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Will Your Drone Be Open Source? The Linux Foundation Hopes SoWill Your Drone Be Open Source? The Linux Foundation Hopes So

Open source software already can power your cloud, phone, tablet, PC and TV. And it may soon run your drone as well, thanks to the Linux Foundation's new Dronecode project, which brings together a group of industry partners to work on open source embedded code for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Christopher Tozzi

October 14, 2014

2 Min Read
Will Your Drone Be Open Source? The Linux Foundation Hopes So

Open source software already can power your cloud, phone, tablet, PC and TV. And it may soon run your drone as well, thanks to the Linux Foundation's new Dronecode project, which brings together a group of industry partners to work on open source embedded code for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Droncode, which the Linux Foundation announced Oct. 13, isn't the first initiative to focus on building open source software for drones. The project builds off of the APM/ArduPilot UAV software platform that was hosted previously by 3D Robotics, and now will come under the purview of Dronecode.

The project has wide industry backing from companies including 3D Robotics, Baidu, Box, DroneDeploy, Intel, jDrones, Laser Navigation, Qualcomm, SkyWard, Squadrone System, Walkera and Yuneec. More than 1,200 developers are already working on various parts of the project code, according to the Linux Foundation.

Drone software has yet to become a significant market, of course, but the Linux Foundation and its partners see this effort to coordinate the resources of the open source community for this niche as an endeavor that will likely pay large dividends in the future. "By becoming a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project, the Dronecode community will receive the support required of a massive project right at its moment of breakthrough," said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. "The result will be even greater innovation and a common platform for drone and robotics open source projects."

And with UAVs expected to become a $91 billion industry within the next decade, this early investment could well prove important. Perhaps Dronecode will one day be what OpenStack presently is to the cloud, or Linux to the data center—but without all the proprietary competition from closed-source companies that beat open source developers to the chase.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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