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Antonio (isleman)
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:02 am    Post subject: what future ? Reply with quote

donations received during in 2010

As you see - since OM ceased to support Robin Mesh development - maintaing the project becoming increasingly difficult and I can no longer devote all my time to the project.
I'm sorry, if things do not improve I fear I will revise my plans. I do not mean that the project is bound to end ...but it certainly should be seen under a new perspective.

EUR: 357,31
GPB: 89,41
USD: 3.306,40

For reference the price of unleaded petrol today in Italy is EUR 1,505/litre i.e. $ 2,0426/litre ("." used as separator for thousands and "," for decimals)

All the donations - for clearness - are listed in the file below.
Names in that list are omitted, if you want look at your donations (in order to check them) please ask me with a private message:

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Anyway, thanks to all who have contributed!
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ispyisail
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sad

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Antonio (isleman)
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...if things do not improve...
...I do not mean that the project is bound to end...
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brecklandit
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Come on chaps, i'll start the ball rolling by donating £50.00 towards the project. Its been a fantastic launch application for us, and whilst we are not profitable, and losing money quicker than we can make it - it would not of been possible without Antonio's hard work.
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robgmann
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been hoping someone would shine some light on this gloomy situation.
I suppose Antonio may have some ideas (which we ROBIN users may or may not like and will have to decide to buy or bail out). But, what are some other models to make this worthwhile?

ROBIN plays nicely with all kinds of dashboards, portals, and hardware. Mesh co-existence with some of the proprietary systems (Anaptyx, Open-Mesh, Ubiquiti) would be valuable. Honestly, I'm not sure who is buying those things if you can only mesh with their devices... I'd have to throw out half my gear and start over. Seems like if I buy an Anaptyx gateway and get "free" access to their Cloud Controller, then I should have an option to pay $x/node to have all my ROBIN nodes mesh with their stuff. [Maybe we need a wiki page that differentiates ROBIN and its features from all the other stuff out there?]

Maybe there's an option to put a pay-gate into some of the paid dashboards, same way captive portals do. For every ROBIN node on a paid service provider, some portion goes to Antonio.
What about the large-scale municipal deployments of ROBIN out there? Aren't cities big on supporting open source nowadays? Not being locked in to commercial and closed-source licensing that holds them at ransom if they want to leave? Should they be kicking in for ROBIN?

Honestly, if it isn't through partnerships, what makes a good open source project tick? Altruism? Well, your kids can't eat that for dinner.

(I'm still in for $1/node/month and could afford to double that amount for my piddly 30 nodes.)
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EricWarnke
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what it's worth I've already told Antonio that Surreal will be doing kickbacks from paid nodes to the developers for the firmware they use.

So if someone paid to use Surreal, and they used Robin firmware, some $n for each paid node would make its way back to the Robin project (Antonio). The same would go for any firmware distro that we will support.

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hamradio
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many other peoples are ....

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brecklandit
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

robgmann wrote:

(I'm still in for $1/node/month and could afford to double that amount for my piddly 30 nodes.)


We provide free wifi so monthly fee's don't work for us but ive put a few idea to Antonio myself. Im sure there's a very profitable business model here somewhere!
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sankofa
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Antonio, can you please share with us what you are thinking so maybe we can all come up with something so the project does not get to the point where it has to die.
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Antonio (isleman)
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robin project is NOT bound to end, it wont die don't worry.

I was meaning that I have to re-plan my time as back to my previous consultant activities, devoting not all my time to Robin. I'm sure that you understand that getting such incomes (3-4K USD per year) I risk to run at a loss, isnt'it?
That is my idea, I do not mean that it will be tomorrow or in a week Smile

I'm not a business-man but I agree that "1$/node/month" doesn't sound due to several understandable reasons and anyway you should not feel obliged!
I'm studying a different business model along with a friend of mine... it's definitely not for now, maybe in April/May, we are just at very first discussions. I'll keep you posted about plans and ideas, no problem.
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codyc1515
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Antonio (isleman) wrote:
Robin project is NOT bound to end, it wont die don't worry.

I was meaning that I have to re-plan my time as back to my previous consultant activities, devoting not all my time to Robin. I'm sure that you understand that getting such incomes (3-4K USD per year) I risk to run at a loss, isnt'it?
That is my idea, I do not mean that it will be tomorrow or in a week Smile

I'm not a business-man but I agree that "1$/node/month" doesn't sound due to several understandable reasons and anyway you should not feel obliged!
I'm studying a different business model along with a friend of mine... it's definitely not for now, maybe in April/May, we are just at very first discussions. I'll keep you posted about plans and ideas, no problem.

Thank you for the clarification, I have some ideas on monetization. Still trying to work it out with ispyisail though. Probably will end up sending you an email... Smile

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sronan
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would guess that many who come to this forum are very favorably impressed with the project but wary of committing substantial resources to developing networks using ROBIN while it remains in beta.

Isn't it likely that there could be a radical upsurge in usage if it were possible to arrive at a version 1.0 that is widely regarded to be bug-free, and easily used on at least open-mesh and ubiquiti single radio 802.11b/g equipment, with results comparable to Meraki's software running on equivalent hardware? I have had the impression for quite a while that that goal has been within close reach. But is that unrealistic? Are the problems with open-source atheros drivers too difficult to surmount?

With a version 1.0 and people starting to use the product far more widely, the likelihood of funds being donated would seem to increase accordingly. And then a clear, reliable roadmap of work planned to achieve further advances, such as use with multi-radio equipment and 802.11n, would have a wider base of users eager to see it accomplished step by step.
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hamradio
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Antonio,

my opinion is that the use of robin isn't so easy for beginner, I'm an advanced beginner and have had many time to spent in deeping the R2690 to have my version working on Wifigator without transit from OM, I'd prevised who was happened to OM vs. Robin and the same done Wifigator follow another path.

Solution to collect money vs. the beginner:

1) create your MESH server and rent it for month/fees/node
2) create a repository to bougth your FW ready to use for each AP's model on the market, if possible, with a fees for download it or a compiler on line.
3) don't close the source
4) think like DD-WRT but make possible a annual subscription for developer (24/36 euro/year) with a better support by you and a "pret-a-porter" for end user.

Antonio if you want deeping into is better move to Italian section I don't want be "shotted" by a legal action for my English.

Ciao Carlo
Ciao

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Antonio (isleman)
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@sronan
I totally agree, but you have to understand a fact: I believe Robin_1.6 (r3xxx) is ready to be rolled out as the new stable release but most nodes (so most networks) are 'controlled' by OM dashboard and their servers continue to offer 269x as latest Robin version.

Since -ng, it is clear that OM has now no resources enough to devote time to Robin so the only way I have to promote the upgrade to a stable 1.6 is using custom.sh scripts. And it is as much clear that the 'custom.sh' way is definitely the less comfortable way for the most of the users.
Just about my request to host Robin 1.6 images, I got the answer:"At this time I just don't have the time to test robin images. And without that, I can't officially support putting them out as our customers will look for us for support on them.However. For your users that want this, I think you have a custom.sh script that they can install so that their nodes will upgrade? Is that right?"
Apart that 'For your users' sounds me as very strange...
Let us get this straight: they are simply doing what is best for them. It is a difficulty for Robin, not easy to overcome, but I can not blame their decision!

@hamradio (ciao Carlo!)
Just this week I had a meeting with a partner and we discussed a new possible business model for the future. A very friend of him lives in Florida US and operates an import/export company: well, our plan is to sell pre-flashed routers along with some firmware extra-options (something like a -plus version) not available along the vanilla images. The annual price of that 'kit' will be comprehensive of support, updates and customizations.
oh... it's just one idea.

Thanks for all your suggestions, they are welcome and very apreciated!
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sronan
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Antonio,

It's encouraging that you're very, very close to having a version solid enough to propose as the new stable version. If I understand correctly you would like that to be considered as 1.6 stable beta? I think that many potential users would still want to wait until the software is out of beta before deploying it in a production environment. Similarly, I would be inclined to wait until it is out of beta before recommending it widely for use by municipalities and WISPs, and suggesting that major publications review it, etc. Looking for a definition of beta, I find first: "A beta test is a limited release of a product with a goal of finding bugs before the final release."

I wonder whether it might be possible for you to lead a group of the most experienced, capable ROBIN users to define what further improvements might be needed for a product to come out of beta and be released as Version 1.0, and who would be willing to test it thoroughly once it seemed to you that those improvements had been accomplished. I would guess that if such a group, on the basis of thorough testing, could demonstrate that the product is a major improvement from r269x and very stable, Open-mesh would at that point be amenable to providing it via its servers to open-mesh dashboard users.

Thanks,
-s
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Antonio (isleman)
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

big misunderstanding, I was speaking about beta_1.6 version (r269x is beta_1.5)
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sronan
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, Antonio, could you explain what you think the misunderstanding may have been? Perhaps I stated something improperly? As I said, "If I understand correctly you would like that to be considered as 1.6 stable beta?"
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My network is currently only small (25 radios) and connected to open-mesh simply because it works fairly well. I run mostly R2693 on om1p and ubnt nodes.

I am now cash-flow positive (off a very small revenue). Antonios work in making available stable firmware for my network has been critical (more so than a dashboard).

I'd be happy to move to robin-dash, and enter into an agreement to pay a license fee for each stable firmware I use (I.e. Pay per radio, per month)

I applaude the work he has done and would like to see him become successful from it. Similarly, I believe a v1 production release of robin would be extremely saleable.
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robgmann
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If we are pushing for a 1.0 release, would it help to do real bug tracking? Everything under the sun gets posted in this forum. I've lost track of any open defects in 3625.
Sometimes the bugs appear under the hardware category, other times under the module (nodogsplash, for example) or occasionally under the 3xxx forum.

Where are we with 3xxx anyway? This thread says "we're close". How close?
What specifically is missing/broken?
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not the first one to recommend moving to Google Code in order to better organize development. Assembla isn't very user friendly and is yet another thing to sign up for.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EricWarnke wrote:
I'm not the first one to recommend moving to Google Code in order to better organize development. Assembla isn't very user friendly and is yet another thing to sign up for.

Some people do not like Google (for reasons other than UI), and the same could be said for signing up.

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Antonio (isleman)
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

robgmann wrote:
If we are pushing for a 1.0 release, would it help to do real bug tracking? Everything under the sun gets posted in this forum. I've lost track of any open defects in 3625.
Sometimes the bugs appear under the hardware category, other times under the module (nodogsplash, for example) or occasionally under the 3xxx forum.

Where are we with 3xxx anyway? This thread says "we're close". How close?
What specifically is missing/broken?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sronan,

r2695 is VERY stable. I have been using it for 2 years and have had no problems. I think you are to hung up on the "BETA" designation. Try it and you will see that it works great.

I would be fine with the $1/per node/month.
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sronan
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Harry_the_face,

I think a lot of people who visit this forum might be justified in wondering, "Why should I presume that it's ready for prime time, if the developers apparently don't think so?" I have been, and continue to be, tempted to use it, but hold back. My first use would be to substitute them for Merakis in some housing developments where the Merakis have been terrific, but are too often dropped out 6th floor windows or disappear when families move out, despite the faded request taped to them that they be returned.

I'd love to see some testing compare the best of Robin with Meraki. I do have concerns from what I read here that there may be issues of erratic or degraded speed via Robin due largely to deficiencies in madwifi, e.g., the minstrel lockup problems.

I have hesitated to start seriously using r2695 as it has chronically seemed that something better, ideally a well-tested version 1.0 might be almost within reach, just around the corner.... not that there are any special features I've desired, just reliability and a half-decent speed after two or three hops.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sronan wrote:
Thanks, Harry_the_face,
...but are too often dropped out 6th floor windows or disappear when families move out, despite the faded request taped to them that they be returned.

Have you considered something like "this device is GPS enabled" on the label?

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EricWarnke wrote:
sronan wrote:
Thanks, Harry_the_face,
...but are too often dropped out 6th floor windows or disappear when families move out, despite the faded request taped to them that they be returned.

Have you considered something like "this device is GPS enabled" on the label?

Hahaha, Sneaky!

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definitely like the idea... but it wouldn't have helped in the most recent instance... a crucially well located apartment, that had a single Cisco bridge plus multiple Merakis on windows facing in different directions... The nice kid promised she'd drop it all off for me... but after days of looking couldn't find it "we moved a lot of stuff in trash bags and I think my mom" [who doesn't speak or read much English] threw it all out."
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sronan wrote:

I'd love to see some testing compare the best of Robin with Meraki. I do have concerns from what I read here that there may be issues of erratic or degraded speed via Robin due largely to deficiencies in madwifi, e.g., the minstrel lockup problems.


There is nothing wrong with using Robin for live installations - we use a customised version of Robin Mesh at some sites and it performs as expected, at the speeds we know it will work at.

We also have some very expensive Cisco kit at an Airport which doesn't perform as expected and is a pain in the bum and as soon as we are able, will be substituting it for Robin.

At the end of the day, any installation can have problems, be done badly or badly specced.
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Antonio (isleman)
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something really great is coming soon, stay tuned! Cool
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