This is why we picked Arduino--it's taking over the world!

A fun analysis by Sparkfun on the world domination of Arduino over the past couple years. More people are searching for it than even the once-dominant Microchip (maker of the PIC chips). No wonder that Sparkfun reports that: "Microchip wanted to meet with us because they were interested in creating an 'Arduino' like board using a PIC processor. Microchip finally began to understand what it means to get people early, and using their hardware, and Microchip was sensing (rightfully) that they were losing market share to this thing called Arduino. "

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Comment by bGatti on December 31, 2009 at 9:33am
Arduino leaves lots of room for improvement / competition, but Chris is right - so long as free software exists for only one platform, that is a significant advantage. In the past, the chip makers encouraged a marketplace approach to development software - just as Sparkfun encourages a marketplace approach for Ardupilot, iPhone encourages for apps, They made a gamble that a competitive marketplace would produce the best tools for the lowest price and therefore support their product best. The problem with that model, is that the funding to drive the competition must needs come from the development community exclusively; atmel on the other hand adds the cost to their chips and makes every end user pay for the IDE component - while giving it away to the dev community. The irony is that the market model has failed to compete in the market.
Comment by space_nut on December 31, 2009 at 12:07pm
Personally, I like the "PicAxe" platform for a PIC based microcontroller with a "Basic Stamp"-like programming language. Instead of re-writing the base code to compile Arduino code, perhaps a team could write a utility to port Arduino code into the picaxe language.
Comment by Simon Kerr on December 31, 2009 at 11:41pm
I started with Picaxe, but found that the official forum and community was small and stagnant. Also, RevEd, who own the Picaxe bootloader, have not implemented "advanced" maths functions like sin, cos, etc. To get that capability requires an additional chip

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 1, 2010 at 12:05am
Converting ArduPilot to run another chip is not just a matter of a one-time software port. It would also require designing a new board, which is compatible with all the ArduPilot hardware, or reinventing the entire hardware ecosystem from scratch (including developing production facilities and an ecommerce arm to distribute it). And then the team would have to keep up with all the evolutions of the project, to remain compatible with ground stations and the like. It's basically several man-years of work and tens of thousands of dollars, which would only have the effect of losing all the community benefits of the Arduino project.

In short, it would only be worth it for a 10x improvement in performance.
Comment by Simon Kerr on January 1, 2010 at 2:15am
Ok, to say that Picaxe can't do trig was a bit harsh. it was more the floating point limitations that frustrated me.
Comment by Mark Pepping on January 1, 2010 at 12:24pm
I certainly agree with you there re floating point maths.
I follow PICAXE, and have found them very easy to use.
I don't believe in giving negative impressions on any subject as others who have not familiar with it, may follow your exclusive advise/ideas and avoid them without a personal experience.
At work I made a complete GPS tracker sending info via a satellite modem, all done in BASIC using PICAXE.

The only reason I use PICAXE is for the fact that it uses BASIC, which I can read and follow.
I tried C but got lost in it.
I do see a need to learn C though, and Arduino based projects certainly appear very capable. I just can't read the language(!!) yet!

I do like Space Nut's idea of being able to program in BASIC and using Arduinio hardware though.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on January 1, 2010 at 2:28pm
Ahhh Zilog, now there is a name from my past ;-)

Comment by Krzysztof Bosak on January 1, 2010 at 3:30pm
I see this is evolving as any other classic AVR vs PIC vs ARM thread, at 20% progress. Now when all the actors are in place (see thread reply count) we are waiting for one troll to start Mutual Assured Destruction.
The critical mass is here.

"In short, it would only be worth it for a 10x improvement in performance."
And now you are toast. Somebody will pop with some Moototrolla at 320MIPS with oh so perfectly open Linux. Or Parallax Propeller.
Maybe you could avoid defining decision conditions as dependent on marketing terms (like MIPS) of the companies you are not controlling ;-)


Seriously, as long as you use no more than 50% of resources (ram, flash) you are safe.
A little more than that and complexity and usage grows uncomfortably fast (months).
Comment by space_nut on January 1, 2010 at 3:32pm
I feel like PICAXE has a place for small "quick and dirty" servo or sensor interfacing projects. See

My initial comment came from the desire for Microchip to get in on the Open-Source revolution. I agree with Chris in that the peculiarities of PIC development (as-is) would make it difficult for them to compete in this space.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 1, 2010 at 3:37pm
Krzys, nice one!

My suggestion to everyone who thinks that Brand X microprocessor would be better is always just "go for it!". That's why this is open source. Start the port.

Once they realize what that actually entails, we never hear from them again ;-)


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