Game of Clones...........


Just came across this Pixhawk clone, so thought I would share.

Ready to Fly Quads is a reputable distributor, and I have made a few purchases from them already. They already have a clone of the APM2.x, that has been somewhat successful. Will this new clone be just as good. for under $100USD, might be work a try.

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  • Now, in my personal opinion, all of this does go against the *spirit* of both the OS software and hardware movement.  I get that.  But I think it's equally true, that 3rd parties producing clones of that HW, and selling at a price that undercuts the price of the person who created the project because they are putting absolutely nothing back into the project, is also against the spirit of the OS movement.  These clones are disruptive to the ecosystem.  I don't buy the line that they help it because they offer cheaper hardware which brings more users.  That's BS IMO.  This gets back to the symbiote vs. parasite thing.

    So in the face of this conflict between these two problems... which side to choose?  I choose the side which I KNOW helps to move the project forward.  Not the one that would kill the project I love, only to move on to the next profit center.

  • Give it up! There is absolutely nothing in the GPL, CC nor OSHW licensing that would even remotely touch the usage of the OTP certificate. Especially as every bit of software and hardware is open source and everybody can simply change it and compile it themselves at will.

  • That only says that ETHZ can't say "the FMU is only open source when it's part of the Pixhawk product. You can't take the FMU out and use only the FMU in your own project".

  • Some devices are designed to deny users access to install or run modified versions of the software inside them, although the manufacturer can do so. This is fundamentally incompatible with the aim of protecting users' freedom to change the software.

    The Pixhawk hardware does absolutely nothing to prevent you from running whatever you want on it.  Are you aware that the guys at ETH run a completely separate code base?  They don't use Ardupilot at all.  They have something else, which takes full advantage of the NuttX real-time operating system.  They can load that on Pixhawk no problem.  You could probably compile and load the Blink LED Arduino sketch if you wanted to. (Ok, I'm not sure that's technically possible, but you could definitely put it on a 3DR APM).  

    This point is invalid.

    There are also no patents here.  You are encouraged to take the source code, fork it, and run it on whatever you want.

    This really just comes back to the fact that the issue here is cloners and cloner users being upset that the free ride is just a little more difficult.  It took one guy a couple of days to get the software to do what he wants and provide his own distribution.  That proves that the Open Source-ness of this is alive and well.  

  • Right, let's look at that...

    Some devices are designed to deny users access to install or run modified versions of the software inside them, although the manufacturer can do so. This is fundamentally incompatible with the aim of protecting users' freedom to change the software.

    Now - is the Pixhawk designed to to deny users access to install or run modified versions of the software inside it?

    Nope. You can run and install on the Pixhawk what you want.

    And - just by the way... The Pixhawk is not under the GPL. The GPL is a software license, not a hardware license...

    Sorry - wrong license, wrong application...

    Thank you, "F", sit down.

    And - if you still didn't get it... The BINARY DISTRIBUTION version of Mission Planner checks for the certificate and refuses uploading the BINARY DISTRIBUTION of the APM software to a clone.

    You can very easily download the source code of Mission Planner, remove that part and recompile it yourself.

    No license nor ethics violation there. Even your favorite cloner could do this for you...

  • Taken directly from the github site of ardupilot:


    Version 3, 29 June 2007

    "When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for them if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs, and that you know you can do these things.

    To protect your rights, we need to prevent others from denying you these rights or asking you to surrender the rights. Therefore, you have certain responsibilities if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it: responsibilities to respect the freedom of others.

    For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must pass on to the recipients the same freedoms that you received. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights.

    Developers that use the GNU GPL protect your rights with two steps: (1) assert copyright on the software, and (2) offer you this License giving you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify it.

    For the developers' and authors' protection, the GPL clearly explains that there is no warranty for this free software. For both users' and authors' sake, the GPL requires that modified versions be marked as changed, so that their problems will not be attributed erroneously to authors of previous versions.

    Some devices are designed to deny users access to install or run modified versions of the software inside them, although the manufacturer can do so. This is fundamentally incompatible with the aim of protecting users' freedom to change the software. The systematic pattern of such abuse occurs in the area of products for individuals to use, which is precisely where it is most unacceptable. Therefore, we have designed this version of the GPL to prohibit the practice for those products. If such problems arise substantially in other domains, we stand ready to extend this provision to those domains in future versions of the GPL, as needed to protect the freedom of users.

    Finally, every program is threatened constantly by software patents. States should not allow patents to restrict development and use of software on general-purpose computers, but in those that do, we wish to avoid the special danger that patents applied to a free program could make it effectively proprietary. To prevent this, the GPL assures that patents cannot be used to render the program non-free."    ....

  • Well, I'm not a developer and not paid by 3DR and I'm with Robert here.

    Open Source Hardware means that the schematics are available and that the designer (which is by the way NOT 3DR but the University of Zurich project group) surrender their copyright.

    Open Source Hardware does NOT mean, that the manufacturer has any kind of obligation to

    • Provide support for "clones"
    • Make sure, specific software runs on "clones"

    All this ethics and philosophy stuff I read here is total nonsense! Relevant is the text of the applicable licenses. End of story.

    So even if 3DR arranges for the software they sponsor to not run on "clones"... SO WHAT???

    Anybody of those people who are wailing here, show me exactly the part in the Open Hardware license where it says they are not allowed to do that!

    Honestly... Are you really worried about ethics? Or are you just pissed that you can't profit from a cheap clone without having to use your own brains to some minimal effort to compile some software yourself?

    And that's what it is - a minimal effort! Stop wailing at 3DR! Start wailing at your favorite clone manufacturer because THEY are too stupid or too lazy to also compile the software themselves and offer it to you!

    Look at your own ethics before criticizing 3DR!

    How ethical is it to jump at any "clone" to save a few bucks while 3DR still pays for the majority of the development? I'm not talking about cloners, I'm talking about YOU, the always-wailing users! You happily use all the benefits which 3DR paid for, the software, the forum, DIYD. But when it comes to the hardware, you're too avaricious and run to the cloners to save a few bucks. Indeed, how ethical you are...

  • Yeah, shut it down!

  • mlk JUNIOR,

    Hmmm...not only didn't you answer the question but you proved that, contrary to Rob's belief, these forums are indeed populated with rude and insulting folks. Sorry but I have to go do some adult things now. Bye.

  • Can we shut this thread down?  It really is not productive in any way.  Hopefully, Paul and Craig get stuff sorted for his board and we all move on playing with our toys.

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