Version 1.8.2 of MicroPython released
Development of MicroPython has been progressing steadily since the last update, and a lot of improvements have been made, and new features added, to the ESP8266 port. We are really pleased to announce that we have reached the next release, version 1.8.2. You should receive a separate email soon with the firmware and release notes.
In this update we would like to bring up the following matter for discussion: the possibility to switch to publicly available official binary releases for the ESP8266.
Per the terms of the KickStarter campaign, the source code of the project is freely available for everyone and everyone is encouraged to build it, but the official binaries with extra testing and additional modules pre-packaged is a privilege of the campaign backers (you!) who selected the corresponding rewards and thus directly contributed to the campaign success.
Over the last few months, "where can we get the MicroPython ESP8266 binary" became a FAQ from many people who missed the original campaign. The best answers we can gave them is "Please build from source" or "Per the Kickstarter campaign terms it's available to the backers, the backers made their decisions based on that, and we can't change that provision unilaterally without asking them."
We didn't bring up this matter before because we wanted to concentrate on technical aspects of the project, and focus on supporting the genuine backers. The project now is making good strides and we're starting to tackle stretch goals (see below). We also believe that motivating interested people to use the source was helpful, as we're getting a good stream of contributions and many features get implemented faster than the two of us would get to them.
So, we think it's a good time to think of users who want to use MicroPython, but by various reasons can't use the source. The timing is definitely good, as there are various "unofficial" builds popping up, which we don't control (so they may have some issues), but whose users would come for support/bug-reports to us anyway. And, well, the ESP8266 is still going strong, more new and exciting boards and products based on it appear, with competing and replacement chips unable to get through or being delayed. That means that many more people get acquainted with ESP8266 who didn't even hear about it a few months ago. If they're interested in MicroPython, we'd rather embrace them and grow our community.
If we do make the binaries publicly available then it would work like this: once a day the MicroPython source is automatically compiled and then made available to download at https://micropython.org/download . There are currently a handful of ports of MicroPython available there now, and the ESP8266 would be added to this list. That way you, and everyone else, can download the latest, cutting edge code whenever you need it. There will be stable versions as well as the latest development version available to download. The announcements of stable releases will be posted on the forum, http://forum.micropython.org .
That's the matter, and we would like, you, our backers, to decide on it, just the same as you decided on the technical agenda we should follow. So, if you have something to say on this matter please join the public discussion among the backers by posting a comment below.
Thanks again for being part of this successful project!
Paul, Damien and Viktoriya.