FPP v6 pixel output license

djgra79

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Some of you may have read or heard already about some changes to FPP v6 in relation to possibly having to pay for a license in order to use pixel outputs on capes/hats.

This has generated a bit of discussion in the chat room today but for those who wish to read the official announcement, the below link on the Falcon Christmas forum has all the details:

There is also an FAQ:

I can already sense this is becoming a bit of a hot topic, so just a friendly reminder to keep things civil in the comments please :)

EDIT: Also adding this Wiki page that Ryan put together with an easy to read table based on the information available at the time
 
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A few of us were on the initial announcement chatting with Dan and Chris along with the barrage of questions that they got.
Any questions, ask them in here and we can do our best to answer based on what was said in the meeting.
 

SmartAlecLights

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Couple of Major Question to them that i have are.

I sell DIY boards that people can solder together,
Does that mean all my customers have to buy liceance's in the future to "Build a DIY controller" ? (kinda like removing the DIY out of DIY Christmas)

There Licence check with Cape and BBB, is that a once off, or every time you power it up. (does your light show need internet now just for this check)

So if FPP V6 are offering a licence for these New feature's, as a developer of boards.
Do we then get access to the circuit diagrams to be able to add these new features?
(or is it selected vendors/boards only)

What brought around the need for forcing licences? On everyone that has ever made DIY controller for this hobby.

Sounds like KULP wants his boards to be like Falcons.
so why not just offer them functions on his boards since he's not sharing his circuit diagrams for these features.
(An not a big screwyou to the DIY community)

So why should my capes need a Liceance for features only KULP boards offer?
So im paying for KULP's BBB's, Rasp pi's, Cro's, and other toys.
For him to design features only his boards can offer.
Seems a bit unfair.

Well thats my grizzle over it.
I could go on.. but until everyone knows everything there doing/planning, were all still in the mist.
 

Katekate

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The online communication is once only.

I didn't see any clarification about what constitutes a DIY controller. I would presume anything sold as a pcb and a bag of chips counts.

What features are you talking about that are exclusive to kulp? Plenty of other boards are out there doing the same things as kulp boards do, which is the whole point of it.
 

brando

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I think I saw discussion on FB a while ago about the influx of DIY’s/copies. I felt like a lot of them were born out of lack of availability, which considering current global issues with semi conductors the timing for introducing a fee at this time is a bit how ya goin.

The way I read it, I can send the receipts for my controllers from @AAH and I’ll be sent a licence key?
 

John_82

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Sorry I posted another thread as I didn’t see this one.

I see where they are coming from protecting their own interests, but if they start selling licenses then that turns to commercial grade, and should be providing commercial grade support, not community support.
 

brando

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So true, but I guess it comes down to “we can do whatever we want, if you don’t like it, find an alternative, we’ll wait…”
 

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DIT is co
Couple of Major Question to them that i have are.

I sell DIY boards that people can solder together,
Does that mean all my customers have to buy liceance's in the future to "Build a DIY controller" ? (kinda like removing the DIY out of DIY Christmas)

This one is a grey area. Boards such as Scott Hanson's where it's a published, open source design, that an end user puts together are considered DIY.
Boards designed by an individual, are considered DIY.
I _think_ an end user could argue that they built the board themselves, and therefore it's a DIY.

There Licence check with Cape and BBB, is that a once off, or every time you power it up. (does your light show need internet now just for this check)
No. Just once. The license code is used to digitally sign the EEPROM, which is then stored for future reference. FPP does not need internet access for this to occur, either the browser accessing FPP does, or an offline signing can occur (download a file from FPP, upload that to the signing site, then get the resulting file uploaded to the FPP instance.
The only instances a re-license would be required is:
1. The underlying SBC (BBB in your case) is changed. This is a single button push (assuming internet is available)
2. The EEPROM gets corrupted
3. The EEPROM needs to be changed- say you release a bugfix.

All three of these are once off on next boot, and then the Cape is "forever licensed"

So if FPP V6 are offering a licence for these New feature's, as a developer of boards.
Do we then get access to the circuit diagrams to be able to add these new features?
(or is it selected vendors/boards only)
The features are around the ability to have your capes pre-programmed for Inputs (say buttons driving the OLED), the ability to connect Smart Receivers (at this point, are the PixelController BBB developed ones, although you could reverse-engineer the protocol from the code to make your own) and the number of pixels driven from a particular output.
The design of the new rPi boards to support the 24ch DPI Pixels will be the same as the BBB ones - allocate the pins yourself and design a board and EEPROM appropriately .

What brought around the need for forcing licences? On everyone that has ever made DIY controller for this hobby.
Based on what was said today at the meeting - the sudden influx of 3rd party manufacturers designing boards, without giving anything back to the community, in the form of either code fixes / enhancements to FPP, or donations to the developers. A significant amount of time is put in to keep the code current and working for the various cape outputs.
 

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Also - it's worth noting - the changes to the way the code is licensed means that for the BBB / DPI Pixel Code:
1. Source code is fully available
2. You are allowed to make any changes you like.
3. You are NOT allowed to distribute the changes. They are for personal use only.

This means you _could_ remove all the licensing code if you wish, for your own copy, and not pay a cent. However, you cannot distribute this modified code. Also - every time you upgrade, you'd have to go "recreate" your changes as the git pull will download the latest (protected) code from the repository.
 

Skymaster

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The way I read it, I can send the receipts for my controllers from @AAH and I’ll be sent a licence key?
Correct. Any existing board that you have that was commercially purchased prior to July 31st this year will get a free license voucher for 48 pixels outputs.
You will have until the end of the year to redeem your license voucher and have a key allocated to your account for your device.
 

djgra79

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Based on what was said today at the meeting - the sudden influx of 3rd party manufacturers designing boards, without giving anything back to the community, in the form of either code fixes / enhancements to FPP, or donations to the developers. A significant amount of time is put in to keep the code current and working for the various cape outputs.
My 2c on this, I just wish that the team could have unanimously voted or decided on alternatives to get more contributions towards FPP first, if this indeed the main driver for doing this (which it appears may not be.) As an end user I'd be more comfortable to be nagged to pay a donation vs being forced to pay for a license.
 

Skymaster

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I understand where you're coming from DJ and I agree. They aren't making much money out of this change, I think the big thing here is that that the developers put in hundreds to thousands of hours of work on the software (for the love of making lights blink, not for money) , and others are profiting of it with no return to the community.

I get the reasoning behind it. But the method to get here is a bit mad and a bit knee jerk, and it has come across with a very bitter taste in the community.
 

dkulp

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First off: the main forum for FPP is at:
and the announcement was posted there. Please direct questions there. I CaptainMurdoch (Chris) monitors that forum very well, but I don't know if he ever logs in here or not. Since he was the one driving most of this change, it's important to direct any questions/comments to a place where he would see them.

Regarding "circuit diagrams for these features" on my boards, I'm really not sure what features you are referring to that would need circuit diagrams. For the most part, Scott's boards (which are fully open) incorporate almost everything or the the parts are "standard parts" that would just be wired onto the I2C bus or similar. That's the major issue with the BBB capes is that the capes are VERY simple. They can be designed very quick and fairly inexpensive as the chips are inexpensive buffers/latches, etc... Most of the "features" are software driven. In any case, for the pixel outputs which are actually affected by this license, the circuit is very simple. GPIO Pin -> 5V Buffer Chip -> Resistor -> Pixel Connector. The most expensive part of that is the pixel connector.

If you sell boards as a "kit" (blank or partially populated pcb and bag of parts) with the user expected to solder everything: This is considered DIY. This kind of use case was a MAJOR part of the discussion as it's a use case we want to actually encourage. This is exactly how I got started. (My first pixel controllers were the F16-B and F4-B from the group buy that I soldered myself. I still have a some F16 not fully finished sitting here.) Learning to solder, building controllers, etc... is, in our opinion, an important part of this hobby and is something we did not want to lock out. Again, this was a huge part of the discussions.

Anyway, as I stated, please direct questions to the FalconChristmas forums so CaptainMurdoch can see and respond.
 

Nojoy

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So how does resale of controllers work? Do consumers own the licence key and have the right to transfer on sale of the underlying good, or are FPP going the Tesla route that subsequent owners need to buy all upgrades/options again?
 
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