“Why the Arduino Won and Why It’s Here to Stay” – new feature on MAKE

Why Arduino Won

“Why the Arduino Won and Why It’s Here to Stay” – new feature on MAKE! Phil writes –

Each month, I’ll be posting a couple of new editorial-style columns here on Make: Online. These pieces are meant to get you thinking, to stir up discussion and debate, maybe even freak you out a little. My first column is called “Why the Arduino Won and Why It’s Here to Stay.”

In about a week, a rep from a large chip company is going to stop by and show me another “Arduino-like platform,” aka The Arduino Killer. This a pretty regular occurrence around here; every month or so there’s a company or person who wants to make the “next Arduino.” They usually contact me because I’ve covered the Arduino for years, helped get it in the maker world, and I use it daily in my work at Adafruit. I think it’s had an amazing impact on electronic hobbyists and artists, perhaps as much as the personal computer in the early days (Homebrew Computer Club, etc). There are more than 100,000+ Arduinos on the market, and by my estimates, a lot more when you add in the derivatives (approximately 150K as of 2/2011). Within the next 5 to 10 years, the Arduino will be used in every school to teach electronics and physical computing — that’s my prediction. There’s no going back.

Read more!

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  1. Wow, this is sure to stir up the Arduino haters on Hack-a-Day!

    (I love it, though, and love Arduinos).

  2. can’t say i’ve ever really understood the Arduino naysayers on HaD (Hate-ar-Duino).

    perhaps those folks should create their own easy-to-use AVR dev board. they could call it “rageduino” — you program it by projecting the negative feelings you have about yourself onto an inanimate object. that’s pretty much what they do anyway.

  3. just to clarify: i have nothing against Hack-a-Day itself, or the editors, who i think are great. but the nasty comment people are in a class by themselves.

  4. I’m not Arduino hater myself, and think it’s a great tool for learning about microcontrollers or prototyping. Still, there’s nothing quite as exciting as receiving a fresh batch of boards in the mail that you designed yourself for a specific function.

  5. Maybe they suspicious of monopolistic concentration of information technology.

  6. They know Arduino is Open and I doubt they would worry too much about it becoming a monopoly. My guess is that, these people secretly wish they were the only ones with elite skills to do interesting physical computing stuff. If some layperson with very little electronics background can do awesome stuff with Arduino, then it totally undermines their geek status 😀

    I think the only way to rope in these people is to enable them do much complicated things with Arduino and make sure they don’t see it as dumbing down things.

  7. i don’t run mac/windows/linux. i’m a cranky old bsd guy. the arduino gave me a 30usd platform with an open source toolchain and good docs. if your uC platform comes with some binary only compiler that restricts what i can do with it, i couldn’t use it even if i wanted to. and i don’t. ti. also i don’t need special hardware/software to program an arduino, i can use another open source program that compiles and runs just great on my machine.

    it seems before the arduino, many microcontroller dev boards were ~200-300usd. they came with binary only compilers that often cost just as much and restricted what i do. then i needed special hardware/software to program the thing, and this frequently also cost lots of money. often all of the software only seemed to want to run on windows. except the programmer software, which for some reason was always on ancient dos boxes everywhere i’ve worked. such that we had to walk over to the unnetworked dos 5 boxes connected to parallel programmers with a ->floppy disk<- and burn our .hex file to some poor little chip.

    in my mind it's not even a question of how arduino won. and of course as soon as i started playing with an arduino, i started building things with other avr's. so go go gadget atmel, and their work/cooperation with avr-gcc.

    tldr: open source toolchain ftw.

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