The TIAO sprinkler controller was recently brought to my attention. It is basically a clone of OpenSprinkler, but be aware that their product has no enclosure. While it’s true that it’s cheaper than OpenSprinkler, let’s be fair: they don’t pay for R&D, and they provide no support to customers either (see below for details). Most importantly, I would like to point out that the creator of TIAO did something dishonest and unethical: they did not mention anywhere on their product page that the hardware design is based on OpenSprinkler; and they have not fully open-sourced their product — if you check their documentation, it only has a diagram of the circuit board, with no schematic or part list. Everything on their webpage seems to suggest that this is their original work, and it’s only until you start using the software that you realize it’s based on OpenSprinkler. This is against the open-source license. I have contacted the seller about this and have so far received no response.
I fully embrace the open-source ideology and am happy to see OpenSprinkler being cloned, and I believe the seller should have the basic honesty of acknowledging us and giving us courtesy of inventing the hardware and writing the software.
I also want to point out that by buying their product you run the risk of having no support. In fact, the very reason I came to notice TIAO is that a customer who bought their product submitted support ticket to us. After a bunch of back-and-forth emails, I came to realize that he is using a clone that’s neither manufactured nor sold by us. This is very confusing and we certainly don’t have the resources of providing support to products that are not made by us.
In addition, please keep in mind these devices make use of our cloud services which we pay for. We have been monitoring the device types and may exercise our right to block these 3rd party devices, if financially necessary.
OpenSprinkler being an open-source product, I am happy to see it replicated and improved. However, any 3rd party manufacturer of OpenSprinkler should at least acknowledge us for our work, and should provide their own cloud services and customer support. This is really basic ethics.