OSMC stable release

Liz: We first met Sam Nazarko early in 2012 when he was still at school, in the sixth form. He’d been working on a packaged version of XBMC, the open-source media player, specifically built for the Raspberry Pi. He called it Raspbmc: he’d created a way to boot your Raspberry Pi straight into a really slick media player. 


Since then, Raspbmc and XBMC have both been renamed (they’re OSMC and Kodi respectively), and OSMC has gone…well, it’s become enormously successful. Sam’s just finished university, OSMC has nearly half a million users, and it’s just reached a milestone: its stable release (you’ll find it in NOOBS, or you can download it at osmc.tv/download). Here’s Sam to tell you some more.

It was a Wednesday in April 2012 and the postman had come early. I saw the letter and instantly knew what it was. I was in Upper Sixth at the time (Liz interjects: for people outside the UK, that’s the final year of high school), and I had been waiting to get my hands on one of these for months. Here it was, a Raspberry Pi! That was the first (and only) day that I ever skipped school.

I had done some work with the 1st generation Apple TV, and spotting the new form factor, low cost and low power consumption of the Pi, I was excited. I started work on Raspbmc and for two years it amassed an astounding amount of users.

But I never expected Raspbmc to grow to the size it did — it was never really designed to support such a large deployment. I learned a lot developing it and knew that it was time to start fresh. In June of last year, I decided to start the OSMC project. XBMC, now known as Kodi was renaming and I decided to follow suit.


I knew that we could make Raspbmc even better. During the development of the project, more and more people joined the team and got involved. Today we have over a dozen regular volunteers. Even though OSMC has just announced its stable release, it’s already being used regularly by 450,000 users. If someone had told me that Raspbmc or OSMC were going to be so widely adopted 3 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed them. Still, didn’t you say you were going to only produce 4,000 Pis Liz?

Liz: 2,000, actually. We…lacked vision.

OSMC is based on Debian Jessie and we’ve made sure it’s optimised for all Raspberry Pi models, old or new. If you haven’t used Raspbmc in a while and have yet to try OSMC, I hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised with OSMC. We’ve worked hard to improve performance, stability, the update system and hardware compatibility.

Thanks to the Raspberry Pi Foundation for their support.




Congratulations! I’ve been a big fan of Raspbmc (although not as big a fan as my 4 year old son…). I look forward to giving this a go.


I am wildly impressed by Raspbmc and now OSMC.
When I tried Raspbmc a while back it was already slick and worked great on a 1st generation Raspberry Pi Model B with 256MB RAM. My expectation was that there was a large team involved and required to produce such a polished and professional piece of software. So, it is amazing that it was primarily done by one person.

Thank you Sam for all your hard work and I look forward to experiencing OSMC on the much more powerful Raspberry Pi 2.

Liz Upton

I’d echo that: the fact that this really, really polished work has mostly been done by one (very busy) person is kind of amazing. Sam’s done an incredible job.


I respect what both Sam and the RPi team have done, but comments like these still are super de-motivating to me. There are people who spends hundreds and maybe thousands of hours each year working on Kodi, the underlying software that makes OSMC possible, but so often it feels like people completely forget about or ignore the work done by those guys so they can heap praise on the “single guy doing all the work himself.”

What’s really absurd is that Sam himself has never claimed to do it all himself. It’s all the other people writing about him that forget that there are at least 35 active developers, project managers, and documentation writers who never get mentioned in all these cool articles from the RPi Foundation or the Wall Street Journal or the NY Times.

I do appreciate that Kodi was at least mentioned in this article, which appears to more than can be said for many others. I just wish there might be the occasional conversation about Kodi itself or all the other versions of Kodi that run on the Pi.


I’m glad you spoke up and said that. I’m hopeful that as time goes by, more and more Raspberry Pi fanatics will come to understand that the people they have thought of as the faces of (say) Kodi, or Mathematica, or OpenCV are really the people who are optimizing and adapting already-mature and extremely capable multi-platform products to our beloved wee ARM box. Behind the one skilled and motivated fork master stand 100 ninjas who write code that is expected to work from Solaris Sparc to Debian on MIPS to OpenBSD on PowerPC. These upstream wizards are the people building the foundations we dance across each day (unholy mixed metaphor, apologies) and we should salute them too. So a big thanks to you and everyone working on Kodi, Nathan.

tai in Toronto


I would feel really bad for the Kodi team… if they ever showed they actually cared a jot about OSMC.

How many tweets about OSMC on the KodiTV twitter account? Two! And both of them parrot Nathans comment; OSMC is just Kodi, we do all the work.

How many tweets about OpenELEC? Lots. Anything not positive? Pfft. Of course not. Now why is that?

Maybe if Kodi wants to get more favourable press mentions, they should get behind those making the platform popular? Instead of making the mention of the underlying project a giant bummer in what is almost always a positive story?


I reached out to Nathan a couple of months ago about how we can improve relations with the Kodi team and ensure that Kodi is more recognised, but I still have yet to hear back.



Been very impressed with the raspberry pi and even more so with RaspBMC and the new OSMC. Have been using it since the first release

Keep up the hard work Sam!


Glad the 2000 number was eclipsed… :)


Congratulations! …I hope it have less bug :-)


Forgive me if wrong, but doesn’t that what “stable release” means?


Congratulations to Sam and team!

I have to say that I was really impressed with RaspBMC (which was terrific) and now that OSMC is a stable release, I can’t wait to see how well and successful it will grow.

Thanks to Sam and (of course) the Raspberry Pi team that made it all possible (the board)


Excellent news. I’ve used Raspbmc since very early on and have always been impressed with the general quality and rate of improvements. Good luck for the future with OSMC!


I’ve really found Raspbmc and OSMC to be something I’ve grown to love. It’s excellent as an addition to our ageing TV and especially given the fact our TV reception is affected by incoming aircraft – we’ve got an early warning system that seems to rival NORAD as the screen goes pixellated!

As a family, we’ve enjoyed seeing our photos on the big screen, the ease of listening to our music and also watching the plethora of videos on YouTube, Ted and others.

I’ve obtained Yatse for my Android Phone and it’s excellent as a remote control. Easy to set up and also allows me to stream the music to the phone (ideal for upstairs listening). I also tried a Flirc USB receiver for Infra-red remote. Not bad, but lately it seems to have died.

This kind of application is just the thing for a second Raspberry Pi hidden away, so there’s no excuse to put off buying another!

One gripe, which doesn’t reflect on OSMC at all, is the way that the BBC have prevented access to iPlayer. There’s one member of our household who is saddened that we can’t access cBeebies without recording to the freeview box.

In conclusion… thank you Sam and all the team behind the work you’ve done. It’s in use daily.


My thanks for all the hard work. I am hoping that text files become possible in the future- after all, text is the only medium with 6,000 years of backlog! Even just epub and pdf capacity would be tremendous, and allow my Pi to do 99% of all nonsurfing tasks I use a computer for… Nothing elaborate like calibre, more fbook reader…
Just a hope for the future…


Do I understand it right that it is impossible to upgrade to OSMC from RaspBMC?


Hi Alex,

You’ll need to pop out the SD card to upgrade to OSMC. We’ve some advice on this here at: https://osmc.tv/2015/04/moving-from-raspbmc/.




I’d been running Raspbmc for a while it has been running super slowly. Installed OSMC yesterday and it was amazing; such a better experience then Raspbmc. Imagine my surprise when I went online today and found out OSMC is Raspbmc, but a more updated version! I would’ve never guessed and am very thankful for the developments and amount of work that was put into this!


So the OSMC project is already dead, I guess?

All resources point to: osmc.tv/download and all links of the RPi downloads and of the diskimages on this page are disabled.

Or is there something wrong with my Firefox?


Hi Ike,

OSMC is alive and well. You may wish to double check our site again, and if the problem persists, let me know at sam at osmc dot tv and we’ll take a look.



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