Interesting stats on DIY Drones user operating systems

Over the five years we've been running the site, Apple OSs have been consistently rising and Linux consistently falling. Today iOS of various flavors add up to nearly 6% of total traffic of 1.4m page views/month, which brings the Apple total (mobile +  Mac) to around 20%. Five years ago, Linux was around 8%; now it's 5%. FWIW, Chrome is the most popular browser, closely followed by Firefox.  

Views: 1928

Comment by Sam Kelly on June 12, 2012 at 11:21pm

A few of us at 3DR engineering are switching to OS X. At this point my main tools run natively quite well, and things like the Mission Planner and the 3DR Radio config tool can be virtualized or run via Mono (virtual is the better option, at least on my setup). Just having a few better things like Homebrew and Sparrow is making my job easier.

Comment by davidbuzz on June 12, 2012 at 11:24pm

Seems to me that separating  Android from Linux is just as meaningless as separating iOS or iPad from Macintosh.     ( Android IS a form of Linux, and  iPads and iphones and ipods run iOS )       At the moment, your numbers are kinda like asking what kind of Toyota is the most popular Car on the road?   Either separate them all into versions and sub-versions , or don't separate them at all. ?

Comment by Ahmad Usman on June 12, 2012 at 11:39pm

ipod 315 hits i m sure most of them are from me :)

Comment by Andreas M. Antonopoulos on June 12, 2012 at 11:39pm

@david, I would the separation is probably based on UserAgent strings, so really is an artifact of how Apple and Google name their products, not of the statistical package used here. 

Comment by Andreas M. Antonopoulos on June 12, 2012 at 11:45pm

Mission Planner is a bit painful for us Mac users, unless you also fork out a Microsoft tax in the form of a Win7 license for a VM. 

Qgroundcontrol is 90% there, if paired with avrdude for flashing but is still missing RC calibration. With MAvlink 1.0, we have to switch to QGCS-1.0-alpha-build09, which has a few glitches.

I'd be interested in hearing more about other Mac user's toolsets, for APM bench work and in the field.

Comment by Michael Pursifull on June 12, 2012 at 11:48pm

David: the stats are generated from User Agent strings. It is these strings, not philosophy, that drives these categories. Personally, I think knowing that there are 13% mac users, 6.56% for all iOS useful for the Ning folks. It makes sense to spend more time improving the still-busted iOS website design, considering that by so doing, in one action, the third most used platform would be better supported. If your purpose is to make OS religious arguments, combining all windows, all linux, and all mac products together is ok. But if you want to know which platforms to code the site to, keeping linux and android separate, and keeping mac and iOS separate make sense. But combining the iOS platforms make sense.... unless you want to know if making an iPad-specific app is worth it..... but in any case, I wouldn't attribute too much logic to separating the groups in the stats... that is just User Agents, as they are reported. And I also wouldn't consider the separations "meaningless," either.

Comment by John Arne Birkeland on June 12, 2012 at 11:51pm

David, by that definition you would have to say that iOS is Unix. And just like with Android/Linux you are technically correct, but 99,9% of the users don't know or care because the Dalvik VM and streamlined interface makes it so that they don't have to.

Comment by Cliff-E on June 13, 2012 at 12:30am

Linux here (OpenSuSE 12.1). Have been able to compile AC2.1 upto 2.5.5 with the default Arduino 1.0 IDE no issues (toolchain wise). Also using Eclipse+AVRplugin for hacks (e.g. my MK stuff).

MP is a no go unless I run VirtualBox. I agree with others: QGCS is not 100%. It would be nice if MAVLink can publish a W3C complaint schema, then we're really talking an inter-operable interface that will solve a lot issues between OSes (and get some consistent code generation). For instance the MAVLink 0.9 vs 1.0 transition wouldn't be as serious if proper schema development was done beforehand. I'm currently converting my Linux/Java GCS from the MKFrame protocol to MAVLink--would be nice to get away from wire protocols...ugh.

A couple of things to note that linux has over others for GCS/Flight control:

+ A Realtime kernel option (or run Ubuntu Studio 9.10)., when you need that connection to be robust.

+ excellent OS logging faciltiies

+ AVR tool chain works flawlessly 

+ Xbee/Serial/UART is rock solid

And the nail to the coffin on Linux for a GCS is typically: 

+ Discrete Graphics compatibility sucks on laptops (for OpenGL, GEarth, Bing Maps, etc...)

+ Wireless networking compatibility sucks on laptops (99% of the time it's WPA issues).


As for Apple, much, much, harder beast to tackle since Obj-C is "slightly" different between iOS and OSX (with Apple moving to iOS).

Comment by apocolipse on June 13, 2012 at 12:32am

I think these statistics are interesting, however far from an overall "actual popularity of OS".  Windows is heavily weighed simply due to the fact that Mission Planner is for Windows.  So even when us Mac users are running Windows in a VM, we've got chrome open in the vm with the wiki open ;P  What should be garnered from the info though is actually everything /but/ windows.  Potential expansion platforms (realizing the popularity weights from windows statistics can be attributed to mission planner platform) to better support mission planner on mac/linux/iOS is something that may be of interest to users.  (I'm an iOS dev and i've been tempted to see if i can port mission planner, but havent wanted to start)

As for grouping android/linux and iOS, yes you can group iphone/ipod (for all intents and purposes, they're the same), but actually i'd like to see a /split/ if possible to see what android devices are accessing (i.e. android tablets or phones).  I personally think porting Mission Planner to tablets would be a good leap forward, and there's hardware present to enable it (usb access on android/windows tablets, and the dock->serial for iOS, though it would require a jailbreak to distribute the software for iOS due to the libraries required).  It'd be great to see ;)  AR Drone is fun on my iPad with my virtual joysticks but i'd rather a mission planner on my ipad sitting right ontop of my RC controller

Comment by davidbuzz on June 13, 2012 at 12:34am

in response to Andrea M.A:

As a mac/linux/windows/android user I agree with you here.

>I'd be interested in hearing more about other/s

I use Mission Planner in a Windows XP VM running in Parallels.

I also use MAVProxy running in a  terminal on OSX.    Mavproxy is growing in capability quite recently, and would probable be better if it was renamed to PyGCS or something, as it really is a quite capable GCS, it even has support for "modules" now, and some of those modules are starting on their way to becoming Graphical!.   :-)  ( look in the 'modules' folder for more)  

I've tried qgroundcontrol, and to be honest have never gotten it to connect right, and then I also tried OpenPilotGCS  which is natively supported on OSX, and looks great, and apparently has support for mavlink, but also I've not "figured it out" yet.


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