wiringPi – deprecated…

This has turned into a bit of a rant. Sorry.

The past 10 years or so has seen a lot of changes in my life dominated by physical and mental health issues, businesses coming and going, but also a little fun with retro-computing, arduino, and the Raspberry Pi, and the wiringPi GPIO library I’ve written for it.

However in recent years the Raspberry Pi has changed from a little hacker toy into something bigger and more and more people are turning to Python and other languages which wiringPi was never designed to support – wiringPi was designed to be used by experienced C and RTB BASIC programmers. It is not a newbie learning tool.

I never intended for wiringPi to be statically linked either – and thanks to the incompetence of many people who have done just this,  I’ve had over 10,000 emails from people who upgraded their Pi and found that code stopped working because they were reliant on a system (typically some java/javascript/node or home automation or UPS thing) which had statically linked an older version. This sheer incompetence on their part has saddened and depressed me hugely. Hint for the future: If you’re going to do this, at least be prepared to support it.

Add to that the people who have “bludgeoned” wiringPi to work on other fruit Pi platforms, but left my name as the contact email … well, thanks for using wiringPi, but no thanks for expecting me to support your one-shot cheap barely working board. If you want support then buy a genuine Raspberry Pi which will help fund education and research and not some cheap knock-off just because it has something that appears to be faster/bigger/better.

And those who’ve stolen my software and sold it as your own? Hm. Sure – it’s hard to steal free software, but say you’re a German Pi UPS maker and you pull apart wiringPi to get just the bits you need, statically link that into your own control code, but rather than publish the code and a little “thanks” note you leave my email address it in, then the poor user who has paid you their good money to buy your kit gets in-touch with me when they upgrade their Pi…

Sadly, that’s the tip of the rapidly melting iceberg, but by no means the only case. The sad thing is that people steal GPL, LGPL and other Free/Libre software all the time. I’ve even had someone tell me to my face that they would take and re-publish my code under their name because there is nothing I can do about it. So no more.

And then there’s the lazy. I’ve lost track of the number of people asking me if wiringPi can support this, that, the other… so I say yes, all you have to do is write the code to support your device… Then they get upset because they don’t know how to (did I mention it’s not a newbie learning tool?) Or I quote them a fee and they get even more upset because – free software and all that…. And my twitter feed? For years I put in my profile: wiringPi support by email… Yet people still tweet about it. Don’t people even read others profiles? I guess not. I removed that recently because it wasn’t worth the space.

The confusion about pin numbering too. I’ve had many emails and tweets about it – why? Because people are too lazy to read the fine manuals or take the time to understand how and why. This is the last word on pin numbering.

The final straw? An individual by the name of DanielK who bleated at me for not releasing the sources for the Pi v4 version in a timely manner. I’d put up a .deb file designed for the correct dynamic linking, but Daniel pointed out

Not to be a complete ass or anything, but technically the LGPL license REQUIRES you to make the sources available when it’s released.

Great. Thanks, Dan. As I had limited capacity available at the time, I just felt that that was that. If I’m going to get emails like that for a little project then it’s not worth it anymore.

I will make a final release of wiringPi available soon – with the sources, but that’s that. No more public releases. I’ll still be maintaining it for my own uses and clients, but for everyone else, please look at for alternative GPIO library for on-going projects.

-Gordon, August, 2019.

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