Almost exactly three months after its first public beta release, XBMC 11 has gone gold. Dubbed Eden, this first major release in over a year is now available in a multitude of flavors, including Windows, Linux, OS X, and iOS. There's also a standalone XBMCbuntu version that runs off a bootable thumb drive. Unlike previous standalone versions of the OS, XBMCbuntu includes a full Linux desktop environment with a package manager and a Flash-enabled Chromium web browser. XBMC still runs by default, but users now have access to the underlying OS.
In addition to a more robust standalone implementation, Eden includes a number of other enhancements. The default skin has been modified to display more information on the home screen with fewer clicks, add-ons can be rolled back to previous versions at the touch of a button, remotes are supposed to work better in Windows, and forecasts are now provided by the Weather Underground. VAAPI support also promises improved video decoding support for AMD GPUs under Linux. A full changelog can be viewed here.
As someone who has been using XBMC since it debuted on the original Xbox, I'm happy to see the media-center app continue to evolve. Apart from a lack of PVR functionality, it's miles ahead of any other home-theater PC software out there—and completely free. Especially impressive is the fact that XBMC now runs on inexpensive devices like the Apple TV. Jailbreaking is required for iOS devices, though.
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