LibreELEC vs OSMC vs OpenELEC – Which One is Best


Whenever it comes to operating systems, you then have three major options: LibreELEC, OpenELEC, or OSMC. All of these operating systems were created specifically in order to run on limited hardware. Most will only run on a handful of platforms and all include some form of Kodi as a built-in feature actually. In this article, we are going to talk about LibreELEC vs OSMC vs OpenELEC – Which One is Best. Let’s begin!

LibreELEC vs OSMC vs OpenELEC – Which One is Best

In order to better understand what sets them apart–and how they are also the same. It also helps to have an idea of where LibreELEC, OpenELEC, or OSMC are coming from actually. The oldest of the trio is OpenELEC actually. It actually started back in 2009 as nothing more than yet another flavor of Linux, basically the open-source operating system. This distribution was really unique as it was primarily focused on running XMBC, the ancestor of Kodi actually.

It didn’t include the extra packages that allow most Linux distributions in order to turn a raw computer into a usable machine. OpenELEC was fast and efficient and included XMBC actually.

Whenever the Raspberry Pi was launched back in 2012 (more about this a bit later). It then quickly surfaced as a suitable inexpensive platform in order to build a multimedia computer. It wasn’t, thus, very long before we saw OpenELEC ported to that platform which had all the needed features. Its built-in media player software and its ability in order to run on limited hardware made it the ideal choice.

Further | LibreELEC vs OSMC

Then came OSMC. OSMC actually started as RaspBMC, which is one of the two operating systems that were offered on the Raspberry Pi whenever it came out. It was kind of a scaled-down Raspbian and the other original Raspberry Pi OS option. And itself a scaled-down version of Debian Linux–with built-in XMBC software as well.

Well, the youngest of the three is by far LibreELEC that only came out in March 2016. It was released via a group of former OpenELEC developers who left the project because of “creative difference”. Along with OpenELEC open source, they fork the code into their own OS actually. Rumor has it that today, and most of the former OpenELECdeveloperss are along with the LibreELEC team actually.

What is Raspberry Pi?

Because we’ll use the Raspberry Pi as the unified platform in order to compare all three operating systems, let’s now see what this beast is all about. The Raspberry Pi is actually a cross between a home computer just like the one you’re probably using right now. And a microcontroller board like you would find in a lot of smart devices.


It was developed in the UK via a non-profit organization called Raspberry Pi Foundation as a tool. In order to teach basic computer science in schools and in developing countries as well. Its feature set, adaptability, size, and also affordability (at about 35 dollars) have made it immensely famous outside of its intend audience. Many folks saw it as an ideal platform for all sorts of applications. That includes media players. It has sold up to 11 million units worldwide because its original release in 2012.

The latest and the most common model today, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, offers great features and interfacing capabilities actually. It has a 1.2 GHz, 64-bit, quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor, also a high-performance Broadcom VideoCore IV graphic processor, 1 GB of RAM, video, audio, Ethernet, WiFi, and USB interfaces as well. it is quite a powerful and versatile device actually. It has all that’s needed in a TV-attached media player as well.

OpenELEC | LibreELEC vs OSMC

Well, according to OpenELEC’s website, OpenELEC is actually a small Linux based Just Enough Operating System (JeOS) built from scratch as a platform. In order to turn your computer into a Kodi media center actually. Some would argue that there is also a contradiction between “built from scratch” and also “Linux-based”. However, this is beyond the point of this article. OpenELEC is also available for a handful of platforms, also including standard Intel-based computers, Raspberry Pi. As well as We Tek, Cubox, and Hummingboard devices as well.

OpenELEC Installation on the Raspberry Pi

Well, the goal of this article is not to be a tutorial on how to install operating systems. However, with installation mostly being a user’s first contact–and his first impression. We feel like it is important to discuss the steps. This is especially true if you guys consider that this is where there are the most differences. The first thing you have to do is go to the OpenELEC download page and download the software picture to your computer.

The page is actually a little confusing, especially if you are new to this kind of thing. It gives little guidance as to which file one should download. Fortunately, a link at the start of the Raspberry Pi section gives installation instructions.

So, for a typical user, the process requires installing separate software in order to uncompress the downloaded image file. And more software to write the image to an SD card or USB drive as well. When the picture is written after you guys have figured out how to do it. You won’t actually find much information about this in the instructions. You use the created media in order to boot your device and simply follow this installation prompt.

Via OpenELEC

If you guys are familiar with Kodi, then using OpenELEC will be an easy task. It boots right into Kodi so that you won’t even know it’s there. You’ll also be able to add file source in the File Manager, install repositories and also install any add-on using any method available on Kodi. Assuming that you’re already familiar along with Kodi, using OpenELEC will be a really pleasant experience. And then considering that the operating system is cleaned up of any extra software. All of the available hardware resources will be dedicated to making your media experience even greater as well.

LibreELEC | LibreELEC vs OSMC

LibreELEC was actually built from the OpenELEC source code so it is quite similar. Its major difference is basically in the frequency of its updates. Since its launch a year and a half ago, it has enjoyed ever-growing popularity both along with users and developers. The update schedule of LibreELEC closely follows Kodi’s. So whenever a new feature appears in Kodi, LibreELEC is instantly updated along with the new Kodi version. Other than that, there are not that many differences between the two actually. Some will also argue that LibreELEC’s performance is better. If it is, then it’s only via a small margin.

Installation LibreELEC

One of the places where the LibreELEC team actually spent a lot of time is in streamlining the installation process. Thanks to a really great little piece of software called the LibreELEC USB-SD Creator. Installing the operating system needs a single download and only a few taps. You first go to the LibreELEC download page and then download the appropriate software for your PC,


The software requires no installation. you then simply run it, choose the hardware type you’ll be running LibreELEC on, and also the version. That you want to install it, choose your SC card or USB drive and tap on the Write button.


You guys than simply insert the newly created SD card into your Raspberry Pi, boot it, and answer a few configuration questions and that’s all. The entire process actually takes less than ten minutes.

Via LibreELEC

Just like its cousin, LibreELEC boots right into Kodi as well. If you guys know how to use Kodi, you’ll then know how to use LibreELEC. Everything from Kodi is there and works exactly the same way as well. Compared to OpenELEC, it is a really similar, and if not identical, user experience.


OSMC, although built on a Linux base just like the other two operating systems discuss here, is quite different. Like the others, it also creates to turn a computer into a media center. However, it wasn’t originally meant to run on limited hardware. And for that reason, it is a less limited operating system actually. Whereas OpenELEC and LibreELEC won’t really let you run anything besides Kodi, OSMC is a full operating system. You’ll be able to run much other software alongside Kodi.

Folks have used it to run web servers or Plex media servers as well, for example. OSMC even has an app store–like Android or iOS. There you guys will be able to find interesting and useful software.

Things have changed now, though and today, OSMC will only run the Raspberry Pi, the Apple TV, or the Vero. In case you’re thinking, the Vero is OSMC’s own hardware platform. It is actually a TV box that sells for about 120 Euros and allows to play 4K video on compatible TVs actually. It connects to an HDMI port and also has WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Installing OSMC

Just like LibreELEC, OSMC has an installer that will take care of much of the complexity of creating an SC card. You can download it from OSMC’s download page.


Scroll down the page and select your computer’s operating system in order to start the download. When the download is complete, simply start the installer via double-clicking it. Just like LibreELEC’s USB-SC Card Creator, it needs no installation.

You just have to select your language and your installation platform then tap on the arrow button at the right. On the next screen, it will then prompt to choose the OSMC version you want to install. We suggest you use the latest one. Then, for an easy Raspberry Pi install, you choose an SD card installation. Then configure the network connectivity. You finally select your target device and accept the license agreement.

Within just minutes, the SD card will write and after you insert it into your Raspberry Pi and booting it, it will take you in OSMC actually.


Although Kodi is basically an integral part of OSMC, its presence is not as obvious as with the other two options. The first thing that you will notice is how its main menu is really different. You’re still in Kodi, just like with the previous options actually. However, the OSMC team created a different looking theme to provide their system a unique look.

The Kodi functionality is still there and each and everything you can do on Kodi. If you’re used to doing things on Kodi, then you might feel a bit lost navigating OSMC. The basic functionality is easy to figure, however, more “advanced” tasks. Such as installing repositories and add-ons–will certainly need a bit of digging on your part as well.

Final Words | LibreELEC vs OSMC vs OpenELEC – Which One is Best

Although we’ve only briefly introduced each of LibreELEC, OpenELEC, or OSMC. Selecting the best option seems just like an easy task. However, is it really? If you guys are familiar with Kodi and want to run it efficiently on a Raspberry Pi or any other supported single-board platform, and LibreELEC seems the be the best option. Its USB-SD Card Creator makes installing it a breeze as well. Moreover, its user interface identical to any normal Kodi installation means that you’ll feel right at home.

If you guys prefer to have more options and perhaps use your device for more than just Kodi, and OSMC might be a better option. Not only will it run Kodi, however, also other software. And most of it can most of the time easily installed right from OSMC’s app store. It will actually put a higher load on your hardware, however, will offer more versatility.

And as for OpenELEC, it is almost identical to LibreELEC. It is updated less mostly and is way harder to install. Given all that, it’s really hard to find a reason in order to recommend it. It’s still a really good operating system, just not the best anymore as well.


Alright, That was all Folks! I hope you guys like this “LibreELEC vs OSMC” article and also find it helpful to you. Give us your feedback on it. Also if you guys have further queries and issues related to this article. Then let us know in the comments section below. We will get back to you shortly.

Have a Great Day!

Also See: How To Fix Webcam Black Screen Issues

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Windy Moore

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