First of all, please do not try to convince people to use Valetudo.
We all know how terribly it usually turns out when people try to convince their friends to use linux on their desktop. Using Valetudo only makes sense if you understand its goals and feel like they are important to you. Everything else will fail.
It is perfectly fine to continue using the cloud if you don’t really care about its downsides. Do not flame people for doing that. You can be a bit snarky about downtimes, lag and other cloud shenanigans though :)
Valetudo should enable you to stop caring about your choice of vacuum robot as all supported models should (best case) behave pretty much the same.
This is great because it eliminates vendor lock-in and prevents you from having to re-learn UI/concepts/etc. The cost of this however is, that some vendor-specific quirks like a special feature might not instantly or ever be available in Valetudo as they may not make sense in a generic abstraction.
Removing the cloud has a wide range of benefits.
The obvious upside of this is that all your data stays on your robot. It also means that you won’t need to have a working internet connection just to control your local vacuum robot anymore.
Commands usually execute much faster and more reliable, as they don’t have to detour through some server in a datacenter far away from you, which might be overloaded or even on fire.
Furthermore, the robot will continue working even after the vendor has ended support for that model and shut down the corresponding servers. This is a huge issue with IoT devices. They brick all the time because the vendor
You also don’t have to fear forced firmware updates that paywall or even entirely remove a previously available feature.
Bricked devices caused by faulty forced firmware updates are also an issue that seems to happen from time to time.
One might for example push an update with extremely verbose logs enabled, leading to your flash wearing out and bricking your whole car.
You can’t just not update to prevent those situations. It is also very hard/impossible to prove that a defect was caused by the manufacturer.
Overall, forced firmware updates IMO are a very scary thing, because they clearly demonstrate that you’re not the owner of the device you’ve bought. One might argue that you also buy this “managed update service” with the device, however it is not a service because you cannot opt out.
By using Valetudo, you don’t need to give anyone your phone number or e-mail address just to use the robot you’ve bought. This way, it will never be part of a data breach as it was never stored in the first place. Did you know that there’s a german word for that? Datensparsamkeit — privacy by design
You also don’t have to periodically read some hard to understand 200-page ToS where you’re basically forced to agree to whatever the vendor wants from you as there often is no way to deny it while continuing to use the product.
With Valetudo, you won’t get any ads. You won’t get push notifications notifying you about new product launches. You won’t get nagged by your property to upgrade to a new model or buy this new accessoire for your existing one.
You also won’t get emails from a third party trying to cross-sell you something.
The downside of not using the manufacturer-provided cloud services is that now you’re responsible for installing (security)
updates, allowing for remote connectivity to e.g., control your robot while not at home etc.
All that fancy cloud stuff.
Valetudo is open-source under a permissive license. You’re free to understand, copy, and modify Valetudo as you like. There’s a lot of documentation. The code is pretty well-structured and features comments where required.
You don’t have to look at the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beware of the Leopard” just to understand Valetudo. Nothing is hidden from you to purposely create a situation of asymmetric information.
If for example the Valetudo Companion App were to become delisted from the store-thingy of your operating system, you could always just build it yourself. You have everything to do that.
Even if GitHub goes down it doesn’t matter.
Git is decentralized by default. Use a local backup. Use a backup somewhere else.
On that note, check out the Software Heritage project.
Valetudo however will not force-feed you information.
You will have to be willing to read and understand the information available.
There is no shortcut to this. There is no quick and easy way.
RTFM & RTFC or GTFO
Please note that Valetudo has no customers.
It is provided free of charge with no warranty whatsoever.
Using Valetudo does not grant you the right to decide how to run the project, what its goals are, what its priorities are, etc.
This is different from using your robot as intended by the manufacturer, because in that situation, you’re a paying customer.
If this is important to you, usage of Valetudo might not be a good choice.