Federico Musto of Arduino SRL Shows Us New Products and New Directions

Recently, we sat down with [Federico Musto], CEO of Arduino SRL, for a chat about how the Italian Arduino firm was doing, what new products and projects they’ve got in the hopper, and what they’ve been up to for the last six months or so. It was high time!

Boards

The big story from our meeting, that [Federico] actually hinted at before, is the release of the Uno WiFi. How many projects have you seen on Hackaday that are based on an Arduino Uno with an ESP8266 WiFi module plugged into it? A bazillion. The Uno and ESP8266 are like the peanut butter and jelly of the last few years’ hacker zeitgeist.

Uno WiFi

arduino-uno-wifiThe Uno WiFi, then, is the Goober Grape (not an endorsement, you consume this stuff at your own risk). Less poetically put, Arduino has soldered the ESP8266 onto the Arduino Uno for you: no fiddling around with modules and pin-headers necessary. It’s not a ground-breaking innovation, but this is the kind of smart, community-led development that we like to see. You wanted cheap and easy WiFi on your Arduino? You got it.

Indeed, since the Arduino Yun came out, a lot of hackers were using it as a simple way to get their Arduino onto a wireless network: IoT and all that. When the ESP8266 hit the scene, many thought that the Yun looked dead in the water: with the ESP chip, you could get WiFi on your Arduino for half the price. But some folks need the extra power, or would rather just program in Python. Think of all the simple IoT projects based on the Raspberry Pi, for instance.

With the addition of the Uno WiFi, both the simple IoT devices and the more demanding applications can stay within the Arduino family. Go with the Uno WiFi if you want something networked but simple that the standard AVR ATmega328 processor can handle easily. If you actually need the extra computational power and flexibility of an embedded Linux distribution in addition to the ATmega, go for the Yun. If the ATmega isn’t cutting it, or if you need more power or peripherals from the microcontroller side, the new Tian board with its ARM Cortex-M0+ will fit the bill. It’s actually a compelling range of products even if they are superficially similar.

Tian

DSCF8150Which brings us to the Tian. The Arduino Tian is a neat new board, in our opinion. It’s got an integrated MIPS processor with 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi on board, as well as being able to do Bluetooth and Bluetooth LE. It runs faster than the Yun by a bit, and it’s got 4 GB of eMMC memory on-board so you don’t have to fool around with an external SD card as you do with the Yun or fruit-pastry Linux single-board computers.

We can’t decide if the Tian (or the Yun, for that matter) is a microcontroller with a Linux computer tacked on, or a Linux computer with a microcontroller to handle GPIO. Most of the applications that we’ve seen fit in with the former. We’d like to see more development on the Linux side, à la Raspberry Pi. In that light, we’re glad to see Arduino SRL continuing work on their Ciao library to help streamline communication between the microcontroller and the Linux box.

DSCF8151One of the cool tricks that [Federico] showed with the Tian was the ability to control the Linux computer from the Cortex M0+ microcontroller. As you can see in this prototype, only a few green wires (and some hot glue) were needed to make it work. The production version of the Tian should have this functionality built in.

As a demonstration, we SSH’ed into the Linux side of the Tian and pressed a button connected to the M0+ microcontroller.

The Linux side shut down gracefully, and we later booted it back up again. This is a particularly cool trick because the Linux side, with its fast processor and WiFi, is a power hog. The M0+ and its associated circuitry, on the other hand, run on very little power and can be throttled back into sleep mode when not crunching numbers. Although the boot-up time for the Linux side means that you wouldn’t be turning it on an off every few minutes, the ability to get the combined system into a low-power state for longer periods of time vastly increases the scope of projects where the Tian would be useful. Cute hack.

The Tian has only been available for about a month now. Have any of you tried one out?

Other Boards

DSCF8149[Federico] also showed us the Lei, which is a China-only Arduino board that combines the Tian’s Linux side with the Atmel ATmega part from the Yun, and has no onboard memory. It’s a cheaper hybrid between the two boards that [Federico] said wasn’t worth getting FCC certified for the US and the rest of the world. With the Yun and the Tian being so broadly similar already, we think that he’s probably right.

What the newest revision of the Yun, the Tian, and even the Lei have in common is that the microcontroller’s USB pins have been broken out to headers so that it could more easily be used as a standalone USB device. This gives even the cheapest boards in the family three ways to connect to USB — device mode through the microcontroller, and both host mode and USB OTG mode also through the Linux side. And it also enables shields, like this GSM shield below, to connect up to the microcontroller over USB. (Although the headers weren’t populated in this photo.)

DSCF8145This photo also shows a cute touch in the physical design of all of the Arduino SRL boards. All of the pinouts are labelled on the side of the female headers. Although we’re sure that you diehard Arduino fans out there can tell your A0 from your A5 in your sleep, we think it’s great not to have to go running back to the datasheet to double-check.

And finally, [Federico] showed me some of the new development they’ve been making on the Industrial and the Industrial 101 demonstration board. The Industrial is essentially the same Linux side as in the Yun, just in a smaller stand-alone package. Pairing this up with the Industrial 101 board, with its ATmega32u4 gives you essentially a Yun, but with a few more pinouts. We’re not yet sure what to make of the module-style packages that we’ve seen from many firms of late — we think that they’re too fidgety for hobbyists, and easy enough to DIY for a firm that’s producing tens of thousands of units. We could easily be wrong.

Anyway, the fun part about the Industrial 101 board was showing off all of the special shields that Arduino SRL has designed to go along with them. Here’s an OLED screen and joystick combo, for instance.

Free Stuff

If you’re interested in the Uno WiFi, you should probably check out the Arduino Christmas Challenge that’s going on through January 31st. If you enter a project on GitHub and register with Arduino, you stand a decent chance of winning a free Uno WiFi in January. (For what it’s worth, Arduino LLC and Microsoft are doing something similar. We’re not picking sides, just pointing out how to get free boards.)

IDE Developments

dl38We’d seen the new(ish) Arduino Studio development environment before, but it only just now made sense to us. Sure, it’s great to have a better editor than the old Java-based one. We’ve all been whining about the lack of code completion and so forth. The new editor environment, based on Adobe’s open-source Brackets editor is a huge step forward. But we’ve got a further direction that we’d like to see Arduino SRL take this, and the fact that the new editor is written in client-side Javascript is a big help.

The Yun, the Tian, and the China-only Lei boards all feature an OpenWRT-based Linux distribution onboard as well as WiFi connectivity. They also managed to get the entire GCC compilation chain compiling natively on the MIPS cores. It shouldn’t be too much more work to get a cross-compiler for the microcontroller up and running on the Arduino’s Linux side. Once that happens, you could compile and flash code onto the microcontroller entirely from within the Yun or Tian. Add in a nice, browser-based graphical editor, and you have a recipe for a self-contained development environment.

os.jsAnd [Federico] demoed some more tricks that point obliquely toward this future of Arduino-hosted Arduino development: we connected over the public Internet to an Arduino Yun in their R&D labs in Sicily that was serving an Arduino-branded version of OS.js, an “operating system” written in Javascript that runs in the client’s browser. Coupling something like OS.js to their Javascript-based Studio, running a cross-compiler on the Arduino’s Linux side would put the last pieces together to enable you to write, debug, and flash microcontroller projects completely on the Yun or Tian, without installing anything on your laptop other than a browser. The Arduino could become its own self-contained toolchain. How neat would that be? We hope we’re right.

Foundation and Stores

After months of legal work and lining up partners, Arduino SRL recently announced the formation of the Arduino Foundation. The Foundation is a non-profit that aims to give out Arduino boards and materials to schools and communities that might not have the resources to do so themselves, and also simply to give back to the Arduino community. In fact, the Uno WiFi Christmas challenge we mentioned above is sponsored by the Foundation.

manifestinoWe’d like to see the Foundation figure out how to reward the people who wrote popular Arduino libraries. In our mind, the success of Arduino is largely due to the enthusiastic and talented pool of coders who’ve written diverse libraries that support every kind of hardware peripheral known to man. There’s a million projects out there that simply use a Dallas one-wire temperature sensor or an RFM12B radio, and every one of them owes the coders who wrote the initial libraries a big debt. It’d be neat if the Arduino Foundation could find a way to pay some of this debt back. And from talking with [Federico], paying the community back is one of their main goals.

Arduino SRL has also thought about how to connect up better with the people making hardware that goes along with their boards — the shield-makers out there. [Federico] said that they’d open up their first brick-and-mortar Arduino store in Berlin any day now. The plan is to have a section of the store dedicated to community projects, giving the people who make shields and other add-ons a place to have their wares seen and sold. It’s also a clever way for the Arduino company to connect closer with the people who are doing the most innovative work in the Arduino ecosystem, so we think it’s a win all around.

And finally, we couldn’t talk Arduino without asking about the legal situation. Although everyone’s lawyers have been busy, [Federico] told me that there’s not much news on the trademark court cases since the last time we talked.

In Italy, and presumably the rest of the world outside of the USA, it’s all over but the shouting. It looks very likely that the court will rule for Arduino SRL, because Italy and Europe has a very straightforward trademark law — the company to file first essentially gets the trademark. And that was Arduino SRL.

Only in the USA is the situation more complicated, both because Arduino LLC filed first, and because it’s possible that Arduino SRL will demonstrate that they were producing boards with the Arduino name on them before Arduino LLC was even incorporated. We’re not lawyers, but this case certainly looks like it could go either way to us. And the US case is not likely to be settled until the summer of 2016, though, so don’t hold your breath.

Wrapup

Maybe 2015 will be remembered as the year of the dueling Arduinos, but we’re hopeful that instead it will be remembered as a year in which a bunch of new and improved Arduino hardware got released. From Arduino LLC, we’ve seen further collaborations with Intel. Arduino SRL has stayed true to their Linux and WiFi roots, coming out with the Tian, Industrial, and the Uno WiFi and continuing work on their operating system and the microcontroller interfacing. All in all, it’s been a good year for Arduino.

We’ve already hinted at some of what we’d like to see on the Arduino scene next year. What do you want to see for 2016?

95 thoughts on “Federico Musto of Arduino SRL Shows Us New Products and New Directions

        1. The funny thing is that there is a clear migration path to a better spacing. Just provide the current pinout as a legacy/deprecated option on new boards whilst simultaneously providing a new, more reasonable pinout on the same board. I have seen some arduino-compatible do it (the Seeeduino, for example). If this option is provided, all you really need to say is “all new shields/daughterboards should be made using the new pinout, the old one will be deprecated”. To me, it just looks like the board designers can not count in multiples of 100 mil. For a platform that targets the uninitiated/quick prototyping, this just seems asinine.

        2. I agree, but one way to migrate would be to have a cheap shield that did nothing but translate from one spacing to the other. Perhaps with a prototype area in the middle to use the blank space.

      1. I know there’s a half solution by getting a header with bent pins.

        But I’d really like to be able to plug in a development board into a cheap 0.1″ perforated board for semipermanent stuff.

        1. Just use female headers on a base perfboard, and plug a Pro Mini into it. There’s your mass-produced Arduino and adapter (both together, cheaper than an official board). You know before you ask, they’re not changing the pin pattern (at least not until something drastic changes)

    1. That is not the point, you say please make a car that I can drive without being a professional race car driver. Most professional say, you can build a car that is easy to drive and has a differential.

    1. Not exactly; It’s harder to program, and overkill for most applications. It’s a bit like saying the carving knife is dead because you can buy an axe cheaper. Both have their place, but one is not always a replacement for the other

    2. I got a knockoff nano for ~$3. Pinouts are important, arduino is much more breadboard/solder friendly. Also I can program just an ATmega and make a custom board around that (which is awesome); would be much bigger project w/ broadcom chip.

      1. Except for the fact the Arduino has significantly more GPIO. And analog in. And I2C. And SPI. And more flexible timers. And a better toolchain. And a plethora of existing shields. And….(etc etc)

          1. All the time, try adding even a simple touch-screen LCD to an ESP8266…BAM! And while Arduino may have been targeting beginners initially there are a lot of companies using it these days as a low-cost alternative to embedded systems. I personally have been programming Arduino professionally for almost 3 years now for everything from rights management to remote power control to USB client hardware interfacing.

          2. Indeed they are, or rather should be. Their bosses and the bean counters controlling the money, on the other hand, may not always be so. The Arduino platform has been so successful that mere accessibility has become an important factor for those wishing to deploy systems in places where alternatives may not always be readily and immediately available within the immediate vicinity of the install site.

  1. It appears that Arduino SRL is developing some cool products. I’m interested in seeing the cost of these new boards. What with $6 Uno and $4 ESP8266 boards from [insert your Chinese vendor here], I’m not sure how successful boards costing 10x and more are going to be?

    1. I couldn’t see anything about “Arduino Lei” in Arduino.org.cn. The price of Arduino Srl’s Arduino is really more expensive than Arduino LLC’s Genuino in China.

  2. It seems like the hackaday.com authors’/editors’ stand on the arduino-debate has changes 180 degrees. Last time I read about arduino here, everyone seemed to favour arduino.cc/LLC, where the majority of the founders are.

    I myself will not support arduino srl, who figuratively stabbed his former friends in the back in such a despiteful manner.

      1. Money? We only cover Arduino because it’s important to the community and because you folks make cool things with them. There’s no money for us in Arduino at all.

        Indeed, that’s why you’ll hear both sides of the Arduino vs Arduino story from Hackaday — we have no horse in that race. We don’t owe either of them anything.

        @my2cents: Who stabbed who in the back is a matter of perspective, and it’s contentious. We’ve heard (and presented) both sides in an attempt to be fair.

        We like cool hacks, and sharing them. Business stuff is tangentially interesting, but it’s not really our speciality. Show us the hardware!

          1. Depends. Is there another side to well accepted science? I mean it’s not like the Arduino court case has been settled, that’s 2 people disagreeing with each other. Climate science on the other hand is a few people disagreeing with the vast majority of the science consensus.

        1. The usual main steam media (MSM) type of “balanced” coverage would be better spent on things other than the Arduino trademarks wars. e.g. 32-bits, IoT SoC and interest hacks. Leave the drama coverage to MSM.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more. When I see the S.E.G. on this guy’s face, it pains me to know that someone with so little moral guidance can profit from other people’s ideas and hard work. As far as I’m concerned Arduino.org is just a group of greedy jerks that took advantage of someone else’s goodwill.

  3. … Why is hackaday siding with the stabbing one? I mean, weren’t you standing with the arduino.cc/Genuino guys? Guys?
    Care to explain why? Or you just put the “good face” because you get to interview him and “show you stuff” ?

    At first I kind of hesitated (they might have good products) but when I saw a “china only” board … why.
    Makers are a market niche who’ll even pay overprice if that means same boards and ease of use. Its part of the point.
    And you can buy that damn ESP everywhere nowadays. There’s even the spiritual successor on testing.

    Sorry, will go where most of the founders are. And where the integrity seems to be.
    That arduino.cc got Adafruit on board is also a major plus.

    1. I read somewhere that SRL were threatening certain distributors that continued to sell non-SRL-produced boards. I have no idea of the nature of that threat, or indeed whether it’s even true, but it’s conceivable that SRL could have claimed that past HAD articles were one-sided and/or defamatory. It would be nice if any HAD editors could officially deny anything like that was behind this article, if for no other reason than to maintain transparency.

      1. LOL. There’s this funny tendency on the Internet for people to make up conspiracy theories and then request that the poor folks afflicted by them deny that the conspiracy is true.

        So yeah. We totally deny that anything even vaguely like what you’re proposing was at work. We don’t owe anyone anything, except maybe the folks who contribute hacks and make up the Hackaday community. (Which is also us, FWIW.)

        The background of the story is that we were contacted by Arduino SRL, and they said that Mr. Musto was going to be in Munich, and did we want to meet up to talk products? I said sure. That’s the whole conspiracy: good PR on their part, and us doing what we always do when a relevant company contacts us. We talk to Massimo when we’re in the same place, too.

        As [Paul S] pointed out, the piece was a little fluffy. Meh. They can’t all be hard-hitters.

        1. Thanks for the clarification Elliot, and I do understand what you say about conspiracy theories…point made! That said there are some of us working for companies who, for one reason or another, are completely dependent on that particular technology and it’s important for us to know how reliable our sources are. I started following HAD many years ago as a hobbyist but over the past few years I’ve found it increasingly crossing over into my professional life. Given what’s going on at the moment between the two factions I think it’s important to ensure the information we pass on to our bosses is accurate and unbiased, so I appreciate you responding with HAD’s usual level of openness and forthcoming.

        2. Fact is that the Arduino SRL move was unethical at least, how would you feel if I was an old contributor of your site and registered say hackaday.it, then claimed ownership of the trademark and any business associated with it?

          They can make the best products out there, but I won’t buy anything from them: to me the real Arduino comes from arduino.cc, period.

          1. As far as I know (at that time, unfortunately, I was doing other stuff) I’ll try to give you another point of view. Just a point of view.

            How do you feel, if you have invested large part of your money (the whole financial capital, 100%, all the risk) to start the production of Arduino. How do you feel if you spent the most part of your time and effort in the design, development, production, logistics, – at least the 50% of the job? – of a new Hardware product and a new philosophy in which you believed, in a period in which nobody believed on the success of an Open Source Hardware and Open Source Software electronic platform (?!).
            At the same time, for years, you have financed, thanks to the “strange”, foolish(!) success of the Arduino board, the great software development activity, the great divulgation, the great official website, the great evangelization activity of a great idea?
            I do not think, honestly, that you can consider yourself as an irrelevant part of Arduino. Something external. An optional accessory.
            Personally I do not think that Arduino, would have been Arduino without SRL and without LLC, without Wiring and without Processing, without the cooperation of inspired guys. SRL has started up a company that allowed Arduino to be Arduino, not just an idea nor just a philosophy. Something that can change the world (too much?? probably Yes!), or, better, something that allows anybody wants, to improve the small world around him.

            I’m sure that at the moment the founders have a different vision and perspective. I know only the SRL vision, and I’m sure is following the original philosophy as, I’m sure, the LLC is following. I hope, as you, that there will be a possibility for a team reunion, but if the paths are different then, two Arduinos or Genuinos, or something else, I’m sure will be better than one or nothing. I would thank all the founders and the community, the two Arduino teams for their work and also I would thank Federico and Daniela for it’s hard work in this strange, hard time for Arduino.
            Fortunately you are free! If you like to buy LLC, if you like to buy SRL, if you like to buy *duinos, if you like to buy even fake clones, and this is the beginning of a new invention, please do it!

            My2cents

          2. I really appreciated your comment, Angelo. Don’t take me wrong, nobody denies the efforts, both technical and financial, you and other people at SRL put into the platform, I was only referring to the brand takeover which I consider a really bad move.
            I wrote “the platform” for a reason: today they’re essentially the same thing, what is developed here can benefit there and the other way around: same pinouts, same IDE, same libraries, mostly the same community etc. -BUT- what will happen in say 3 years from now when the amount of incompatibilities will make them diverge to a point that having the same name of something that is not compatible can seriously harm both communities? Both of you will be forced to fight until the destruction of the other. Are you prepared to this? To me it can only damage both platforms and their users.
            Clearly the two groups merging again would be the best option for everyone, I hope all of you would work in this direction, but in the meantime just consider a 3rd option: What if Arduino becomes a 3rd entity (therefore neither LLC nor SRL) that deals only with ensuring firmware/hardware compatibility with the Arduino ecosystem not unlike USB, Bluetooth, ZigBee etc. ( minus the absurd fees of course)? Then LLC, SRL and anyone else can produce their *uino board provided they check for compatibility first. Just a crazy idea to put to an end this quarrel.

          3. >How do you feel, if you have invested large part of your money (the whole financial capital, 100%, all the risk) to start the production of Arduino.

            But that investment was made years after arduino.cc was registered.
            Arduinos were around, and being called Arduinos as a project, concept and open idea long before Arduino SRL/smart projects started to make them commercially!

            I guess that the point is that Arduino as an idea, as a concept and as an actual thing. existed long before smart projects decided that they’d start up. long before investments were made and at the start this is most obvious that smart projects is, well, smart projects and not arduino!

            Nobody has said that smart projects contributions is negligible, what people have said is that Arduino.cc was around first, the project was clearly around first the name was decided first and that the community (which smart projects is clearly a part of) has had a much bigger impact on the success of arduino than any commercial entity ever could have. (ask yourself where would arduino be without smart projects? and where would smart project be without arduino LLC?)

            To go, years after a product is first released, turn round and say Hey I did that and own all the names trademarks and rights (to a project that existed years before my company did!) seems a little disingenuous though…

            Nobody said smart projects should go to the wall.
            Nobody said that smart project shouldn’t be allowed to make money.
            What people did say is that smart projects should not have taken a trademark when it knew that name really belonged to another (it’s not like smart projects director hand no stake in arduino LLC!), smart projects shouldn’t have re-branded to confuse the market and claim ownership in entirety of an idea that they are only a part of.

            in return I say how do you feel if you work on something *collaborating with* someone they make a massive contribution, commercialize the idea and then claim all rights to the name as if you never existed?

            That said, I kind of wish Arduino.cc would just bite the bullet and rebrand as genuino in entirety. at least then it would allow Arduino LLC and Arduino SRL to go their own way and make their own products without this confusing two companies doing two different things.

          4. Thank you Dan for your post,
            when I talk about the investment (not just money), I refer to the first investment, from the beginning of the idea, as shareholder, as co-founder!
            As far as I know the investment and the contribution to the project was done from the beginning, the same way of the hardware design and production. The investment was not made years after the creation of arduino.cc website (2005) [WHOIS -> Creation Date: 2005-10-26T12:59:26Z], but was done from the start. The Italian guys involved on the project were part of the core of the project! For sure the idea started at the Institute of Interaction Design of Ivrea. Probably many brillant minds and a lot of events have inspired the project (Wiring, Processing, …) at that time. The guys from Strambino (around a couple of Km from the IDII of Ivrea) helped, with their knowledge, to the engineering of the board.

            Arduino LLC was established just in 2008, around 3 years after the start of the work! In 2005, 2006 and 2007 (the first 3 years, the most risky years, of the project) there was just one company for the project: SRL. This is why the guys from Smart Project, now arduino.org, in my opinion, have to be considered as a relevant part of the Arduino project, not just a contributor.

            Sincerely I do not want to act as a lawyer! It is not my job. I’m not a PR. I don’t want to change any personal opinion of you guys!
            With these post I would like just to try to explain a little more our point of view.
            Unfortunately I was not present at the creation time, I’m not a witness. :)

            I’m sure also that this is one of the most complex situations materialized in the Open Source panorama. There were many forks for open source software projects, but this is the first fork of an Open Object (HW+SW), and this implies real world objects, production lines, trademarks, etc.

            I would like just to explain that we, the guys who work, inside the sole (one and only) Arduino community, contributing through arduino.org, are not working against someone. We love Arduino (.cc, .org, or whatever), we love open source projects from long time, we are not criminals, we work hard to contribute with our vision, ideas, with our boards, with our software, with your contribution to the development and the evolution of the Arduino philosophy. Probably sometimes we will make a mistake, please help us to keep the right track. We have a lot of new ideas and projects we will share with you soon this year. We will work, this year, to make arduino.org and the Arduino foundation even more open in all the ideation, development and evolution processes. The contest that we started ( http://www.arduino.org/arduino-xmas-2015 ) is just the beginning.
            Stay tuned!
            Happy new year Arduinos!

          5. But really, that’s not exactly how it happened is it? Its a nice narrative that suits the chain of events that “smart projects/Arduino SRL” wants to put forward.

            Smart projects wasn’t registering trademarks until 2008, I don’t see why it is so important when a group of “friends” decided that their idea was worth protecting with a legal status (e.g. LLC) they and the project and the name that is crucialls also the trademark existed before!

            I guess that the point here is:
            If you accept the history that Massimo Banzi “took” a project from a postgrad got together with some friends and made it arduino, (and that was in 2005) then you can’t a decade later say “Massimo had nothing to do with it, it’s all mine ALL those trade marks are all mine.”

            If you helped start a company in 2008 called Arduino LLC who’s bylaws stated that the founders would transfer their rights to property into the company to keep it safe. You can’t then turn around and say “that 20% ownership I did own and gave to a company, well I’m taking 100% ownership back out, and am going to try to remove your (arduino LLC) rights to use these trade marks, more over I’m going to petition to remove your ownership of the trademarks that I knew you registered (because I worked at the company too) and that I’ve been using to protect my business interests from cloned boards in the states… in fact I’ve been using my position within that company to exercise arduino LLCs trademark ownership to protect my other business.) e.g Gianluca Martino has stood in trademark dispute action claiming that Arduino LLC is the sole owner of a trademark when he’s trying to stop projects like smARtDuino… or when trying to stop cloned boards with cloned graphics from being imported.

            And here is the thing.
            it’s not like Smart projects/Gianluca Martino didn’t know that they had agreed that their 20% of “arduino as a brand” was transferred to a company he after all helped found the company, he would have helped write the by laws.
            and he at the same time was filing trademarks in italy claiming that Arduino was his.
            at the same time he was registering arduino.org, (in 2008)

            It’s not like smart projects didn’t know that the “arduino mark” was not theirs, they were paying royalties to use it, if you have agreed to pay for a mark, and are marking all your products as manufactured under licence it is a bit difficult to turn round later and claim 100% ownership.

            legal action seems somewhat strange also:
            lets pretend in some strange and parallel universe that the whole start of the project was a Smart projects inititive,
            lets pretend that smart projects were the only ones that did any work and nobody else did anything except sit and wait for arduino to be great.
            lets pretend that the smart projects owner didn’t start another company with established bylaws that transfered his IP into it
            lets pretend that smart projects hadn’t basically agreed that they didn’t own the mark when they clearly labelled all their boxes “made under license”

            Even if Smart projects could legitimately claim a 100% ownership of the trademark, arduino LLC have been using the mark without any challeng for ten years!

            If in this crazy parallel universe history was re-written, then allowing others to use your trademarks without challenge means you’ve abandoned it at the very least you’ve neen naked licensing that mark and don’t have a claim to it any more. certainly not a claim to mount legal action!

            The information that you posted (that arduino LLC has been around since 2008, the arduino.cc website, (owned by the collective that formed arduino LLC) posting designs for the product that you are manufacturing, calling it arduino since 2005, years before any trademarks were filed kind of proves, either smart projects registered their trade mark in bad faith knowing it wasn’t theirs, or that they adopted a policy of naked licensing, or trademark abandonment, up to and including the point where they know that other companies are registering their trademarks in other countries, and are choosing not to protect them!

            It seems pretty regardless of how far you try to spin the narrative, there are inescapable facts,
            The name, the mark, the project existed before smart projects ever decided that they would lay claim to it.
            Smart projects had no real claim to 100% ownership of the mark.

            >Arduino LLC was established just in 2008, around 3 years after the start of the work! In 2005, 2006 and 2007 (the first 3 years, the most risky years, of the project) there was just one company for the project: SRL. This is why the guys from Smart Project, now arduino.org, in my opinion, have to be considered as a relevant part of the Arduino project, not just a contributor.

            What I see is smartprj.com registered in 2008 (which is pretty much when they were big enough to want a non-country specific domain to sell from.)
            Arduino.org was registered 2008. (when Gianluca Martino decided to start going behind his friends backs)
            smartprojects.it was registered in 2004… (BEFORE the arduino project kicked off)
            smart projects was a board house.
            they gave a shed load of resources to a project, and in return were essentially granted exclusive manufacturing rights. not all rights to a trademark.

            Contributor carries not indication of significance of weight, it is fair to say that smart projects was just a contributor, they contributed.
            The largest contribution to arduino has however come from the community. in terms of improvements, developments, support, libraries etc if your idea is that who ever did the most work should have the marks, then neither company should be in posession of them!

            I can see how it would be rather annoying for smart projects to be doing a lions share of the work, and still paying royalties to another organisation to use a name on the work that they are creating! but that doesn’t justify stealing trademarks.

          6. Thank you again Dan,
            as I posted before, I do not want to find the truth on this story, I’m not good to do that, there is a litigation with lawyers and judges at work on that.

            > I guess that the point here is:
            If you accept the history that Massimo Banzi “took” a project from a postgrad got together with some friends and made it arduino, (and that was in 2005) then you can’t a decade later say “Massimo had nothing to do with it, it’s all mine ALL those trade marks are all mine.”

            Yes, of course. But at the same time : you can’t a decade later say “Gianluca [and a lot of other guys] had nothing to do with it, it’s all mine ALL those trade marks are all mine.”
            I think that the big mistake was done in the first time where, in my opinion, this guys would have to create a new company. From the beginning. But, of course, is too easy to say it now. Why they haven’t created something from the start?

            > at the same time he was registering arduino.org, (in 2008)

            As you can see in ( https://web.archive.org/web/20120103105659/http://arduino.org/index.php ) the domain was registered by another guy [Arduino User Community?!] in 2008! SRL bought the domain after the litigation and started to use it in 2015.

            As you know usually relationships between people are not just 0/1, good/bad, black or white. We are trying to synthesize years of history in a few lines. It is simply impossible. Probably there is a lot of grey as usual (more than 50 shades!), many point of view on where the value is, different ideas and many different paths and strategies they want to follow.

            I just want to do my work at best for Arduino, as part of the community, helping you to develop ideas and products in an open source project evolved thanks primarily to the work of the community, because I’m sure Arduino will be part of our future with or without trademarks. As I told before I do not want to change your opinion. I really respect your point of view.

            Thank you Qwerty for your contribution. Your idea is not so crazy! ;)

        3. To be clear, I believe describing these buttheads as if they were just another vendor with products of interest is wrong. I do believe you should press embargo them.

          Every company has idiot moments, but this company’s idiot moment is literally its trademark — you can’t associate their product with their trademark without personally participating in their substantial idiocy. Now you’re complicit, which you don’t want to be.

  4. This article does kinda read more like an Arduino SRL press release… the sort of thing you’d expect from lazy “journalists”, and less like the investigative “call BS” style that makes Hackaday stand out. Then again, it does start out with “we sat down with [Federico Musto], CEO of Arduino SRL, for a chat”. Still, the excellent “Arduino vs Arduino” coverage last year set the bar pretty high. It’s a shame that style didn’t continue on this article.

  5. “with the ESP chip, you could get WiFi on your Arduino for half the price.” Still no one can see the elephant in the room. The ESP is a *tenth* of the price for pretty much a native Arduino development environment. The new ESP32 will be a fifth and have triple the ram, two cpu cores, bluetooth and as much GPIO as the existing Arduino. Lets not talk about a 30c addition of an I2C GPIO expander that, if people needed, would magically appear on boards anyway.

  6. SRL will never get any of my business. None. Not ever.

    SRL is using legal loopholes and technicalities to establish themselves as the ‘true’ Arduino when the basic right-and-wrong is that they were the licensed manufacturers. They are using strongarm tactics then running to the teacher to protect and cover up.

    For me- the battle of the Arduinos accelerated my graduation to the ‘fruity-pastry’ camp. Over-powered sometimes sure… but the $5 Zero makes me okay with that.

    Boo to you HaD for even giving that ass-hat pictured above a pulpit to speak from… as for me- I’ll have to make up a reason to buy a couple random LLC products now.

    1. I would have expected the fact that SRL manufactured boards as smart projects with arduino.cc on the packaging (even some mentioning the licensing) to carry more weight in the legal battles. Every one of those cardboard boxes is proof that SRL was manufacturing boards only with express licencing permission, and knew it the whole time.

    2. Please add some Teensy stuff aswell while you’re at it. I don’t think PaulS get half the exposure he deserves considering the quality off his stuff and the code he has contributed to Arduino. Or should i say Genuino since I am european?

  7. Hmm, I wonder how “Italian” Arduino still is. Once there were the Diecimila, Duemilanove and Uno. Now we got the Yun (Chinese for cloud), Tian (Chinese for sky/day) and Lei (Mine?)…

    1. And Mega — it’s Italian for mega. :)

      Lei: lightning — also Chinese. They have an R&D team in Taiwan. Maybe they’re coming up with the names?

      But as you say, it seems to be a definite branding strategy. I wonder if they’re aiming at any particular large emerging markets?

    2. Lei means “Lightning” in China, but also “She” in Italy. We have a lot of Girls working on our projects! :)

      Ciao means “Hello” in Italy but also “Bridge” in China!

      Arduino Studio : Studio [Italian] is for Studio [English] :)

      Arduino is proudly Italian, we have the main production site and the quality assurance team in Italy, but for sure Arduino is opened to the world, we have our team distributed among different continents, and we like to emphasize the contribution of all. Probably and hopefully you will hear English, French, Spanish, Vietnamese, Dutch, Norwegian, .., and KLINGONS :) names in the next future.
      Moreover we have a global community, and a global distribution and support network. Fortunately we have partners and contributors all over the world, at the moment. We hope we will grow in the next future to reach other planets with the open Arduino philosophy. :)

        1. Hi Steve,
          Thank you for the question.
          we have more than 100k downloads for our IDE, Studio and libraries in the last few months and they are quickly growing. As you know we started few months ago to develop new ideas and software.
          We are actively supporting, both on hardware and software, the large part of the users who bought our boards, or who are using our software, and often who is using the LLC products and software, with the same commitment we have put in the last 10 years, from the beginning for the hardware part.
          As I wrote in a different post I don’t like to speak about “our” community or “their” community. When I speak about “our” community I refer to the whole Arduino community. In my opinion there is only one Arduino community, is the same community for all the arduino users and the *duinos. There are probably few millions of Arduino users in the world. The main place where the community meets is owned by LLC. In that place you can find also users discussing about our products (e.g. Arduino Yun, Arduino Tian etc.). There are also some other virtual places where the community live, like HackADay, and there is a big part of the community (probably the great part) that is not actively participating on the virtual places but prefer real places in real world, like hackspaces, fablabs, schools, universities and garages. :)
          People looking at some new features, or new boards or shields can find informations on our website and labs area.
          Personally I would be more than happy if we could share efforts and developments on the same platform (forum, github repos, etc.) but at the moment, you can understand, we can’t.

  8. I too am disappointed that Arduino SRL are being given a free uncritical advertisement piece, considering how they stole the brand from the original group with a dirty trademark legal trick – or maybe that was a “cool hack”?

    How will that coup be viewed in the history books in 100 years time? Is this the lesson in How To Succeed we want to teach our kids?

    Maybe thats just business for us jaded post-idealism IT professional consumers.

  9. > What do you want to see for 2016?
    -No more embarassing bullsh*t lawsuits, this should’ve been hashed out like adults from the start.
    -Improve example code on website (eg. for “entropy” don’t just take a sample from a floating analog pin, it was a *linear* pattern and maybe subject to ripple; warn people to just use for tests)
    -What about a PIC, ST, or TI-based arduino board?
    -Haven’t tried Atmel Studio 7 yet, or the other one mentioned, but having a toolchain people don’t rag on. Plus, if it supported other targets besides Atmel I wouldn’t have to waste time learning to use vendor toolchains.

    It’s a big wishlist, anyways cheers to the people that don’t mouth off and make things happen!

  10. Hi Elliot, re. legal how can you write something like: “In Italy, and presumably the rest of the world outside of the USA, it’s all over but the shouting. It looks very likely that the court will rule for Arduino SRL, because Italy and Europe has a very straightforward trademark law — the company to file first essentially gets the trademark. And that was Arduino SRL.” without a comment.
    Is this Federico’s point of view or yours?
    Should it be the former, it should be highlighted as such. Should it be yours, how do you know? After all, as you write a couple of lines below: “We’re not lawyers, but…”
    Looking at the business side of the article, the overall impression is that Arduino srl is an HW manufacturer trying to develop a SW angle. Considering Federico’s previous experiences, it seems like a new flavour of Linino.
    Finally, the .cc side has always been transparent about the Arduino community, providing clear numbers about its size (huge) and nature of the interaction (very intense) with the .cc website. Given those numbers, it seems that the community sees the .cc website as the site of reference for Arduino.
    What about .org’s site? Any verifiable numbers?

    1. The high probability of SRL retaining the Arduino trademark in Europe is the view of a lot of people. If you consider the fact ‘Genuino’ is the trademark Arduino LLC is using in non-US territories, it’s probably Massimo’s view as well.

      1. Re. legal, it would be easy for the .cc camp to say the same. Journalists should try to separate facts from opinions (i.e.: asking 3rd party experts about it).
        Re. Genuino, I’m not sure: looks like a way to stay in the market while the legal issues are still ongoing and at the same time protecting potential partners from legal risk.

      2. Brian’s right. It was my opinion, but again: not lawyer. Just reading the tea leaves.

        I have seen some of the Italian (and Swiss, but it’s complicated) court documents, and they’ve ruled in favor of SRL on a bunch of minor points — like whether Arduino LLC can make a 3D printer with the Arduino name on it in Switzerland (nope). My guess is based on these rulings continuing.

  11. Thank you guys for your feedback! Just a few words about the Uno WiFi. We chosen the “dual core” solution (Atmega328p + ESP8266) having in mind the community. There are a lot more software libraries, code snippets, hardware solutions and shields that are ready to go now. You can use almost all your legacy stuff with the new Arduino WiFi. Our focus is to maintain the simple “Sketch” approach allowing everyone an easy and robust development with minimal skills. At the same time we would like to allow people to deal, in their amazing projects (using gpio, adc, spi, etc.), with new opportunities like wireless communications, social networks, cloud services, etc. This will be possible, also, on the software side, trough a new, easy-to-use (serial port like) and open library: “Ciao” that means “Hi”, “Hello” in Italy but sounds like “Bridge” in China :) (Please look at http://labs.arduino.org/Ciao for more information and contributions, it is based on modular approach for the linux-based Yun, Tian, Industrial 101 and Lei, and will be the same for the Uno Wifi! ). We are putting a lot of effort on that approach in order to maintain full compatibility with all the stuff that run well and robustly on the Arduino Uno and similar and to implement complex and non-real-time tasks on the ESP. This is our approach, probably not the best, we know it. For this reason we will work harder on the Arduino Foundation! Thanks again for your feedback.

  12. The biggest problem here is that SRL claimed a trademark without notifiying it to the other part, that is a lesson for all of us, if you start a bussisness with a collaboration have all that shit in a contract, if you leave it for later it will be worst.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s