@ Dangerous Prototypes Ian has a fantastic article “Editorial: Our friend Microchip and open source”…
It’s great that Microchip invested in the Arduino open source IDE. Unfortunately the contributions seem to stop with support for their product. Parts of chipKIT toolchain are still closed-source, and Microchip isn’t contributing open source drivers for the highly-advertised USB and Ethernet features of the chipKIT Mega.
We buttressed this editorial by saying we’re huge fans of Microchip stuff. It’s their time-honored right to deal in closed source software – most companies do! With the chipKIT, however, Microchip wants to tap the Arduino buzz. They want promote products using the work of an open source community, but they’re not participating in the spirit of that community. It’s not illegal, it’s being a bad neighbor.
We urge Microchip to give something significant back to the community they’re tapping. Open source drivers for the chipKIT shield would be a great first step.
We had a couple customers ask if we planned to stock the chipKIT, we’d love to, so we’ve said “not yet” – we’d like to see Microchip & Digilent address these issues Ian outlined, they’re off to a great start (and that should be commended!) – we’d love to see the product evolve to fully open-source hardware! We are here waiting with open arms 🙂