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Answered: Why can't XIOS run vanilla Kodi on vanilla Linux?

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Answered: Why can't XIOS run vanilla Kodi on vanilla Linux?

Postby ctawn » October 17th, 2015, 3:26 am

Aasoror knows something of my situation from other threads. For this one, I just want to say I'm trying to prepare to migrate over to the latest Linux TOFU from Hydra's Linux Frodo 12.3. I'm waiting for TOFU to be upgraded to the KODI 15 base, which I understand should be soon.

But while waiting, I am left wondering, why is it exactly that these Pivos boxes, one of which (DS) I bought because it had been advertised as "official" XBMC hardware, cannot run any stable build of XBMC/KODI that the user wants on Linux? Why were "unofficial builds" like Hydra's needed at all? And why isn't there such an unofficial build for the newest version of KODI already? And might there be? And if so, why would I prefer TOFU over KODI?

Thanks.
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Re: Why can't Pivos boxes run vanilla Kodi on vanilla Linux?

Postby aasoror » October 22nd, 2015, 12:02 pm

The short version of the answer, for the same reason your can't run windows from your laptop windows installation DVD on your windows phone, though both are supposedly "windows devices".

The long version, there is way more into a specific piece of software than just its "name". Source code (be it linux, kodi or otherwise) needs to "compiled" into machine dependant executables (that is built for specific architecture CPU/GPU). With that cleared up there is no such thing as either vanilla Kodi or vanilla Linux. The fact is XBMC foundation supplies Kodi executables for very specific hardware + OS combinations (which you can find here: http://kodi.tv/download/), Team-Kodi doesn't provide any Kodi linux builds that would work on Pivos hardware (or any other Amlogic ARM device). Funny if you lookup arm amlogic-m3 linux builds on Kodi wiki (http://kodi.wiki/view/Linux#ARM) you will find two links one of which redirects back to this forums (one of Hydra's unofficial builds) and the other is a thread currently doing nothing more than monitoring TOFULinux DS release thread to download TOFULinux builds as they are released, strip them from all Pivos hardware related checks/locks (thus making them installable on the gazillion manufacturer abandoned boxes out there) then rehost them (needless to say in violation of the terms and condition under-which these builds were released).

As to your question regarding affiliation with XBMC.
- Pivos was an official XBMC sponsor.
- Pivos sponsored the majority of the XBMC-Android port (i.e. key development was done by Pivos developers during their paid work hours).
- Pivos provided the XBMC foundation with the development hardware for the XBMC-Android port (namely the Pivos XIOS DS, thus the label "official XBMC development platform" on the DS packaging).
- Pivos contributed the XBMC-Linux for amlogic devices in its entirety.

With all that said, there is nothing that obligates Team-XBMC (now Team-Kodi) to release and maintain an XBMC (not to mention Kodi) build for Pivos devices (and the tons of similar devices out there).

One last thing to note, XBMC and Kodi are two distinct and non-interchangeable terms, XBMC refers to the Team-XBMC "software" builds up to Gotham 13.2, Kodi refers to Team-Kodi software releases past Gotham 13.2. So the phrase "XBMC/Kodi" should be interpreted as "Kodi software from XBMC foundation" not "XBMC software and/or Kodi software".

Now to sum up:
why is it exactly that these Pivos boxes, one of which (DS) I bought because it had been advertised as "official" XBMC hardware, cannot run any stable build of XBMC/KODI that the user wants on Linux?

Because non of these builds are built to work with DS hardware (or any other amlogic box).
Why were "unofficial builds" like Hydra's needed at all?

Because of the answer above.
And why isn't there such an unofficial build for the newest version of KODI already?

Not sure, they are unofficial, Pivos neither support nor endorse these builds in any way (and such builds will void your warranty if your box break with them installed). Pivos just provides a venue for these releases as long as the release developer(s) adheres to the open source requirements (and as long as discussion of such builds remains confided to their release threads).
And might there be?

Don't know. All Pivos code that would assist with completing such port is already openly released.
And if so, why would I prefer TOFU over KODI?

Its a moot question currently, but when/if it happens it will be left to users to decide on their own (given the voided warranty disclaimer).
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Re: Answered: Why can't XIOS run vanilla Kodi on vanilla Lin

Postby koying » October 27th, 2015, 5:07 pm

For the sake of completeness, there is no official Kodi linux on arm at all and never was.
Our good friends at openelec provide pretty good ones, though.

Team Kodi is very thankful for the Android port indeed, but I must say Pivos strategy has been quite blurry since a while:

1) Pivos sponsors the Android XBMC (at the time) port
2) Pivos forks XBMC to create TOFU android
3) Pivos more or less abandon Android and use the hydra Linux build

It should be noted that there was little to no contact with team kodi since the tofu fork, and that all pivos employees left team kodi.

Furthermore, although all pivos code was made open-source, which is a very honorable move, no single line of code was upstreamed to kodi anymore.

So, honestly, IMHO, pivos just decided to play solo, for reasons which are theirs.

Regarding the DS specifically, this a quite old device now. However, if it runs a decently recent Android version (> 4.2.2), it can still run the latest official kodi, theoretically.
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Re: Answered: Why can't XIOS run vanilla Kodi on vanilla Lin

Postby aasoror » October 27th, 2015, 10:28 pm

Thanks for the reply koying, that serves well to show the importance of distinguishing between XBMC-foundation, Team-XBMC, Team-Kodi, XBMC software and Kodi software (as I pointed in my reply above).

Just want to clear up few things:

- Pivos strategy (and keeping it below NDA levels): lets just say that in the past, Pivos contributed, XBMC thrived and "fly-by-night"ers got a free ride. Everyone ended up happy (open source at its finest). Now for the future, just wait till the new TOFUOS is released with the upcoming XS+ you might find a thing or two worthy getting upstreamed to Kodi. Pivos Android development is anything but abandoned, that is actually where the main development is focused (lack of releases doesn't necessarily mean absence of things to release ;) )

- TOFULinux: With Martin (a.k.a. Hydra) on board to lead development of the linux branch, TOFULinux was indeed based on Hydra's Linux build which was once based on Pivos XBMC Linux build (like many other builds out there), I think that this is the way it is supposed to work (repeat: pull->contribute->push for others to contribute).

- Team-Kodi: we still have BigNoid and phil65 on board (ronie too the last time I checked) :)

And as for the DS, well the whole reason of developing Pivos XBMC linux was the lack of decency running XBMC Android on the DS :) (which runs ICS btw).

Thanks again

edit: forgot to mention, OpenELEC only officially support one specific amlogic device (support for few other AML boards is maintained unofficially via 3rd party community ports and non of which is DS compatible anyway, AFAIK no other manufacturer beside Pivos is still officially supporting AML8726-M1/M3).
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Re: Answered: Why can't XIOS run vanilla Kodi on vanilla Lin

Postby koying » October 27th, 2015, 11:40 pm

My mistake re team Kodi. I wasn't quite aware the skinning specialists you mention worked for Pivos.

Re linux, I understand your point. Indeed, DS being on the lower end of today's box spectrum, it surely need special love to extract all its value.

I can't wait to see the next Tofu Android and your new boxes :)
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Re: Answered: Why can't XIOS run vanilla Kodi on vanilla Lin

Postby ctawn » October 28th, 2015, 1:42 pm

Thanks to you both for a very detailed answer to my question. Much more detailed than I can really comprehend without a very studied read of your answers and some further background reading. :)

Maybe you could still help me and other lay people understand this tho:
aasoror wrote:Source code (be it linux, kodi or otherwise) needs to "compiled" into machine dependant executables (that is built for specific architecture CPU/GPU). With that cleared up there is no such thing as either vanilla Kodi or vanilla Linux. The fact is XBMC foundation supplies Kodi executables for very specific hardware + OS combinations (which you can find here: http://kodi.tv/download/), Team-Kodi doesn't provide any Kodi linux builds that would work on Pivos hardware (or any other Amlogic ARM device).

The link you provide just refers to Kodi for Linux. It doesn't talk about different compiled versions for different hardware. I don't doubt that it's necessary. But for example, I know Kodi for Mac OS X can run whether it's on a newer or older Mac, a Mac Mini or a laptop or a Mac Pro, or for that matter I presume on a hackintosh or under emulation.

So why is it that that build of Kodi Linux can't just be installed for the DS? Does it have to do with the ability (or not to install Linux or Ubuntu?)

As far as ARM, I thought Apple TVs were ARM?

Let me just add a little user experience note here: I started running XBMC years ago on a Mac OS X laptop, which died. I got tired of dedicating my laptop to serving as a media center, so I bought an Apple TV2 when it could be jailbroken. Then got tired of the headaches involved keeping it current and jailbroken. So I looked for a small, dedicated device to run XBMC. I was sold by the "official" designation of Pivos, perhaps without sufficient understanding of what that meant.

Then I found that maybe I bought the wrong box (DS instead of XS) but didn't bother to return it because I found XBMC Frodo Hydra worked adequately under Linux at the time. Before trying that, I tried the Android version only to find immediately that it was unusably slow. What I really want is the same as before: a small, relatively inexpensive dedicated device that I can easily install Kodi on and keep current, even with nightly builds if necessary. Clearly the DS is not it. Not sure what is.

And even if I found something that meets that desire, I wouldn't get it right now, because, for now, everything is working under your latest official Linux/Helix build of Tofu. (Luckily with a skin I can avoid having to look at a bland and flavorless block of tofu, a name and image which still is utterly baffling for the product). So now again, here I sit until it breaks again. I certainly hope wiping user data will not be necessary (or "recommended") again to upgrade to whatever version of TOFU comes next. As I expected, it literally took 2-3 days of time to complete.
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