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Arduino Dispute reaches out to Distributors (hackaday.com)
49 points by szczys on Mar 28, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 18 comments

Actions like these will kill the whole arduino brand. It's akin to parents that divorce claiming a physical half of their kids each, it simply will not work.

The rest of the world needs to see a unified front and to air your dirty laundry like this in an attempt to pre-empt the lawsuit is only going to turn off the recipients of this letter from the arduino brand and will cause them to look for alternatives elsewhere (of which there are quite a few by now).

What a pity, the arduino brand had a ton of goodwill attached.

I think the arduino brand will die out and I am kinda happy. Those chips are way underpowered for their price and with the rest of the embedded space really moving towards tiny arm cores and general purpose computers I think the market for the AVR's is going to dry up. Even now I can use a raspberry pi for most of the hacks I was using arduino for.

I think it's two different tools. "Underpowered" chips have their use and their place. Why deal with embedded Linux when I only need to twiddle some IO on a simple protocol?

For me the issue isn't the brand dying out, its decentralized uniformity. If the main organization spins into oblivion (when talented people give up because of this turmoil) who will make sure the unified IDE keeps with the times?

There are ARM microcontrollers (Cortex-M{1-4}) - these don't run embedded linux. See, for example, the Teensy 3.x boards.

I've got hopes that Bunnie's Fernvale project will yield some success as alternative to Arduino


It's a shame that Arduino SRL is behaving like this. The smart move would've been to make up with the original founders instead of trying to shove them aside.

"Open Source is the environment we want for millions"

In my view, their actions don't seem to embody the spirit of the open source movement.

I've gotten into the arduino environment recently and really enjoy it, even though I come from an embedded background. I hope this doesn't stop the arduino environment and ecosystem.

So I have a small project I wanted to get into using Arduino, for which bigger full PC solutions like RPi aren't suitable (small embedded controller for home automation). The Arduino 'ecosystem' was confusing before this, now with this infighting it has become a total clusterfuck.

So, what alternatives are there? I need a simple, very cheap and very lower power chip that I can program easily using a regular PC and that can interface with a few optocouplers. Would it make sense to go directly for an ATmega? Or would I need additional circuitry to make that work? If I can program in C that would be OK, I don't need the software to be 'easy to use' - the hardware I'm unfamiliar with though so that needs to be plug and play.

You can just buy the microcontroller and do it yourself from there. Here is a nice example someone did of a simple LED flasher [1] with just 6 parts:

1. An ATmega ATTiny85 microcontroller

2. A socket for that processor

3. A coin cell battery

4. A holder for the battery

5. A resistor

6. An LED

and some wire and solder.

What going with an actual Arduino or Arduino compatible gets you, from a hardware point of view, is a bunch of ready made attachments. For instance, suppose you have some sensor that needs an odd voltage and has weird timing requirements. It will be a lot more convenient to get a shield that has that sensor, and a voltage converter, and something that deals with the weird timing and presents a simple I2C interface to your code than to have to do all that yourself.

There are some EdX courses that you might find useful.

From UTAustinX, "Embedded Systems--Shape the World" [2]. This is a lab-based course where you do 13 or so labs using a TI Tiva Series C Launchpad. That's an 80 MHz ARM Cortex M4 board. Cost for the hardware for the course is $35-$55, depending on if you want to do a couple of the optional labs.

From UCBerkeleyX, "Electronic Interfaces: Bridging the Physical and Digital Worlds" [3]. Another lab course

From MITx, "Circuits and Electronics" [4]. The online version of MITs 6.002 introductory electronics course.

[1] http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=200590.0

[2] https://www.edx.org/course/embedded-systems-shape-world-utau...

[3] https://www.edx.org/course/electronic-interfaces-bridging-ph...

[4] https://www.edx.org/course/circuits-electronics-mitx-6-002x-...

Have you seen mbed? http://developer.mbed.org/platforms/ Not used it for a couple of years myself, but it seems to have expanded in scope a lot recently.

Was very quick to get started hacking (can program over usb from the free cloud-based IDE), and some of the boards are under $15.

Another vote for mbed, their Cookbook can get the tedious stuff out of the way for most projects: https://developer.mbed.org/cookbook/Homepage

We're using NuttX, a POSIX-like RTOS (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NuttX) as the base for Thingsee One (http://www.thingsee.com).

Wikipedia has a list of supported MCU-families.

An arduino or arduino clone still seems like the best bet to me, in my amateur opinion. Nowadays you can get an UNO clone for $4, and that gets you pin compatibility with Arduino shields, plus loads of guides and help interfacing with other components. I still have a Freaduino Micro (besides my original Duemilanove) and it works fine.

And the Arduino can be programmed in C; in fact, the "Arduino language" is just C (or C++ nowadays?) with some preprocessing and a bunch of helper libraries.

These are my personal favourites: https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/

I've also extensively used PIC24's and they're great (fast, cheap, feature-rich 16bit microcontrollers) but I don't know of any existing boards using them (I made my own) and there isn't nearly as much documentation/sample code/libraries as there is for Arduino and clones.

I will admit that I find the whole issue bewildering, but my gut reaction is that I will in the long run care more about keeping the software flowing than the hardware.

The problem is that these things take time (in Italy even more so), and until they're resolved, any reasonable reseller or manufacturer will stay away from Arduino, basically destroying the ecosystem. In that sense, it doesn't really matter which side "keeps flowing" because nobody will care by then.

Atmel ought to come out with an Arduino form factor board. They make the CPU, and they make lots of eval and demo boards. Just cut out the middleman.

At least for me, Arduino is not even about the hardware itself. It's about a nice, simple and standard platform. You can get many different Arduino compatible boards from different manufacturers, usable for different purposes. You can easily make your own. Having an IDE and a simple library that works on all those boards, without needing any complicated setup, is what makes Arduino what it is.

Today's business lesson:

   But everyone was friends, right?

That's why you need lawyers and contracts and agreements about who owns what intellectual property. That's why you try to remove any and all ambiguity you can think of. Don't worry, that won't get remove all the "fun". There will be plenty of new ambiguities to squabble over that you haven't thought of yet.

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