A collective of European developers is working on software that transrforms a Mac into a media centre, with an alpha version of the solution available now.

They hope to release a version "featuring the most important functionalities" as soon as April, they told Italian Mac Web site, MacityNet.

The Italian site spoke with developer Ivan Guajana, one of eleven developers in Europe who are attempting to build the software.

Guajana explained: "When launched, CenterStage will take over the whole screen and will allow the user to browse his/her movie collection, listen to music, play slideshows of the images stored in iPhoto's library and so on. The flexibility of the system allows any kind of functionality to be added, so expect plugins to browse pictures not stored in the iPhoto library, integration with popular console/arcade emulators".

The software will also support RSS, so users will be able to employ a newsticker from their favourite sites while using the solution. The developers are also looking for new helpers to construct additional plug-ins and skins, and are optimistic that new features will be introduced in future.

"Once the developer's documentation is out, we expect the number of plug-in developers and therefore available plug-ins to grow fast, because there is a lot of interest around this project," they said.

The developers are also very happy to be working with Mac OS X, which they call, "a great operating system". With Tiger reportedly round the corner, the developers also look forward to integrating features from that OS.

The Alpha release is available today, but as early development software is not intended or supported for standard consumer use.