What people refer to as ‘Linux’ wasn’t really started by a single guy in a bedroom. 90% of the work that makes up a Linux distro had already been completed by the GNU project and the Free Software Foundation. The port of Unix that brought it all together came more or less last. Maybe there’s a lesson there for Ardupilot or maybe not.
But Randy does that not also suggest that with limited funds Ardupilot can not be all things to all people? It means the vision statement is critical to having a focus and getting something valuable done. It is completely understandable that funding tends to drive the direction but it is a very fast moving technology and if there is no vision Ardupilot could take a wrong turn down a deadend and get lost. The project has accomplished so much to this point it would be a shame to lose the momentum it has built.
I would also note that the use of GIT is a major impediment to attracting more developers, at the hobbyist level, who could add significant features. I don’t know what the solution is because I am sure there are plenty of reasons the professionals want to use GIT but it should be acknowledged that the steep learning curve to master GIT can be too high for the average participant to invest in for a small submission to Ardupilot or the average DIY’er to test code. There appear to be a lot of people that can not get over the GIT curve and it takes a high level developer to coach them which is not a good use of developer time.
I had an manager once that used the analogy of all the team pulling on the same end of the wagon. If you don’t the wagon goes nowhere. When you have a composite of 20 different interests and purposes driven by separate funding it is difficult to do but I think it is worth taking the time to say what are our top ten goals? How does that compare to where the rest of the industry is going? What features should be we looking at that are not on our radar now?
Thanks for all the time you spend helping folks here on the forum in addition to all your other work.
I certainly think ArduPilot has a vision but I also agree we should write down a list of the top 10 things we want to do. I hope/expect we will come out with this as part of the developer “un-conference” this weekend.
Git is indeed tough for people not familiar with it. I certainly struggled when I first started using it although now i think it’s really great. We could improve documentation on how to do the basics with Git but it isn’t practical for us to move to another merge software. I think Git has pretty much become the standard.
I must say this discussion (and others) are clarifying my personal plans for 2018.
Have a productive conference. Best wishes
Additional thoughts to go along with the conversation…
A mission/vision statement would be great - I think that should come first and foremost. It would be nice if individual goals/lists tied directly to that vision.
Maybe this is more of an organizational thought, but it seems to me like the dev’s are the do-and-know-it-alls. You are great at what you do!! It seems to me like the dev’s run the show (and maybe the manufacturers), and I guess from a technical standpoint it makes sense. Maybe that’s why ardupilot has been seen as a “tinkerer’s” flight controller.
If the project/vision includes more than just code and technology development, then maybe other people could help in other areas (like making up-to-date videos, offering dedicated support, marketing, etc). There have to be at least a few people that would like to dedicate time to helping ardupilot, but they can’t code, and so they’re not recognized as a “dev.” How can they get officially involved? I’m not saying that the ardupilot team should drop the terms “dev team” and “developers un-conference,” but as it stands it seems like the project is mostly up to the smart coding people and businesses at the top, and us individual users don’t have a say. I get that the “un-conference” is meant to dispel some of the top-down thoughts, however I’ve never heard that it’s open or seen how to attend. It seems just a little private.
You guys have been great in the past, and I hope to see the community-driven project continue. And thank you for not being like dronecode…
In summary: I would like to see the team attract individuals with other skills to help grow the project - not just “devs.”
WOW, I didn’t think I would spark this much of a conversation, but it’s great!!
However I think most missed my direction of the question, or maybe I missed. I wasn’t thinking how we would attract developers and partners so much as how do we attract end users? and more to my idea, how do we attract recreational users? I can go to pretty much any recreational R/C meet, or any of the FPV meets and count on less then 1 hand the number of Arducopter / Arduplane users, but flight controllers like the Vector are into double digits, and those users have 3-4 models, each, on Vector. Ok sure products like that are hardware and firmware in one, where with Arduplane you must “shop around” and HW /FW come from different places. Maybe that is the speed bump? I don’t think so, at lest to any great degree, as see by the number of iNAV boards now making their way into the scene. But why is Arduplane off in the corner, why does no one want to dance with her? lol
Take a look at this, its like playing “Where’s Waldo”… you can get the feel of where we are in the ecosystem.
I think that thoughts about attracting other users may need to start at the top. Including representation of those FPV users (not just tinkerers) in conferences, etc would go a long way. Following high-level missions/visions, leaders can decide on an effective “marketing plan” to get to accomplish @Rusty_Jones’s proposed mission. That may include prioritizing
- Software development of user-friendly or FPV-specific features, or
- Hardware development like an improved OSD.
To be honest, I don’t know that ardupilot/the dev team wants to go down this route. I think it really should because there is a huge market, but I also don’t know if everyone is on board. I think that’s why the thread has taken a little bit of a turn toward high-level thinking. The title of this thread may also be a little broader than the question you’re trying to have answered. Thanks for keeping us on topic.
This mission/vision/values statement does exist , look here:
@ppoirier Thanks! I haven’t read through that yet. Does that code apply to ardupilot as a whole or just the development team? Maybe I have ardupilot and the dev-team mixed up conceptually. I don’t mean to clutter the thread with my confusion, but it seems like the code of conduct applies to the dev team and not ardupilot as a whole.
Well, it is related somehow, because if the users dont share the same values, the developpers cannot give support.
So yes its more a safegard than a vision, but I just wanted to show that this code exist , and it could be used as a building block to add amore focussed vision and help to align the user base expansion according to these.
frankly, I think it is totally misunderstood what “vision” was referring to in the above discussion … “vision” can mean many things, but most would be out of context
@olliw42 As I said, its a code of conduct, and the first statement is somehow a kind of mission/vision:
ArduPilot aims to enable the creation and use of trusted, autonomous, unmanned vehicle systems for the peaceful benefit of all.
yes, it is a kind of vision, but not the vision meant in the above
my eyesight is also a kind of vision, but discussing my eyesight is out of context, even though I could equally well say it’s a kind of vision
I think I’ve written my comment properly
I think we agree on that, and the relation between the developers and the ardupilot project as a whole could be a little more explicit. Right now I think ardupilot is developer driven. The community trusts the developers to steer the project. With a developer “Aim” so broad ("… benefit of All"), it’s almost impossible to truly fulfill. Since the Aim is broad, the dev’s decide to what is most important to work on, and hopefully that is what “all” of us want. Some form of community representation to the developers may or may not help; I don’t know. Maybe it already exists?!
Maybe I should be asking questions instead of spewing ignorance. Is the FPV/recreational user community adequately represented/prioritized at the dev level? If not, why?
EDIT: I’m asking these questions because I don’t know if high-level resources are being dedicated to the recreational sector. I suspect this may be a contributing factor to the unpopularity of ardupilot among those users.
I think the answer would be thae same as @Rusty_Jones question : [quote=“Rusty_Jones, post:26, topic:25383”]
. But why is Arduplane off in the corner, why does no one want to dance with her? lo
Because its complicated,… Cleanflight-Betaflight interfaces are muce easier to work with and there are fewer parameters to set. FPV- recreational pilots want to fly and they dont want to mess with advances parameters an multiple vehicles configuration. Is the solution would be to ‘‘hide’’ the complexity behind a nice & cool FPV interface you can load as a Google App just like CleanFlight ?
Yes … and no…
The ‘***flight’ variances change as much as some of us change our socks. What configuration works today may, or may not be broke tomorrow, just to chase the “option/feature of the week” A slight exaggeration, but not much. Basic controls probably stay the same, but a lot of stuff moves around, or did. Occasionally Ardupilot stuff changes, but is mostly stable, feature wise. The full parameter set can be saved and loaded so why can’t there be a basic parameter set that “just about” works. it is just about there as it is. And I do remember at one time there was a wiki page of some of the common air frames and what parameters worked, or at least gave a starting point that got you in the air. YES I know every air frame is different, but I am sure a few basic recipes would help a lot.
Lol You just added to the list of why ArduPilot might be so rebarbative to the masses
So why does no one want to dance with her? … She is complicated and she can’t make up her mind
@Rusty_Jones, you asked “How can we change that?”
I propose that resources should be dedicated in the following proportions. It’s just an opinion, and it takes people in charge to dedicate resources and integrate it into the “Road Map.” I’d be happy to help where I can.
50% Improve the user interface (mission planner) to mimic current software organization and commands.
25% Give better instructions/user guides on the wiki and youtube. Make it super simple.
8% Advertise in a manner similar to gopro or dragonlink - gather cool videos etc from users and publish
5% Get a dedicated app or mobile way that can change parameters/tune in the field (rather than with a laptop)
4% Develop any recreational-specific features and integrate any new and common recreational equipment to be compatible with ardupilot. (I personally think 95+% of the development is already done for recreational users)
4% Design hardware like an OSD or ready-to-fly kits with ardupilot at the center
2% Focus on a multi-platform GCS
I think that focusing on the above areas for recreational users is good because it impacts and enriches the experience of almost all users too. Like @rmackay9 said, it’s going to require wider efforts, and that should provoke some higher level thoughts and organization.