Servers by jDrones

Mission Planner "Makeover"

(Fnoop) #132

Well it’s still hosted under px4/dronecode github/control, integrated into the PX4 buildchain, and it’s dual licensed to Apache which essentially means it’s permissively licensed like the rest of dronecode. Historically MP has been much closer tied to Ardupilot (hosted and integrated into Ardupilot github) and was used to quickly implement features as they came up because of the existing relationship and the great responsive support from MP. The majority of GCS support/effort in Ardupilot for years went towards MP. This is great, nothing wrong with that, but no point trying to rewrite history otherwise.

There’s been a big step forward in the recent past with qgc compatibility/development with Ardupilot which is great. donlakeflyer seems to be super responsive, which is great. qgc is quickly becoming the goto GCS particularly cross platform. I used to use apm_planner2 which had a lot of benefits but quite a few problems as well, now I use QGC. Several of us in the community have asked several times over multiple years for more support for QGC from Ardupilot project so we have a viable cross-platform GCS, rather than focus on a Windows solution. I used to have to run a windows VM just to run MP, recently I find I have to fall back to that less and less, which is a huge win for the ecosystem as a whole as the number of people running Windows decreases by the day and particularly in techie/gadget circles is probably in the minority by now. Choice is always a good thing, but in Ardupilot case I’m not sure it has been very productive as there has not been enough resources to support the different choices - I feel a combined effort would have produced a better single useful product.

(Olivier Brousse) #133

You probably know this already but just in case, or for others. No need for windows VM on Linux to run MP, just install mono and copy from windows MP. (Yep, needs to be documented …)

Here’s a screenshot of MP, Mavproxy and QGC all happily coexisting on Linux :slight_smile:

(James Pattison) #134

@fnoop QGC is effectively only permissively licensed if you have a commercial Qt license. If you compile with the free version of Qt, it can only be done as GPLV3.

(Fnoop) #135

Are you sure about that? QT is LGPLv3 not GPLv3, and if it’s dynamically linked then shouldn’t be a problem anyway.

(James Pattison) #136
In general Qt is LGPL, but some modules are GPL. It’s a bit of a maze.

(H S Helson) #137

How is your experience with Mission Planner on Linux via Mono? I’ve got this solution ‘basically’ working on my Ubuntu 18.04 machine. MP can connect to my FCs and to the SITL simulator. Log download/graphing and Mavlink inspector are not working at the time of writing.

Responding to the general problem of Mission Planner Makeover, imo one meaningful step to take is to break out some of the less readily visible features (which also tend to be less well documented), such as the Ctrl-F page.

QGC is probably only limited by two factors: No motor testing tab, and very rudimentary mission planning features. Improving its mission planning interface might make it competent for basic use with Ardupilot.

(Nathan E) #138

@proficnc, do you have any updates on Mission Planner’s progress or outlooks? I’m sure many people are excited to see what can happen with full-time dedication!

(proficnc) #139

We will be keeping things under wraps till we are ready to release our plan. :slight_smile:

(Marc Dornan) #140

What a thread. Tried to get through as much as I could.

I am one of the people that makes a monthly standing contribution to Ardupilot. It is only $5 but with NPR, NYTimes, WAPost, Guardian etc it all adds up.

It is pretty crazy that one person has managed to stay on top of Mission Planner and make it such a feature rich application. Glad he is getting a pay-check now.

I have one observation that I think is pretty true – people value what they pay money for. Has anyone ever figured out how many active MP users there are? Why not introduce a subscription model of $5 a month that offers cloud storage of flight logs, log analysis tools, and also allows data to be mined that allows developers to get feedback. There could always be a free version. This may develop a steady stream of revenue that could allow continuous development. You could also have a Pro version that would be quite a bit more expensive. If some $$ was kicked back to Ardupilot I would think this could work.

(mike kelly) #141

It would be worth it for me.

(Marc Dornan) #142

Why not have an annual subscription service of $30 per year that allowed you to download the latest compiled version free. The sources could be on Github for anyone that wanted to compile their own – how many people would not happily pay for this? And would we even care if people griped?

I wonder how many users of Ardupilot and Mission Planner ever pay a single $1 for developer support. It is human nature though as we have not provided a mechanism for them to support it.

In general I think paying a small subscription fee for the convenience of prebuilt binaries for Ardupilot and Mission Planner would be a very fair way to get some steady funding to pay for overheads without undermining the open source nature of the project. Build instructions and could still be there for anyone that wanted to compile their own binaries for free. I mean who would not pay for this convenience? The average FPV plane costs $600 to $1000 and many people have multiple planes/copters. It is an expensive hobby.

(mike kelly) #143

And this concept in no way goes against the open-source concept. Many of the Linux flavors make their living off value add services.

(Fnoop) #144

I’ve always thought 3DR made a major strategic error not doing a ‘redhat’ of the drone world, providing a supported, stable, compiled firmware level.

(Nathan E) #145

If someone wants to maintain it, sure! I however do not think that it should use the Ardupilot name. I think that programs maintained under the Ardupilot name it should be free.

(Fnoop) #146

I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with you here, but the license has nothing to do with making money or commercial activities. And the Ardupilot name is already used for commercial (ie non-free) activities, eg:
And this is a good thing for the project, as a whole. A stable, supported, compiled version (ala redhat) would be a great idea and would be worth paying for. Just providing compiled versions of the latest release/master wouldn’t be. IMHO.

(Nathan E) #147

Fair. Kind of related to Should Mission Planner have Documented Stable Releases?

(Mike Boland) #148

Now here you are opening a real can of worms, for what, the glint of dollar signs in the eye.

You should also consider the speed at which the ArduCode changes, and hence the speed at which the ground station programs need to change to keep up.
Mission Planner has always had patches added in the nick of time, or very shortly after a code change has broken things, so we just download the beta and all is good and we are happy our systems are working again.

If I am paying for an app I expect that app to do the job I am paying for.
So who is liable when the app breaks?
Do you distribute the app with a set FW version that matches?
What if I want to update to the next FW version that has features I need?
Do I have to wait for a validated release of Mission Planner for that FW?
Who is going to do the testing for validation?
Not the thousands of users using it for free?

(Marc Dornan) #149

When I pay NPR (National Public radio) $50 a year I do not demand certain programming or think I have a right to anything.

Nothing really changes from they way it is now and no testing is required beyond what happens now-- it is just that some small but steady revenue streams can be applied to development and/or other overheads. Right now Mission Planner exists because one person has taken it upon themself to maintain it.

This is just charging a small annual fee for pre-built binaries. I do not think it is very difficult and it does not have to be hard to get around. That is not the point of it. It gives people a mechanism to support the project.

It could be done with little more than the permissions that apply to the discuss forums now (where I use a Google login as authentication). It could dovetail with Mission Planner. Do you really think that all the Ardupilot users would refuse to pay whatever was decided as a nominal fee for this? Make it $1 a year and have the option to pay more. $10, $20, $30. This is just a nominal fee for access to the auto-build binaries with a potential to allow people to may more.

This is like the free access to the British Museum where you have to walk past the donation box.

Just ideas…

(jS) #150

Love Mission Planner
I can’t believe the work and improvements that have gone into it.
Really appreciate those who “work” the project and keep it going.
Would like to see the AUTO LAND feature for fixed wings improved somehow…
seems like most of us get inconsistent landing…
I cool feature would be like a learning mode when performing a manual land (have the software ‘watch’ what you do when you land it manually, then have it replicated the pattern, speed and glide slope (touchdown).

(brandon macdougall) #151

I noticed this. I say it will be almost impossible to setup x8 unless you arm the craft.