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Daid

What's happening in Cura land...

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So. This post is a bit overdue. As there is a lot happening right now. A lot of these things are invisible for you. So. Here is my attempt to explain a few things that are happening inside Ultimaker around Cura right now.

First off. The magical Pink Unicorn.

There has been a lot of talk about this already. It will be the new updated shiny version of Cura with lots of improvements. However. It's currently not really set in stone which features will be present in this first version.

What the Pink Unicorn is right now, is a total re-write of the GUI. First, I started to work on this, with a new GUI toolkit. This failed to work properly and was too much effort for me to do on my own.

So I switched back to wxWidgets (toolkit which is used to build the current Cura GUI) and I made a new PinkUnicorn, the version of which a select few have seen a preview. This version has a lot of improvements below the GUI, where the general structure of the code is better organized, but it's still a bit of a mess.

However, with this code, I also restructured the CuraEngine. This newer updated engine supports settings per object, and per part of the object. This will be vital later on to build on, as it will provide features for multiple extruders, as well as features to improve support material. (And dual-extrusion with support material)

However, progress on this was still not as fast as I would want it. Everything is a lot of work for a single person who still has other duties within Ultimaker.

Bring in the Arjen

So. About a month ago. A new guy started at Ultimaker. Called Arjen. Arjen actually worked on the https://krita.org/ project on his previous job. Has a bigger beard then I have (That's a plus right?). And is quite deep into OpenSource.

This means he will be handling most of the GUI development at this point, which will give me room to work on the engine and firmware.

Now. There has been little to no activity in the PinkUnicorn Cura repositories. This is because we went full circle, and actually changed toolkits. Instead of wxWidgets (which is extremely buggy on MacOS) we're switching to Qt. As Arjen has great knowledge of this part. He also has a lot more knowledge on how to build a proper architecture for a GUI application.

So he has been hacking a lot of code, in a different repository. So that's why there is no progress seen. He has been building a plugin-architecture based GUI. Which will be easier to maintain, but this also means that in the future, Cura can be extended with plugins way beyond what the current plugins can do. For example, all tools are plugins already. Rotation/scale tools? Those are plugins. Want a measurement tool?, could be a plugin. Just about anything implemented in Cura will actually be a plugin, and most plugins are just delivered by default.

We're actually calling this one "plug-able Unicorn" internally :wink:

The sad part about this however. Is that it means that it's nowhere near ready. There is still lots to be done. (For example, currently, it does not even slice, or has proper settings) And it won't be ready for a while. I hope to have a beta test ready around January. But that will be a version which is the same as the current Cura feature wise. Don't expect the new shiny things that people hope that will be in there will be actually in there.

Except for lots of code improvements, which will also mean that the "background slicing" issues will most likely be solved, which are currently causing some people to hate me again :smile: (Hopefully solving the never ending "I want a slice button" discussion)

I'll do more tech details later.

Current Cura

I will continue to maintain the current Cura releases till the PinkUnicorn is ready. And there is actually a release just about ready. 14.12 is around the corner, in the last phase of testing.

It's the same as the RC10 from http://software.ultimaker.com/Cura_closed_beta/

With a fix for the double-click-on-files on windows. (silly bug that crawled into RC10)

January will most likely also see an update, with some more fixes. As I've been looking at some of the code which is causing the "small delay when starting a new slicing action", and I think I can fix this. However, I did not want to delay 14.12 (which was originally planned as 14.10) even more.

Yes, the wining about the manual slicing actually has effect. But it would be nicer of people actually explained problems instead of throwing solutions in my face. As it seems this problem is only visible if you go beyond 1 million polygons, bit of information that was hard to find in all the bitching' from both sides.

Ownership of Cura

This is something I also want to highlight. Cura is currently owned by Me and Ultimaker combined. Which is not a huge issue for the users, but is causing some friction on some areas inside Ultimaker. We're working on solving this, where full ownership will end up with Ultimaker. So Ultimaker has full "control" on what ends up in the mainline Cura.

In practice this means little, as I'm still the one who's doing the main releases. But it's something that we never wrote down when I started to work at Ultimaker. So it was never clear if my work was a contribution to Cura or if Ultimaker owned Cura.

This does not mean that it can be made closed source (due to contributions). But that is no problem, as Ultimaker is dedicated to keeping it open. It's just an administrative thing.

So why am I telling everyone? Just to prevent outcries and confusion later on. As I will be moving the main repository to Ultimaker on github once everything between me and Ultimaker has been settled.

TIP for everyone: If you ever get into the situation where I was 2 years ago. Where suddenly a company wants to hire you to continue to work on your hobby project. Then make arrangements then, not later! Doing this afterwards can be a lot of trouble. And even tough I have no trouble with Ultimaker, and Ultimaker has no trouble with me. I have excellent relationship with the CEO. But it's still a bit of a headache story now. Due to the long time between the hire and the arrangements. Yes, we are learning from stupid mistakes. And this is one of them.

So.....

There will most likely be about 2 pages of replies tomorrow...

 

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Aand plugins also allow the framework to be used for applications that can do something else (CNC machine control anyone?). We are going to use the pluggable unicorn for other stuff aswel (eg; Cura will be one of the apps using it, not the only one.)

 

Most of the important stuff on pluggable unicorn is below the hood. Which isn't sexy, not one bit. But it does help reduce overhead.

 

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I have a question.. Is Pink Unicorn the name for the "project" or when its released, will it actually be called "PU"? Or will it be "CURA 2" or something like that? Just curious to see what we will be using and talking about in a year from now (a year? is that too optimistic?)

 

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The regular feedback and openness reinforces my decision to have purchased an Ultimaker 2 (aside from the insane speeds I manage to squeeze out of it and still get quality prints).

Well done to you, and to Ultimaker, for not taking the old-economy route of trying to cover up everything.

 

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Well done to you, and to Ultimaker, for not taking the old-economy route of trying to cover up everything.

 

Wait till you discover that Ultimaker a secret cover-up for world domination...

The name will most likely be "Cura - Something". As Nallath says. PinkUnicorn is a work name. We've started to use "bad" names. So marketing won't copy our names. For example, the UMO+ was named the "Kelpi" internally.

 

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Wait till you discover that Ultimaker a secret cover-up for world domination...

In which case, why not call the new version "Cura Xterminator 2014 Skynet Edition"? Sort of a hint to the clued-up types who have already figured out the plans from the name "Ultimaker".

 

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The sad part about this however. Is that it means that it's nowhere near ready. There is still lots to be done. (For example, currently, it does not even slice, or has proper settings) And it won't be ready for a while. I hope to have a beta test ready around January. But that will be a version which is the same as the current Cura feature wise. Don't expect the new shiny things that people hope that will be in there will be actually in there.

Except for lots of code improvements, which will also mean that the "background slicing" issues will most likely be solved, which are currently causing some people to hate me again :smile: (Hopefully solving the never ending "I want a slice button" discussion)

I'll do more tech details later.

 

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We hope to have a beta / alpha (probably alpha...) version of Cura using pluggable unicorn in january. Will probably be late january...

 

At the thought of Cura and Open Source...

Maybe i missed that topic..., but:

What about the possibility to involve the "development power" of the community?

Would some assistance push the project - or would it just be a huge effort to coordinate the additiional "ressources"?

What's your ultimake ultimate opinion? ^_^

 

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Would some assistance push the project - or would it just be a huge effort to coordinate the additiional "ressources"?

 

At this point in the project it would be a huge effort to coordinate the unreliable resources of the community. While I love it that people assist in stuff, it's not really possible to depend on participation, as you do it as a hobby, while we do it as a job. So we cannot set deadlines for you, but we have deadlines ourselves, which causes odd problems in this phase of development.

Once the code has more settled and less refactoring is happening, and the main structures are ready. That's when we can get the real power of the community development going. As you can contribute with small fixes and additions.

 

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This is pretty much why we did the refactoring. We now actually have *drumrolls* documentation! But it would cost us more time to have community people involved, because we're still doing much of the groundwork and you need to communicate quickly (and preferably face to face)

 

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...

we cannot set deadlines for you, but we have deadlines ourselves, which causes odd problems in this phase of development.

...

 

 

...

we're still doing much of the groundwork and you need to communicate quickly (and preferably face to face)

...

 

Oooookkkkey, i got the point... ...and i willingly agree.

Thanks for your elaborated statements. Just to clarify - i think the project is well served in your hands... ;)

Everything at the proper time, we stand by....

And now: Shoo! Back to work - you have deadlines... :)

 

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I'm guessing that the plug-able pink unicorn will make it more easy to have some community developpers work on plugins or am i wrong?

 

Yes. And we can also setup a community plugin repository. So not everything has to be in the mainline, but if you want more advanced tools in Cura you can just install those.

 

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