Our Team Blog

Boxee and Open Source Software

We’re passionate about open source software - it forms the basis of the software we’ve spent the last 4 years building and we love the spirit of the community around it. Without it, we would not have been inspired to build Boxee in the first place.

Boxee’s software is mostly licensed under GPLv2 and we make all open source code for Boxee’s PC software and embedded devices available for download on our website. Boxee is originally forked from the XBMC’s open source code, and we continue to contribute to this great project.

Yesterday there was some noise in the open source community that a utility included with a pre-release version of the Boxee Box software is licensed under the GPLv3. The utility, gpgv2, came in a pack of gpg utilities, including libgcrypt, which we use, and was erroneously included - but never used, and we subsequently removed it from the Boxee Box software. We have already put a new internal process in place for adding new F/OSS to Boxee and we are also doing a complete audit of our software to better document the licensing of the open source code we use.

In the end, the spirit of the initial argument was born more out of frustration with the inability to hack the Boxee Box. We had always hoped that the Boxee Box would be able to run XBMC, enable old-school emulators, and make breakfast in the morning. But it quickly became clear that to release a device with premium content, we’d need to put strict security measures in place. Lose the security requirements and lose access to some of the Boxee Box’s most popular content.

We started Boxee to see if we could take XBMC’s open source project and turn it into our day job. 4 years later, I’m pretty sure it’s turned into our day, evening, and night job.

The open source community continues to deliver some of the most innovative projects around and we’re happy to be a part of that, especially as a company that’s shown open source people out there that you can turn your passion in your profession.

- Tom

Boxee Co-Founder

April 19, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Get a bite of this – Boxee Beta on AppleTV

Last week, shortly after Avner’s post on the updated Beta version and the unfortunate lack of AppleTV support (unless you have your SSH teeth fully grown in), the powers that be resurrected the atvusb-creator for Mac.

Yep. You can now, once more, pwn your AppleTV following these super simple instructions, and get the Boxee Beta on that shiny Apple box. In fact, if you already have Boxee Alpha installed, you should be able to just update Launcher and then update Boxee to achieve the same result :)

Kudos to JimWiley and hillbilly1980 from the Boxee forum for making the original update script, and Amet, davilla and stephan.diederich from Team XBMC and atvusb-creator for fixing the Launcher, SoftwareMenu and the Creator itself, permitting this goodness.

Enjoy, and let these guys know you appreciate their efforts by commenting below and/or here.

** Installing Boxee on your AppleTV simply adds a Boxee option to the main AppleTV menu. Previous AppleTV functionality remains in tact.

boxee-on-appletv(BETA)

February 25, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Boxee Box internals revealed. NVIDIA Tegra 2 FTW

Many have been asking about it and we’ve been eager to share the details of what’s inside the Boxee Box by D-Link. Today we’re making a joint announcement with NVIDIA and D-Link revealing that the Boxee Box is powered by the Tegra 2 (T20) platform!

The T20 is based around a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU with that additional graphic umphhh NVIDIA is famous for, allowing us to deliver our user experience in a small box, and very low power consumption (we’re green too :) )

With Tegra 2 powering the Boxee Box you can:

  • Enjoy a fluid and responsive user interface that is similar to the UI performance up till now available only on full blown PCs
  • Play 1080p video from locally stored content and stream HD video content from the Internet
  • Play Adobe® Flash® 10.1 content from across the web, including HD content

More inside the Box:

  • RF chip by Nordic - to support a great remote control experience that is not dependent on line-of-sight and can work from anywhere in the house
  • 802.11N wireless chip by Broadcom

What’s not in the Box:

  • No hard-drive - We discussed hard-drive at length with D-Link, and figured people already have storage solutions, and that we should do our best to reduce the price of the Boxee Box. You’ll be able to connect your choice of storage devices directly to the Box using USB
  • No IR - While we realize many people are using universal remotes, we believe there is a greater benefit having a full QWERTY keyboard, and the right way to do that was RF. We really wanted to also support IR, for various reasons we could not get it as part of the build. We continue supporting this in software, so you can use any IR dongle and continue using your universal remote with Boxee.
January 7, 2010 at 3:51 pm

apple tv remote woes

we’ve been having some complaints from boxee on atv users losing the remote after upgrading to atv firmware 2.2, and others just complaining their remote stopped working for no apparent reason, regardless of firmware version.

so if you are one of these, couple of pointers to get you back on your boxee:

first, make sure you’re up to date with the great atv launcher from the atvusb-creator team, by selecting boxee, and then clicking “update”, selecting the launcher (depending on your launcher version, it may say “update launcher”).

second, your remote may have become improperly paired, so unpair and pair again.

pictures cc-by-sa gidon coussin

and of course, its a monday, bunchainvites were just sent :)

October 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm

welcome yuvalt

my third bug report to team-xbmc four years back was assigned to this guy yuvalt. israel being so small (yet a powerhouse in coffee making), it turns out we have met sometime in 2000 on some trip to the dead sea… and i can go on blabbering how he knows vulkanr and avner, or how he introduced us to Gamester17 and pike and so forth…

when we did xbmc devcon08 back in june, yuvalt was extremely passionate about, well, everything xbmc really. so now, almost 3 months later, i am extremely happy to welcome yuvalt to boxee, where he can spend even more time and effort on xbmc.

p.s. more invites coming out now. its a monday after all ;)

September 1, 2008 at 6:31 am

new version. lots of good stuff.

we just released a new version of the alpha.

it is available for Mac OS X 10.5 and Ubuntu. we tried to squeeze support for 64bit, but it didn’t make the cut :( . we will try to release updates at shorter intervals..

a lot of work went into this one. we tried to solve many of the bugs that have been reported in the forums and were sent by email, as well as add some new stuff.

new stuff:

  • manual editing of (un)identified movies/tv shows/albums - boxee sometimes identifies a movie/tv show/album incorrectly (or not at all). now you can fix these mistakes (some of them are quite funny) by manually telling boxee what it is. you’ll see a new “wrong movie?” option in the info screen. click it and get a list of potential matches.
  • manual adding of a source - you can now manually add new media sources to boxee. use rss:// to add video or audio RSS feeds (make sure the feed you’re trying to access has a link to the original media enclosure), or upnp:// to add a upnp source, mms:// to stream audio or video (you can get creative with this one. i just pointed boxee at my http://drop.io rss feed. pretty cool stuff)
  • mms:// support - streaming of audio and video using mms. we can now listen to israeli radio stations! that was a big one for our girlfriends, wifes and gidon. to add a new mms stream go to the ‘Add Source’ option and choose ‘manual’.
  • upnp support - if you have a upnp server you can now access it using boxee. the shares list retrieved whenever the you browse to “network” is a union of smb and upnp. for some of you upnp may work better than smb. let us know.
  • OSD for pictures - when you’re viewing a photo click ‘Return’ and you’ll get an OSD that will allow you to do stuff like rotate, zoom in/out and across the picture (my personal favorite), control slideshow settings and get some EXIF data.
  • http proxy support - you always wanted to connect via an http proxy in india, right? so now you can. no support for user/pass, yet. so you’ll have to connect to them friendly and open proxy servers.
  • UI navigation change - internet-applications now part of the main browse screen, so clicking on Video takes you directly to the main video screen (also applies for music and pictures).
  • updated source management - we updated the Media Sources screen, so to enable you to get to all the places where you may have content you’d like to access with boxee. result is too complicated. we’ll simplify it in the future.
  • new visualizations - Goom and Waveform. there were some fixes to the visualizations framework (which caused crashes). i still think most of them are a bit too much. we need create a more ambient boxee visualization as the default.
  • (Mac only) integrated crash reporter - so you can send them directly to us, as well as spam apple

bug fixes:

  • remake of our download system (solved many .torrent issues)
  • python stability and performance improvements (affects youtube, flickr, etc.)
  • improved resolution support (secondary display)
  • fixed image bugs. raw images are now supported
  • improved picture information and picture loading indication
  • fixes to subtitle viewing (mainly on ff/rwd and large subtitle files) - thanks elan
  • visualization - not to be affected by volume - thanks elan
  • (Mac only) navigating via menu->sources now will not show mounted “img”-s. only /, home folder and usb connected devices. this is true for adding a local media source too.
  • default screen saver - now boxee branded (boxee slide show)
  • new versions of all our plugins (youtube, flickr, etc.)
  • keyboard consistent “back” navigation
  • “dim” screen saver to go into action on main screen (profile selection) - this screen was not starting the screen saver before
  • faster file scanning since ~/Pictures is not getting scanned
  • navigating in folder mode would display an image if one exists under the folder (folder.jpg, preview.jpg and cover.jpg). the detection and caching is done during file scan time, so may take a few minutes till shown
  • app logs now go to ~/Library/Logs/xbmc.log under Mac, /tmp/boxee-xbmc.log under Linux
  • edit controls instead of osd keyboard on login screen (user/password) (stupid, stupid bug that frustrated many users. me included..)
  • hidden password on plugin settings (1999 vintage bug)
  • dvd playback should be fine now on all dvd’s (my Road Trip dvd is mia. last seen in vulcan’s drowning MBP. oh, the sacrifice..)
  • better treatment of thumb “loading”. should result in a lot less “loading” indications (less spinning circles on the screen == bliss)
  • playback of “video_ts” folders should work fine now (i wish this format will go away.. takes too much space on the disk)
  • smb upgraded to 3.2.1 and went through a fix session (hope this solves more bugs than it creates… let us know)
  • new setting under network->smb called “use one connection per server” - it will control the amount of outgoing connections from the client. playing with it requires restarting the client.
  • improvements to the thumb loading mechanism
  • fixed sorting of items in internet apps (newest items should appear first in RSS feeds, etc.)
  • add/remove internet apps from settings->media sources
  • fixed deadlock in dvdplayer

phewww….. now in reverse:

reyapdvd ni kcold… get ‘em while they’re hot, enjoy, and head to the forum to say wassup.

ahh, one more thing.. while on the subject of forum and features, major props to agentlame for some kickass howtos getting mythtv to work, using snapstream firefly remote, keeping your mouse & keyboard available in dual screen and to chatterbox & clarkee wanting some extra content for their telly and making iPlayer content available under boxee (UK only, alright?).

August 25, 2008 at 5:56 pm

linux version is available

ubuntu

the linux version of boxee is available for download!

if you already received an invite then you’ll find links to download versions for Ubuntu 7.10 and 8.04. we figured that between Gutsy Gibbon and Hardy Heron we will cover most of the Ubuntu users out there.

we have not played with running boxee on other Linux distros, nor did we test boxee on all hardware combos, driver versions, etc. so this is a work in progress and we hope that alpha testers will try running boxee in all kinds of environments and send us their feedback.

having boxee running on linux is also exciting because it opens the door for boxee to run on a variety of hardware platforms and configurations, from users building their own media centers to hacking existing boxes to run linux/boxee.

software requirements:

  • for nvidia gpus, latest nvidia proprietary drivers from nvidia
  • for ati gpus, latest ati proprietary drivers from ati
  • if you have a lirc compatible remote, for example, windows MCE remote, install lirc using sudo apt-get install lirc command. we also support direct hardware mapping for supporting Apple IR and other usb based devices usually not supported under lirc

we tested boxee with the following hardware configurations (though other setups may be supported as well):

gpu

  • nvidia 6150le igp, go7300 mobile, 8600m gt mobile and 7,8 series desktop gpus
  • intel 945*, 965, X3000, X3100 igp
  • ati x1600 mobile gpu

cpu

  • current intel and amd processors

audio

  • intel hda

known issues

  • this is alpha software. ’nuff said.
  • at times, boxee may cause elevated cpu usage, and become sluggish, requiring an application restart
  • some dvd titles may not play. this has already been fixed in internal builds, and should be made available in the next version.
  • visual effects (compiz fusion) should be disabled. this is done by System > Preferences > Appearance > Visual Effects, set to None

please send us your feedback and questions to support [at] boxee.tv or http://forum.boxee.tv.

July 22, 2008 at 9:40 am

boxee mondays

every monday for the past month, including yesterday, i’ve been uploading a batch file with email addresses from people signing up at boxee.tv. these have become known at our office as “boxee mondays”, and are accompanied by a spur of emails to support and our (more) constant monitoring of the server, given that there is also an organic growth of users driven by friend invitations.

this monday was also special with introduction of a new privacy feature.

the new privacy setting (available on your account page) allows you to control who gets to see what you’ve been watching and listening to. by default you share with the world what movies, tv shows and music you are playing on boxee. now you can set boxee to only share this info with your friends, or if you’re really shy you can decide not to share it with anyone.

on to another subject, i’d like to remind you sourceforge 2008 community choice awards voting ends in a few days - make sure to vote for your favorite software, XBMC, of course, which powers boxee. cast your vote here.

July 15, 2008 at 9:58 am

new alpha version, new forums, more invites

we have just released a new alpha version of boxee for mac.
if you’re already an alpha user we highly recommend to upgrade your current version (go to http://app.boxee.tv/download).

the new version includes many bug fixes and some new functionality (details below).

we have also opened community forums for alpha users to discuss features, bugs, ideas or life in general. you’re all welcome to join the discussion.

last but not least. we are sending out more invites today.

if you want to make sure you are on the list just leave a comment on this post or send me an email directly to tsella [at] boxee [dot] tv

what’s in the new version:

  • many, many, many fixes and tweaks (see list below) – thank you all for keeping our support guys from going on coffee breaks ;)
  • DVD playback is now working. now when there is a disc in the drive a new icon will appear on the boxee menu, and you can click it to play your DVDs (please make sure to disable auto-playback of DVD in your Mac settings before you insert a disc while boxee is running)
  • a movie-trailer application from xbmc (you will need to delete your profile for this to show up, sorry. please see the forum thread explaining how to do this)
  • added support for Apple-Tab for switching between boxee and other application. first time boxee will go to Windowed mode, and next allows application switching.

known issues:

  • muxtape script no longer working as of June 30th due to web site changes (we need to talk with justin..)
  • logoff is temporarily disabled, please exit and restart boxee if you wish to switch profile, sorry

list of fixed issues:

  • improved stability (thanks to all those who sent in their crash logs!
  • resolved several issues with Python scripting engine
  • significantly improved boxee exit times
  • media items from youtube, CNN, etc. can now be recommended to friends
  • fixed instances where thumbnails would not load properly
  • improved Apple Remote navigation
  • fixed Lyrics for music coming from Internet Music > Audio Channels
  • fixed “More Info” button on audio and video streams
  • fixed Private flagged content indexing (don’t worry, another bug made it work just right in the interim)
  • fixed several typos, thank you eagle eyed friends!
  • mouse is now disabled by default
July 1, 2008 at 11:52 pm

ran out of alpha invites. more to come next week.

we have no more alpha invites left for this week..
next week (Monday) we’ll send out additional invites.
just make sure you sign up at boxee.tv

if you can’t wait then there is a way for you to get your hands on an invite before next Monday. just find someone who has already registered with boxee (each registered user can invite several friends, so they can share what they are watching and listening to).

June 17, 2008 at 3:38 pm