BlueOS official release

For the last several months, during BlueOS B.E.T.A, we’ve been working hard to make a smooth, functional, slick, and shiny software, and :sparkles:BlueOS 1.0 release :sparkles: is the result!

In this post:

  1. A bit of context…
  2. BlueOS principles and goals
  3. Feature Comparison
  4. Release Types
  5. Upgrading Requirements
  6. Future of Companion
  7. Quick Links

A bit of context…

The original Companion project (started back in 2015) was originally created with the simple intent to route the vehicle’s video stream and communications to the surface computer, and provide some basic configuration of those features and the vehicle firmware. The simple scope was great to get things started, but also meant that new and complex features weren’t designed in from the start, so maintenance and developing functionality have been increasingly challenging.

With lessons learned on useful features and software architecture requirements, BlueOS was designed and created from the ground up to fit the requirements of the onboard computer system we want to have - with room to grow into a true operating system for the vehicle. BlueOS is modular to the heart, which makes it portable, robust to update, and extensible.

There are many upcoming features, including support for third party packages, applications, advanced data logging, and much more! We’re super excited about our future with BlueOS, and we can’t wait for you to join us and try it out! :smiley:

BlueOS principles and goals

As a team we’ve tried to envision the future of the onboard computer, and the features that will require. Our initial ideas have been distilled into the following core concepts, many of which are already built in to the BlueOS of today:

  • An interface that is simple by default but powerful when needed - the user has the power to change anything they desire and customize the full experience
  • Designed to focus on what matters, improving user access to information and controls with a human-friendly UI and UX
  • Make complex tasks simpler and improve ease of use by reusing design patterns from other applications (based on the material UI guidelines)
  • Advanced error handling and detection, making any problems clear to the user and developers, along with how to fix them
  • Simplify development, providing full access to our services API and modular development model
  • Encourage contributions, the project is open source!
  • Portable and flexible, you should be able to run on a Raspberry Pi 3/4 or any SBC with Linux operating system, contributions are welcomed
  • Highly functional with low CPU usage, the entire system is built to run efficiently
  • Developed on solid foundations, critical parts or intensive workforce services are designed using the most advanced languages and features available for stability

Some of these principles will only be evident in future releases, but the underlying software architecture and organization have been designed from the ground up to support and enable them.

Feature Comparison

BlueOS has most of the features from the old Companion, and some hotly-requested new ones too!

Feature Companion BlueOS Both
Hardware Raspberry Pi 3B required Raspberry Pi 3B / 3B+ / 4B supported

Other Linux-based SBC images to come

You can install from scratch using the installation script in any Linux computer (modifications may be necessary for your hardware configuration)
WIFI manager Connect to a single network Connect to and manage multiple networks, like a cellphone or computer WIFI manager Visible and hidden networks supported
Ethernet manager Single DHCP or static network Multiple static IPs and DHCP configuration DHCP client or server
Camera manager Select a single camera to stream over UDP
Supports Raspberry Pi cameras (except HQ Camera)
Supports a single audio stream over UDP
Easily manage multiple streams

UDP, RTSP and support coming soon for WebRTC (#1000)

Raspberry Pi cameras
not yet supported (#991)

Audio streaming
not yet supported (#990)
H264-encoded streams only
NMEA support - - Conveys GPS positions to the vehicle
Ping Sonar Devices Ping Sonar distance estimates can be sent via MAVLink Devices can be hot-plugged

MAVLink pipeline
not yet supported (#264)
Ping Sonar and Ping360 can connect with Ping Viewer
ArduPilot Firmware ArduSub-only downloads General ArduPilot downloads;
select vehicle to update
stable, beta, and devel releases, custom uploads, and restore default parameters
Endpoints - - Create and manage bridges between serial and UDP endpoints
File Browser - Edit files from the browser Download and upload files
Log manager Ssh/terminal only Download and manage logs from the browser
Log Viewer - Visualise and analyse logs from the browser
Web Terminal Access Linux terminal from the browser Access Linux terminal with a tmux session from the browser Web terminal client
Version Chooser Update to latest stable only Easily update/downgrade between versions, including locally stored;
Includes stable, beta, and master releases*;
Available even if main site failing
System information Basic usage statistics, list of connected devices Provides all the necessary information about the hardware, operating system, running processes, CPU, memory, disk, network usage and status
Notification system - Notifications about issues, new releases, and the status of your system.
Network test - Check real time latency Check upload and download speed from the surface computer to the vehicle
MAVLink inspector See latest MAVLink messages via MAVLink2REST see and inspect MAVLink messages in real time from the browser MAVLink2REST is available
Water Linked Supports UGPS and DVL-A50 DVL-A50 package available;
UGPS not yet supported

Release Types

BlueOS has a difference release cycle compared to the old Companion. Different releases were created to improve user access to the latest fixes and improvements, and also help developers and enthusiasts to have easy access to the latest version of BlueOS. The three release types are:

  • Stable: Official stable releases, officially tested and validated
  • Beta: Quick-passed rolling releases with new features, bug fixes and general improvements
  • Master: Super extremely extreme quick-passed bleeding edge releases :fire:, for those who want to experience the future

When BlueOS is connected to the internet, a notification appears if a newer version of the same release or a stabler type is available. E.g: When using a Stable version, only new Stable versions will trigger a notification. If using a Beta release, newer Beta and Stable releases will trigger a notification. When running Master, any release type newer than the active one will trigger a new update notification. This helps to ensure that any updates will be as or more stable than your current version, unless you intentionally change to a less stable release type.

Upgrading Requirements

Note that installing BlueOS requires opening the electronics enclosure and flashing the Raspberry Pi SD card. While we understand this can be time-consuming, the stable release means no major reformats are expected / planned for, and effort will be put into avoiding additional SD card flashes for hopefully multiple years.

Future of Companion

The old Companion software will no longer be receiving updates, and can be considered retired. We recommend switching to BlueOS for most users, but the latest Companion version (0.0.31) will still be supported for a little while for users who require features that are not yet available in BlueOS.

We hope that BlueOS can bring a better experience for users, and inspire developers to improve its functionality with applications and extensions. Take your time to check it out, and happy exploring! :wave:

Quick links

  1. Documentation
  2. Source code
  3. Releases, changelogs, files

This sounds really great. Can’t wait to upgrade and see how it goes on our ROV.

1 Like

Documentation of each page/service in BlueOS-1.0 is now available! :smiley:

Docs for BlueOS-1.1 (currently in beta) will be coming soon :slight_smile:

Let us know if there’s anything you’d like more information about in either version.