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Just in! The Netduino is an open source electronics platform using the .NET Micro Framework. The board features a 32-bit microcontroller and a rich development environment, making it a perfect solution for engineers and hobbyists alike. Here’s everything you need to know to get up and running with this amazing little micro controller.To use Netduino, you’ll need to be running Windows XP or later and the free Visual Studio Express 2010 (or the full version).

The Netduino team is hard at work on a fully open source development, compiler, and deployment tool based on MonoDevelop and Mono.

You can download everything you need from the Netduino site. Here are the links you’ll need:

  1. Microsoft Visual C# Express 2010: http://www.microsoft.com/express/downloads/
  2. Microsoft .NET Micro Framework v4.1 SDK: http://www.netduino.com/downloads/MicroFrameworkSDK.msi
  3. Netduino SDK v4.1: http://www.netduino.com/downloads/netduinosdk_32bit.exe (for 32-bit Windows) http://www.netduino.com/downloads/netduinosdk_64bit.exe (for 64-bit Windows)

Step 1: Download and install everything
First off, you’ll need to download everything you need from the links above: Visual C# Express, the .NET Micro Framework v4.1 SDK, and the Netduino SDK (32-bit or 64-bit depending on which variant of Windows you are running).

Step 2: Connect the Netduino
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Using the supplied Micro-USB cable, connect the Netduino to your computer. If all goes well, Windows will find the driver and install it. If not, make sure all the cables are connected well, unplug the USB connector from your PC and plug it in again.

Step 3: Fire up Visual Studio
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With the Netduino driver installed, you’re ready to launch Visual Studio. Locate it on your Start menu, and run it. After a few seconds, you’ll see the opening screen; click New Project. From the dialog that appears, choose Micro Framework and click Netduino Application. Give your new project a name, and click OK:
009_new_netduino_application.png

Step 4: Write some code
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Now you’re ready to program. Let’s do a basic Blink program. In the list of files to the right of the screen (under Solution Explorer), double-click on Program.cs to open it in the editor. Look for the comment that says // write your code here and replace it with the following:

OutputPort led = new OutputPort(Pins.ONBOARD_LED, false);
while (true) {
    led.Write(true);	// turn on the LED
    Thread.Sleep(250); // sleep for 250ms
    led.Write(false);	// turn off the LED
    Thread.Sleep(250); // sleep for 250ms
}

010_write_an_app.png

Step 5: Configure the project
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You’ll only need to do this step once for each project you create. By default, Visual Studio will try to run the program in an emulator, which isn’t any fun. You need to tell it to deploy the application to the Netduino, so click Project and choose YourApplicationName Properties. In the list to the left of this window, click .NET Micro Framework and change the Transport setting to USB:
012_change_emulator_to_usb.png

Step 6: Deploy your program

Click the Program.cs tab at the top of the screen to return to your source code. Press F5 (or click Debug and choose Start Debugging). In a few seconds, the program should be running on your Netduino and the lights will start blinking!
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In the Maker Shed:
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Software, meet hadware. The Netduino from the Maker Shed.

Brian Jepson

I’m a tinkerer and finally reached the point where I fix more things than I break. When I’m not tinkering, I’m probably editing a book for Maker Media.


Related

Comments

  1. RocketGuy says:

    This is like “Organic Arsenic”, technically organic, and yet not healthy. “Open” and “.NET” produces for me a similar cognitive dissonance. I’m sure it’s a technically open project or device, but it requires participation in one of the most egregious closed/consumer fleecing systems in human history. (Not to start a platform war in the least, I’m getting really ticked at Apple too these days).

    Sorry if this is excessively grumpy, but sometimes I have to “tell it like it is” (which actually means express my opinion).

    If there’s somebody out there who finds this device incredibly useful for their circumstances, then of course, go with god and all that. Just seems like a huge step backwards to me.

    Happy skies-
    -RG

    1. Brian Jepson says:

      @RocketGuy: that requirement will be gone soon. The Netduino folks are very far along in a suite of tools based on the open source Mono project (“An open source, cross-platform, implementation of C# and the CLR that is binary compatible with Microsoft.NET”).

      When that’s done, you’ll be able to use this on Linux and Mac OS X. I’ve seen a demo of the tools, and they are coming along nicely. You’ll use MonoDevelop instead of Visual Studio, and the Netduino team is porting the .NET Micro Framework toolchain (which Microsoft released recently under Apache 2.0).

      Stay tuned–we’ll have more updates about Linux and Mac support soon!

      - Brian

      1. theophrastus says:

        I understand the reasoning behind this choice, but I’ve seen “Stay tuned–we’ll have more updates about Linux and Mac support soon!” far too often and never attained. nah… I’m with RocketGuy, i’ll stick with published protocols and open platforms from square one.

        Good luck in your efforts nonetheless.

        1. Brian Jepson says:

          Yeah, I’ve heard that way too often myself (still waiting on a lot of those).

          But I’ve gotten a demo of their work in progress, and it’s real. I’ll nudge them to get something out soon, even if it’s a git repo with code that’s only part-way there.

      2. Alan says:

        I’m with RocketGuy too. Besides the plethora of “Mac/Linux coming soon” precedents, I’d also point to the dismal history of open sourcers trying to get corporate-spawned frameworks working on unsupported platforms. For example, I was very excited when I heard that one could write Cocoa applications on non-Apple hardware. Then I actually looked into the GNUstep project, and my excitement shriveled. Don’t get me wrong, those folks are making a valiant effort. I just think it will remain a valiant effort.

        1. Chris Walker (Secret Labs) says:

          theophrastus, Alan,

          It’s good to hear your feedback on Mac/Linux.

          .NET Micro Framework is open source (everything from the firwmare to the lwIP networking stack to the postprocessor and deployment tools). It’s licensed under the Apache 2.0 license (BSD for lwIP), which is recognized under the Open Source Software definition (OSS). The Netduino firmware, software, and source code examples are licensed under Apache as well.

          I had the privilege of meeting Miguel de Icaza at an event in March and started talking about how we could support .NET Micro Framework development on Mac and Linux. We started porting the first part of the code to run under Mono. They were extremely helpful and made some enhancements to Mono to support the effort. We currently have an experimental version of the .NET Micro Framework deployment tool up and running on Mac and Linux. We’re working on porting the postprocessor as well.

          Linking together MonoDevelop and the open-source .NET Micro Framework SDK would provide a really nice, native development environment for Mac and Linux users. Novell and the Mono team have done a lot of work on their tools and platforms and it shows.

          In the meantime, we fully support Parallels (and VMWare Fusion via a USB-to-TTL cable) on the Mac. We know that there’s some distance to go. We’re looking forward to making the journey. Open source is a community, and we’re proud to be a small part of that community.

          Today, we’re announcing an open source project to port the .NET Micro Framework development tools to Mac and Linux using Mono and C++. We’ll post some screenshots of what’s already working on our forums. We can post the patch files if you’d like to build it and play with it yourself.

          If you’re interested in making this support a reality sooner, we can always use the help. It’s open source. It’s designed to support all .NET Micro Framework hardware–not just the Netduino hardware. We’d welcome your skill, experience, and expertise.

          We’ll be up front and honest about where we are and where we’re going. We love Mac and Linux and Windows users all. Now let’s build something together.

          Chris
          Secret Labs LLC

        2. Brian Jepson says:

          I think you’re being too harsh on Mono. Mono is 100% open source, comes from Novell (same people who sponsor the SUSE Linux distribution), and is used in many production systems as a way to use the .NET programming model without having to use any proprietary software. It’s been around for a long time, it has a vibrant developer and user community, and it’s solid.

  2. Larry Y says:

    Interesting… anyway, I don’t see much documentation aside from the processor spec sheet.

    I take it that not all the features of the ARM-based chip are accessible? Mainly, is there a connector or pins for JTAG and/or Ethernet on it?

    And I’ll have to read up on .Net Micro framework, as I’m coming from a C + RTOS background…

    1. Chris Walker (Secret Labs) says:

      Larry Y,

      Hi, this is Chris Walker from Secret Labs (Netduino). I wanted to drop by and answer your questions…

      The SAM7X chip does have an Ethernet PHY built into it. We weren’t able to get Ethernet on the Netduino, but we know that Ethernet is important to many users. We’re currently getting lwIP up and running on the processor and also evaluating Ethernet shield options. Stay tuned.

      You can also remix our design files and build your own board with the Ethernet pins exposed. It’s all Creative Commons licensed (or Apache 2.0, in the case of the software).

      As far as JTAG goes, .NET Micro Framework deploys _and_ debugs over USB (or Serial if you prefer). While native ARM code isn’t our initial target market, you can write and deploy raw C++ to the board using SAM-BA on Windows or Linux. We’ve exposed the erase pin (top-right corner, underneath digital pin 0) to make it easy to reprogram from scratch.

      It’s a crazy busy day here with launch, but I’ll try to drop in to answer other questions a bit later in the evening as well.

      Thanks for your feedback (and to everyone else for your feedback too; we’re listening and we want to provide solutions that meet a broad variety of needs, including Mac and Linux…more on that in a bit).

      Chris

      1. Larry Y says:

        Chris,

        Thanks for answering my questions. As my day job is programming DSPs in C, I do realize my skill set puts me outside of your target audience.

        I might have some C code I’d like to port over, but I understand that this isn’t a priority for the tools guys at Netduino (and the inaccessible JTAG pins may make it inadvisable).

        Still, I just may order one. Gives me an excuse to learn C#… The price point is good for an ARM based board. By using the Arduino form factor, it taps into the Arduino ecosystem. By using .NET Micro framework, it makes the platform accessible to the programmers w/o knowledge of C and low level programming and hardware.

        1. Chris Walker (Secret Labs) says:

          Thanks for your interest!

          BTW, Netduino is the first product in a wave. Secret Labs has a lot more in the works (which we’ll be sharing over the coming months).

          We have some ARM-based solutions coming that make low-volume projects “doable” instead of “too expensive.” Stay tuned.

  3. undeded says:

    I’m with Rocket Guy on this. This is way beyond my knowledge at this point. As someone just learning to use an Arduino I don’t have a clue. This just seems a little beyond the typical DIY project.

  4. watermoccasin says:

    I am sure that .netduino will do well.

    I also agree that anything .whatever or mono is not pure open source. I have been using linux since the 1990′s and to me to have a .netwhatever is an insult to open source. People who call .net open source do not have a clue what open source is all about.

    Anytime you try to mix open source with closed source there will be issues. Been there done that. I was a mswindows admin for more than a decade. The best thing we ever did was to dump ms products. now we do not have any licensing or other incompatibility issues. Samba like mono is for clueless amateurs….. Don’t need it don’t want it. Too many potential security issues.

    I do not want to take a chance that if I build something .netduino that ms will not come down the line and ask for ms taxes. This is especially true I build something for commercial use. I also do not want the item to become worthless down the line for lack of support or other issues.

    We still use older intel and ppc architecture equipment that Ms has either never supported or dropped support years ago. Open still allows us to use that equipment. Go away MS products. Don’t want you and don’t need you.

  5. EricTheGeek says:

    Maybe I’m the only loser that doesn’t like C++, but I am hoping that Netduino will support VB.NET in addtion to C++. Is that true, or is it just C++?

    1. Chris Walker (Secret Labs) says:

      EricTheGeek,

      Netduino supports C# out of the box.

      And if you’re a C++ programmer, you can erase the .NET MF firmware and write/deploy ARM C++ using your favorite C++ IDE, compiler, etc.

      I personally want to see VB.NET support on the Netduino. If you look at the .NET Micro Framework source code, there are actually some Visual Basic support files in there. VB has a few dependencies that C# doesn’t have (like the Microsoft….VisualBasic namespace and possibly some specialized Exception handling).

      So VB.NET is not supported today, but hopefully this is something that either we, Microsoft, or the open source community can pitch in and finish implementing in the near future.

      In the meantime, C# is sometimes described as “VB with curly braces”. They’re very, very similar. Not the same, but siblings with the same namespaces. Check out some samples…you might just find yourself programming in C# after a weekend of tinkering.

      I’ll see what we can do to help move along VB support… And please keep your feedback coming.

      Chris
      Secret Labs LLC

  6. David Bono says:

    Geez, why all the hate for this? Whether or not .NET fits your definition of “open source”, I think a lot more people are already familiar with .NET, Visual Studio, and its supported languages than the tools for other popular microcontrollers like Arduino.

    This lowers the barrier for those folks to get involved with making hardware (people who might otherwise pass up Arduino’s tool set).

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not picking on Arduino (I love it, in fact). But coming from Visual Studio and .NET, the development tools do seem a bit wanting.

    If you prefer Linux to Windows, then there are still plenty of alternatives out there. This just expannds the choices; I don’t think it’s about excluding people.

    I’m not connected in any way with Mono or Secret Labs – just my $0.02.

  7. watermoccasin says:

    Even Miguel admits that Mono is not without potential issues. Who cared about DOS, but MS has come back and nailed people to a cross. I would not trust MS with the back of my hand. Remember they were adjudicated a monopoly in more than one country and are still under scrutiny. Even in it’s own reports to the SEC MS has admitted security issues with it’s own software. I could care less about C++ or “.net”. I would not purchased anything that limited you to such a small amount of development packages. There is one big difference At least with C++ any issues can be fixed by recompiling the source code of C++ itself. With .net there is no chance of that. Untill you can do that, .net is not truly open. Too many people look at the end product instead of the whole process.

    1. Brian Jepson says:

      My understanding is that you can recompile Mono with itself. According to their web site, Mono has been self-hosting since 2002:

      http://www.mono-project.com/CSharp_Compiler

      So you’re right that .NET is not truly open; I will not argue with that one bit. But Mono is the way out.

    2. https://me.yahoo.com/a/atTy2q1rq9xsQqOzKLGLtS0B6rVoJdHMh1s-#5022d says:

      WaterMoccasin is correct that I have stated that there are potential problems with Mono, claiming otherwise would make no sense. But I have also stated that anyone that writes more than 100 lines of code today is likely infringing someone else’s patent.

      The C# language, the virtual machine and the core libraries have been placed under the Microsoft Community Promise patent license. This grants implementations of C#, the virtual machine and the core libraries patent coverage, as long as they are full implementations of the specs.

      In the Netduino case, Microsoft has gone one step beyond and has used the Microsoft Public License that gives a patent grant for the virtual machine and libraries specifically for the embedded space.

      I have also said that if you are worried about software patents, you might as well leave the software industry at once and find a safer market to spend your time on, like the sausage industry, because software patents are everywhere and it is trivial to find infringing code everywhere.

      Now, regardless of the pedantic observations above (“everything infringes”), realistically, I do not believe that Mono is at any more danger than any other technology.

      What we have seen is that what matters is how many billions of dollars you are making, and when you start making some billions of dollars, you will find a lot of people will have juicy claims that will bring forward and sue you in court.

      For instance, plugins in browsers are patented and there is a company actively cashing out on this. We also know that Ajax-based menus are patented, and Microsoft owns the patent. We have also learned recently that every possible idea on a mobile phone has been patented by someone.

      Patents do not care what language you use to write your code. They are government granted monopolies on ideas.

      As for the ideas in C#, those Microsoft has made free for people to use.

      - Miguel

  8. watermoccasin says:

    Microsoft Community Promise patent license is not worth the paper it is not written on. too many crossed fingers behind their back, If they really wanted that they would not have just made a promise but made a “BINDING” legal document.

    ” What license or licenses are you using for the Mono Project?

    We use four open source licenses:

    * The C# compiler is dual-licensed under the MIT/X11 license and the GNU General Public License (http://www.opensource.org/licenses/gpl-license.html) (GPL).

    * The tools are released under the terms of the GNU General Public License (http://www.opensource.org/licenses/gpl-license.html) (GPL).

    * The runtime libraries are under the GNU Library GPL 2.0 (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/library.html#TOC1) (LGPL 2.0).

    * The class libraries are released under the terms of the MIT X11 (http://www.opensource.org/licenses/mit-license.html) license.

    * ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET AJAX client software are released by Microsoft under the open source Microsoft Permissive License (http://www.opensource.org/licenses/ms-pl.html). ”

    I do not use mono and remove any mono apps from my linux install.

    I contacted Novell to tell me exactly what parts of mono were under what specific license and got a runaround answer.

    Illicit Drugs are free till you become dependent on them and then you pay out the wazzoo for them. That is how I feel about mono.

    Microsoft open source and Microsoft security… Yeah right????.

    See http://www.groklaw.net

    1. Chris Walker (Secret Labs) says:

      I just wanted to point out one quick thing about the licensing for .NET Micro Framework.

      The .NET Micro Framework is licensed under the Apache 2.0 license. The lwIP stack in .NET Micro Framework is licensed under the BSD License. Neither is licensed under the Microsoft Public License.

      Both the Apache 2.0 and BSD licenses have been approved by the Open Source Initiative via their license review process.
      http://www.opensource.org/licenses/alphabetical

      There are a lot of technologies out there with the name “.NET” in them. It’s really cool that you can write code on a Netduino in .NET Micro Framework and then use that code in a Windows Phone application or a desktop application using Silverlight or the .NET Framework.

      But unlike .NET, the .NET Micro Framework is published under an industry-standard open source license.

      I know there will be lots of confusion around this. Microsoft has a lot of “history.” They seemed to be hesistant to embrace open source for a long time. Now that they’re releasing some of their technologies under industry-standard open source licenses, I hope that we encourage that behavior and show them it was the right choice to make.

      Some people will love the new open-source .NET Micro Framework. Some people will have problems with it. Both sides have valid arguments. I’m just glad to see people with passion–some of the best kinds of makers!

      Chris

    2. https://me.yahoo.com/a/atTy2q1rq9xsQqOzKLGLtS0B6rVoJdHMh1s-#5022d says:

      Wishing that the “Microsoft Community Promise patent license is not worth the paper it is not written on” does not make it so. Any intellectual property lawyer or contract lawyer will be able to walk you through the process for a small sum, ask him to explain to you “Estoppel”.

      As for the precise licenses, it is very simple, it is spelled out in plain English and in plain sight in the source code release.

      For the Google challenged:

      http://github.com/mono/mono/blob/master/LICENSE

      - Miguel

  9. Phillip Torrone says:

    hey folks – i’m really happy to see this release, it’s a new entry in open source hardware and the netduino folks have done everything properly to call what they’re doing open source hardware – very impressive.

    it’s hard to ship kits :)

    i’d encourage everyone to try and welcome them in to the community, maybe the product isn’t for you, or maybe it is – either way – we are inclusive here, not exclusive.

    if this new effort brings more makers in, great – if it doesn’t – the hardware is open source, others can do what they need to make it work.

    yes, it’s not 100% perfect for everyone – but nothing really is, give it time, allow them to get some customers and we’ll see what happens :)

    1. David Bono says:

      Well said, Phillip. I for one think this is pretty cool (I just placed my order).

      I don’t know why some people feel they need to come here and subject the rest of us to their anti-Microsoft tantrums.

    2. Cuno says:

      I like your positive attitude.

      It’s easy to be dismissive of everything Microsoft-related, but this can lead to overlooking some gems.

      The .NET Micro Framework 4.0 was released under the Apache 2.0 license. This license can hardly be faulted as not enough open source like. There was criticism, since the added TCP/IP stack and cryptography libraries were not open source.

      The Microsoft guys not only promised to look into the possibility of replacing these components, they actually made good on their promise. I just took a look at the license texts in the current 4.1 release of the .NET Micro Framework SDK. In this release the lwIP stack and the OpenSSL libraries are provided, both open source with BSD-style licenses.

      The Netduino hardware seems like a solid piece of engineering, and it’s also open source (Creative Commons-Attribution for the hardware, Apache 2.0 for the firmeware).

      So there’s a lot of good stuff already on the table, which justifies a positive attitude towards this new platform.

      Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt!

  10. billr says:

    Perfectly predictable move by M$. The makers of Arduino took the risk and created the market. Now it’s time for M$ to move in and make the money.

    from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend_and_extinguish

    “Embrace, extend and extinguish,” also known as “Embrace, extend, and exterminate,” is a phrase that the U.S. Department of Justice found was used internally by Microsoft to describe its strategy for entering product categories involving widely used standards, extending those standards with proprietary capabilities, and then using those differences to disadvantage its competitors.

    1. David Bono says:

      ZOMG!!! M$ is moving into the home hobbyist microcontroller market! It must be worth, umm, thousands of dollars a year!

      What makes you think Microsoft is behind (or even aware of) Netduino?

  11. mc says:

    There have been some remarkable displays of unprofessionalism here. Apparently, some people are saying they hate Microsoft because they think their peers expect them to. (I’m so old I can remember when it was IBM you were supposed to hate.)

    If you want to point out real problems with Microsoft products, or anybody else’s products, I’m all ears.

    But if your objection to Microsoft is just that Microsoft is commercially successful — or that your peers have told you to hate Microsoft — you are not the kind of person I would hire or recommend. Engineers are supposed to choose products by their actual attributes, not by tribal loyalty games.

  12. watermoccasin says:

    If you think MS software is so good, ask the London stock exchange about it. Since we have stopped using Microsoft products, our roi (return on investment) has skyrocketed As we have not have to buy new equipment and software every ten seconds. We also do not have to waste time so far dealing with viruses and spyware. We have been able to cut IT costs dramatically. If we had stayed with MS we would probably be broke by now.

    We use linux and bsd on servers, desktops, networking equipment and almost anything that is a cisc. Licensing nightmares have gone away also. Nice to be able to use the same source code of both apps and the os across many platforms. Ironically I have received better support with open source than we ever did on MS.

    I want to use our hardware and our software the way we want to do it, not the MS and proprietary companies want us to. The one thing that really upsets me with ms is that they expect you to pay a license fee to use your own equipment. They can take that idea and put it where the sun does not shine. No peer pressure involved. No fud just fact. NO MS here……

    1. mc says:

      That’s interesting, but is it any reason not to use C# or Netduino?

    2. David Bono says:

      Good. We’re so glad for you.

      You just keep on spreadin’ the love, mkay?

      ‘Bye, now.

  13. sandb says:

    sorry, don’t really understand: why would I want to write code for a micro controller in .NET? (I imagine that garbage collection and the rest of the framework requires quite a lot of resources from the micro controller).

    Is it just so you can use a “nicer” IDE e.g. M$ Visual Studio? Or to allow .NET people to play with arduino like platforms?

    It seems to me if you are going to wanna do anything serious, you would have to revert to C/C++?

    Or did I miss the point?

    1. Chris Walker (Secret Labs) says:

      Hi sandb,

      Thanks for the post! Really good questions. Let me see if I can answer some here…

      There are a lot of programmers out there who haven’t made the jump to C++ or to Arduino+Wiring because it requires learning a whole new set of technologies. This includes the .NET programmers you mentioned (where familiar tools make it _really_ easy to start playing with microcontrollers).

      There are lots of microcontroller projects which could benefit from event-based programming, breakpoints, debugging, threading, garbage collection, etc. (Not the projects which are trying to eek every bit of performance out of an MCU or trying to build a widget for a dollar–other tools are more appropriate for those projects).

      There are a lot of low-volume products within engineering firms which are just too expensive to design and manufacture–but which the .NET Micro Framework and Netduino enable to be built quickly and cost effectively.

      You can also write native C++ drivers and integrate them into the Netduino firmware–so like on the desktop or mobile phone, you get the simplicity of managed code and the raw power of native code. Over in the Windows CE world, .NET Compact Framework has been very popular on embedded devices (coupled with native code).

      We’ve made the Netduino’s hardware design files open source (Creative Commons) and licensed the source code via open source (Apache 2.0). Many engineers will start with Netduino for prototyping and low volume projects and then as volume kicks up they’ll go into cost reduction mode…either designing their own ARM-based boards using .NET Micro Framework or in some cases cost optimizing further by moving to native C++ code on ARM, AVR, PIC, etc.

      So in the end: people starting out with microcontrollers, low-volume microcontroller-based products, and sophisticated microcontroller projects are all good uses. High-volume, every-penny-per-unit-counts projects will of course use C/C++ as you mentioned…on the “lowest cost MCU”.

      Chris
      Secret Labs LLC

  14. Findus says:

    Hi Chris,
    I hear talk about open source, open-standards and other openness. How about some openness about who Secret Projects is? What is your relationship to Microsoft? Are you funded by them? Part of them?
    A lot of the questions here arise because people are unclear on your agenda – not just your personal agenda or even Secret Projects’ agenda, but whoever is paying to make this project work. Because from the outside, Secret Projects doesn’t seem to be a community-driven project, it seems to be a funded company with a long-term strategic play. And it’s that strategic motive that you’ve not talked about. It leads to suspicion.
    It’s also the way in which it is being done. Netduino isn’t a contribution to an existing community, like “ARM sees that Arduino is using Atmel chips, so contributes a new reference board to the Arduino community”, it tastes more like “Microsoft tries to compete with the Arduino project because it wants you to use .net”. Netduino competes against one of the best-loved development communities and it begs the question – why? I’m not saying that it’s bad to compete, but I am asking “what are your employers’ motives”? Why are you competing against Arduino instead of contributing to it?

    1. Chris Walker (Secret Labs) says:

      Hi Findus,

      Good questions. Secret Labs LLC is a small private company so we don’t publish financials or such. But let me give you a few insights…

      To clear up the first question, Microsoft did not know about Netduino until I showed them the hardware a few months before launch. Secret Labs LLC does not have any outside investors (Microsoft or otherwise); we’re internally funded.

      Netduino is a project we started to try to bring open source hardware to a wider audience. While Netduino and Netduino Plus are nice “upgrade” boards, they’re also a great way for software developers to get into electronics.

      The money for the project came from our R&D budget. We were prototyping some other products using .NET Micro Framework and decided to build Netduino as a contribution to the open source community. Sales from Netduino will help pay for continuing enhancements to the open source codebase, the hardware, etc. As a company, we’ll continue investing in the open source platform and the community as well (similar to how Arduino LLC operates).

      As far as contributing to Arduino, I personally consider the Arduino LLC team members my friends…and we are working on at least two products for the Arduino community as well. With Netduino, the goal was to create a whole new generation of open source electronics–but we regularly recommend Arduinos as well. They’re great boards…and king in the 8-bit open source electronics world.

      I hope that helps clear things up a bit. “Secret Labs” is meant to be a clever name (think “skunkworks” or “batcave” or “why do we even have that lever?”). For our other projects, we work on really tough engineering problems–so the name makes sense there as well.

      Anyway, we love open source and we’re very excited to work with other open source companies (including Arduino LLC) and the existing community…in an effort to promote open source electronics. Let’s see how many new members we can welcome into the open source electronics world together…

      And thank you for your enthusiasm about open source electronics!

      Chris
      Secret Labs LLC

  15. watermoccasin says:

    This will sound odd, but I would prefer to compete with ms than have them contribute. First I know that they can not compete and I do not want them to screw up open source. If they can not make their own products rubust, they should stay the heck out of open source. Besides if they contribute to open source, they will later want to extract a tax. They already tried to pull a stunt like that already and the eff called them on it.

    1. h066 says:

      just wondering. will vstudio 2010 (ultimate) work?

  16. https://me.yahoo.com/xwingaa5#50668 says:

    Hello!
    So far it makes sense. About the time the MakerFaire event surface here in Queens, the gang behind the Netduino also launched a super one. it contained Eithernet and an SD card holder.

    Why not set a lower price for that one? Lower then the current Netduino model that is.

  17. Reaper says:

    WOW! I think someone just found out size does matter! my 2 cents, I hate having to get git files, and deal with poorly published updates that dont work. .net micro on the netduino, backed by guys like Chris, who hasnt told you to shove off! Priceless…..

    The product RULES!, it makes it great for guys like me who have a life outside of makersville and what little time I have, managed products allow me to maximize that time. And I havent had to pay MS for nothing yet, and by the way, as a college student all my MS Visual studio (full blown) was free, and I can use it at our local small town libray, where Bill and Melinda Gates paid for every one of the 20+ computers, software, preliminary networking devices, and continue to update them!

    If your “open source” was so satisfying, I doubt you would be spending your time here whining!

In the Maker Shed