Update: The Kodi website is back online. See the bottom of this article for more details.
The project behind Kodi – a popular cross-platform free and open-source home theater software and media player – is currently experiencing problems, with its main website being taken offline.
Software downloads had also become unavailable thanks to the website’s vanishing act, with users having to use mirrors in order to get downloads.
In the past Kodi – formerly XBMC – although in itself legal struggled with a reputation attached to it as, to all intents and purposes, a “piracy tool.” But the project has always vigorously denied its culpability, as these are issues around the streaming of copyrighted content that is enabled by third-party addons – which, in turn, are allowed onto Kodi thanks to its free and open-source nature.
Kodi has suffered for this, with giants like Amazon pulling the software from its store as a “piracy facilitator,” while Google decided to limit its exposure in search by removing the word from the autocomplete query. Once again, the reason was Kodi’s unwitting association with third-party software used for pirating.
For these reasons, intellectual property trouble might be top of might whenever Kodi is facing difficulties – but this time, it doesn’t appear to be the case. On Twitter, Kodi announced that Acquia Cloud, a Drupal-based cloud hosting platform that is the project’s sponsor, had pulled the plug on the website for using too much of its resources.
“Unless we pay for a dedicated server they won’t bring it back online,” Kodi’s tweet said, and asked for assistance from other Drupal hosts.
What the problem showcases, however, is the financial vulnerability even of some very successful and widely used free and open-source projects. Often depending solely on donations and sponsorships, they can see the rug pulled from under them very quickly – while a community of users is lethargic to support their favorite products and services with money until there’s a crisis or it’s too late.
But a bigger problem remains the lack of a clear, successful monetization model that these projects could deploy and rely on.
Update September 26: Kodi is back online. It appears that the site was down as a result of a misunderstanding.
Spoke with a VP over at @acquia and it’s all been a misunderstanding. Both the guy who set it up on their side and ours has left, and info on both sides fell thru the cracks. They are working hard to help us now out and promised we’d have our site back online soon.
— Kodi (@KodiTV) September 26, 2019