Jellyfin: Free Software Emby Media Server Fork Is Announced After Emby Becomes Proprietary

After the news that Emby server is now proprietary, with only some plugins being open source, a free software fork of Emby was created, called Jellyfin.


Jellyfin web interface

Emby is a media server to organize, play and stream audio and video to a wide range of devices. The server runs on Windows, mac OS, Linux, and FreeBSD, and there are clients for mobile (Android and iOS), Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, smart TV platforms, and video games consoles like Xbox 360. Streaming and watching media using Emby is free to use, but some extra features, like offline media, DVR support, podcasts, and more, require a paid subscription.

A new Emby Server version (3.6) was announced recently, which will include "new levels of performance", revamped hardware acceleration on all supported platforms, and more.

In a bug report about the latest Emby Server 3.6 source code not being available, Emby founder Luke Pulverenti confirmed that the Emby server code is no longer open source with this version:

nvllsvm: "Will the stable release be available under the GPLv2?"
Luke Pulverenti: "No, if you check out our recent announcement, we now have additions that are costing us money. We cannot open source that. Instead we are modularizing and open sourcing as many standalone components as we possibly can."

nvllsvm: "So the core will be proprietary, but some additions will be open source?"
Luke Pulverenti: "Correct. We are moving as many features into fully standalone plugins as we possibly can."

After this decision, some Emby users announced they've fork Emby (version 3.5.2) "to focus on delivering a free software media solution".

The free software Emby fork is called Jellyfin, and it already had its first release.

The Jellyfin project was started as a result of Emby's decision to take their code closed-source, as well as various philosophical differences with the core developers. Jellyfin seeks to be the free software alternative to Emby and Plex to provide media management and streaming from a dedicated server to end-user devices.

Right now only the Jellyfin Docker release is ready to use (available on Docker Hub). You can also use the Debian packaging included in the repository to generate a DEB (grab the code from Git, add the Dotnet repository and install dotnet-sdk-2.2, then run dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot to generate a DEB package).

I should also add that there are no Jellyfin apps, but Emby clients are compatible with Jellyfin (I tried the Android Emby app - I was able to connect to Jellyfin without any issues).

Update: Jellyfin is now available for Arch Linux, on AUR (git version).

Another update: there are Jellyfin packages for Ubuntu and Debian (repository and DEB downloads), as well as Microsoft Windows nightly builds.

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