The year is coming to a close. Crystalbuntu has now been available for Apple TV since June 2010, although the self-updating and UI installer mechanisms have only been available since March. I would not be blogging about such a bespoke platform had it not spiraled into such a large project. Here are the achievements of 2011:
- Crystalbuntu has over 9,000 daily users. That only covers the users that are synchronizing with the update server every day. I’m willing to guess most users reboot once a week or don’t use their aTV that often, so this number is quite impressive. At this rate, it will be 10,000 by the end of January. Crystalbuntu downloads have accounted for 23,283,706 megabytes of traffic between March and December.
- The distro has an unsurpassed one click install utility, allowing the average user to install Crystalbuntu with no prior Linux knowledge. There’s no need to do any dodgy CLI wizardry and in 20 minutes, the distribution is running on a USB or the internal drive.
- Crystalbuntu is the distribution of choice for those serious about HD content on the Apple TV. It delivers better performance than any other software combination running on the Apple TV. It’s optimized to run on the device in every way, be it power consumption, heat output, system performance or usability.
- I’ve enjoyed pushing out updates (almost) every month for the past nine months. It’s taught me a lot of things: maintaining a distribution used by such a vast user base without messing things up is hard. I particularly enjoyed the July update, which saw the introduction of a number of new features. Crystalbuntu was the first XBMC based Linux distribution to feature AirPlay and AirTunes, ahead of OpenELEC, XBMC Live and XBMCFreak. It still has some unique features, such as PVR and USB Automounting, that you won’t find in every run of the mill distribution.
Goals for 2012-2013:
- I plan to release XBMC 11 (Codename Eden) as soon as it is finalised (expected this month) and after this start offering nightly builds for release twelve, codename Frodo.
- I’d like to make some significant system improvements, not just functionality as I am always striving to do so, but also in the fields of performance and support, such as for new hardware such as Pulse Eight’s new CEC Adapter. I will also be releasing a service pack to combine all the updates and be making some improvements to the update system.
- The dual boot model seems increasingly attractive. A lot of people want to retain the original Apple TV OS so they can rent films or access their iTunes library. I definitely see this as a good idea for the future.
- Crystalbuntu really thrived this year. Since I developed the UI installer, the counted installs went through the roof. I’m going to attribute that to the ease of installation.
- What’s also important to realise is that while the 1st generation Apple TV is no longer sold, the Crystalbuntu user base is growing, not declining.
- It’s for that reason I pledge to support the distribution for as long as I can which will be until at least 2013. This is a stark contrast to Apple who have not released an update in 21 months!
- Bandwidth, hardware, even my own time is in heavy demand.
- A small donation really shows me that the distribution is worthwhile to you. If the distribution has given your device a new lease of life, help keep the project alive for as long as possible.
- Thank you for giving me the opportunity to expand my skills by developing for you, I hope you enjoy your XBMC experience.
- Here’s to another year.