Arduino vs Arduino: These Are Not The Droids…

We’ve been trying to not pick favorites in the Arduino controversy, or at least remain open-minded to both sides of the story. Some businesses, on the other hand, are clearly aligning themselves.  (Full text of e-mail below.)

Reader [Francisco Zabala], from cool robot-supplies store Acrobotic, got this e-mail from an Amazon distributor where he purchased some Arduinos “ages ago” and was angered enough at the brazen tone to drop us a line.


Thank you for our Arduino purchase from our Amazon.com store. We truly appreciate your business.

We are writing to let you know about an important change in Arduino products. The new website for Arduino is now officially Arduino.org. The old website (arduino.cc) should no longer be used.

All new Arduino hardware will be transitioned from the old Arduino.cc badging to the new Arduino.org badging. Please be aware that during this transition, you may receive Arduino hardware with either Arduino.cc or Arduino.org. Both are authentic Arduino-brand hardware.

If you use Arduino.org branded hardware on the old site, you may be presented with an error. Please use the new Arduino.org site.


We know for sure that Arduino SRL sent out a letter to distributors claiming that they were the real Arduino because they’ve been manufacturing the boards. Seeing a distributor recommend against the software at arduino.cc in such stark terms makes us wonder if there have been similar letters sent out concerning the IDE fork. Anyone have anything? Send us a tip if you do.

We find it a little ironic that when arduino.cc added the now-retracted popup that specifically targeted boards made by Smart Projects / Arduino SRL,  that they opened themselves up to this sort of counter-attack: if you see an error popup, just switch over to the “new official” IDE. Oops. Good that it’s gone now.

Finally, we’ve got to say that “the old website should no longer be used” is pretty rich: we’re hackers, we use whatever software / IDE we like, thank you very much! No matter how the legal battles end up, and no matter who tells you to use what codebase, the beauty of open source is that it’s up to you, and not them. Hack on, y’all!

Thanks, [Francisco] for the tip.

55 thoughts on “Arduino vs Arduino: These Are Not The Droids…

      1. I probably should have mentioned that I tried to contact this company but have so far not been able to. The telephone number just rings and eventually stops ringing without voicemail and without anyone picking up. I’m more surprised that they put a phone number on the letter than that nobody picks up.

        1. Mike, it’s pretty awesome you’re picking up the phone and trying to follow up on leads!

          I think there’s a lot of info that hasn’t come to (widespread) light, especially the tangled web of companies and the real names of the people who are really running Arduino SRL. Most people I’ve talked with have only heard of Gianluca Martino.

  1. Smart projects bullshit stunts are getting tiresome. Even if arduino has had some trouble with updating the IDE etc. smart projects have done far more less to advance the whole system. If fact, they have done nothing. Whatever i do, arduino.org is NOT the web site i’ll ever visit.

    1. Somehow, if this is at Smart Projects’ initiative (following some Smart Project mailing), this means more damages done to Arduino.cc and more damage awarded at the end…

      Does Smart Project have suicidal tendencies … They should refrain from anything that could be further damages should they lose at court (which is still possible)… Like Arduino is doing with Genuino which allows to continue in non-infringing way… waiting for the final verdict.

    1. To be fair, I haven’t been able to prove that the .org folks asked this company to send out this message. It seems like that is how this happened but you said “This proves” and really it’s just very likely but not proven fact.

  2. Since the last Arduino article here on HaD, the SRL folks finally added a forum to their site. So far, it’s pretty barren. Whether people actually use it, and whether the SRL folks actually participate on their own forum to answer questions I believe will really show whether they’re interested in developing the Arduino community, or simply profiteering from open source.

    It is interesting that they structured their forum categories around specific products (eg, separate areas for Leonardo vs Micro which are nearly identical) but not around types of user questions and applications, as Arduino.cc does.

    1. Further evidence that SRL doesn’t understand the community and is just out to make a buck (or euro).

      BTW Paul – I’m a big fan. You put out some great stuff. Thanks!

    2. I’m wondering if SRL is just continuing to “poke the bear” in order to force a settlement that is more favorable to them? Building up a new forum from zero without the help of dedicated community members is going to be nearly impossible.

      1. If they had open & uncensored forums like eevblog (and like the HaD comment sections), I could see it getting some traction compared to the arduino.cc forums where you can get banned for criticizing marchese Banzi.
        I decided to test it out and posted in the general forum asking if they planned to update the core to use the fast digitalWrite macros like wiring.org.co. After 24 hours, my comment is still awaiting moderation.

        1. I just looked at their forum again. Looks like your post appeared. Someone posted a lame, non-answer reply, demonstrating a complete lack of understanding. I wonder if that’s someone employed by Arduino SRL?

          FWIW, the idea to use __builtin_const_p was originally posted by Ben Combe on the Arduino Developers Mailing List in 2008. I contributed the first macros and fast digitalWrite. David Mellis asked for someone to make the macros for Arduino Mega, which I did within 1 week. Still to this day, the code never made its way into any released version of Arduino. In early 2009, I started using it in Teensyduino. John Raines turned it into an Arduino library, for the normal Arduino boards. I’m not sure when Wiring picked this up, but I know it wasn’t in Wiring back then.

  3. This has just got to end. Both parties must know that if this continues the only people who win are the competing boards. (maybe that’s a good thing?)

    SRL could have profit fine by designing a new board explaining that they are reputable people having built the vast majority of arduinos in the market.

    It’s just frustrating that we are fighting over something as silly as a name. To me the name arduino just means it runs the arduino bootloader and is compatible with arduino libraries (and to some extent has the annoying miss spaced headers)

    It just sucks. Why can’t we have nice things?

    1. I don’t agree, Arduino LLC has made a very smart move and Arduino SRL is Check Mate…

      Community stands with Arduino LLC… and they created the sister brand Genuino… which is correctly registered and hijack-proof…

      If they win at court, everything returns to normal, Arduino SRL will have to pay huge damages as they acted in bad faith (and it’d be proved), they could even go backrupt, …

      If they lose, Arduino brand will end up as an empty shell, the community will stick with Genuino brand, nothing will be gained from Arduino LLC (they have way less assets than Arduino SRL), Arduino LLC will get a brand that noone will use anymore…

      Arduino SRL will be the loser anyway… They should try to find some pre-court arrangement to stop this non-sense and return the brand… this would avoid them lots of legal costs and damages…

  4. SRL are trying to cash in badly, don’t think they understand the market or the end users. I faithfully bought arduino boards because I thought it helped to further the development of the software, hardware and community, even non arduino boards are unconditionally doing 2 of the 3 without creating a schism in the community.

  5. I agree we should keep an open mind, but come on… take sides. We know who is the creative force that made Arduino a valuable tool and who is using legal games to screw the creators.

    1. “an Amazon distributor” does not mean Amazon.com. It means someone selling stuff through Amazon’s website and possibly using their fulfillment backend.

      Think of it being like an eBay vendor. It wouldn’t make any sense sending a response back to eBay.com, they’d have no idea what you’re talking about.

  6. I have recently just bought my first arduino. I ended up buying on ebay as I was unsure who the real arduino company was. I would have had no problem paying a little extra if it helped the community but from someone who is a newcomer this was really confusing. I now think I will buy from arduino.cc because they seem like the real company. SRL are crazy it’s like me inventing something getting it made in another country and then the manufacturing company claim’s to own the product because they produced it. SRL look like they are willing to rip the heart and soul of a great community apart for a measly few bucks

      1. I don’t think the price difference is that bad. I got the nano from Adafruit for about $10 and from Banggood for about $5. The bigger difference was the shipping cost to New Zealand which Banggood do free. To their credit Adafruit do ship internationally. Regardless if I was in the USA I would use Adafruit more often since their support of the community should be rewarded.

    1. I doubt they are just going to ditch their old stock but I also doubt they are going to be ordering any more since they partnered up with CC to manufacture for the US.

      1. Not sure what the outcome will be for old boards, as SRL have a rightful claim to the Intellectual Property. I don’t think (conjecture) that Adafruit will be manufacturing UNOs (and perhaps some of the other models) until the legal matters are resolved. Hopefully yes, as we plan to stop selling when our stock runs out.

        Nathan Seidle had this to say on the matter, which is probably the best position to take as a by-stander: https://www.sparkfun.com/news/1791

        1. SRL has no claim possible over the boards Intellectual Properties as they were released under a free licence…

          In other word, anyone can build the arduinos the only thing at stake is the name “arduino”…

    2. Yup, Adafruit will now manufacture Arduino boards. However, the UNOs and a few other ones are manufactured by SRL. They have changed the branding on the boards, which we’ve noticed in the latest batches we’ve gotten (prior to this whole mess coming to light).

      As Massimo mentioned on Make, SRL controls manufacturing. It’s only natural in this type of situation for them to re-brand the silkscreen on the boards they manufacture. Before things came to light, all distributors (including us) would get the boards through http://www.gheo-electronics.com, which we now know is controlled by SRL. The money we paid there *allegedly* (read court doc in full to get a full sense of the claims) did not report any income to CC for the past year or so.

  7. The only thing messages like this will create is more support for arduino.cc and more hate towards SRL imho.
    Personally I think SRL are a bunch of douche bags for doing this, but everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and I won’t judge anyone on their opinion – but I will no longer purchase any products from SRL. I know it won’t matter the slightest bit for their sales what I think and do, but I don’t think I’m alone here and in the end it’ll hurt them more than they could have dreamed of!
    Remember when FTDI did their move to brick all counterfeit IC’s? It hurt them bad – and that for taking action against pirated components! This story with Arduino is way more infected…

  8. Whatever HaD decides, I’ve already chosen sides. I’ll have nothing to do with SRL or .org if I have any control over the matter. To me it feels like Dell trying to claim they’re the “real” Windows because they make hardware for the software.

  9. Well the outcome here has been clear to me right from the start. Human nature doesn’t like change and can only accept change slowly and progressively.

    SRL is rushing change through which is common in the modern day of corporate psychopathy so people are becoming polarised and that is often their first and permanent impression as well. The outcome is obvious. The customer base are people who are more able an likely to make conscience based decisions.

    While a brave man takes on huge challenges, only a fool takes on human nature. end of storey

  10. A lot of people seem to be upset at companies “not choosing sides” and reluctance to pick a side is the same thing as being on the wrong side. Well, this is what happens when a company does pick a side.

    Companies have to play by a different set of rules. First of all, any reasonable company is going to have a healthy respect for anything involving an active lawsuit…the problem with expressing a lot of strong opinions about a legal battle is that you might find yourself in one. Second, it’s just not classy or professional to use your position to insert yourself into another company’s infighting. Third, it’s irresponsible and counterproductive, as a member of influence, to express opinions that could be seen as rabble-rousing. Expressing strong opinions about this can only increase the amount of argument and conflict within our community, and will not aid the outcome of the lawsuit.

    It’s a lot like your favorite electronics company posting an article about their political preferences and Presidential endorsements. I’ve seen comment threads turn really ugly just from articles barely hinting at that type of behavior.

    Having an opinion is your right (and as an individual, I’m siding with Massimo on this one). However, professionalism demands a more even keeled approach. I would say that the hobby electronics companies who haven’t expressed a public opinion are the ones with the best interests of the community at heart.

  11. I’m backing Massimo and the cc team.

    Buying clones and donating on a download is the only way to be sure that smart projects don’t get any money and the real team behind the community do. Until I can get a genuino or an adafruit manufactured arduino, I wont be getting anything with the arduino name on it other than the clones from aliexpress.

  12. Honestly folks, as long as my arduino-powered garage door keeps going up and down and my arduino-powered thermostat keeps the temperature in my house from going up and down, I’m good to go. Cheers

  13. This is ridiculous. Smart Projects have clearly hijacked Arduino. Arduino should have been more careful outsourcing their manufacturing process but surely this can’t stand in court? I though all smart projects did were build the boards?

      1. You can find pictures of early Arduino boards on Archive.Org where only 2 names were present on the board : Banzi and Cuartielles. There was no mentions of Smart Project… and a standard RS232 connector… The name “Arduino” was present on the board…

        You can find it on archived versions of the Arduino.cc site… As it’s on archive.org, it’s highly unlikely that the picture is a fake created in response to the current problem.

  14. I am beginning to have thoughts along the lines of “a pox on both their houses.”

    I bought an Uno a long time ago, but it didn’t really take long for me to move past it. It’s not terribly difficult to design a custom board with an ATMel controller on it to do anything you like. Arduino – at least in terms of the hardware – to my mind doesn’t add a whole lot of value. And as a breadboard prototyping device, it’s abysmal. There are far better “ATMel breakout” products you can use instead – not least of which is simply plugging in a PDIP ATMega328 (to their credit, Arduino actually documented the method for making an equivalent clone of an Uno with a breadboard and a PDIP 328).

    The biggest boon really is all of the third party libraries, but the problem there is that using them sort of locks you into using the IDE. I’ve not yet discovered the best method to switch a project from using the IDE to just straight up AVR libc while still being able to use third party libraries. To make the libraries work, you wind up having to do a bunch of shim work or just bring in the Arduino API, which doesn’t really mean you’ve changed anything.

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