- I have been covering the technology industry for almost 10 years, and have been hearing the word "convergence, convergence, convergence" since Day One, yet none of the big players have ever quite gotten around to producing what they have been promising. What elements does XBMC add to the big picture in advancing end user machines to the next generation?
A: It seems (to me) that the convergence isn't going to come from the major players. When you have a market demand in an industry, you've got several key players in that industry, they all have their R&D and marketing departments and they often end up considering it's more commercially profitable to come up with a technology of their own, with its own "bells and whistles" the competitor doesn't have, instead of following a generic standard. And considering the other side is not an option because of corporate identity and honor.
That's where the end user loses. And that's when independent developers or teams who don't have these financial or moral considerations at all, and just wish of something that works universally, happen to "hack around" and make this happen. To me, they often end up with the best compromise. And then you have convergence because a coherent piece of software (or hardware, or both) is able to cope with most of the existing formats in a transparent way.
- The Sourceforge awards are more of an insiders' vote (developers for developers). I know this project is a hobby project for your team. Do you feel any sort of pressure to develop XBMC into a more plug n play type of application (e.g., do you see a day when a user could install it on an unmodded box?)
A: We would love to see XBMC run on 'unmodded' hardware, but it's not possible due to Xbox system protection. And I doubt much more will be researched in this area, due to XBOX360. With that said, there will come a day when we will need to find a new "host platform" for XBMC, but the need hasn't arisen yet. One reason XBMC works so well is because all Xboxes are uniform in hardware.
- You won in two different categories, signifying quite a wide range of appeal. Are you prouder of one category over the other? Does the fact you won in two categories mean you might have to develop for two different purposes and audiences in the future?
A: CCA Nominations were automatic and the Games nomination I assume we got because we are also in 'Console-based Games' category on SF. I think we have proof here that XBMC first got (and still has) the support of the console-owner community, which saw it as a nice addition to their Xbox which they use primarily for gaming, then got the recognition of the media enthusiast community, which discovered the potential and the mastery of XBMC as a media center - even in many cases justifying the acquisition of a gaming console they wouldn't have any use for, if it wasn't for XBMC. While it's true that XBMC is mostly targeted for media consumption, from gamers or non-gamers, there is a lot in it to confirm that it's always developed with Xbox owners in mind too: "Dashboard" and game launching features, Xlink Kai support (online gaming network: http://www.teamxlink.co.uk/), Game cheats ("trainers") and so on. We value the Multimedia one higher and we have most focus on the media aspect of XBMC.
- As the open source community finds more acceptance in enterprise stacks, do you feel the vitality of the community that uses pseudonyms will be compromised by those developers seeking to make big money? Why do you feel you must remain pseudonymous for this project?
A: Team XBMC always operated in kind of a grey area with XBMC since we use Microsoft's Xbox SDK (needed to compile) which can't be obtained legally unless you're a licensed Xbox developer. That's why team members keep a low profile, it was never about making money.