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Proposal: Arduino

Although Arduino is a very popular platform, there are others that appeal to the same kind of users. Raspberry Pi, Basic Stamp, and Propeller are some examples of easy to use microcontroller platforms that are likely to appeal to some of the same folks that use Arduino. It'd be nice if we didn't need separate SE sites for each of these, and instead fielded questions on any of them in one site. Supporting more than just Arduino on the site would surely also inspire more and better questions, create opportunities for cross-polination between platforms, and protect the site against obsolescence when, someday far in the future, Arduino begins to lose popularity and is overtaken by some competing platform.

  • One problem with that is Raspberry Pi already exists. More over, the platforms are quite different. – asheeshr Mar 5 '13 at 1:30
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The Raspberry Pi is conceptually quite different to the Arduino platform, it is a "single-board computer", compared to a microcontroller board, which is an embedded device platform. Different purposes and approaches. Typical uses of the Pi are in areas one would not consider an Arduino for, and vice versa.

The other microcontroller platforms mentioned too have little in common with the Arduino "universe", in that the 'duino world is all about a particular set of open hardware board reference designs (clones and all), with a particular set of bootloaders, supporting a couple of Arduino-defined standards of "shields", and programmed through a particular IDE, the Arduino IDE.

Sure, the same Arduino boards could be used without the bootloader, and without the IDE, but that would then take away the advantage that has provided the Arduino with so much traction: A common set of code norms and functions, a vast community of practitioners, and a mission statement that specifically precludes both EEs and programmers: "It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments" (from the Arduino official site).

The other MCU boards out there may have similar advantages, but if they had such a similar strong support system for the practitioner rather than the technical user, they too would have had the ubiquity and wide user-base that the Arduino enjoys today. If any such board gets to that point, I am sure there will be enough proponents, and enough reason, to propose such a site.

That time is not now.

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    ...propose such a site or IMO, to include it in the site scope as such a platform will affect the same target audience, will probably become a solution to the same problems that Arduino solves, and will evolve into having a similar supporting environment. So,it would be extremely compatible with whatever environment this proposal is able to develop. – asheeshr Mar 6 '13 at 2:12
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I realise this is a rather old discussion, but I've just setup a relevant new proposal called "Making and Tinkering" which is very much in this direction. The aim is to have something similar to the Arduino site, but encompassing any tinkering/prototyping platform which hobbyists and artists etc might use.

Unfortunately, it's currently closed as a duplicate of EE. However, I'm making a case for it being a distinct community because it has a different focus. The discussion is here: https://area51.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/20427/proposal-for-making-and-tinkering

Any input to this would be much appreciated.

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