[Phillip Torrone], has written a piece over at Make entitled “Why the Arduino won, and why it’s here to stay“. While boasting that the Arduino “won” at roughly 100k units in the wild sounds decently impressive at first, lets just ponder for a moment how many bare AVR chips there are out there in home-made projects. Kind of makes 100k sound small doesn’t it. However, if you look at their definition of the Arduino, targeting fresh and new people to microcontroller projects, that changes things a little bit. That number suddenly starts to seem a little more important if you re-word it as 100,000 new beginner hackers. Sure, they’re only tweeting toilet flushes and blinking lights, but they’re excited and they’ve tasted blood.
[Phil] goes on to talk to manufacturers on how to “beat” the Arduino. He lists features that would help push someone onto a new platform instead of the Arduino. This, is where I think we come in. We can kill the Arduino.
Not as a platform, but by removing it from the hands of people through education. Lets embrace these new hackers. Lets pull them in with open arms and show them what they can do once they have learned from their Arduino and are ready harness the power of microcontrollers without limitations. We can show them just how simple of a circuit they could use to blink their LEDs. We could show them why and how we think another chip would be better suited to their project.
One reason attributed to the popularity of the Arduino is the hostile attitude from “old school” hackers. If someone shows up and excitedly says “look, I made an RGB mood lamp with an Arduino”, we shouldn’t scream in their faces how stupid they are for such a massive overkill. We shouldn’t ignore them either. That will only send them back to the Arduino forums with their tails between their legs to do yet, another copy/paste project. We should pat them on the back and say “Hey, great job! You know I’ll bet we could make a cheap circuit with a 555 that would pull that same effect off quite nicely and it would only cost $1. Here, check out this schematic.”
Embrace them, educate them, and the Arduino will no longer be their only tool.