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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  • Developer

    I have received a message from Bill Davidson with statements to the fact that they will make the necessary changes to comply with our licenses. 

    Once again our second most effective tool in getting people and companies to comply is publicly identifying them.  The most effective tool is education so I will be removing the badge and helping them to comply.

    Thank you all for your support of the developer team and the companies and people who support us.

  • @ foxzilla

    if you read all the comments on this thread you may figure out who and who's not supportive of Craig action......

  • @Cala, I am not aware of any support that Hobby King gives to the project.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Myself and other developers have been buying parts from HK at full pop.  In fact, the tradheli code is where it is today because I spent something like $10,000 of my own money at HK on helicopter parts.  I still have a box full of spare parts for the HK600, HK500 and HK450 helis.

    For example, here's a video from 2012 showing me testing on an HK600GT, with a crash at the end. (this is the genesis of the Ch8 Throttle Hold feature which eventually became Throttle Interlock on Multirotors).

    And in fact, HobbyKing have also found themselves on the wrong side of the rules in the past.  Their initial copies and derivations of the APM and Pixhawk designs violated the rules by not publishing the fact that they are open source derivatives, nor publishing the design files.  It also took much pressure to get them to comply, but eventually they came around.

  • I think some confusion could have been avoided if the blog post mentioned
    - who else than Craig supported this action and their position within the community
    - how was UAVS given a chance to defend and to correct their actions (ie. who contacted them, when and how)

    This may not seem that important to more active members who know the poster and each other well enough to trust that justice was served. However slapping this badge to William's account is such a serious action that to outsiders it may in worst case end up looking amateurish and hurt the reputation of the site.

    Just my opinion.

  • Craig: It's possible to have a list from companies that support this proyect? perhaps an extra button upside? specially now that 3dr discontinues some spare parts. What's about Hobby King?

  • Developer


    To be fair I'll ask Craig the only question that could put his request for the source in question:

    @Craig, were you given a copy of the binary from a UAV Solutions Client?  Or has a customer requested the source and been knocked back. 

    You can read back through my other posts, in last 18 months I have complaints from two customers who have asked for code and not received it, as well as other companies who actually do honour the licenses complaining their competition does not.
    Neither of those people are interested in a public fight. I think it was probably easier just to put the original Mission planner on when the UAVS version was out of date. 
    But really that is only part of the issue there are three licenses involved and each of the three of them need to be complied with.
    My original point is that people have choices and it would be nice for the buying public to buy from companies who respect the licenses and support the project.  UAV Solutions is not a supporter of this project.
  • Clearly if they have hardware under the OSHWA CC-BY-SA 3.0 they have to release it.

    The GPL is less clear.... if they provide source to their customers and one of their customers releases the binary without source, the customer is in violation of the GPL, not UAS. If as some have claimed that a customer requested source and UAS did not provide then UAS is in violation. From what has been presented here its not at all clear what the state of the world is other than that Craig is really pissed off...

  • @Tony 

    I've been waiting for someone to say that about Darius Jack, it's like talking to a crazy person. 

  • Developer
    There are three different licenses involved:
    OSHWA CC-BY-SA 3.0 - UAVS claim to have modified the Pixhawk but do not publish their changes
    GPL on Mission Planner and Ardupilot  - They are obligated to inform their customers that they are using GPL licensed code and to pass a copy of the license onto their customers.  UAVS does not do this. 
    BSD License requires notification to the customer that the software has a BSD license on it.  UAV Solutions does not do this.
    UAVS need to publish their changes to the Pixhawk in a public place, include a notification to their customers that their product contains open source software and hardware and pass along a copy of the licenses to them. They have an obligation to provide a copy of the source files to any customer who asks for them. As others have said you can post a zip file or better yet publish them back to github.
  • Either that or WUI (W for writing)....

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