit to the Linux kernel upstream. My profuse apologies for letting it slip.

Fixes to our initramfs

Some users will have been incorrectly told to verify their power supply and overclock settings, then have their system boot anyway. This was a bug in the initramfs that caused this message to be displayed and this has been fixed. Furthermore, UUID label based booting is fixed as well: the logic in the initramfs was broken and this was causing issues preventing us even parsing the UUID. I’ve also fixed an issue when invoking filesystem checks so now Raspbmc will truly be able to fix the filesystem in the event of corruption.

PulseAudio and USB DAC support

Some of you have asked for an official statement on this, so I thought I’d make it.

I’ve tried over the last couple of months to restore our Pulse Audio implementation back into Raspbmc, but something in XBMC Frodo caused it to no longer function properly. The work was very much a hack anyway — combining OMX and DVDPlayer clocks. I contacted the upstream XBMC AudioEngine developer fritsch who was very helpful, however he notably points out that in XBMC 13 AudioEngine is very different, and it does not make sense to try and resolve these issues on Frodo. For now I can only suggest that you use an April build from Raspbmc Settings if you must use Pulse Audio, and that I am not sure when, or what state, Pulse Audio will return to Raspbmc in

Still to fix: Boblight

There is an issue with SPI that I am struggling to understand at the moment. I have resolved an issue where debugging would spam the syslog (this may have caused some IO performance issues for users), however I’ve still to chase down where the issue is. Thanks to Dilligaf for assisting with testing.

Update: Boblight is now fixed. Just reboot your Pi to get the fix. New installs won’t require this.

As usual, I’d like to thank the testing team (especially ActionA) for their help

I hope this clears things up. To get the fixes for share mounting, WiFi adapter support, reception improvements and initramfs fixes, just reboot your Raspberry Pi to get the kernel update.