I really wanted OSMC to work

With  a couple of new 16GB SD cards for use with my Raspberry Pi collection, I thought I’d give Xbmc another try for a friendly media center over the festive break with some old vinyl I had ripped to disk.

But then I came cross OSMC as a distribution available on the Pi that fixed many of the xbmc shortcomings so I thought I’d give it a go.

One of the most frustrating things regarding Xbmc was the download of a 16Gb image only for there to be most of the space unallocated on the filesystem and no space to install any media files. OSMC certainly is a major improvement: download a small image and flash to the SD card, boot the Pi with and from there complete the installation of the rest of the system over the network.

Alas, on the Pi, it’s downhill from this point.

  • the default confluence skin is too big for the HDMI screen, left and right, top and bottom with text in the tool tips hidden,
  • the default interface is very clunky and hard to navigate with a mouse, frequently losing focus,
  • incoherent menus: trying to remember the difference between system and settings is no end of pain,
  • the OSMC skin is all but unusable: the scrolling text does all it can to avoid being selected under the pointer; the pointer itself at times getting replaced by a vertical bar of mis-render on the screen;
  • I had problems with no audio until a switch to the OSMC skin showed a ‘audio muted’ message onscreen; there was no equivalent on the confluence skin and I have no idea how the audio became muted,
  • the audio was often paused during playback even when nothing else was going on.
  • No obvious way to get music files on to the device: I could define an NFS mount for the library but no means of copying the files down: it’s a Pi so there’s no CD or SD card available.

While, as always, I appreciate the hard work that goes into putting these things together, I’m afraid that this is no way to showcase a Linux media center and I decided to bin it before letting any of my family see it.

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