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FPP v6 changes related to BeagleBone, PocketBeagle, & Raspberry Pi pixel outputs

Started by CaptainMurdoch, May 19, 2022, 09:53:06 PM

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CaptainMurdoch

NOTE: Multi-String WS281x Pi capes purchased through July 31, 2022 ARE eligible for a free grandfathered-in key voucher.  2-string capes are no eligible since they are not losing any functionality and will continue to function 100% in FPP v6 as they did in FPP v5.x and prior.

Some of you may be aware of a FaceBook post from early April regarding possible changes in the future of FPP.  The FPP development team has been working over the past month to get ourselves to a place where we could put clarity behind that post and announce details.  Wherever you see the word "Cape" below, you can substitute "Hat" if referring to a Raspberry Pi which calls expansion boards Hat.  We use Cape as a generic term.

This announcement is also posted at https://shop.falconplayer.com/key-announcement/

What is changing?

The upcoming release of FPP v6 will include a change to the existing BeagleBone/PocketBeagle Channel Output code used to control up to 48 strings of WS281X pixels directly attached to a Beagle.  FPP v6 will also add new Raspberry Pi Channel Output code for driving up to 24 strings of WS281X pixels directly attached to a Pi.  Starting with FPP v6, depending on where you purchase a Cape from, you may need to purchase a license key to activate the full functionality of these two FPP Channel Outputs when driving the pixel outputs on that Cape.  There will be 4 tiers of keys based on the number of ports covered. As port counts get higher, the price per port drops significantly.

  • Capes created by the FPP developers including Kulp Lights LLC and the upcoming Raspberry Pi Capes from PixelController LLC are sold fully licensed and will not need a license key applied to the cape.
  • Capes manufactured by 3rd party vendors must have a license key applied to support more than 50 pixels per output and to enable Smart Receiver functionality.  3rd party BeagleBone/PocketBeagle capes which were previously purchased or purchased during the FPP v6 transition period will be granted a free license key voucher to allow those capes to continue to operate with full functionality.  This transition period will extend through July 31, 2022.  3rd party BeagleBone/PocketBeagle capes purchased after this transition period will require the purchase of a license key.
  • DIY capes assembled by a user for their own use will be eligible for a free license key voucher.

Why is this changing?

FPP development is currently supported through a combination of donations and sales of FPP-compatible pixel capes including Kulp capes and the PiCap from PixelController.com.  The recent proliferation of Capes from 3rd party manufacturers/vendors who do not financially support the FPP team, threatens the future of the FPP project.  The development team wants to continue to be able to support the future development of FPP and keep it and other Channel Outputs fully Open Source and Free and the team uses the sales of FPP-compatible pixel "Controller" capes to help further this development.

All other FPP Channel Outputs are NOT affected by this announcement and will continue to function as-is in FPP v6.  This list of Outputs which are NOT affected includes but is not limited to the RPIWS281X output used to drive 2 strings of WS281X pixels on the Raspberry Pi, the LED Panels outputs including directly attached as well as the ColorLight/Linsn outputs, WS2801 outputs and spixels, DMX, E1.31, DDP, GPIO, Pixelnet, Renard, etc..

What do I need to do?

  • If you currently own a Kulp cape, you do not need to do anything.
  • If you own a 3rd party manufactured cape based on a BeagleBone or PocketBeagle, you will need to email some form of proof of purchase to support@falconplayer.com and we will send you a voucher for a free license key.  The purchase must have been made on or prior to July 31, 2022 in order to receive a voucher.  Voucher requests may be sent in starting on May 27, 2022.  You will have until the end of 2022 to actually request a voucher.  For more details, see the FAQ at the URL below.
  • If you own a DIY cape which you assembled yourself, write your email address on a piece of paper and take a picture of the cape and paper and email it to diy@falconplayer.com and we will send you a voucher for a free license key.  Voucher requests may be sent in starting on May 27, 2022.
  • If you currently own a PiCap from PixelController.com or other 2-string PiHat, you do not need to do anything to retain existing functionality.  If you choose to switch to the new DPIPixels Channel Output to allow re-enabling the onboard audio, you will then need a 2-output license key.  The free voucher offer for previously purchased 3rd party capes does not apply to these capes since they are not affected and will continue to operate with existing functionality.

Where can I get more information?

Full details on these changes, pricing and FAQ (frequently asked questions) can be found at https://shop.falconplayer.com/faqcategories/

This announcement is being cross-posted on FaceBook, the FalconChristmas.com forum, and at https://shop.falconplayer.com/key-announcement/

FPP Development Team
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Chris

AAH

I was wondering how the money brought in gets distributed. Does any money earned from now get distributed on a per commit basis, does it get distributed based on the historical number of commits, do the developers of DPI pixels, rgbcape48, octoscroller and everything else that fpp uses get a piece of the pie? Is djulien who brought DPI pixels to FPP and is 1 of the 44 developers on github get anything? David Pitts who started FPP in the first place and did all the initial work when it was a player only?
I held off commenting on the original thread as I hoped that this would die before it's public release.
Because I have been super busy I simply hoped rather than doing anything pro-active. I personally would rather have my users not have to pay anything directly to FPP but rather I would pay it and they just connect up and it would be good to go. In the case of the HE123 which uses the 48 output RGBCape library that would mean I either add $USD30 to the cost or I make the board for nothing as I make about $USD30 to make each of them.
I appreciate all the work done but potentially because I am a competitor to some of the Falcon and Kulp boards or maybe because I am an order of magnitude smaller than either of those or maybe because I am in Aussie and outside the circle of the US developers I have had mixed results when I have asked about features or information.

rayhjr

Good Morning. I have read the FAQS and want to see if I'm understanding things correctly. I have numerous PB16 and BBB16 boards from Scott Hanson Open Source Project. If I only using 1 or 2 Capes, then I would only need the 1 or 2 licenses? Just for the Capes that I'm running and if I have a problem with a Cape itself, then I could swap the Cape and reassign the license to that Cape? In other words I don't need a license for all my Capes on hand, just the ones I'm running in my show and if I blow a gasket on a cape I could swap it, reassign the license and keep going?
 And are they considered a DIY cape eligible for a Free license? take picture of 2 capes with email  address, not all hump-teen dozen capes I have, assembled and bare boards?
I understand your reasoning behind all this and don't blame you at all for it. 
The part I like best in this hobby is building things, mainly Soldering together a board. I had a Falcon V2 I think, the Red Board, used it one season to run my Mega tree then sold it to purchase 2 SanDevices E682 kits for about the same money. Mainly so I could have more locations for Pixel outputs and so I could solder up the boards myself. I have since moved on to the current project, again so can solder up my on Boards. 
FPP is a wonderful thing and I'm glad it's there for all of us to use. Thanks for what you do!!
Ray
I Love this Stuff! 😃

CaptainMurdoch

Quote from: AAH on May 20, 2022, 04:13:13 AMI was wondering.......
(quoted part cut short, but quoted to make sure this is linked to the right message)

Thanks for the questions.

We recently switched the donations button on the web site to go to the new entity that has been setup for the license fees.  David had been helping us distribute the donations (and dealing with all the taxes, etc.), but we all agreed it would be better to cut out the middleman so that we can more easily distribute the donations and any fees to the active contributors.  FPP isn't a royalty system, we won't be sending money to guys who helped out years ago and committed 5 lines of code to change a misspelled word and the the offset of a button on the screen.  Our intent is to use the money to help the active contributors on the development team, and that includes more than just the subset of us who commit code.  I don't want to single people out, but since you mentioned Don in particular, I would say Don is a great guy and has been a help in testing the new code, but he brought an idea and he publicly said it wasn't even his idea because he didn't want to claim credit when someone else came up with the idea 7 years ago.  I wrote the DPIPixels output based on reading the older docs he pointed us to and looking at his own implementation.  The actual logic for the DPI bit layout part of DPIPixels is probably 10-15 lines of code, the rest is all the parts that help to make that code integrate with FPP, none of which Don knew about, that is part of why I took on writing the new channel output.  We don't plan on distributing money by the # of commits people have or the Lines of Code people have committed.  If we did it that way, Dan and I would get 90% of the money.  Check out the contributor page in github if you want to see more details on that.  David isn't getting or wanting any of the money, he makes money off the PiCap.  We will be kicking something back to him for web site costs because FPP is most of the activity on the FalconChristmas.com forum site.

Look for a post in the vendor discussion area in the next day or so regarding bulk voucher purchases.  We think that is the best way for vendors to go as it will give a nice discount and make it a lot easier on your customers.  My goal is for the voucher redemption workflow to be as simple as going to a web page within FPP, entering the voucher code and a couple other pieces of information, hitting a button, and in 10-15 seconds you would have a signed EEPROM as long as the FPP instance could get to the internet at the time.  The workflow would have to be a little different if FPP couldn't talk to the signing API web site, but we want to make the process as simple as possible for the vendor and end user.

You mention competition.  Essentially, every cape vendor selling Beagle or Pi capes is a competitor to Dan's capes and David's PiCap.  I also get part of the PiCap sales because I wrote that original code and David and I worked in tandem with him creating the hardware and me creating the channel ouput, so I'm in that list also.  So technically, yes, you are a competitor, but we want to work with  you, not in opposition to you.  We continue to write, maintain, enhance the software which your capes use, how often do you see someone doing that for their competition?  We are not trying to cut 3rd party cape vendors out of the market, we could easily do that if we wanted by taking this channel output code that Dan and I wrote and locking it up so it could only be used with a cape from David or Dan, but we do not want to go that direction.  We are trying to make it easier for Cape Vendors to use the software, doing things such as providing a tool which you can  use to create EEPROMs or virtual EEPROMs for your capes and providing a dedicated area on the forum where we can discuss things such as EEPROM building with vendors to allow them to maximize the potential of their capes.  I just added a virtual EEPROM to the source repository for your rPi-28D yesterday and enhanced it tonight to all the user to optionally choose to output 4 strings of WS281x when using the new DPIPixels Channel Output driver by using the clock and data lines on your original WS2801 output.  Your rPi-28D isn't even affected by this announcement, but I went out of my way to create a virtual EEPROM for it that even displays your logo in the top right corner of FPP just like any other vendor's logo is displayed.  The new Cape Info page has links to your web site and your logo when a user is using this new virtual EEPROM.  We want to work with the vendors and are open to helping you along the way.  Today in our private development team chat room, we have actually been discussing how to get better support in xLights for 3rd party cape vendors to make it easier for users to get their configs from xLights onto FPP when using 3rd party capes.
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Chris

CaptainMurdoch

Quote from: rayhjr on May 20, 2022, 08:30:46 AMGood Morning. I have read the FAQS and want to see if I'm understanding things correctly.

Each cape will need it's own license to sign the EEPROM on the cape.  If you built some of Scott's Open Hardware boards, then you will get a free DIY voucher for each one of the ones you have built for your own use.  We aren't giving away DIY vouchers to someone who is building Scott's boards and then selling them to make a profit.

We do allow transferring a license key from one cape to another if one dies, we aren't going to try to squeeze you when your cape just got snowed on because you left the case open overnight. :)  This process will involve going to the new Cape Info page and re-signing the EEPROM using the same order number and license key used to sign the cape originally.  We are working on updating the documentation but are still making a few changes to the UI based on some feedback we have received so far after showing the interface to a group of people.

We fully support the DIY community.  DIY is why we have FPP and xLights today, because some of us who knew how to code decided to DIY instead of buying something commercial and off the shelf.  We want DIY users to be able to take full advantage of the software, that is why we are offering free vouchers for DIY capes.
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Chris

Kev7274

If I am reading this right my two Kulp K32A-B boards won't need a license,but my Rons Matrix cape running my Matrix will?

Poporacer

Quote from: Kev7274 on May 22, 2022, 10:58:02 AMIf I am reading this right my two Kulp K32A-B boards won't need a license
Correct

Quote from: Kev7274 on May 22, 2022, 10:58:02 AMbut my Rons Matrix cape running my Matrix will?
Incorrect, the only controllers that need a license are non Kulp/Falcon capes that are going to use the enhanced DPIPixel strings (for Pi based capes) or the BBBStrings48 strings (for BB based capes)

Quote from: CaptainMurdoch on May 19, 2022, 09:53:06 PMThis list of Outputs which are NOT affected includes but is not limited to the RPIWS281X output used to drive 2 strings of WS281X pixels on the Raspberry Pi, the LED Panels outputs including directly attached as well as the ColorLight/Linsn outputs
In any case, if you already have a controller that falls under the licensing requirements, you will get the license for free anyways.
If to err is human, I am more human than most people.

Kev7274

Quote from: Poporacer on May 22, 2022, 11:36:59 AM
Quote from: Kev7274 on May 22, 2022, 10:58:02 AMIf I am reading this right my two Kulp K32A-B boards won't need a license
Correct

Great
Quote from: Poporacer on May 22, 2022, 11:36:59 AM
Quote from: Kev7274 on May 22, 2022, 10:58:02 AMIf I am reading this right my two Kulp K32A-B boards won't need a license
Correct

Quote from: Kev7274 on May 22, 2022, 10:58:02 AMbut my Rons Matrix cape running my Matrix will?
Incorrect, the only controllers that need a license are non Kulp/Falcon capes that are going to use the enhanced DPIPixel strings (for Pi based capes) or the BBBStrings48 strings (for BB based capes)

Quote from: CaptainMurdoch on May 19, 2022, 09:53:06 PMThis list of Outputs which are NOT affected includes but is not limited to the RPIWS281X output used to drive 2 strings of WS281X pixels on the Raspberry Pi, the LED Panels outputs including directly attached as well as the ColorLight/Linsn outputs
In any case, if you already have a controller that falls under the licensing requirements, you will get the license for free anyways.

Quote from: Kev7274 on May 22, 2022, 10:58:02 AMbut my Rons Matrix cape running my Matrix will?
Incorrect, the only controllers that need a license are non Kulp/Falcon capes that are going to use the enhanced DPIPixel strings (for Pi based capes) or the BBBStrings48 strings (for BB based capes)

Quote from: CaptainMurdoch on May 19, 2022, 09:53:06 PMThis list of Outputs which are NOT affected includes but is not limited to the RPIWS281X output used to drive 2 strings of WS281X pixels on the Raspberry Pi, the LED Panels outputs including directly attached as well as the ColorLight/Linsn outputs
In any case, if you already have a controller that falls under the licensing requirements, you will get the license for free anyways.

Excellent.Thanks for the info.


Kev7274

Just wanted to check my other capes and one is a Falcon and the other is a Hanson elctronics Octoscrolla. What about the Hanson Octoscrolla that runs my other Matrix?


sonic777

I have a few questions on this subject. I have read everything I could find on this subject and just need a little direction.

With regards to what I believe falls into DIY but I'm not totally sure.  I have 5 San Devices (3xE682 + 2xE6804) boards which I'm currently re-soldering up to use the PB cape instead of the old propeller chip I soldered in the original pack. 
Does this mean they falls into the DIY category?

I also have two capes for BBB matrix screens that I'm unsure if I need to request licensing since I'm unclear if they are grandfathered in, these the P10 Scroller V1.2 boards from DIYLEDExpress.com.

I run a main player FPP RPi that syncs to all other FPP's and sends audio to my FM transmitter and speakers. No capes but it does send data to my Falcon v2 16 board w/16 extension, I'm unclear on this one since this is a standalone board and I need the audio from the FPP for the FM transmitter.  Do I request a voucher here too?

Last, I have multiple capes I purchased from Dan Kulp this year, but I didn't purchase the PB's or BBB's from him since those were not available at the time.  From what I was reading I'm just a bit fuzzy about those, should I just request a voucher for those capes to be sure I have everything I need?

I know these are unique to my situation but maybe these questions will help others too.

Poporacer

Quote from: Kev7274 on May 22, 2022, 02:23:17 PMWhat about the Hanson Octoscrolla that runs my other Matrix?
Did you read what I posted and highlighted in red right before you asked this?
If to err is human, I am more human than most people.

Kev7274


Sawdust

Quote from: Poporacer on May 22, 2022, 04:07:18 PM
Quote from: Kev7274 on May 22, 2022, 02:23:17 PMWhat about the Hanson Octoscrolla that runs my other Matrix?
Did you read what I posted and highlighted in red right before you asked this?

Quote from: sonic777 on May 22, 2022, 03:13:26 PMI have a few questions on this subject....................

Poporacer, maybe highlight this one in FIRE RED. with YELLOW background

the only controllers that need a license are non Kulp/Falcon capes that are going to use the enhanced DPIPixel strings (for Pi based capes) or the BBBStrings48 strings (for BB based capes

sonic777

Quote from: Sawdust on May 22, 2022, 04:37:51 PM
Quote from: Poporacer on May 22, 2022, 04:07:18 PM
Quote from: Kev7274 on May 22, 2022, 02:23:17 PMWhat about the Hanson Octoscrolla that runs my other Matrix?
Did you read what I posted and highlighted in red right before you asked this?

Quote from: sonic777 on May 22, 2022, 03:13:26 PMI have a few questions on this subject....................

Poporacer, maybe highlight this one in FIRE RED. with YELLOW background

the only controllers that need a license are non Kulp/Falcon capes that are going to use the enhanced DPIPixel strings (for Pi based capes) or the BBBStrings48 strings (for BB based capes
I don't think I was clear, these questions are posed with the expectation of using DPIPixel on all the controllers in each question.

mrpburke

Quote from: CaptainMurdoch on May 21, 2022, 02:48:36 AM
Quote from: rayhjr on May 20, 2022, 08:30:46 AMGood Morning. I have read the FAQS and want to see if I'm understanding things correctly.

Each cape will need it's own license to sign the EEPROM on the cape.  If you built some of Scott's Open Hardware boards, then you will get a free DIY voucher for each one of the ones you have built for your own use.  We aren't giving away DIY vouchers to someone who is building Scott's boards and then selling them to make a profit.
We do allow transferring a license key from one cape to another if one dies, we aren't going to try to squeeze you when your cape just got snowed on because you left the case open overnight. :)  This process will involve going to the new Cape Info page and re-signing the EEPROM using the same order number and license key used to sign the cape originally.  We are working on updating the documentation but are still making a few changes to the UI based on some feedback we have received so far after showing the interface to a group of people.
We fully support the DIY community.  DIY is why we have FPP and xLights today, because some of us who knew how to code decided to DIY instead of buying something commercial and off the shelf.  We want DIY users to be able to take full advantage of the software, that is why we are offering free vouchers for DIY capes.

I saw who you are referring to here selling Scott's boards prebuilt for what seemed like for a profit and was wondering how that would be handled. I've only ordered parts for the SMD PB16v2 version and I know what I paid per board for all the parts so what he was charging seemed to be quite a bit more than just his cost.

How will the distinction be made between someone who is selling them for profit and someone who may just be selling extras that they built since when you order from JLCPCB they come in multiples of 5? I wont need all 5 that I'm building and I wouldnt mind giving one or 2 away at cost but I'd want to make sure that wouldnt get me classified as selling for profit. If that would I'll just keep all 5 and have some backups on hand in case they're ever needed.

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