New openTX features

bertrand35
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New openTX features

Post by bertrand35 » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:26 am

People are asking us why we stopped development. We didn't ... have a look to the PDF attached. These features are ready, but we want to find an agreement with FrSky before commiting and releasing anything new.

The success of the Taranis radio gives us far too much work (private emails, issues, enhancement requests, etc.) and we cannot continue working for free. Moreover it has increased traffic on the compilation server, with binaries larger than old 9x radios. This has forced us to upgrade connection and has increased our costs. Donations do not even cover server and connection costs so we indeed hope in an agreement with FrSky.

We have requested a very small percent of the "Taranis Plus" and "Horus" sales (the same percent requested by SimonK for the closed FW on delta receivers), while we would continue working for free on Taranis. This has to be accepted by FrSky, we are waiting for an answer middle of this week.

Failing to do so, we will need to find different funding methodologies: maybe something like lifetime subscription for accessing the compilation server, a cheap amount... but something that will warrant openTX to survive... we are open to any ideas!

Bertrand on behalf of openTX team.

screenshots.pdf
(192.14 KiB) Downloaded 2356 times


Addendum by Kilrah:

A few new features that are added on top of that:

[all]
- Switch warming can be turned on/off individually for each switch, aka "don't cares"
- FAS offset compensation (+/-1.5A)

[ARM boards]
- Store mAh count on power off for those "partial battery" flights

[Taranis]
- Ability to store pot positions that need to be set on model load (like the switch warnings). One can choose which pot(s) to check, and whether positions are set manually or are stored on power off.
- Ability to automatically show model notes on model load (aka display checklist).
- DSM protocol for the DX4/5 mod
- Persistent radio usage timer
Last edited by Kilrah on Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Add more features

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Re: New openTX features

Post by punkindrublik » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:35 pm

We're all behind you. If it takes a membership, I'll buy one (or two if I have to). I'm doing all I can to help generate funds for you guys. Hopefully FrSky steps up to the plate and does the right thing.

Keep up the good work, I'm sure this will come around to a situation that will benefit all, but most importantly, the developers that made all of this possible.


Thank you for all your efforts...




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Re: Sv: New openTX features

Post by dvogonen » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:25 pm

It is one thing to develop software for the joy of doing it. Providing support for upcoming models and doing this with the requirement to match release schedules is something completely different. I hope you are able to reach an agreement with FrSky so that you can continue to support their radios.
I personally think that the build server is a great thing and understand that you need to fund it. I also assume that this is not an obvious priority for FrSky. More versions in use means a bigger support matrix.
I have a proposition about the funding for the server. How about making an Android and and an iPhone app that the users pays a small sum to use. The apps are used to select compilation flags and communicates this to the build server. As a response the build server prepares a unique one time ticket code that is displayed in the app. The code is then used in companion to request a download of the selected firmware. When the ticket has been used, a new has to be generated to download a new binary. All other companion features stay the same.
The advantage of this model is that you can use the established payment systems provided for apps to charge for the build service you provide. Another advantage is that you can make payment granular. You could for example allow free download of a base version of openTX and only charge for the custom versions.

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Re: New openTX features

Post by jhsa » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:30 pm

what about the people that don't have iPhone or android? ;)
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Re: New openTX features

Post by Romolo » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:32 pm

As probably most of you know i did setup the compilation server.
I would like to explain the meaning of Bertrand's post as it seem it has been misunderstood, at least looking to RCG comments

Let's start from a little bit of statistics:
A typical month with a single release:
11.000 downloads
3.500 for taranis radio
all concentrated in very few days (for this reason we also upgraded the connection.) we suppose they will increase in the future with more radio sold.
In the last release we compiled 101 different ones only for taranis with different options, we also compiled other 2107 unique images for all the other supported platform.
Being opentx a firmware "a la carte" makes even very difficult to provide precompiled firmware images on a download only server like google (that btw google will stop download service on 15 january and we will need to migrate companion as well.)

Speaking about expenses:
In the last year:
1500€ connection+power utility costs
500€ SAS SCSI controller (replaced as broken)
Total: 2000€ expenses (for the server)
300/500€ for some hardware...

We are open to any suggestion to ensure sustainability of this project, but actually it's just a financial loss, at least for us ;)
We are still hoping frsky will ask us to create a firmware for horus and the new taranis+ with a reward, we think what we asked for is fair and will enable us to continue offer a service, other way we will need to find something else to finance it. (a cheap, pay once, download always subscription ?? firmware compiled for specific cpu id???) We really have no idea


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Re: New openTX features

Post by MikeB » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:45 pm

The googlecode download change only affects the downloads tab, doesn't it? So if the binary download is in the trunk, as it is for er9x for example, this won't be affected.

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Rob Thomson
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Re: New openTX features

Post by Rob Thomson » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:48 pm

Costs for the things escalate very quickly.

With everything - somebody has to pay at some point. :)



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Re: New openTX features

Post by aadamson » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:54 pm

Have you looked at any of the *cloud* services... Staying with SVN and google code probably isn't the direction most open source projects are headed... Bringing up an SVN or GIT environment on a cloud platform is very cost effective. And you have full control over the complete environment.

Can you give us an idea of the bandwidth needs on a monthly basis... Figure worst case and let us know.

I think none of us want to get in the middle of whatever it is you are doing with Frsky, but Bernards approach this morning was very disturbing considering this is an open source efforts and to hear that there were features that weren't being released until this was resolved seemed to be counter to the open source model.

I'm sure there are lots of people who have the ability to contribute, not only on the code side of things.

Helping us understand the *need* will go a long ways to helping provide for that need without anyone needing to take money from their own pockets.

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Re: New openTX features

Post by bobferguson » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:04 pm

I tried to download the different configuration for my 9xr m128 and got a can't check for updates and the download of the firmware failed. After donating $50 I am not a happy camper. I hope this a temp problem. I hope this is not a tactic to add pressure to Frsky who I do believe should donate something.

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Re: New openTX features

Post by Romolo » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:11 pm

Looking to this page http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/servers/ a server like our one costs about 350$ per month, too much and not so cost effective.
We arranged our one as is practically impossible to find a cheap hosting server with avrgcc and armgcc installed on.
Again we are open to any sustainable idea

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Re: New openTX features

Post by Romolo » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:13 pm

bobferguson wrote:I tried to download the different configuration for my 9xr m128 and got a can't check for updates and the download of the firmware failed. After donating $50 I am not a happy camper. I hope this a temp problem. I hope this is not a tactic to add pressure to Frsky who I do believe should donate something.



We are moving to a new fiber connection...
http://code.google.com/p/companion9x/so ... ail?r=2300
tomorrow we will release a new version of companion to take into account the change

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Re: New openTX features

Post by aadamson » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:14 pm

Romolo wrote:Looking to this page http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/servers/ a server like our one costs about 350$ per month, too much and not so cost effective.
We arranged our one as is practically impossible to find a cheap hosting server with avrgcc and armgcc installed on.
Again we are open to any sustainable idea


Have you looked at linode.com?

I host a number of project there and you have full control of what you want to install, etc... The real requirement is knowing how much *download* bandwidth you need on a monthly basis?

on linodes, you can install any toolchain you want... I know because I do that exact thing :)...

And don't rule out the costs... we'll just need some creative financing is all and that's easily doable.

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Re: Sv: New openTX features

Post by dvogonen » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:17 pm

jhsa wrote:what about the people that don't have iPhone or android? ;)

My impression is that the kind of people who are interested in flashing open source transmitters are also without exception interested in gizmos like smartphones. As to platforms, Android and iOS are the only realistic OSes to develop for since they make up around 90% of all sold smartphones.
A way to circumvent the problem would be to set up a Web service to sell download tickets. But this means that you would need to use a payment system like PayPal. A lot of people don't have PayPal accounts and the services take some work to integrate.

App purchases is by far the easiest way to make small automated payments today.

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Re: New openTX features

Post by rotozuk » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:25 pm

Since we are discussing FrSky specifically, why not put the Taranis bandwidth onto their servers, and let them foot the bill directly?

Just a heads up, we have sold Taranis radios to people that do not have internet access. Yes, they do still exist, actually a fair amount of them in our hobby here in the US.

-Wayne
-----------------------------
www.alofthobbies.com
-----------------------------

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Re: New openTX features

Post by aadamson » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:28 pm

rotozuk wrote:Since we are discussing FrSky specifically, why not put the Taranis bandwidth onto their servers, and let them foot the bill directly?

Just a heads up, we have sold Taranis radios to people that do not have internet access. Yes, they do still exist, actually a fair amount of them in our hobby here in the US.

-Wayne


Wayne, let me play devils advocate here on that side of things...

Given the geography we are discussing here, putting it on their corporate resources may not be wise. Takeovers, sales, country regulation changes etc may put the IP at risk.

Plus if it were to end up in this situation again... what's to prevent them from holding it hostage....

Just thinking outloud...

Alan

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Re: New openTX features

Post by jhsa » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:30 pm

a member of my club is on the waiting list but he also doesn'r have internet access.. Don't know how the hell he found out about the radio :)
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Re: New openTX features

Post by tilmanb » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:46 pm

Not sure FrSky would go for such a deal. I would not.
It would suit them well though to throw some coin at the project in the form of sponsoring. Ideally not as a one off.
I'm sure they would so that.
And what about hobbyking?
OK, they don't use OpenTX directly but do they sponsor the project?

Bertrand I would suggest a feature sponsoring scheme.
There are projects specialised in funneling money to open source project drivers.
I would certainly be ready to devote substantial funds to certain features.

I know this project always collected donations. But there was never a great drive to promote that much.

Anyway what I'm going at is that the community can probably very well support some sort of salary for a developer if he devices to devote more than part time to the project.

But since it sounds like you would like to get a tangible reward for work you devote to the project. Run a feature bounty system. Five it a try and see if it flies.
I have faith in the community.

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Re: New openTX features

Post by Romolo » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:49 pm

aadamson wrote:Have you looked at linode.com?

I host a number of project there and you have full control of what you want to install, etc... The real requirement is knowing how much *download* bandwidth you need on a monthly basis?

on linodes, you can install any toolchain you want... I know because I do that exact thing :)...

And don't rule out the costs... we'll just need some creative financing is all and that's easily doable.


On linode i can see the problem is not bandwidth but RAM price: when toolchains are running they literally blow up the ram.
We reach very often the imposed maximum of 20 concurrent build on the actual server.
Anyway 160$/month is comparable as magnitude order with actual prices...

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Re: New openTX features

Post by aadamson » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:27 pm

Romolo wrote:
aadamson wrote:Have you looked at linode.com?

I host a number of project there and you have full control of what you want to install, etc... The real requirement is knowing how much *download* bandwidth you need on a monthly basis?

on linodes, you can install any toolchain you want... I know because I do that exact thing :)...

And don't rule out the costs... we'll just need some creative financing is all and that's easily doable.


On linode i can see the problem is not bandwidth but RAM price: when toolchains are running they literally blow up the ram.
We reach very often the imposed maximum of 20 concurrent build on the actual server.
Anyway 160$/month is comparable as magnitude order with actual prices...


So now I'm more confused... originally you said $350 from rackspace.com, and that buys you 8G of ram (and other stuff)... That same capability and *lots* more is available on linodes for half the price.

I would *strongly suggest* that your *try out a cloud service* before you say they won't work or are too expensive you will be surprised at what you get for the $$$.

And where did the 20 concurrent build limit come to play? Are you enforcing a constraint of no more than 20 concurrent builds? The only implied constrain on linode is hardware. I know of no restricted concurrency number.

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Re: New openTX features

Post by rotozuk » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:57 pm

...
Last edited by rotozuk on Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New openTX features

Post by ckleanth » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:06 am

I said my thoughts in the RCG taranis thread...
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showpost ... ount=13063

the OpenTx team and Frsky need to resolve this internally...

AND they need to end the speculations regarding the future of OpenTx etc.
Speculations are bad, very bad indeed! especially if we don't have the full picture of what was already discussed (or not).

if you guys have reached a dead end, then tell us and we will find a solution.

otherwise take the discussions offline, close the thread (or remove it).
PLEASE!

thanks
If it has wings it will fly...

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Re: New openTX features

Post by bobferguson » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:47 am

Romolo wrote:
bobferguson wrote:I tried to download the different configuration for my 9xr m128 and got a can't check for updates and the download of the firmware failed. After donating $50 I am not a happy camper. I hope this a temp problem. I hope this is not a tactic to add pressure to Frsky who I do believe should donate something.



We are moving to a new fiber connection...
http://code.google.com/p/companion9x/so ... ail?r=2300
tomorrow we will release a new version of companion to take into account the change


Thats good I miss using companion9x firmware for my new 9xr. I can load a existing configuration for now. Not a big change. I do hope you sort out your agreement with Frsky.

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Re: New openTX features

Post by Marco330 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:49 am

Looked at the changes, makes the Taranis a 1500 dollar TX in a 172 dollar package! (It is a 1000 dollar TX now ;-) )
Also made a donation, if everybody would do that twice a year, we wouldn't have any issues, but who am I ... ?

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Re: New openTX features

Post by Rob Thomson » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:50 am

ckleanth wrote:I said my thoughts in the RCG taranis thread...
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showpost ... ount=13063

the OpenTx team and Frsky need to resolve this internally...

AND they need to end the speculations regarding the future of OpenTx etc.
Speculations are bad, very bad indeed! especially if we don't have the full picture of what was already discussed (or not).

if you guys have reached a dead end, then tell us and we will find a solution.

otherwise take the discussions offline, close the thread (or remove it).
PLEASE!

thanks


I think that true costs are no as simple as just adjusting hardware costs.

Hardware/ Bandwidth is only a small part of end costs. The basic fact is that donations still would not really cover the costs of this - even if the fees where halved.

I see to that nobody has commented yet on the actual costs for support and development? These are extremely difficult to factor in, let alone apply a figure to.

Bottom line. Work load is on the increase. Hardware is on the increase. Donations don't cover anything. So who pays?

A simple example.

OpenRCForums.com makes about £10 a month on advertising. An occasional donation comes in for a few pounds.

The server to keep this site running has 16gb ram, and 1TB storage. Factor in backups and bandwidth and Susa demon/support and you have a considerable cost per month. Who pays? Well I do :)

Lucky for me, I have the ability to absorbs these costs - so no issue.

The opentx team have been in talks for more than 6 months to try resolve some form of contribution to help keep things moving forward. To date - there has been no resolution, with frisky management insisting that the team charge independently the end user for the costs.

This has been something that the team have not wanted to do, and are trying very hard to avoid.

But if no resolution can be found with the manufacturers? Then what options are available?

I think that what would be usefull is constructive ideas. Ways in which the time and bills can be covered with as little impact to the end user as possible.

Rob





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Re: New openTX features

Post by Romolo » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:35 pm

aadamson wrote:
So now I'm more confused... originally you said $350 from rackspace.com, and that buys you 8G of ram (and other stuff)... That same capability and *lots* more is available on linodes for half the price.

I would *strongly suggest* that your *try out a cloud service* before you say they won't work or are too expensive you will be surprised at what you get for the $$$.

And where did the 20 concurrent build limit come to play? Are you enforcing a constraint of no more than 20 concurrent builds? The only implied constrain on linode is hardware. I know of no restricted concurrency number.


Maybe I was not clear:
I wrote actual costs (last year about 2000€) for normal server, you proposed cloud.
I looked for a cloud service and i found Rackspace, you proposed linode; it's indeed cheaper but still comparable with actual costs.

About concurrent build:
On my machine building opentx for ARM boards takes about 30 seconds using one cpu core and it's 8 GB ram.
I have 8 cores so I can build about 16 firmware/minute
I set the limit in my machine to 20 to do not let clients wait too long (there is also a DOS protection)
I will try out cloud service, but if the price are those on the price list, then we will spare not so much.
Maybe we will get better service but the server actually has always done it's dirty work...
Regards
Romolo

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Re: New openTX features

Post by aadamson » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:55 pm

Romolo wrote:
aadamson wrote:
So now I'm more confused... originally you said $350 from rackspace.com, and that buys you 8G of ram (and other stuff)... That same capability and *lots* more is available on linodes for half the price.

I would *strongly suggest* that your *try out a cloud service* before you say they won't work or are too expensive you will be surprised at what you get for the $$$.

And where did the 20 concurrent build limit come to play? Are you enforcing a constraint of no more than 20 concurrent builds? The only implied constrain on linode is hardware. I know of no restricted concurrency number.


Maybe I was not clear:
I wrote actual costs (last year about 2000€) for normal server, you proposed cloud.
I looked for a cloud service and i found Rackspace, you proposed linode; it's indeed cheaper but still comparable with actual costs.

About concurrent build:
On my machine building opentx for ARM boards takes about 30 seconds using one cpu core and it's 8 GB ram.
I have 8 cores so I can build about 16 firmware/minute
I set the limit in my machine to 20 to do not let clients wait too long (there is also a DOS protection)
I will try out cloud service, but if the price are those on the price list, then we will spare not so much.
Maybe we will get better service but the server actually has always done it's dirty work...
Regards
Romolo


Romolo,

I understand now how you were thinking... I would suggest a bit of a mind shift might be in order.

The advantages with the cloud are significant when you stop and think about, you don't need to host the bandwidth, you don't need to service and support the hardware, you are running on high end enterprise class hardware with multi core, multi processor platforms, you can host all your services on one virtual platform or you can split the platform up into more logical building blocks and spread the work load out. In the case of linode, they have load balancing, etc.

Given your specification of your existing hardware platform I would expect the build times to be much smaller on a virtual platform running the class hardware that they employ.

And you have complete control, you have root access and privileges, you can install whatever you like, including use of their security mechanisms which are quite good. There are dashboard tools to help you with managing your virtual environment, etc.

And while all of that sounds like it's for complex, professional, commercial applications, they make it very affordable for the small person just trying to manage a small system/application etc.

You should really take the time to *try* out the services... figure out which will support your needs and then let the community know what kinds of costs are required.... We are a very diverse set of individuals that have various abilities... Some it's coding, some it's testing, others its the ability to contribute funds, etc.

Sincerely,
Alan

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Re: New openTX features

Post by jhsa » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:00 pm

I just had a look at the PDF. fantastic :)

There is at least one feature I would like to see on the stock board (m128/2561?) though ;)

Allow telemetry as inputs :) with the scalling of course :)

Keep that fantastic work goin' guys, and thank you..

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Re: New openTX features

Post by tilmanb » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:22 pm

I want this to be a community project. Shall we give it a try?
If normal donations don't work and at least one member of the team would like to work on issues for money so he can afford to spend his time there.
I can understand the conflict. If costs escalate or the dayjob gets in the way, this can be a problem.

I just added two feature milestones into a opensource bounty project.
http://freedomsponsors.org/core/issue/3 ... nterpreter (I can right now afford to offer 200 USD, maybe more later)
http://freedomsponsors.org/core/issue/3 ... uppression

More should be added. I will perhaps add a few more from Bertrand's ransom list. Bertrand, I could need your help there. How about putting them all out there and see what happens?

Same is true for other developers as well. C9X especially.

PS: I choose http://freedomsponsors.org/ over https://www.bountysource.com/ for no particular reason.

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Re: New openTX features

Post by tilmanb » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:32 pm


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Re: New openTX features

Post by aadamson » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:32 pm

See now we are talking...Don't hold the features hostage with the user community because you are trying to gain an advantage with negotiations, that only hurts the user community no-one else.

Think of creative way to *fund* the features and you'll be surprised at what the user community will do.

Alan

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