[chbot] Digilent ChipKit Uno32

Charles Manning cdhmanning at gmail.com
Tue Aug 14 05:50:08 BST 2012


I think you have taken a genuine concern and completely missed the point by 
going on about the hardware the way you have.

Avoidance of vendor lock-in does not preclude the use of closed technologies. 
What it precludes is wedding yourself to one particular technology, be that 
one micro, one toolchain or Windows etc. in a way that prevents moving.

Where this really matters in the world of micros is that once you have wed 
yourself to some variants of micros it is really hard to move to something 
else if there is a silicon bug  or supply issue.

The other concern is locking in your skills. I'm getting tired of learning a 
new CPU architecture for each different family of micros.

The way to avoid lock-in is to use standards etc supported by many different 

Which NOR flash should I use? I don't care, so long as it if CFI-compliant 
flash so I can switch in a different flash if required.

Which hard drive should I use? Again I don't care so long as they use IDE, 
SATA or whatever.

Which SD card interface? Same deal.

If I develop code I want to be able to port it to other environments.

I want to be able to use Linux.

Which micro? Well these days my view is there better be a good reason for 
selecting anything other than ARM. One general architecture (yes, there are 
sub-architectures) and one debugger/toolchain covers everything from 
sub-dollar micros to GHz multi-cores.

Sure ARM is proprietary, but it does not limit me to any one vendor. If one 
vendor does not have the parts I want, another will. Porting from one ARM 
micro to another is almost trivial. That is not lock in.

Where lock in happens is when we use off-beat architectures only used by one 
vendor. PIC 8-bits for instance. At least the PIC32 is MIPS based and there 
are a few MIPS licensees, but none else with single-chip offerings, AFAIK.

I share the concern about the way Microchip controls their licensing. A while 
ago I attended a conference where the Microchip people said that their tools 
were gcc based, yet they were keeping enough under wraps to prevent the goals 
of open source. Everything was tethered to the workbench. I don't know if 
they have improved since then.

These concerns seem quite common:


If you are part of Microchip, I would suggest that you take on this feedback 
and pass it back to management. These are genuine concerns that alienate the 
developer community.

Just arguing with people that have legitimate reasons to avoid your product is 

On Tuesday 14 August 2012 14:59:55 Michael Field wrote:
> On 13/08/2012 9:02 p.m., Volker Kuhlmann wrote:
>  > Well I'm not interested in vendor lock-ins and non-portability.
> This is getting completely off topic and I'm being a bit facetious, but
> I'm trying to understand how you can reject what to me appears to be a
> useful Arduino work-a-like with claims of "Vendor lock-ins and
> non-portability" when in practice for anybody using the product it makes
> zero difference
> - any simple projects (and some complex ones) will move between boards
> with minimal fuss.
> - for any complex projects, if the AVR doesn't cut it, then maybe PIC32
> is the answer. The developer understand that it will be locked to that
> hardware
> - Maybe it's Arduino's fault for not being portable in the first place,
> not the PIC32's problem. (Like a bit-bashing USB HID stack is ever going
> to be portable...)
> I'ld really like to know were you draw the line in the sand vs
> Open/Closed...
> What hardware do you use for day-to-day computing?
> Do you frown on using 'closed' toolchains to build Open tools? Like in
> the old days when I used HP's C compiler to build Samba?
> If you are on a 'closed' CPU? If so, do you have the microcode for it?
> Or the VHDL design for it?
> Maybe you one of few who have a working OpenRISC system? If so, did you
> use the vendor's closed tools to implement the design in an FPGA?
> What about licensing on DVI-D & HDMI? Is it Display Port only for you? I
> recently implemented DVI-D/HDMI on an FPGA for my own use, and nobody
> came knocking...
> Do you have the schematics for your PC's motherboard?
> Do you run OpenBIOS?
> Do you use TOE NICs or real RAID controllers with their own closed
> firmware?
> What do you use for storage to avoid closed firmware on your disk
> drives?  I've done the magic "fix your mates broken HDD with a
> USB-to-serial adapter" https://sites.google.com/site/seagatefix/
> allowing us to replace buggy firmware on a bricked drive... it would
> have been so much easier if it was Open Source ;-)
> Mike
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