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Mc-A

Marc from Microchip writes…

We (Microchip) read your blog and comments, and we do agree with you. Though we are a corporation, with a lot of suits (not really, actually I think we have a policy against suits), we know the community has been and is a large part of why Microchip successful today. We put our best code forward, but we know it has usage limitations. Clearly this is an area where we can do better. The points made in the blog are important, so we set up a meeting with our management team yesterday, and both our CEO and COO joined us because they too thought it was important. Really, we weren’t just playing Frisbee golf as you might have thought. We understand why you guys are upset and this is an issue we need to address. Bottom line, we can’t release our existing stacks because we have contractual obligations to many of our customers that prevent us from making them open source.

So how about this: We offer a prize for anyone who writes these stacks for the community. To get started, the two that we want to target are the TCP/IP and USB stacks. Heck, who better to write these than the experts in the community…? The goal is that the entries would be compatible with the chipKit MAX32 (PIC32MX795F512L). Digilent Inc. will help us decide which stack first meets the requirements. For our part, we will pony up the prize and provide technical support for those who want to get involved.

Thanks for all your posts and I’ll follow up with additional details shortly.

This is in response to the Ian’s article at Dangerous Prototypes “Editorial: Our friend Microchip and open source”….

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


Related

Comments

  1. golond says:

    Big thumbs up to Microchip.  Contracts can really muck up code availability.  Kudos to finding an innovative way to bridge the problem!  (Now, if only I new enough to write those stacks …)

  2. golond says:

    Big thumbs up to Microchip.  Contracts can really muck up code availability.  Kudos to finding an innovative way to bridge the problem!  (Now, if only I new enough to write those stacks …)

  3. Oh this is fantastic! :-) Microchip may not always please the hobbyist community completely in some of their first cut efforts, but like the PICKit3/Dave Jones issue, Microchip does a fantastic job of making things right to the best of their ability :-)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm … It seems like they are saying : “We noticed that the community complained that Microchip didn’t provide an open stack and that they had to write their own, so we’re asking the community to write their own stack.”
    Still it’s great that they’re listening and actually answering concerns. They did it already in the past in response to Dave Jone’s criticism of the PICKit 3. Great PR but I don’t know if they actually fixed the thing :-)

    1. I agree, I see same scenario as with the EEVBlog complaining about the
      absence of UART and logic analyzer(and etc) on PICKit3(TM). Microchip
      responded with a counter video in which they gained a lot of praises.
      Still no UART on PICKit3(TM), instead they released PICKit(TM) Serial.

      As for this, I think they just want to calm people down. Still no intent
      of giving something back to the community on future projects. Has
      anyone ask how much the incentive would be and does it worth the effort?

      1. Addidis says:

        pickit serial was around when the pickit2 was… ie before pickit3. Just sayin.

  5. jerry stephen james says:

    We

    1. jerry stephen james says:

      Sorry, Somehow accidentally posted a comment. Weird.

  6. Dave Jones says:

    Great to see Microchip respond favorably, and with CEO Steve Sanghi getting personally involved again.
    It shows they do really care, even if actually then putting things into action is hard in the inevitable big corporate world of Dilbert.Contracts are understandable, and they have provided a novel idea and way around that, simply pony up with what they have plenty of – (prize) money – and encourage the community to do the work. That is easy for them to do internally. 
    Nice solution, and thumbs up to Microchip, BUT (and here comes the cynical part, I can’t help myself) only if they put up serious professional level prize money for professional level work. Otherwise they are just getting content for cheap and leeching off the community. Sure, the community would win from this, but so would Microchip – big time.
    Prize money is not a bad idea, but…
    Remember, it’s Microchip who are selling chips here and will no doubt market this new stack(s) until the cows come home. They are a multi billion dollar corporation, and I’m willing to bet they would spend more than a 1000 times what they are willing to offer as prize(s)/money than they do on advertising their 
    new PIC32 line alone (and that’s at a say $10,000 prize level).
    So the best solution would be for them to simply dedicate one of their programmers to the task, or heck, even hire a community member as a contractor for the purpose of doing it.
    That would be the best solution, but that would cost them more money, and that’s not being clever ;-)
    Prize money is a way for them to get the same content for much less money, and I don’t mind the idea, but I do hope it’s some serious value…

    Dave.
    http://www.eevblog.com

    1. Anonymous says:

      Agree with you here Dave. If there was enough incentive then I would spend all day and night working on porting the various USB stacks I have coded in assembler and co authored in C to the PIC32. However to do that would require proper tools and I would need to spend about $1000 to purchase a realistic level of hardware. No way I can continue debugging with a flashing LED at this level of complexity.

  7. Dave Jones says:

    Great to see Microchip respond favorably, and with CEO Steve Sanghi getting personally involved again.
    It shows they do really care, even if actually then putting things into action is hard in the inevitable big corporate world of Dilbert.Contracts are understandable, and they have provided a novel idea and way around that, simply pony up with what they have plenty of – (prize) money – and encourage the community to do the work. That is easy for them to do internally. 
    Nice solution, and thumbs up to Microchip, BUT (and here comes the cynical part, I can’t help myself) only if they put up serious professional level prize money for professional level work. Otherwise they are just getting content for cheap and leeching off the community. Sure, the community would win from this, but so would Microchip – big time.
    Prize money is not a bad idea, but…
    Remember, it’s Microchip who are selling chips here and will no doubt market this new stack(s) until the cows come home. They are a multi billion dollar corporation, and I’m willing to bet they would spend more than a 1000 times what they are willing to offer as prize(s)/money than they do on advertising their 
    new PIC32 line alone (and that’s at a say $10,000 prize level).
    So the best solution would be for them to simply dedicate one of their programmers to the task, or heck, even hire a community member as a contractor for the purpose of doing it.
    That would be the best solution, but that would cost them more money, and that’s not being clever ;-)
    Prize money is a way for them to get the same content for much less money, and I don’t mind the idea, but I do hope it’s some serious value…

    Dave.
    http://www.eevblog.com

  8. Dave Jones says:

    Great to see Microchip respond favorably, and with CEO Steve Sanghi getting personally involved again.
    It shows they do really care, even if actually then putting things into action is hard in the inevitable big corporate world of Dilbert.Contracts are understandable, and they have provided a novel idea and way around that, simply pony up with what they have plenty of – (prize) money – and encourage the community to do the work. That is easy for them to do internally. 
    Nice solution, and thumbs up to Microchip, BUT (and here comes the cynical part, I can’t help myself) only if they put up serious professional level prize money for professional level work. Otherwise they are just getting content for cheap and leeching off the community. Sure, the community would win from this, but so would Microchip – big time.
    Prize money is not a bad idea, but…
    Remember, it’s Microchip who are selling chips here and will no doubt market this new stack(s) until the cows come home. They are a multi billion dollar corporation, and I’m willing to bet they would spend more than a 1000 times what they are willing to offer as prize(s)/money than they do on advertising their 
    new PIC32 line alone (and that’s at a say $10,000 prize level).
    So the best solution would be for them to simply dedicate one of their programmers to the task, or heck, even hire a community member as a contractor for the purpose of doing it.
    That would be the best solution, but that would cost them more money, and that’s not being clever ;-)
    Prize money is a way for them to get the same content for much less money, and I don’t mind the idea, but I do hope it’s some serious value…

    Dave.
    http://www.eevblog.com

  9. Dave Jones says:

    Great to see Microchip respond favorably, and with CEO Steve Sanghi getting personally involved again.
    It shows they do really care, even if actually then putting things into action is hard in the inevitable big corporate world of Dilbert.Contracts are understandable, and they have provided a novel idea and way around that, simply pony up with what they have plenty of – (prize) money – and encourage the community to do the work. That is easy for them to do internally. 
    Nice solution, and thumbs up to Microchip, BUT (and here comes the cynical part, I can’t help myself) only if they put up serious professional level prize money for professional level work. Otherwise they are just getting content for cheap and leeching off the community. Sure, the community would win from this, but so would Microchip – big time.
    Prize money is not a bad idea, but…
    Remember, it’s Microchip who are selling chips here and will no doubt market this new stack(s) until the cows come home. They are a multi billion dollar corporation, and I’m willing to bet they would spend more than a 1000 times what they are willing to offer as prize(s)/money than they do on advertising their 
    new PIC32 line alone (and that’s at a say $10,000 prize level).
    So the best solution would be for them to simply dedicate one of their programmers to the task, or heck, even hire a community member as a contractor for the purpose of doing it.
    That would be the best solution, but that would cost them more money, and that’s not being clever ;-)
    Prize money is a way for them to get the same content for much less money, and I don’t mind the idea, but I do hope it’s some serious value…

    Dave.
    http://www.eevblog.com

  10. Addidis says:

    I think it is too early to react to this. I mean they could come out with 100$ prize, not that I think they will. Or they could come out with something to make the cynical people put on their  programmer hats and make an attempt. I do like the idea of some community member getting a nice check but at the same time appreciate the value of professional work. In the end though good code can be written by MCHP, or by the community . I would just as well see the check go to the community.

  11. Ian Lesnet says:

    Thanks for posting the followup. It’s not Microchip prize money, but Dangerous Prototypes will add a $100 bounty on each of the stacks too ;)

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