LibreELEC vs. OpenELEC (Unbiased Comparison & Reviews)


By Janice

Update on

LibreELEC vs OpenELEC
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Both LibreELEC and OpenELEC are operating systems that were used with Kodi. Kodi boxes didn’t support much hardware at the beginning.

During that time, LibreELEC and OpenELEC were considered the obvious choices for Kodi users.

However, as of today, most Kodi boxes come with more efficient and advanced hardware. Also, Kodi can be installed on devices with advanced specifications as well.

Because of these advancements, Kodi’s compatibility has increased a lot. Despite the versatile compatibility of Kodi, both LibreELEC and OpenELEC are still alive.

Now, these two operating systems serve the requirements of Raspberry Pi. With that said, in this article, we try to compare LibreELEC vs. OpenELEC.


Comparing LibreELEC vs. OpenELEC

LibreELEC comes under OpenELEC as a branch of it. So, both operating systems are developed based on Linux. It is mainly intended to empower hardware that isn’t the newest. OpenELEC has initially introduced a decade ago (in 2009).

In fact, OpenELEC is run by a single person. However, in 2016, LebreELEC was introduced as a different option that is run by a community of individuals. Regarding the comparison of LibreELEC vs. OpenELEC, we should start from scratch.

That means we should compare what we experience during installation, configuration settings, user-friendliness, how you can customize it, etc.

In other words, we will cover pretty much everything you wish to know about these options.

Note: If you have other problems with Kodi, like how to use Kodi on Chromebook. Just continue to read.

1. Installation

When it comes to installation, you will find it pretty simple with OpenELEC software. However, you will have to figure out the version of the OS properly beforehand. You should know that different hardware supports different builds of this OS.

For instance, if you need to download OpenELEC for Raspberry Pi, make sure that you select Raspberry Pi to build. In addition to that, you will have to use Etcher. That will be used to create an image on the SD card.

In certain cases, the official web page of OpenELEC shows 404 messages as well. If you see such a message, you will have to perform a Google search and get the .exe file. Nevertheless, at the completion of installation, it functions simply nicely.

On the other hand, installing LibreELEC is really convenient as opposed to OpenELEC. In LibreELEC Wiki, you will find plenty of clear instructions, so you don’t need to do any guesswork. It also displays the list of requirements on the very page.

In addition to that, the installer and the SD creator apps are included on the same page for your convenience. Since all the resources are included in one place, you don’t need to waste time Googling them. In general, you can get it installed within about 30 minutes.

So, when it comes to installation, LibreELEC is the winner.

2. User-Interface

Now let’s compare the user interface of both of these options. In fact, both LibreELEC and OpenELEC come with Estuary skin and also the standard version of the Kodi interface.

If you have already used Kodi, using both of these options is a walk in the park for you. The Home Page of the interface has very similar characteristics to OSMC or other distros. Finding the media and playing it is pretty convenient with both interfaces.

The menus of both LibreELEC and OpenELEC appear in a similar pattern. The options are the same. So, selecting the best just by looking at the other facets.


LibreELEC and OpenELEC both use the standard Kodi interface and Estuary skin. If you are familiar with Kodi, you will be comfortable here.

The Home page is very similar to OSMC or another distro you may have used and makes short work of finding your media and playing it.

You have the same menus and options in the same places, so there is very little to choose between them. In other words, LibreELEC and OpenELEC are the same when it comes to the interface.

So, you cannot go for the ‘better’ option when it comes to the interface. It is a draw!

3. Usability

Now, let’s take a look at the usability aspect. LibreELEC boots conveniently into Kodi without much trouble. Those who have already experienced Kodi can find their way pretty conveniently without making any trouble. You can straightaway get into the Home Page and find all the options.

Navigating around the interface and finding them is not that difficult at all. You will be able to complete the entire boot sequence within a couple of seconds. Then, you will be able to watch the media right after that.

When it comes to OpenELEC, it boots into Kodi just like LibreELEC. More importantly, you will be able to experience the same usability with this option. So, overall, using LibreELEC and OpenELEC is a very simple thing. There is nothing much of a difference here.


Well, the bottom line on usability when you compare LibreELEC vs. OpenELEC, it’s a draw! Just like with the user-interface factor, it is all the same. Both options have the same skin, the same options, and the same navigation, and there’s absolutely no difference between them.

4. Customization

When it comes to the customization factor, both of these operating systems are based on stock Kodi Distro. This distro comes with the general standard customizations you see.

You can perform the customizations through the Settings option in Kodi’s interface. Therefore, the options you have are pretty much the same across both platforms.

In addition to that, you can find several add-ons to be installed. These add-ons are compatible with both platforms. However, if you have already blacklisted Kodi add-ons, you will not be able to add them to either option. Once again, customization is pretty similar when it comes to LibreELEC and OpenELEC.

That means that LibreELEC and OpenELEC come with the same customization options.

5. LibreELEC vs. OpenELEC – Other Considerations

You might have noticed that LibreELEC vs. OpenELEC comparison is pretty much a draw except for the installation. Let’s consider the other aspects to see if one can overcome the other. OpenELEC, as mentioned before, is governed by an individual person.

Despite his dedication to this platform, a single person can do very little when it comes to the real world. However, on the other hand, LibreELEC has an entire team to manage it.

So, there are obvious advantages when combining more team members – more ideas make it better.

In fact, LibreELEC has monthly updates. So it has better compatibility with Kodi’s features. On the other hand, OpenELEC too features timely updates. However, practically you cannot expect one person to handle a massive workload.

Also, LibreELEC features a faster performance as opposed to OpenELEC. We tested it with Raspberry Pi 3, showing clear evidence of faster performance. Many other users admire the same feature.

The most significant characteristic associated with OpenELEC is the lack of security. Everyone who uses OpenELEC knows about the security flaws associated with OpenELEC.

Some of the most well-known flaws are unsigned updates and issues related to HTTPS. However, we are not sure if these flaws (at least some of them) are fixed by now. If you plan to install OpenELEC, just check if these flaws are already fixed.

Well, when it comes to security, LibreELEC stands well ahead of OpenELEC. The group of developers in LibreELEC has taken plenty of measures to increase overall security. You must know that security is the most important aspect associated with any software.

Otherwise, the device and your personal information can be at stake. It is easy to understand that a team of developers can do better than a single person when it comes to security.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which is better, LibreELEC or OpenELEC?

There isn’t a definitive answer as it largely depends on your specific needs. LibreELEC tends to be more up-to-date with more frequent updates, while OpenELEC is lightweight and can function smoothly on older hardware.

2. Can I run LibreELEC or OpenELEC on my Raspberry Pi?

Absolutely! Both LibreELEC and OpenELEC support the Raspberry Pi. They even provide ready-to-use disk images for different models of the Raspberry Pi.

3. How do I update LibreELEC or OpenELEC?

Both LibreELEC and OpenELEC offer in-system updates. However, LibreELEC generally provides more frequent updates due to its more active development scene.

4. Can I install other applications on LibreELEC or OpenELEC?

While the primary purpose of both systems is to run Kodi, they do support additional applications through add-ons. However, being JeOS, they are not designed to function as a full-fledged desktop OS.

5. How do I install LibreELEC or OpenELEC?

Both systems offer ready-to-use disk images which you can write to a USB stick or SD card. LibreELEC also offers a handy installer tool to simplify the process.

6. Is it free to use LibreELEC and OpenELEC?

Yes, both LibreELEC and OpenELEC are free and open-source software. You can download and use them without any charge.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to the general use of the platforms, there are very few differences between these two operating systems. Both LibreELEC and OpenELEC come with pretty much the same features in most cases.

Both platforms depend on the standard Kodi interface, and both function perfectly on Raspberry Pi. The advantages of Kodi build with both platforms.

When it comes to an aspect like customization, everything is the same with both options. So, you don’t have much to choose between them. Also, the interface and the usability of the platforms are pretty similar, and nothing differentiates them.

If you are a novice, however, you better select LibreELEC, which is an honest opinion. Installing LibreELEC is a walk in the park, even if you are a novice user. It also works on various hardware devices, and the support is impressive. It also has a very strong community that helps new users. So, if we are to recommend the best out of the two, we vote for LibreELEC.

Do you have a different opinion than what we have emphasized in this LibreELEC vs. OpenELEC comparison? If so, we would be pleased to know your ideas. Please leave us a comment with your honest opinion.


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