Cleanflight, what is up with you?

Those are my personal thought on the topic. If you do not aggree, it is fine, I will not argue or discuss. You have a right you your oppinion, I have a right to mine…

When I entered multirotor hobby about 2 years ago, Cleanflight was The Flight Controller software to get. OpenPilot was about to die, just like BaseFlight. Or maybe even BaseFlight was already dead… never mind.

Bottom line was that Cleanflight was it: fast realease cycle, great support, great community. Everything was just better there.

Then, somewhere in second half of 2015 it started to change. You do not remember what happened in the second part of 2015? It is more less the time when both Betaflight and INAV (both are forks of Cleanflight just like Cleanflight was the fork of BaseFlight) started to appear. I remember narration behind both of those projects: we will rewrite some code, make it fly better with racers (Betaflight) and handle GPS better (INAV) and when this is done, it will be merged back to Cleanflight.

Did either of those merges happened? Nope! Few things from BF were implemented in CF but that’s all. Both projects started to live with its own lives. I have no idea how it looked behind the curtains, do not know any details, but I’m aware there were some talks between CF and INAV about merge. Why they failed? I do not know, but they did failed.

So, right now, in the beginning of 2017 we have the following situation in MultiWii derivatives world:

  • Baseflight is officially dead for years
  • Betaflight is the software of choice for majority of mini-quad pilots. It offers the best mini quad flight performance, period
  • INAV offers the best GPS support and fixed wing support from all the family and is only slightly behind Betaflight (relatively) in terms of mini quad flight performance
  • Cleanflight is… who knows where Cleanflight exactly is?

Something wrong happened to Cleanflight. There were only 3 releases in the whole 2016: 1.12, 1.13 and 1.14. One might say, that they decided for less frequent, but bigger releases. Or that there is nothing to release, since CF has it all. Both of those assumptions are wrong.

CF still did not improved fixed wing or GPS support. It is still as far behind Betaflight in terms of mini quads as it always was. Not only that, it lacks support for STM32F4 flight controllers while both BF and INAV are STM32F7 ready.

Maybe I’m wrong here, but right now, while being still alive, Cleanflight is pretty much useless. You want racing? You choose Betaflight. You want GPS? You choose INAV. Almost nobody flies 450 class without GPS right now…

I’m waiting for your big move, Cleanflight! Do not dissapoint me please…


Yes, I’ve intentionally ignored Raceflight and will be ignoring it further for my own set of reasons

5 thoughts to “Cleanflight, what is up with you?”

  1. That’s what just happens to open source projects… No one can expect people to be fully focused on non profit project for years. I hope it is not the fate of inav… I really appreciate all the work and engagement to inav development.

  2. yeah, cleanflight seems pretty much dead. I don’t know anyone who is still using cleanflight! We all moved to BF and some of us with bigger quads and wings also to INAV.

  3. I’m not sure if we should expect any big move from cleanflight. Theoretically, the most reasonable move would be a clean unification of betaflight and inav into a cleanflight that consolidates all functionalities AND all code cleanups. However, it is harder to simultaneously and equally satisfy the needs of users running race-quads, freestyle-quads, gps-quads and fixed wings in one firmware without running into conflicting funcionalities during further development.
    In my opinion any support for GPS, compass and respective flight controller boards is unnecessary in betaflight if inav and betaflight retain a continuous development. The overlap of inav and betaflight could be reduced to an essential minimum resulting in a leaner inav AND a leaner betaflight without unnecessary overhead.
    To me, his would be a more logical step instead of merging everything into an all-in-one cleanflight.

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