OpenELEC 4.0 Beta 7, an embedded operating system built specifically to run XBMC, the open source entertainment media hub, is now available for download and testing.The OpenELEC developers are moving fast with their operating system and are pushing new releases almost on a weekly basis, improving the distribution and including a large number of new packages and other various updates.
The distribution is also based on the latest XBMC version, which means that its developers are constantly implementing all the bleeding edge features and changes from that software.
"This release includes some bugfixes and improvements since 3.95.6 (beta6). Besides the usual bugfixes and package updates we updated XBMC with the last fixes to XBMC 13 RC1, updated the kernel to kernel 3.14.2 and rebuilt the whole distro with the recently released gcc-4.9.0."
"The team has made a huge effort to make this one of our best releases yet. Since the OpenELEC 3.0 and 3.2.x releases, we have worked hard to improve OpenELEC in a number of areas. Some of these are visible changes, others are backend changes that aren’t as visible to every user but are certainly worth mentioning," reads the official announcement.
One of the most important changes that you will see in this version of OpenELEC is the implementation of the latest stable kernel released so far, 3.14.2. It's very important for a distribution to have the latest Linux kernel possible because it ensures compatibility with the largest number of devices possible.
According to the changelog, GCC has been updated to version 4.9.0, the NVIDIA drivers have been updated to version 331.67, Mesa has been updated to version 10.1.1, the RPi patch has been updated, and more.
Also, an upstream patch has been added to work around some BIOS defects in the Intel MCH area reporting, a wake-on-lan script has been added, ping and ether-wake applets have been added, and the partition and file size have been updated.
XBMC 13.0 RC "Gotham," the distribution that is being used as a base comes with Android hardware decoding, various Raspberry Pi and Android speed improvements, stereoscopic 3D Rendering, better touchscreen support, improved UPnP capabilities, lots of audio engine improvements, better subtitle searches, extended Python and JSON-RPC API for developers, FFmpeg 1.2, and much more.
Check out the official announcement for a complete list of changes and improvements. You can download OpenELEC 4.0 Beta 7 right now from Softpedia.
Remember that this is a development version and it should NOT be installed on production machines. It is intended for testing purposes only.