What happens with Arduino project?



Arduino is always pointed as example for successful Open Source Software and Hardware project.

With thousands of contributors and millions of users this project is bespoken leader among microcontroller development.

No one remembers the tools used before Arduino.

There were few attempts to fork it for other platforms like Maple for STM32, Energia for MSP430, MPIDE for PIC32 but they never managed to make enough critical mass outside the main Arduino project and then simply were absorbed in Ardino IDE when it got possibility to merge different processor platforms. That was the end of all forks.

All this amazing progress would not be possible without Arduino being Open Source and the help of the thousands contributors.

With the success came the money and as always they were subject to disputes and all we know for the battles inside the Arduino team in the court.

Last year the problems have seemed to be resolved and Arduino Foundation was created and this was announcement as “new beginning”, but meantime some bothersome things were noticed by Open Source community.

All hardware projects listed on arduino.org are announced to be open source hardware, but none of them comply with OSHW definition. The sources are with status “coming soon” years after their release, or where these sources are available there are hidden black boxes which actually spoil the whole idea to allow other people to study, modify, improve and reproduce the design.

Makezine has published article this month with some bothersome facts about Federico Musto who seems to own major shares in the new formed Arduino foundation.

Wired also published article on this issue https://www.wired.com/2017/04/arduinos-new-ceo-federico-musto-may-fabricated-academic-record/

Meantime Philip Torone from Adafruit posted message on OSHW mailing list with list of boards on Arduino.org with problems in OSHW compliance

So many people now ask themselves the question: Is Arduino project hijacked and turn in to Closed Source Project and how this will affect the Arduino community in future?

30 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. iobridger
    Jun 28, 2017 @ 16:38:14

    What about the Genuino project?


  2. Zoltan Hoppar
    Jun 28, 2017 @ 18:17:52

    If Olimex has enough power, Olimex itself can step up to the place of Arduino.


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Jun 28, 2017 @ 18:44:48

      Arduino is not our project to step in, what we did were some OSHW boards for this platform as we are interested and curious about it, so wanted to try and to build boards with features which were not available – like low power, industrial grade, etc. but nothing more. The Arduino Foundation has the resources to shape and guide community to the future, what hardware and software to be add to this platform. The problem is that in this Foundation some not so decent people come just for the money and do not carry about open source spirit which made this project possible and it seems they now have the majority shares and votes.


  3. LFnoPjRRvjbBhcCuodIXt
    Jun 28, 2017 @ 18:28:59

    “No one remembers the tools used before Arduino.”

    That’s lie!
    I always opposed to aruino because it showed the tendence to assume that people are dumb and idiots (like drawing stupid drawings instead of real electronic schematics). Also, I really hate the attitude of Arduino which wants to integrate everything into itself – hardware, software, even to force you to use their IDE!

    Before, the libraries were written in a way you can take and integrate them in your project. With Arduino you have to integrate to Arduino or you die. This goes against the spirit of free software/hardware/anything!!!


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Jun 28, 2017 @ 18:37:01

      ok, which boards/tools you remember before Arduino? I all remember is the Basic Stamps and some microcontroller vendor boards.
      All these were closed source, and this is why when Arduino came offering Open Source development platform lot of people step in and start to contribute making this project great.


      • LFnoPjRRvjbBhcCuodIXt
        Jun 28, 2017 @ 19:47:50

        Olimex: Why the hell boards?

        I had lot of fun prototyping with bare AVRs and breadboards together with a programmer I did myself using the parallel port of my PC. Later on I soldered my circuits on hole-grid PCBs and even later I itched my own PCBs for my circuits. I didn’t need any stupid boards like the arduino ones!

        However that’s not the main point. Actually I have nothing againts people making (open and completely documented) boards. But if everything starts to arduino only, and every open library being written “is arduino” (i.e. must obey the convention of arduino) than it starts to smell…

      • Olivier
        Jun 28, 2017 @ 21:36:08

        What about Bascom-AVR? It’s great, not free but quite cheap.

      • OLIMEX Ltd
        Jun 29, 2017 @ 08:11:04

        Sure BascomAVR was very popular, thanks for mention it, but it never managed to get such huge community and so many libraries and projects

  4. Trackback: “Is Arduino project hijacked and turned on closed source?” @Olimex @arduinoorg #FreeArduino « Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers!
  5. Trackback: “Is Arduino project hijacked and turned on closed source?” @Olimex @arduinoorg #FreeArduino – Open Electronics Project
  6. donotdespisethesnake
    Jun 29, 2017 @ 14:40:18

    Q. Is Arduino project hijacked and turn in to Closed Source Project

    A. No.

    Q. and how this will affect the Arduino community in future?

    A. People might have to create their own designs instead of demanding Arduino LLC give away rights to stuff they created, and own?

    Arduino created the whole Arduino ecosystem, they have the right to decide what they do with their trademark. If people don’t like that, do business with another company.

    Adafruit are orchestrating a fuss about this because they have taken a dislike to Federico Musto. Nothing has really changed at Arduino, and it appears Adafruit were happy to do business with Musto before they found out about his “mistaken” degree claims.

    How would it be if someone said Olimex products are now too important to the Open Source community to leave to Olimex, and that an independent foundation should take control of Olimex products? I don’t think you would be happy with that!

    Keep Calm and Carry on Creating Open Source.


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Jun 29, 2017 @ 14:55:45

      “People might have to create their own designs instead of demanding Arduino LLC give away rights to stuff they created, and own?”

      I do not see anything wrong with this. They are free to release closed source hardware , but why they continue to use Open Source in their boards description?

      Why they do not make it clear – Arduino.org boards are not Open Source Hardware and if you want Open Source Hardware please look elsewhere?
      This would send clear message to Arduino community.

      Right now the situation is more like the Musto Academic degree 😉 he is “mistakenly” claim something, but the facts says otherwise.

      Look at front page of Arduino.org:


      or the Primo back:


      It’s clearly written that Arduino.org deliver Open Source Prototyping platform, while the facts are that they deliver Closed Source product.


  7. Trackback: What happens with #Arduino project? https://olimex.wordpress.com/20… | Dr. Roy Schestowitz (罗伊)
  8. Trackback: Tor's blog – I’m getting disappointed with Arduino.
  9. Mr. Paul
    Jul 03, 2017 @ 06:21:50

    ‘If people don’t like that, do business with another company.” Yes, that is what is being discussed.


  10. Elliot Williams
    Jul 05, 2017 @ 16:10:46

    Open source hardware or software? If software, that’s no problem. It’s all completely open, and always will be because of the license. You can’t put toothpaste back in a tube.

    “Open source hardware” or not depends on the definition. The Yun and others with embedded Linux chips onboard use chipsets from Atheros, and the info about them is under an NDA.

    This is old news. http://hackaday.com/2015/02/24/is-the-arduino-yun-open-hardware/

    In that sense, they’re very similar to the Olimex System-on-module boards:

    If all you want is to see what’s going on inside the Atheros black box, you can find the reference design and chip docs online, because _someone_ has broken their NDA. But the Arduino company can’t.

    But not fully open doesn’t mean “closed”, and the majority of Arduino products are fully open. The ones with Atheros parts are only partially open. I wouldn’t come down too hard on them for this.


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Jul 05, 2017 @ 16:24:00

      Just to clarify Olimex SOM modules are not open source hardware neither are promoted as such.
      They were made specially for customers who do not want to open source their designs, so there is no OSHW logo neither claim that they are OSHW.
      This is not the case with all products on Arduino.org
      As I wrote in previous reply there is nothing wrong if they want to make Closed Source Hardware, we can’t expect this from them neither we can request for instance Linux FOSS contributors to do only open source software and to refuse paid jobs by customers for closed source projects.
      The problem I see here is that boards are promote as OSHW while failing to meet the requirements for OSHW definition, like hiding internal firmware and not providing CAD files.


  11. Peter
    Jul 11, 2017 @ 00:24:14

    Maybe a ridiculous comparison, but is your PC hardware completely Open Source?


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Jul 11, 2017 @ 10:15:25

      I don’t know what do you mean by “your PC hardware” but if you mean my desktop computer, nobody claimed to me that is selling me Open Source product when I bought it. So I was aware that I buy closed source hardware. Here the question is why Arduino.org claims their boards are Open Source Platform while they do not comply to OSHW definition.


      • Peter
        Jul 11, 2017 @ 12:00:21

        Sorry, my bad. So the problem is them not being OSHW while claiming to be so. What I was trying to point out, are there any true open source hardware devices like the Arduino (or computers in general) out there, where all components comply with OSHW specs?

      • OLIMEX Ltd
        Jul 11, 2017 @ 12:08:37

        of course there are

  12. Freire
    Jul 13, 2017 @ 21:58:47


  13. Freire
    Jul 13, 2017 @ 22:03:58

    “If you find all the files, it’s #opensouce, if not, it´s just marketing”
    Massimo Banzi



  14. dSP
    Jul 16, 2017 @ 15:38:57

    what about http://wiring.org.co? if Arduino is a fork of Wiring and there is dispute over the Arduino Trademark, giving the original project some attention seems worthwhile to me.

    Wiring website seems not active though…


  15. Laurent GUERBY
    Jul 19, 2017 @ 20:35:59

    An interesting read on the early history of the Wiring then Arduino project :


    Olimex is right IMHO: if you talk about being “open/libre” to sell a product it’s just being honest to really open the source and schematics.

    From the link above it looks like being honest is unfortunately in rare supply in the Arduino headline-grabbing crowd.

    On a whole different level for those thinking about open/libre hardware at the processor level I recommand Bunnie Huang talk here:

    Keynote Address: Impedance Matching Expectations Between RISC-V and the Open Hardware Community
    video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXwy65d_tu8
    slides : https://riscv.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Wed1100-impedancematch-huang.pdf

    May be a RISC-V board at Olimex is coming? 🙂


  16. Trackback: CEO @federicomusto controversy mars @arduinoorg open future @techcrunch by @johnbiggs #FreeArduino « Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers!
  17. Trackback: CEO @federicomusto controversy mars @arduinoorg open future @techcrunch by @johnbiggs #FreeArduino – Open Electronics Project
  18. Trackback: Arduino: “Federico Musto will pursue other opportunities outside Arduino” #FreeArduino « Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers!
  19. Trackback: Arduino: “Federico Musto will pursue other opportunities outside Arduino” #FreeArduino – Open Electronics Project

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