Arduino vs Arduino

We, at Canada Robotix, do not take side in this battle of Arduino vs Arduino and we try our best not to be bias. This matter is still pending to be tested in court.

If you haven’t been following the Arduino vs Arduino (and Genuino) story, here’s a quick summary of it:

  • Arduino LLC operate arduino.cc
  • Smart Project SRL (owned by one of the founder of Arduino LLC) manufacture “Arduino” Board from Italy
  • Founders of Arduino LLC got into a fight
  • Smart Project SRL rename as Arduino SRL, operate Arduino.org and continue to be the only manufacturer “Arduino” Board until June 2015
  • Arduino LLC asked other manufacturers to make “Arduino” boards in the USA and a new brand of “Genuino” boards from various other countries
  • Now:
    • cc
      • started to manufacture boards under the name “Genuino” and sell everywhere around the world except in the USA
      • started to manufacture boards under the name “Arduino” and sell them in the USA (we are in Canada so we are not part of it)
    • org
      • continue to manufacture boards under the name “Arduino” from Italy and sell all over the world
      • created Arduino Studio, the cloud version of the IDE (at least that’s the goal)

Brief history of Arduino

2001:

  • Processing IDE for media art developed by Casey Reas, Benjamin Fry and others

2003:

  • Wiring IDE for I/O board developed by Hernando Barragán based on Processing IDE as a thesis project advised by Casey Reas and Massimo Banzi
  • Smart Project SRL founded by Gianluca Martino

2005:

  • Arduino IDE and board developed by Massimo Banzi, David Cuartielles, Tom Igoe, Gianluca Martino, and David Mellis based on Wiring IDE and board
    • Operate and maintained arduino.cc

2008

  • Arduino LLC founded by Massimo Banzi, David Cuartielles, Tom Igoe, Gianluca Martino, and David Mellis
  • “Arduino” trademark registration filed by Smart Project SRL in Europe
  • Smart Project SRL started to manufacture “Arduino” boards

2009

  • “Arduino” trademark registration filed by Arduino LLC in the USA

2010

  • “Arduino” trademark granted to Smart Project SRL in Europe

2011

  • “Arduino” trademark granted to Arduino LLC in USA

2014

  • Disagreement among the founders on Arduino LLC’s business model
  • Smart Project SRL renamed as Arduino SRL and continue to manufacture “Arduino” board
    • Operate and maintained arduino.org
    • Federico Musto (developer behind Arduino Yun) joined Arduino SRL
  • Arduino SRL filed trademark action against Arduino LLC regarding to the “Arduino” trademark

2015

  • Arduino LLC filed a suit against Arduino SRL
  • Arduino SRL was the only manufacturer of “Arduino” boards until the summer months and sell “Arduino” boards worldwide
    • branched off Arduino IDE (v1.7.8 as of Dec 2, 2015)
    • launched Arduino Tian, Arduino M0 and some other shields
    • developed Arduino Studio (in BETA), a cloud-based IDE
  • Arduino LLC started a new brand called “Genuino” for boards distribution outside the USA and started to manufacture “Arduino” boards for distribution within USA
    • only arduino.cc and selected stores sell such “Arduino” and “Genuino” boards
    • continued to maintain and develop Arduino IDE (v1.6.6 as of Dec 2, 2015)
      • Arduino IDE v1.6.1 say board from Arduino SRL as counterfeit board but this warning no longer exist in later version of the Arduino IDE

Our Analysis

Discontent among the founders is believed to be the mis-alignment in the decision on where to manufacture Arduino boards.

On one side of the field is the Massimo camp of Arduino LLC who want to license out the “Arduino” brand and manufacture boards all over the world. On the other side of the field is the Gianluca (now Federico) camp who want to keep manufacturing in Italy with Arduino SRL (Smart Project SRL). The Massimo camp had traditionally be responsible for the software development and documentation while the Gianluca camp was responsible for the manufacturing and rolling “Arduino” boards off the oven.

It may be easy to say “hardware is more important” or “software is more important”. In our opinion, they are both as important as the other because you need both hardware and software. You need to look at the big picture starting from the birth of Arduino and not judge solely based on the current state of the project. Making an easy to use software and having good documentation is key to the success of a new piece of technology. However, ask yourself this question: Can the operating system you are reading this article work without the hardware that’s running it?

Software development require low initial start-up cost compared to hardware but can the software be tested without hardware? The start-up cost of a hardware business is huge when you have to start a manufacturing line from scratch to meet the demand of “Arduino” board. Certainly there are a lot of manufacturer that you can just contract out to build a piece of hardware once you have the blue print, but we all know where that can end up in term of quality and counterfeit.

You be the judge.

Will there be any noticeable difference from before

So far, other than the brand name on the boards, they are very similar. The hardware and software from both manufactures are interchangeable except for a few advanced Arduino board and the unique ones offered from arduino.org.

Our Opinion

If you were to ask us, we’ll have to say “We don’t care! Just give me a good quality board that works.” We are hackers and we’ll use whatever that’s good and available to get the job done.

If you want to read more about this, hackaday did a good job writing up on the latest development: http://hackaday.com/tag/arduino-vs-arduino/

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