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Old 16-01-2011, 05:22   #1
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Widespread Adoption of OpenCPN

It is interesting to look at the download statistics for the OpenCPN site over at Source Forge.It shows an steeply increasing download rate for OpenCPN. Presently there are about 500 downloads per day.
Of course it's impossible to know exactly how many installations there are, as OpenCPN is available from many sources, and the 64 bit downloads are not included, as they, at the moment, are not hosted on Source Forge.

Here is the statistics including approximate download per month.

Code:
Version	Release Date		Total Download  Download/Month	Feature
2.3.1 	2010-12-31 		 10,011 		~500/day
2.3.0 	2010-12-18 		 9,836 		-				Dashboard
2.1.0 	2010-06-26 		 49,652		8710			        Quilting
1.3.6 	2010-01-07 		 30,213 		5395
1.3.4 	2009-10-01 		 7,337 		3335
1.3.2 	2009-07-11 		 3,706 		1425
1.3.0 	2009-05-09 		 3,555 		1778			         CM93
1.2.8 	2008-12-25 		 955 		         212
1.2.6 	2008-08-31 		 654			  163
1.2.4 	2008-04-20 		 501			  116
1.2.2	        2008-01-02		 455			  130
1.2.0	        2007-04-20		 1654		  195
Why is OpenCPN becoming so popular?

I have included the versions for the release of three features, that I think has contributed in a major way to the success, CM93 support, Chart Quilting and the Dashboad.

Apart from a few things, I think that the basic OpenCPN is feature complete, and that exiting development will happen with new plugins becoming available.

What is lacking in OpenCPN for even greater acceptance?
Support for BSB4? Integration with Google Earth? Or ...what?
I'm thinking about major features. Of course all the nitty-gritty details such as full support for Garmin, and bugs must be taken care of.

Thomas
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Old 16-01-2011, 06:29   #2
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You are on the right track with BSB 4. You should also consider NV Verlag format and especially S 63 encrypted ENC charts. Maybee this is a european thing, but there are sailors here as well.

Michael
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Old 16-01-2011, 06:43   #3
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I second the recommendation from Motorbaad. Great software and works great in the US but I'm trying to plan a trip to Europe and having a problem finding a good, up to date chart system to work with OpenCPN.

Support for Navionics and C-Map charts would be great, even if it added an (optional) cost (buy the plugins for the chart system if required). I know that goes against the idea behind the project but if they control the charts (for now!) then what are our options?
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Old 16-01-2011, 08:38   #4
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"Never underestimate the power of free software."

There's a difference between the number of people who have downloaded it to look at and the number who are using it on their boat to navigate or plan with. It would be pretty easy to build in some analytics to OCPN to give some of that use information. Then you'd know a little more what the actual acceptance was. Right now there's no barrier to downloading - it's possible that a large percentage download it and never install it or try it out once never to be double-clicked again. You just don't know.
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Old 16-01-2011, 09:48   #5
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OpenCPN as spyware

Quote:
Originally Posted by ActiveCaptain View Post
"Never underestimate the power of free software."

There's a difference between the number of people who have downloaded it to look at and the number who are using it on their boat to navigate or plan with. It would be pretty easy to build in some analytics to OCPN to give some of that use information. Then you'd know a little more what the actual acceptance was. Right now there's no barrier to downloading - it's possible that a large percentage download it and never install it or try it out once never to be double-clicked again. You just don't know.
..as soon as OpenCPN tries to phone home without my permission,it gets dumped,if that's what you mean.
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Old 17-01-2011, 04:57   #6
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Lightbulb

The download stats are up indeed; a hugely gratifying testament to the great work of the dev team - thanks dev team!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappySeagull View Post
..as soon as OpenCPN tries to phone home without my permission,it gets dumped,if that's what you mean.
-1 Stats feedback: In fact, even the holy grail of debian does package use feedback - with the users permission of course. However, for continued success, opencpn does not need to attract lots of users; it really wants to attract lots of developers. I should think debian repository integration would be effective in that respect.

+1 encrypted charts: Having evangelised opencpn around a few forums in the past, I would say that the complete non-availability of up to date charts from commercial sources for all non-free chart countries (shame on them), i.e. everybody except US, brazil and NZ, is a major issue hindering adoption. The idea of a commercial plugin has been floated before. There seemed to be considerable interest - perhaps this could be done via a bounty system?

Native plugin for wiki sailing guides: A natural and logical extension for opencpn. There was some interest from the openseamap crew I seem to recall..

Google maps fetcher: Wouldn't it be nice to fetch terrain view maps for the current view straight to opencpn
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Old 17-01-2011, 07:08   #7
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..as soon as OpenCPN tries to phone home without my permission,it gets dumped,if that's what you mean.
How about if it asked your permission first, say during initial setup? Then it could "phone home", just as Ubuntu Linux does (which does ask your permission), and as all versions of Microsoft Windows do (which buries the "permission" down in the EULA one has to agree to on first boot on a new PC or a new OS install). If done properly (anonymously), it would give the developers some vital statistics, especially when they approach entities such as Navionics to get the rights to develop plugins for those proprietary chart formats.

In fact, one nice plugin would be a one-button "update my map page on my blog with my current position via something like APRS or even a formatted SMS message. Of course, if you're offshore, your HF or satcom system would have to be up and running, but for coastal cruising, if you have a high-gain wireless broadband or Wi-Fi system, that would suffice. I'll have to start digging into the webserver side of things to see how to do such a thing in Wordpress...
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Old 17-01-2011, 07:21   #8
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How about working on improving performance a bit before adding more features? I like the program but I find when working at a high level it is slow to load the next chart. Maybe it could cache the next chart in memory ahead of time? It seems to be getting charts off disk and then doing some loading of data which takes a fair bit of time. Even on a new notebook with tons of RAM and a fast hard disk/CPU it's a bit annoying.
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Old 17-01-2011, 08:48   #9
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Thomas,

I always carry a USB stick with the latest OCPN version and give this to every sailor I meet. I also wrote some articles in yachting magazines here in Holland. The response was fantastic.

Once governments really start making available the nautical chart data their taxpayers allready paid for in a standard open format, OCPN shall definitely outpace the many expensive (and not so good) programs currently available.

Keep up the good work and thanks to all those who programmed for us.

Peter
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Old 17-01-2011, 09:16   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappySeagull View Post
..as soon as OpenCPN tries to phone home without my permission,it gets dumped,if that's what you mean.
I used to work for an opensource company building server products a long time ago. Our method was to ask mirrors to report download statistics, and we had a voluntary registration process, similar to what mozilla uses on firefox or branded products. Nothing nasty about it, if the nag screen tells it how it is.

There are other ways of doing it, but we found this to be the most accepted ways.

You should get a much better understanding of the user base once plugins become available and downloaded from specific sites as only installed system and actual users will use the plugins. This is how qgis does it, one of the larger fully sponsored opensource project out there.

With respect to charts, Im frustrated as well and can offer no immediate solutions.

Best regards
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Old 17-01-2011, 15:40   #11
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IMO, you should forget about collecting usage stats. There is no mathematical way to reliably validate what the true usage is.

As far as getting commercial companies to allow access to their products it is simply a matter of money. Typically, you put some cash upfront and send them their percentage of the sells each quarter. If you are planning on including a plug-in for BSB4 charts anytime soon someone needs to work on increasing the donations to OpenCPN to provide the needed upfront cash.

I believe that before doing a plug-in for the BSB4 charts it would wise to do a plug-in for the NOAA charts. This would allow for a no cost understanding of the complexity and performance issues associated with this type of plug-in.

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Old 17-01-2011, 15:59   #12
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Typically, you put some cash upfront and send them their percentage of the sells each quarter.
I've been doing this my whole life and I've never heard of such a thing in anything like this with open source software.

Show me a commercial company that needs money to produce an add-on to be sold, and I'll show you a crummy add-on.

Show me a commercial company that will develop their own add-on with their own investment, and I'll show you an add-on that is designed to be used by a lot of people.
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Old 17-01-2011, 16:01   #13
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Quote:
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IMO, you should forget about collecting usage stats. There is no mathematical way to reliably validate what the true usage is.
I kinda agree. But collecting stats could tell us something. How many people use what features. I can't really see its worth, but maybe someone else can.

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As far as getting commercial companies to allow access to their products it is simply a matter of money. Typically, you put some cash upfront and send them their percentage of the sells each quarter. If you are planning on including a plug-in for BSB4 charts anytime soon someone needs to work on increasing the donations to OpenCPN to provide the needed upfront cash.
I don't think upfront cash is needed. The plug-in would be a commercial product where the user would have to pay for a license for the charts they wanted to use. The plug-in could even be free. Just not open source, because it would have to be able to handle the authorization codes to allow a set of charts to be displayed.

Quote:
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I believe that before doing a plug-in for the BSB4 charts it would wise to do a plug-in for the NOAA charts. This would allow for a no cost understanding of the complexity and performance issues associated with this type of plug-in.

I think this might be wise. It would help to know how to design the plug-in interface so the images can be passed to OpenCPN and displayed with good performance.

Then when (if?) a commercial outfit decided to create a commercial plug-in, the plug-in interface would already be optimized and stable.

But maybe instead of doing a plug-in for NOAA charts (which OpenCPN already handles natively) it could be a GRIB or satellite photo overlay plug-in or WCI charts, something that adds new function. More likely to get someone interested in coding that.

-dan
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Old 17-01-2011, 16:25   #14
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I've been doing this my whole life and I've never heard of such a thing in anything like this with open source software.
Then you have lived a very sheltered life.

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Old 17-01-2011, 16:36   #15
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Then you have lived a very sheltered life.
I tend to think "charmed" over "sheltered".

A much more constructive reply would have been an example where an open source project paid a commercial company to produce something that was to be sold by the open source project.
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