R-Pi beta support


#1

In response to a trouble ticket I received the following on Aug 10 from tech support:

"As it turns out, the decision has been made to not develop the Pi agent further – it’s felt that our existing products and the upcoming mesh products are more in line with what we want to do, and we just don’t have the development bandwidth to spend time on what has turned out to not have that many adopters.

Soon, the Pi will removed from the device drop-down list in our documentation (although that content will still be accessible)."

and then on Aug 13 I received this as clarification:

“I don’t think there are any plans to consciously remove Pi back-end support from our ecosystem, but that’s not to say that something won’t break in the future as the firmware for our mainstream devices and the cloud stuff develops.”

Why was this not announced to the community and I had to find out through a tech support request?


#2

Hey there @GeorgeT.

Thanks for posting this question to clarify our current status of support for the Raspberry Pi agent beta, which members of the Particle community can find in our open source repository, here.

From your ticket, it sounds like you were having issues with inconsistent OTA flashes as well as calling registered functions via our Cloud APIs on the Raspberry Pi. It sounds like you’re evaluating whether or not to use Particle as the back-end to support a Raspberry Pi-based product solution that would be deployed around the world. I’m glad that you have been finding our beta release of the Particle Agent for Raspberry Pi useful in development, and are considering whether or not to roll it out in scale!

Given your inquiry with our support team, I want to make sure I clarify the status of the Particle Agent project to ensure that you make the best decision for your product:

  • Particle Agent is not being actively developed.
    Looking at the commit history for the project, it doesn’t look like we have committed code to this project since May of 2017. That includes commits from our internal engineering team as well as the open source community (there has only been one pull request submitted back in May 2017). That’s a little more than a year of inactivity for this project. Indeed, with a small embedded engineering team and some major projects like Particle Mesh commanding the focus of our technical resources, it has been challenging for us to allocate time to move this beta product forward. The word we would use for a project that is not in active development is discontinued.

  • Particle Agent is still being supported.
    I apologize for the contradictory or confusing response from our technical support team. Until we announce otherwise to the community, we are still happy to receive and reply to support tickets for the Particle Agent firmware and to help troubleshoot issues to the best of our ability. Given the symptoms you’ve described in your ticket, the problem could be with the Particle Agent firmware (our system code), the application code that you wrote for the device, or in our Device Cloud. I’ll make sure we follow-up with your original request with better troubleshooting information to see if we can’t locate the source of the issue.

    That being said, I also want to clarify that it is unlikely that we will be able to allocate the resources to develop future releases of the Particle Agent. What does this mean? While we’re happy to receive and reply to support requests, we cannot guarantee any bugs we discover will be remedied. We welcome pull requests from the community, and would be happy to engage with open source contributors who would like to see this project advance and improve. This position is consistent with how we have supported the project since our last commit in May of last year.

  • We have no intention to turn off Cloud services for Particle Agent.
    As our support team communicated, we currently have no plans to turn off Cloud services for the Particle Agent or Raspberry Pi devices. That means that, while we can’t guarantee we will actively develop features and improvements for the project, we will not unexpectedly discontinue Cloud services to the Particle Agent.

I hope that information helps to clarify our thinking about the Particle Agent project, and I will make sure to loop back with our support team to ensure that we engage with the issues you described. Again, I’m glad that you have found the Particle Agent beta useful, and hope this information helps you make the best technology decision for your product moving forward.

Improvements to our Docs
Given your feedback, we’ve also taken some steps to improve our positioning of the Particle Agent in our docs:

  • Removed Raspberry Pi from the product selector dropdown to reflect that it is not being actively developed (all getting started documentation is still accessible at http://particle.io/pi)
  • Recategorized the FAQs for the Raspberry Pi under a subheader called Discontinued products, indicating that future software releases are unlikely
  • Added the following note to the top of the Getting Started and FAQ documentation:

The Particle Raspberry Pi project has been discontinued. You can still follow these instructions to configure, connect, and flash your Pi, but future new releases of the Particle Agent software are unlikely.

Thank you for your feedback, which will help us communicate with our customers more effectively moving forward.

Best,
Will @ Particle


Tone for R-Pi supported?
#3

I think this needs to be made sticky at the top of the Raspberry Pi category. For many developers cancellation of this project is a very strong reason to pursue other IoT infrastructures that have committed support for RaspberryPi (or other Linux platforms). I had suspicions that something strange was going on back in August when I first started using this platform and information I had been using started to disappear from the web site. Had I know this was going to happen I would have sought a different infrastructure platform for my project.

I think it is disingenuous to imply that Agent support is meaningful when " it is unlikely that we will be able to allocate the resources to develop future releases of the Particle Agent… we cannot guarantee any bugs we discover will be remedied."


#4

OK, now I’m intrigued. I followed the link in the post from @will which led me to https://docs.particle.io/reference/device-os/firmware/raspberry-pi/
There it says “follow all of the instructions in our Getting Started guide for the Raspberry Pi, which is available here.” But when I click “here” it just takes me back to the same page.

Is it still possible to find the software and setup instructions for the Raspberry Pi?

This is not a critical issue, but I thought it might interesting to have a second node in my network while I wait for my real hardware to get shipped.


#5

The getting started guide seems to be missing even from GitHub.

This might help:
https://docs.particle.io/reference/discontinued/particle-agent/

https://docs.particle.io/reference/device-os/firmware/raspberry-pi/


#6

Is the Log class supported on the Raspberry Pii? According to the docs page linked by @nrobinson2000, it is supported “Since 0.6.0” and my Raspberry Pi claims to be running “0.6.0-rc.1”


#7