Was bored yesterday evening and decided to downloaded XBMCbuntu and give it a spin... And what a spin it was!
I started out by converting the CD iso file into a USB pen drive and loading it onto my 9 years old Athon XP 3200+ desktop. A few minutes latter I was immersed in a beautiful and responsive XBMC interface. Wow!
The last time I tried anything related with this type of multimedia was with Mythbuntu back in 2008 and it was absolutely awful. So my expectations were very low and was expecting much of the same. But no... XBMC delivers a clear, responsive, beautiful, well laid out and with a very professional look.
XBMCbuntu didn't have any troubles finding the samba and MiniDLNA (I'll be publishing a post on linux-bsd-sharing.blogspot.com describing how to install and set it up on FreeBSD in the coming days) shares served by my FreeBSD server and managed to load and play .mkv with subtitles like a champ.
I was so well impressed that a few minutes latter I tried it on my Core 2 Duo laptop and once again the experience was magnificent.
While messing with it on the laptop I thought "Wouldn't it be cool to control it using my Android smartphone?" and so I went to the Android Market and downloaded XBMC Remote. Enabled remote control on XBMC and inserted the authentication details on XBMC Remote... and it worked. I was able to fully control the live USB XBMCbuntu from the smartphone. My inner geek exploded with joy :)
Opensource as sure came a long way. For the past 3 years another hobby replaced opensource as an hobby so I was pretty much disconnected from Unix-like world with the exception of maintaining my FreeBSD server updated.
So it is very pleasing to come back and witness that distros are much more refined, 3G tethering and broadband connections work without hassle. However finding out that multimedia projects like XBMC deliver such product quality... for the 10th time: I'm impressed.
Bottom line: I'm currently looking forward to assembling a XBMC machine for my living room and the process satisfying my inner geek while scoring wife points. Thinking of Raspberry Pi, VIA's APC or an AMD CPU/GPU integrated motherboard. Raspberry Pi would be the most satisfying to assemble so I'm leaning on that (the price also helps).