DevCon 2024 – Budapest – Part I

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A grand street, with dressed stone buildings to each side. A cobbled road - clean and gleaming in the sunshine, the dark stone contrasting with the bleached buildings in the early spring sunshine. A cathedral can be seen just down the road, enticing the viewer to walk just a little further.

The lights are dimmed, the projector is running, the microphones are tested, the coffee is on… yes, it’s time for Kodi’s DevCon once again! We’re coming to you from beautiful Budapest, the grand capital of Hungary – which last hosted us eight years ago, and it’s genuinely great to be back. With two thousand years of history, stretching from Celtic origins by way of Romans and Mongols and the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires, modern Budapest is today a global city with vibrant finance, media, fashion, technology, and entertainment sectors. If you know nothing about Hungary, I promise you that you’ve seen this city and the surrounding countryside in more films and television shows than you realise.

This year, we’re going to go back to the “daily blog” format we’ve used previously, so let’s see how this works. So, with no further ado bar a quick drum roll… off we go with Day One: a later start and a slightly reduced agenda for this session to allow extra time for people to get here and settle in.

We opened with welcoming comments from keithah, looking back at what is now 22 years of XBMC/Kodi and not quite-so-many years of DevCons. It’s always interesting to see how many faces have stuck around, year after year – how many have faded away – and how some have returned , sometimes after a long absence.

keithah continued with a dive into the Foundation’s finances and related aspects of managing the Foundation. We’ve never been a wealthy project – that’s not why we do this, after all – and we’ve always been cautious about e.g. advertising and headline sponsors. We remain solvent, and can invest in development hardware, server infrastructure and, yes, this conference, but we do need to generate new and more regular income to make sure that remains the case.

Beyond money, we’re in search of a new non-profit lawyer to help us with e.g. trademark registration and protection, as our current one is retiring. If that sounds like you, or someone you know is a believer in FOSS and prepared to work on a no-fee/low-fee basis, please get in touch and let us know, as this is an area we’ve been struggling with.

Another area in which we’ve been challenged is banking. As a US-registered non-profit, we’re not eligible to open a European bank account, and that causes problems because we lack an IBAN (primarily for payments in). We did have an account with Wise, which solved the problem entirely, but that was unfortunately closed without explanation or notice. We continue to look for an answer to this that doesn’t involve setting up and maintaining an EU subsidiary.

zag then took the floor to provide a view of Kodi from an end-user perspective: what could be better, how Kodi is positioned against similar products in a changing landscape (e.g. updating and cleaning the library versus making it transparent, accessing live/IPTV, podcasts, new user experience/setup wizards and general configuration, etc.). Good discussion about what might be, what could be, what we can think further on.

Finally for today, garbear talked about OpenGL in RetroPlayer – a key component to improving support for later-generation 3D games. This has a long history within Kodi, with multiple contributing branches stretching back perhaps six or more years (with Retroplayer going back even further). There are still problems to be resolved, so work is ongoing, but the list is getting shorter as progress is made, and plans are in place to get this over the line.

And that’s it. Other than the obligatory round of introductions, who-are-you-agains and oh-so-that’s-yous, it’s just about 22:00 and time to call it an evening. See you all when the planet turns a little further.

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