"....Needless to say, it's not my practice to post official Dronecode announcements in random threads, but since there's already precedent, this is the official note that went out from the Dronecode Leadership. A few notes to remember: 1) I started Dronecode and I am its chairman. 2) I also started ArduPilot and handed if off to another team, who unfortunately changed its licence to GPLv3, which is kryptonite to all big tech companies. 3) Dronecode is bigger than ever, but it is evolving to better serve the big companies that now increasingly dominated the drone market. So we couldn't have GPLv3 code as part of it, since those company's IP policies won't allow it. As you may have heard, Dronecode is reorganizing the project and organization to better serve your needs.
The main request we heard from the members (and prospective members) is the desire for Dronecode to have a “distro”, a full-stack code base with a regular release cadence and roadmap, so that the members can align their own products around it. One of the main confusions about Dronecode to date is that it has been a relatively loose alliance of related projects, but not a "thing". “How can I download and use Dronecode?” is a common question, and one that we haven’t had a good answer to due to the “basket of projects” composition of the organization.
We’ve heard you and are now restructuring Dronecode to create just that: a proper world-class distro, built for commercial use, with a regular release cadence and roadmap. There was, however, disagreement within the Dronecode projects on this, both in vision and leadership. The result is that we are forking Dronecode. And that is a good thing. The truth of the matter is that these things happen when there is a real misalignment about the technical direction of the project.
The majority of participants in the ecosystem, not just current Dronecodemembers but also commercial adopters who would like to become Dronecodemembers in the future, want a simple to install and use Dronecode distribution based on PX4. Tridge, Philip and Tom, who have done great work in ArduPilot/APM, disagreed. Thus the fork.
Some may paint this as corporates vs. hobbyists or silvers vs. platinums or as a matter of software freedom. None of these are true. We had a genuine disagreement and it has now been resolved. Dronecode will be based on PX4 going forward. Further, and less important than the technical disagreement, APM assets were moved to the Software in the Public Interest earlier this year which put us in an awkward position by asking the Dronecode ecosystem to invest in core asset that the project itself did not own. Lorenz on the other hand has contributed the PX4 mark and web assets to Dronecode ensuring that it is something this organization can confidently use as a neutrally held asset owned byDronecode itself.
Dronecode is committed to provide a unified code base on a regular release cadence that will be easy to implement with clear API's that will support the development of a rich UAV ecosystem. The Dronecode distribution will be released on a regular 6 month cadence and implementors can be confident using it in a commercial product or a hobby project. As always, technical governance will be open, the technical steering committee will be charged with decisions about the code and everything will be under an open source license.
In the coming weeks, the Technical Steering Committee will be finishing the roadmap for a PX4-based distro and sharing this with you for your feedback. I think you'll be impressed. The drone market is evolving quickly and we're evolving with it. This is an opportunity for Dronecode to provide the world's leading full-stack open software platform, organized along professional best-practice principles with clarity and alignment across the organization. We are now unified in this and ready to win......"