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Microchip responds!


Marc from Microchip writes…

We (Microchip) read your blog and comments, and we do agree with you. Though we are a corporation, with a lot of suits (not really, actually I think we have a policy against suits), we know the community has been and is a large part of why Microchip successful today. We put our best code forward, but we know it has usage limitations. Clearly this is an area where we can do better. The points made in the blog are important, so we set up a meeting with our management team yesterday, and both our CEO and COO joined us because they too thought it was important. Really, we weren’t just playing Frisbee golf as you might have thought. We understand why you guys are upset and this is an issue we need to address. Bottom line, we can’t release our existing stacks because we have contractual obligations to many of our customers that prevent us from making them open source.

So how about this: We offer a prize for anyone who writes these stacks for the community. To get started, the two that we want to target are the TCP/IP and USB stacks. Heck, who better to write these than the experts in the community…? The goal is that the entries would be compatible with the chipKit MAX32 (PIC32MX795F512L). Digilent Inc. will help us decide which stack first meets the requirements. For our part, we will pony up the prize and provide technical support for those who want to get involved.

Thanks for all your posts and I’ll follow up with additional details shortly.

This is in response to the Ian’s article at Dangerous Prototypes “Editorial: Our friend Microchip and open source”….

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  1. This is definitely a step in the right direction. Crowd sourcing the development of these stacks should make quick work of getting something working.

  2. Interesting, at least they’ve responded to the query. My new query is, if the prize is just going to be a ChipKIT (Note: I’m only guessing at this stage), why would you develop the stacks for them apart from recognition for doing it if you already own the ChipKit.

    I’d also ask if there is separate prizes for the USB and the TCP/IP stacks? Or are they wanting solutions from both from a single developer.

    Regardless, this is both good and bad news for the ChipKIT being 100% open source, (bad news in terms of needing to wait until someone has a viable stack for open source work).

  3. Well recognition is obviously a pretty useful thing, but it is a pretty big endeavor, hopefully they do something slightly larger then a kit or two. Not to be greedy by any means, a lot of people work on this sort of thing do want the recognition. But they are bigger projects, perhaps team prizes could be worked out. Bonus is that a community on the projects themselves can be created to maintain and continue development.

    I like their response though, and the fact it was quick. I also understand that they have business interests and deals that don’t allow them to just give away everything

  4. It should be easy to just write a driver for IwIP.

  5. Wanted to follow up on the previous post. I’ve posted this to Dangerous Prototypes and Hackaday. I’ve been spending the day going back and forth over some of the logistics of the competition (want to keep it fair and all) but have some preliminary news for you. Prizes look like they’ll be around $1000 for each stack developed/ported and that’s in your pocket. We’ll gross up the amount to cover the taxes. I spoke with our Development Tools team and they have 10 chipKIT MAX32 boards and Network Shields that they’ll donate to the first 10 people to sign up. Once all of the T’s are crossed and I’s dotted on the rules and regs, I’ll post them on a “contest” site along with the email address to get the free boards.

    By the way…the resistor “human verification system” is pretty cool:)

  6. Hey Everyone:

    Ok…the contest page is finally up at The submission email address is If you have any difficulties whatsoever, just post here and I’ll keep an eye on the blog. As for the 10 kits we have to give away, I kind of like the idea that the first 10 submissions will each get a kit. If anyone has any objections to this we can certainly modify this requirement based on suggestions. Nothing’s set in stone for that portion of the contest. Anyhoo…good luck!!

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