What's a Good Analogy for OSMC?

Hi everyone!

What analogy would you use to explain what role OSMC does for Kodi?

To whom are you trying to explain it?

For a non-technical audience, maybe you could compare it to a smartphone: think of a Vero 4K+ as like a phone designed to run just one app. Kodi is the app; OSMC is the equivalent of Android or iOS.

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OSMC is an operating system, Kodi is a program that runs on many operating systems. I assume what you are really asking is what is different between running OSMC vs. LibreElec or Android. The answer to that is that OSMC is running a full Debian OS in the background and gives you the ability to do whatever you want with it.

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Non technical person. Loves cars. Around 50’s.

My goal is

  1. To explain in a simpler context what Kodi is (why it can’t function without an OS)
  2. How does an OS like OSMC/Android fit in all this?

Hopefully in a context of a car but anything is ok

If osmc is the engine, would Kodi be the driver? Something like that.

Trying to compare a computer to a car is probably a lot more confusing than explaining the actual computer.

You have hardware, and this is the stuff you can hold in your hand. The hardware needs instructions to tell it what to do. The “what to do” in your case is run Kodi to play media files. Kodi does not know how to interact with any particular piece of hardware so there needs to be something sitting between the hardware and Kodi to allow the two to work together. The operating systems core function is to provide this link between the hardware and software.


This is covered on the blog and in the FAQ.

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If you insist on phrasing it in car terms, Kodi is the driver; the hardware is the wheels and the engine; and OSMC is the controls of the car (e.g. the steering wheel) and the connection between the controls and the hardware.

The driver decides he needs to turn left, but he can’t directly turn the wheels of the car with his hands or feet; instead he turns the steering wheel, and the controls pass on that instruction to the actual car wheels and cause them to turn.

But that doesn’t really capture the complexity of what an operating system does. I think you’d be better off steering clear of car analogies, tbh.

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Essentially kodi doesn’t care if it’s running on a pc, a supercomputer a microwave or a tractor as long as it has what it needs to run. It’s up to the operating system = osmc to run on the hardware provided and give kodi what it needs to run



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The car analogy does seem to miss the mark. Any other analogy you suggest?

Thanks. I’ll go read it.

Thanks! I’ll try your explanation and see if it works.

Has this non technical person ever used any computer?

Windows = Debian
Kodi = Microsoft Word
OSMC = Windows that automatically starts Microsoft Word on startup


that’s actually a great idea! thanks, @jb2cool!