Pirates! UAV Solutions violates Open Source Licenses

I noticed earlier today that William Davidson was promoting UAV Solutions as a place to purchase telemetry radios. Just as Tridge called out Paul Whitespy from Ready to Fly Quads http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/an-open-letter-to-paul-from-wit... as a license violator I want to make people aware that UAV Solutions is one of the most prolific violators of the open source licenses we use in Ardupilot, Pixhawk, and PX4.

UAV Solutions violates the GPL License on Mission Planner and Ardupilot and they removed Michael Oborne's name from Mission Planner and rebranded it as their own software.

I have spoken with UAV Solutions many times and they have no interest in respecting Michael's work or the efforts of the dev team. They have no interest in respecting the licenses and there is no reason for them to change the way they do business because people buy from them and keep them in business.

Please support the companies who support this project and who respect the developers and the people who have made this project possible. UAV Solutions is not one of those companies.

One of the dev team had a suggestion of creating a badge for open source violators.  Mr Davidson you are the first person to be awarded the badge. 

Views: 11878

Comment by RC Tech.se on January 23, 2016 at 1:15pm

That badge....

Comment by Craig Elder on January 23, 2016 at 1:18pm

@ Jethro Stripping the credits out is tacky but technically not a violation of the license. Not publishing the changes and not passing the license along are violations.

Comment by Gary McCray on January 23, 2016 at 1:19pm

Hi Paul,

I agree that it is a sad necessity that we have to resort to legal means, but that is the purpose of the open source license in the first place, namely to provide open distribution, but sufficient control so that developers are not simply unattributed and taken over by unscrupulous corporations.

And scruples are something not widely found in most corporations.

Really all they care about is their net income, and trying to shame them into compliance is unlikely to move them unless you can affect their revenue stream.

Legal action makes clear to all concerned their actions and in this case it certainly seems like the only thing they will pay attention to.

It is probably about time for the whole open source license issue to show it's teeth anyway.

Come on Chris, get some of your hi end buddies to go after this.

Open Source licensing can benefit us all, but not if it is simply ignored.

Best regards,


Comment by Karl Truemann on January 23, 2016 at 1:43pm

You must excuse them, they do not understand that 3DR has priority for enslave the work of open source projects and communities.

Comment by cmiser on January 23, 2016 at 1:53pm

Karl,  I don't think your comments are valid for the subject nor do we want to detract from the subject.  If you want to rag on 3DR please feel free to start a new post.  We all know that 3DR is getting out of the open source game, has stopped selling DIY hardware, and has removed funding for all but a couple select developers.  The subject at hand is related to violating and abusing Open Source, Ardupilot, and Mission Planner.   I have no doubt the discussion on 3DR and there current path will be evolving at a later time but our focus here should be on the immoral/illegal activities of UAV Solutions and the other many companies out there doing the same thing.

Comment by Paul Meier on January 23, 2016 at 1:53pm

Karl, can you explain how 3DR is enslaving the work of open source projects and communities ?

Comment by davidbuzz on January 23, 2016 at 5:47pm

Regarding UAV solutions use of Mission Planner…. Its quite possible that they ARE complying with the GPL license/s.   It REQUIRES them to re-brand… “the GPL requires that modified versions be marked as changed”, AND it REQUIRES them to supply the source code to those who recieve the software ( ie purchasers ) “For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must pass on to the recipients… you must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code”.      IF they are doing this ( I can’t say for sure ) , then they are NOT violating the GPL..    I see no clear and public violation at this point.    

Of course, they are NOT engaged with the community, they are NOT giving back, they have NOT offered the sourcecode publically ( it's not required, but polite ), and I hear rumor that they have refused to supply the source code to at least one of their customers ( unsubstantiated) , and someone told me that they are not nice people. 

Comment by Gary McCray on January 23, 2016 at 6:35pm

Hi David,

Possibly true, but GPL does require original developers to be properly attributed and not simply deleted or unattributed.

And the likelihood that the "modified" source is being distributed at all seems remarkably unlikely.

Seems like the perfect test case to me.

And probably a good one for the Corporate Open Source backers of 3DR to get behind.

The whole point of 3DR was largely to showcase how open source and corporate profits can actually benefit each other by encouraging much faster than normal R&D at much lower than normal cost.

It is to the benefit of truly forward thinking corporations to actively defend the worth of Open Source - to them.

UAV Solutions is trying to make a joke of it.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on January 23, 2016 at 7:31pm

It's just too bad, I'm really interested in the aluminum cased Pixhawk they're making...

Comment by naish on January 23, 2016 at 8:23pm

I think the best approach will be to go after their customers.

In many countries, the end user is responsible in fund using illegal software, therefore even if they are not aware of it, they can still be held responsible. 

Let's make a list of their costumers, and then we send them an email with a cease and desist letter on the use of Mission planner. At that stage, they will ask UAV solution for explanation.  


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