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GeeXboX 2.0 Released

We have just anounced the release of the GeeXboX 2.0, a name that will remind certainly things to those who followed the News Media Center a few years ago. The concept of this new version remains the same, it’s a live CD or USB to take advantage of a ready to use media center interface… Only, developers have somewhat changed their approach as the GeeXboX 2 relies now on XBMC 10.1 Dharma, while supporting the x86 platforms, but also ARM (TI OMAP4 and Tegra 2)…

Press Release

GeeXboX is a free and Open Source Media-Center purposed Linux distribution for embedded devices and desktop computers. GeeXboX is not an application, it’s a full-featured OS, that one can boot as a LiveCD, from a USB key, an SD/MMC card or install on its regular HDD. The GeeXboX distribution is lightweight and designed for one single goal: embed all major multimedia applications as to turn your computer into an HTPC. GeeXboX runs on x86, PowerPC and ARM devices.

After countless years of development, the 2.0 release of GeeXboX (codename “Love It or Shove It”) finally has landed. The GeeXboX project was created in December 2002, 9 years ago, to become the major HTPC / MediaCenter dedicated Linux distribution. From a ridiculous 3 MB ISO image, using an ultra-simple customized version of MPlayer OSD, GeeXboX now has evolved into a much more mature system. Our objective always has been to provide you with a Linux distribution, so easy to use, that anyone, regardless of any computer skill, would be able to make use of it.

Over the years, the project has evolved to always provide more features and bring support to more and more hardware devices, which we managed to do, at some cost. The architecture that has been originally designed, with the whole UI being MPlayer’s OSD, prevented us from easily adding major features and the look&feel started to look deprecated within the years. We’ve then been struggling for months and years to design this v2.0 version, switching from one Media Center project to another (or even creating our own), using MPUI, Freevo and then Enna, to finally stick with the most powerful one, the reference: XBMC. Our team always has been too small numbered and managing a distribution takes resources. We had no other choice but to understand that we just can’t compete, so let’s just integrate the best components to make one nice product.

So here we are now, and we’re here for good. This new GeeXboX 2.0 release is the accomplishment of hours, days, months of efforts from a lot of people. It is radically different from the 1.x series and, sorry to disappoint some of you, will not provide the same level of services. We are now doing much more things than we used to do with 1.x but unfortunately, a few things have to be left over. But GeeXboX philosophy remains the same and we still aim at targeting the most PCs and devices as possible, in an as lightweight as possible way. The ISO image of “GeeXboX for PC” edition now hits 72 MB, much bigger than it used to be, sure, but still probably one of the lightest distributions you may have seen. GeeXboX now also support many embedded devices running ARM SoCs (such as TI OMAP4 Pandaboard and nVidia Tegra 2) and many much more will be added in the months to come. These devices just make the perfect fanless, energy-efficient HTPC and GeeXboX just make the perfect MediaCenter distribution for those.

But enough with the speech and let’s see what’s behind the hood:

Supported Architectures:

  • x86 32 and 64 bits PCs
  • ARM TI OMAP4 Pandaboard
  • ARM nVidia Tegra2 Harmony

System:

  • Linux Kernel v2.6.38.8.
  • Systemd v29.
  • BusyBox v1.19.2
  • Connman Network Manager v0.76.
  • Xorg Server v1.10.3.
  • Mesa v7.11.
  • OPKG Package Manager v0.18
  • USB persistent user data storage.

Audio Drivers:

  • ALSA v1.0.24.1.
  • Support for Analog, SPDIF and HDMI output devices.

Video Drivers:

  • Support for Intel, nVidia, ATI, Matrox and VIA GPUs.
  • Support for CRT, LCD and HDMI output devices.
  • OpenGL and OpenGL|ES hardware assisted graphics acceleration.
  • VDPAU, VA-API and Crystal HD hardware assisted video decoding for nVidia,
    Intel and Broadcom GPUs.

Input:

  • Mouse and Synaptics touch pads.
  • HID Keyboards.
  • Remote Controls.

Networking Features:

  • NFS shares.
  • Samba auto-discovery.
  • UPnP / DLNA media discovery.
  • ZeroConf services announcements.
  • HTTP server.
  • FTP server

MediaCenter:

  • XBMC Media Center 10.1 “Dharma” frontend.
  • Movies and TV Shows, with subtitles support.
  • Music Collection
  • Pictures and Slideshows
  • CDDA, DVD and (unencrypted) Bluray support.
  • Media Database Support.
  • Internet MovieDB / TVDB metadata and covers grabbers.
  • Skins

Some features however have vanished. among them, one can note that support for DVB Digital TV cards has been removed (but will come back shortly), support for V4L Analog TV cards has been deprecated (this time dead once for all), GeeXboX unique ISO generator also has perished (not that useful anymore), as well as legacy HDD installation (which has been superseded Live USB support with persistent data storage).

GeeXboX for PCs still is provided as a directly burnable ISO image though it is much more common these days to use it as a Live USB distribution instead of a Live CD one. We extended this feature with a persistent user data storage capability that allows you to keep your configuration, media database, downloaded media covers, lyrics … among reboots. No configuration is needed and everything can be done quite easily through Unetbootin.

You may download it at geexbox.org.

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