XBMC for OSX strikes out on its own as gorgeous ‘Plex’ media center; Updated

aeon2.jpg

XBMC is the best media center platform I’ve ever used. Originally developed for Microsoft’s Xbox (and where I first used it), the free media center software stood out as one of the few open-source and free software projects to truly exceed both the capability and user experience of commercial projects. XBMC was — and is — as easy to use as any neutered media center platform like AppleTV or the Roku Netflix box but just as capable with behind-the-curtain magic as anything from Sony or Microsoft.

Then it was ported to the Mac. And that was good, as the original Xbox hardware was getting long in the tooth.

Now XBMC for Mac has been rebranded “Plex”. I like it. It’s snappy and memorable.

But what I like even better is this gorgeous theme skin called “Aeon” for Plex, spotted by Crunchgear‘s Nick Deleon. Granted, it’s the cover art that makes it all really hang together, but it all looks fantastic. It almost makes me wish I needed a media center application; these days I’m just clicking on files with my keyboard and mouse. Plus my media and gaming desktop is running Vista, not OSX. (That will probably be changing by the end of the year.)

Announcing Plex [OSXBMC.com via Crunchgear]

Update: XBMC Project Manager Andreas Setterlind writes in to correct some of my mistakes:

XBMC (at the xbmc.org website) is and always will be the original upstream version of XBMC (and forks like Plex, Boxee, and MediaPortal will probably always continue to copy code updates from the original XBMC, same as we do from them if they implement a new feature or function that we like, that is the nature of open source).

Now to the recent history and reason of OSXBMC being renamed to PLEX; Elan Fieldgold, as then a Team-XBMC developer member, originally ported XBMC for Linux to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard later forked away from XBMC and called his fork OSXBMC (I will not go into details but the fork was due to development practice differences), Elan and Team-XBMC at that time agreed that it would then be best if he renamed it from OSXBMC to something else as Team-XBMC plan on continuing our version of XBMC for Mac to avoid the confusion from having two Mac OS X version out there with “XBMC” in the name. Now almost months later Elan has announced that the new name of OSXBMC is Plex, and that a new domain will be followed soon called plexsquared.com.

Andreas’ whole email clears up a lot of the confusion; I’ve pasted the whole thing after the jump.

Hello Joel,

I writing you as you got a lot of the facts wrong in your recent article called “XBMC for OSX strikes out on its own as gorgeous ‘Plex’ media center”. I am one of the project managers of XBMC (formerly XBox Media Center) so here is the facts as I know them.

Clarification of the XBMC name and its ports and forks:

To start with the title of this article should to stay correct be renamed from “XBMC for OSX strikes out on its own as gorgeous ‘Plex’ media center” to the complicated “XBMC for Mac’s OSXBMC fork re-named to Plex”, as Team-XBMC (the 30+ developers of XBMC) is not the developers working on the Plex fork.

You see it is a bit confusing because of this; the original XBMC is no longer named “XBox Media Center”, since it was made cross-platform (ported from Xbox to Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows, now available on all those platforms) XBMC was a few months back officially been renamed to simply “XBMC” (and that is not an abbreviation any longer, it is just “XBMC” now, see xbmc.org which is the official website).

XBMC (at the xbmc.org website) is and always will be the original upstream version of XBMC (and forks like Plex, Boxee, and MediaPortal will probably always continue to copy code updates from the original XBMC, same as we do from them if they implement a new feature or function that we like, that is the nature of open source).

Now to the recent history and reason of OSXBMC being renamed to PLEX; Elan Fieldgold, as then a Team-XBMC developer member, originally ported XBMC for Linux to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard later forked away from XBMC and called his fork OSXBMC (I will not go into details but the fork was due to development practice differences), Elan and Team-XBMC at that time agreed that it would then be best if he renamed it from OSXBMC to something else as Team-XBMC plan on continuing our version of XBMC for Mac to avoid the confusion from having two Mac OS X version out there with “XBMC” in the name. Now almost months later Elan has announced that the new name of OSXBMC is Plex, and that a new domain will be followed soon called plexsquared.com

So to sum up:
OSXBMC (www.osxbmc.com) becomes Plex (www.plexsquared.com)
XBox Media Center (xboxmediacenter.com) is now just XBMC (xbmc.org)

Team-XBMC (xbmc.org) will continue developing XBMC for all platforms
XBMC for Linux
XBMC for Mac
XBMC for Windows
XBMC for Xbox

Again, I ask this is because it is not XBMC that has been renamed to Plex, (as that is what is causing the confusion in the first place), again it is only the osxbmc.org fork of XBMC for Mac that has been renamed to Plex, (Team-XBMC original version of XBMC for Mac hosted at xbmc.org will continue to be named XBMC for Mac, and Team-XBMC will continue the development of the original XBMC for Mac, …sure Plex has a few more Mac specific features than the official version from Team-XBMC do so far, but we at Team-XBMC have now also ported our version to Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, and are in the process of porting XBMC to PowerPC processor-architecture, while the developers of Plex have stated that they will only support Mac OS X 10.5 on Intel-based Mac hardware).

For a more detailed history of XBMC history from 2002 and onwards please see the wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XBMC

PS! The screenshots in your article are not from a Plex nor Mac OS X exclusive skin, it is from the skin Aeon which is designed to run in XBMC for Xbox, (the author of that skin uses an Xbox, not a Mac), as Plex is still fully compatible with XBMC skinning-engine as they made no changes to it, Plex can use any skin for XBMC. Neither is the skin Aeon the default skin in Plex (nor XBMC), the default skin in Project Mayhem III (a.k.a. PM3), Aeon is just one out of many skins for XBMC, (and I admit that Aeon is more beautifully than PM3, but I do not think that is the most beautiful skin for XBMC, nor is Aeon as user-friendly as PM3 and some other skins for XBMC). Many more skins for XBMC can be downloaded at the official XBMC skinning project:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/xboxmediacenter

Best regards / Andreas Setterlind (a.k.a. Gamester17)
XBMC Project Manager

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3 Responses to XBMC for OSX strikes out on its own as gorgeous ‘Plex’ media center; Updated

  1. Clay says:

    I just realized this after a bit of research — Aeon is actually not a Plex exclusive; you can get it for normal XBMC. So while this beautiful UI will be available for the Mac fork, it’s also available for Windows, Linux, and haXBox!

  2. Gamester17 says:

    Detailed clarification of the XBMC name and its ports and forks:

    To start with the title of this article should to stay correct be renamed from “Xbox Media Center Mac Port Called “Plex”…” to the complicated “XBMC for Mac’s OSXBMC fork renamed to Plex”.

    You see, the original XBMC is no longer named “XBox Media Center”, since it was made cross-platform (ported to Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows) it was a few months back officially been renamed to “XBMC” (and that is not an abbreviation any longer, see xbmc.org which is the official website).

    XBMC (at the xbmc.org website) is and always will be the original upstream version of XBMC (and forks like Plex, Boxee, and MediaPortal will probably always continue to copy code updates from the original XBMC, same as we do from them if they implement a new feature or function that we like, that iss the nature of open source).

    Now to the recent history and reason of OSXBMC being renamed to PLEX; Elan Fieldgold, as then Team-XBMC developer member, originally ported XBMC for Linux to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard later forked away from XBMC and called his fork OSXBMC (I will not go into details but the fork was due to development practice differences), Elan and Team-XBMC at that time agreed that it would then be best if he renamed it from OSXBMC to something else as Team-XBMC plan on continuing our version of XBMC for Mac to avoid the confusion from having two Mac OS X version out there with “XBMC” in the name. Now almost months later Elan has announced that the new name of OSXBMC is Plex, and that a new domain will be followed soon called plexsquared.com

    So to sum up:
    OSXBMC (www.osxbmc.com) becomes Plex (www.plexsquared.com)
    XBox Media Center (xboxmediacenter.com) is now just XBMC (xbmc.org)

    Team-XBMC (xbmc.org) will continue developing XBMC for all platforms

    XBMC for Linux
    XBMC for Mac
    XBMC for Windows
    XBMC for Xbox

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XBMC

  3. Anonymous says:

    xbmc (the original open source project which plex forked from) is available for linux, windows, and mac. Here’s the windows version: http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=87054&package_id=260464&release_id=585323

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