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 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. 

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  • Thanks Craig!  'Sounds like they're at least publishing their source code.  I'm not super familiar with the licensing terms, but I would assume it doesn't dictate quality standards nor specific mechanisms by which they contribute back to the community, so as long as it's truly representative of what "AvA" actually is, then I'm fine with it.  Although, it sounds like there may be some "strategic ambiguity" around it...and if it doesn't even compile who knows if what they've published is actually representative of the binaries they're distributing that they're calling AvA?  Super stoked to try out Tridge's recent quadplane support in Plane 3.5 though...I recently built a bixler-based quadplane using openaero-vtol with a KK2, with the intent of switching to ardupilot once it supported vtol and once I iron out the bugs in the airframe using cheaper electronics than pixhawk/GPS/etc...

  • I also have code from a few commercial side-projects that is not merged into Master.  It is sitting in my Github repo.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with this, it meets the intent of the license.

    The license does not require any changes to be merged back into Master (this would actually be a nightmare to manage).  It just requires anybody distributing the code, to make the code available.

    I don't think the license states that the form the source code is available in, is easy to compile either.

  • Developer


    The GPL license allows a person to sell a version of the code, but they must also make the source code available for free.

    The guys at Birdseye have posted a link on their site to the code they have running on their vehicle 

    and I helped them create the github repo that you linked to, but they are complete novices at using git and the code they have published there is a mess.  The code they are flying is not based on Dec 9, 2015. It is based on something from about a year older but we have not been able to make an exact determination and they do not know.  They started by downloading a zip file from github and there has been zero version control used on the code.

    A couple of the devs have offered to help create a working repository but so far they have not taken anybody up on the offer.  Tridge has also offered to make sure his VTOL code will work on their aircraft if they send him one but they have stated he can buy one at a discount.

    I have been trying to have VTOL code in master for a couple of years and I worked with Team Tilt rotor and others to make that happen but nobody has finished the job. Birdseye have said they would like to have their code accepted into master but to date their code is just not of sufficient quality for that to happen.

    The changes they have made to Mission Planner have also been published to meet their licensing obligations but what they have in the repository is also not very good.  They do acknowledge that they do not know how to use git  "Please be advised that we do not develop in a git environment and are providing this repository with the assistance of the Dronecode Project as a single public release point. If you have any questions about our released code, please reach out to us at support at birdseyeview dot aero" 

    Dronecode does not endorse Birdseye.  Without throwing them under the bus, it is fairly evident they are better at making airframes than writing code.  All I can do is help them to publish.  They are missing the benefits of code review and the opportunity for others to improve their code. I don't think they are intentionally trampling on the work of others but I will say the pressure that the community have put on them to publish has been very effective as it has been with UAVSolutions who have also published their changes. and have actually made a financial contribution to Mission Planner.

    If you are sufficiently git savvy to take the code in the dropbox file and rebase it on master, please make a pull request on the repo.  We estimated about 10 hours work to clean it up.  On the other hand I think you will find that Tridge's quadplane and VTOL code will run on the Firefly soon and there will be little reason to use the code from Birdseye.  You might just want to get involved with porting and testing that code on your airframe.  We would all probably be further ahead.

  • @Craig

    I've tried to compile the Birdseyeview source (, either branches, to no avail. Has anyone else been able to compile their version? I used "make px4-v2-y6" since it's the platform type they are based on. If the source code they are providing is not functional, are they really complying with the GPL license? 

    While requiring a key to unlock standard ArduPilot features is clever, is this the type of development that DroneCode sanctions? As discussed previously, while they potentially bring a number of improvements to the code base, they are essentially locking features developed by others... They do sell hardware, so why not monetize that instead of setting roadblocks in the software?

    It also looks like they are based on the master ArduPilot branch from Dec. 9, 2015. Master is the least stable/tested... That should concern its user base.

    I also saw they rebranded Mission Planner without providing credit to the original developers. Is that permissible?

    Seems like Randy and others would like to see the improvements added to the official ArduPilot. Does Birdseyeview intend to contribute their code to ArduPilot by way of a pull request or otherwise? What's the point of being part of DroneCode otherwise?

    Don't get me wrong. I think there is definitely room for commercial entities and think that more should be done to incentivise them to base commercial products on ArduPilot and to contribute to the code and DroneCode, but it seems here Birdseyeview has been allowed to trample over others' work and deviate from the spirit of the ArduPilot development, and it seems they are allowed to do so because they gave money to DroneCode.

  • @Craig

    Those compliance figures are troublesome and the community should get behind pushing for a better outcome. Are most of the compliance breaches from the Asia region or globally? I'd put my hand up, but I already have to many projects on the go atm (OBC etc)... :-(

    Given that very low level of compliance overall I wonder why UAVS was singled out. 

    Let me know if I can help otherwise via PM.

    Regards JB

  • Thank's Craig, here UAV buisness is just begining but I send him this info, if he can participate now or have in mind for the future about this possibility.

  • Developer

    Please have them also contact me about joining as a member of Dronecode

  • I found the answer, thank's

  • Craig: how a company can support the proyect and be listed? I know one here that is becoming using Pixhawk I can comment to him this possibility. 

  • Developer

    @JB, My estimate is we have < 5% compliance and the number is probably closer to 1%. Despite that this project does continue to grow but it would be easier to list the companies who are compliant.  It would be a full time job to maintain a list. Who wants to volunteer for the position?

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