How we make your life easier

Lately we have seen so many of you wondering and whispering, what is going on with XBian, if it is still under development, why there are no updates, no news posts and so on. As usual, we listen very carefully even if we do not response directly and often. We do not post or inform very often, if is it on our web page under News section or through our social media. This is not because we do not want to or do not care. Actually the reason is more simple, and more obvious.

The main goals of XBian is to make the most advanced but easily maintainable OS available (for small form factor computers). This goal has almost been reached by using various (self-developed) solutions and with the help of various developers.

The first step was making everything open source. When XBian initially started by @Koenkk, the code was freely available but not officially open source. There was also no way to contribute. That changed when @CurlyMo joined the project. He started to put everything on github and also started to document everything. He also developed the initial core of XBian by creating the apt repository and xbian-config for easy system maintainance. Since XBian has become open source a lot of users have already contributed in various ways.

As soon as @mk01 joined the project, this goal was taken to yet a higher level. We adopted the BTRFS filesystem, @CurlyMo and @mk01 wrote the really powerfull (rescue) initramfs. This allows on-the-fly resizing of partitions, filesystem conversion, boot from various devices etc. However, the big project was all happening on github. @mk01 worked for about a year with the help of @menakite to create github repositories for all XBian packages available and this currently allows everyone to easily build new deb packages from them. Users could now easily generate the latest XBian package themselves and install.

The apt repository itself was updated so users from Beta 1 and up can now install XBian updates no matter how old the system. XBian will bring it up-to-date. Another great feature about our currently running apt repository is that we are able to automatically create XBian images for all supported platforms. Generating these images is essentially nothing more than installing all required and latest apt packages available from both XBian and Debian. Soon, XBian new images will automatically appear on sourceforge and in the XBian installer each week.

In the last couple of weeks @CurlyMo has worked hard in streamlining the apt repository. As a user, you shouldn’t notice any of it, but the repository currently has the following features:
– A new version of the repository is generated every four hours.
– All mirrors can easily sync the repository by using rsync and do this at least 15 minutes after the main repository update.
– It sorts the mirrors based on your location.
– It checks every 15 minutes if all mirrors are still in sync with the main repository. If not, the mirror will be removed automatically until it’s up-to-date again.
– All packages older than 6 months will automatically be removed.

Offering this great user experience is being done by our great developers and with the help of our community and sponsors.

Felosity Automatisering for sponsoring a dedicated VPS for both XBian and pilight and sponsoring a dedicated VPS for image generation.
MirrorService for mirroring both our apt repository and downloads, but also offering a fall-back in case our main repository fail. As soon as this happens, we will point to MirrorService to keep the downtime as low as possible.
@deHakkelaar, a dedicated XBian users that has offered free apt mirroring from the early beginning of XBian.

To make XBian even better we of course need constant input from the community. This especially means we need feedback from you about the packages we put in the XBian apt staging repository. These packages contain the latest fixes and features, and are generally stable, but need testing. Let us know if these packages work for you so we can move them to stable. And as soon as new packages enter stable, the XBian images will also be updated with the latest versions.

To offer apt mirrors close to you, we are always looking for people who can sponsor apt mirroring.

And as usual, we all do this for free and we do not get paid for any of our work. But we would like to ask you for any donation to help us make XBian even better, to help us cover the cost of our servers, web host and hardware for our developers. Every donation is highly appreciated, no matter how big or small.

Thank you

XBian Team

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