Gossip; Rumors and hearsay about Parallax versus Arduino

Please bear with me if I ask if any of you have run into comments regarding Parallax technology versus the Arduino rise in prominence---I am a ham operator (W7IUT) for years---over the last year or so, I have heard many comments at club meetings and in visiting ham radio stores that Parallax products are being overshadowed by the rising popularity and exposure of applications for Arduino----I don't know if it is just me---has anyone else had issues with any comments that Arduino is out to surpass or outdo Parallax for market? Not with me for sure, just asking! Baba

Comments

  • 21 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • This is not new. The tiny, single core, 8 bit micro-controller from ATMEL, now Microchip, has been a very popular thing for a long time in the Arduino. Never mind "Arduino is out to surpass or outdo Parallax for market", that has been so for ages as well. Everyone has heard of Arduino, very few have heard of Parallax or the Propeller.

    Most "Arduinos" in use are not actually Arduinos at all. They are cheap Chinese clones. Made possible because the hardware and software of the Arduino is all open source. The actual ATMEGA chip from Microchip only costs a few cents. A Propeller chip, let alone a board with a Propeller on it, is many time more expensive than an Arduino around here.

    But, when a tiny, single core, 8 bit micro-controller won't cut it a Propeller is often a great solution.

    It sometimes amuses me the problems Arduino users have when they want to do more than one thing at a time and slowly realize it's just not possible.





  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 6,092
    edited September 7 Vote Up0Vote Down
    But, when a tiny, single core, 8 bit micro-controller won't cut it a Propeller is often a great solution.
    Edited:
    The Propeller is also faster on the development side of things -- in my experience the compilers are faster and you can test code without "burning" into the EEPROM.
    Jon McPhalen
    Hollywood, CA
    It's Jon or JonnyMac -- please do not call me Jonny.
  • Heater. wrote: »
    It sometimes amuses me the problems Arduino users have when they want to do more than one thing at a time and slowly realize it's just not possible.
    I have wondered if many Arduino users get to that point.

    Larry

    If the grass is greener on the other side...it's time to water your lawn.
  • I'm not sure what you mean JonnyMac.

    I have not waited a very looooooooooonnngg time for a simple program to compile and download since I was programming Intel 8085's using an Intel Development System with 8 inch floppy disks and having to blow EPROMs to get the code into the target.

    I thought the edit/compile/load/run cycle went pretty quickly with the Propeller. Is it faster with the Arduino?

    I have no idea, never tried.
  • I think the Arduino took because "C" is very popular and they offered a easy plug in shields. I'm a big fan of the BS2 and it's BASIC. Maybe the Prop was not well received by some because of it's original SPIN format. Now it's seems like everyone is trying to play catch-up with the Arduino's popularity.
  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 6,092
    edited September 7 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I thought the edit/compile/load/run cycle went pretty quickly with the Propeller. Is it faster with the Arduino?
    Arduino is [excruciatingly] slow. Propeller is very zippy on same machine. Will edit my earlier post.
    Jon McPhalen
    Hollywood, CA
    It's Jon or JonnyMac -- please do not call me Jonny.
  • If you watch the Banzi interview, he started making Arduinos mainly because the Stamp was too expensive.

    If Parallax had:
    -updated with a fully modular Basic
    -dropped the interpreter (compile instead)
    -lowered the price

    today Arduino would not exist

    (of course Parallax would also have had to do an authentication scheme using an 8-pin PIC, to tie customers to their product. But the Stamp would have physically looked exactly the same)
    I am the Master, and technology my slave.
  • I started with Propeller and like the ease of programming and the straight forward coding of the chip.

    Later I got into Arduino because it supported STM32 products and found it made it easier to code on that chip. After several years of working with STM I finally understand some of the quarks of this chip. Propeller is far easier to understand.

    I still use Arduino because is support other chips such as ESP8266 and others flavors. I don't use if for any 8 bit chips.

    Mike
  • The_Master Posts,
    If you watch the Banzi interview, he started making Arduinos mainly because the Stamp was too expensive.
    Quite so. But I feel there are other factors that caused the Arduino to take off and become so widespread.
    If Parallax had:
    -updated with a fully modular Basic
    -dropped the interpreter (compile instead)
    -lowered the price

    today Arduino would not exist
    I suspect none of that would have helped much. The people who drove the Arduino forward wanted open source tools as well as the open source hardware design. They also wanted C. Conveniently a C/++ compiler for the AVR chip was available thanks to the AVR being widely used in industry and someone adding AVR support to the open source GCC C/C++ compiler.
    (of course Parallax would also have had to do an authentication scheme using an 8-pin PIC, to tie customers to their product. But the Stamp would have physically looked exactly the same)
    Could someone explain that to me? I know nothing about the STAMP, does the STAMP or its dev tools have such a customer lock in scheme?

    I posit that the Arduino benefited from Free and Open Source tools. No lock in. People hate that stuff.
  • Such as what glowing thing of the north?
    I don't think the STAMP has those strange schemes. And yes that one certainly did. However only their forum is easy to understand and they have easy to use ideas on their site.

    However the Prop does also have open source tools available. But it is easier to use.

    I also find the STAMP easier to use, and not expensive. I wonder if the items are more expensive in Italy then here, further I find the Arduino items more expensive buying from Micro Center than when the Parallax items were available there.

    There are always going to be issues here.

    In fact getting back to the Arduino issue, I've actually found them to be cheaper from other stores then from Micro Center. And the Adafruit designed Arduino work alike in an Altoids can happened to be discounted when I bought it.

    And speaking of which, they've not yet answered my questions about releasing the YBOX2 firmware so that we Prop users can continue to make use of the YBOX2 ideas on our Prop rigs.

    Incidentally this is a sponsored message and the sponsor is Bob Cats are everywhere, a big cat supper club.
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 21,103
    edited September 9 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Buck Rogers,
    However the Prop does also have open source tools available. But it is easier to use.
    Yes, it does and is.

    But the open source Arduino arrived in 2003 well ahead of the Propeller in 2006. The Propeller Tool was closed source. Open Source tools for the Propeller started to appear later, giving the Arduino a head start in mind-share.
    I also find the STAMP easier to use, and not expensive. I wonder if the items are more expensive in Italy then here,
    The Arduino history states that the $50 price of STAMP was thought to be too much for students in Italy at the time. Hence the idea to use $1 micro-controller and sign their own board to put it on.

    Currently I can walk into a few stores nearby and pick up an Arduino for $25. Sadly there is no where to pick up a Propeller board here. We can order on line and wait, which is more expensive and will incur a 25% or so import duty.
  • Heater. wrote: »
    I posit that the Arduino benefited from Free and Open Source tools. No lock in. People hate that stuff.

    I suspect that 99% of Arduino users don't have a clue what FOSS/GPL/MIT/etc mean. They only know that the software didn't cost them anything. In fact I'll go further and say that they didn't even register that the software came free.

    Arduino is successful because it is a complete end-to-end ecosystem.

    You have processor boards, an IDE/Compiler which works out of the box, expansion boards with pre-written drivers, lots of example software, and a large community for support.

    Anyone with an idea, and little detailed knowledge of chips, their registers, compilers, toolchain switches. etc, can kludge together something that works in a few hours. No other processor family offers that.
  • What Parallax needs is a catchy marketing scheme, anything the Arduino can do the propeller can do faster, and in just about any language you want.
    -dan
  • What's all this Arduino nonsense? If you can't do it with a BS1, then you shouldn't be doing it at all.
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • erco wrote: »
    What's all this Arduino nonsense? If you can't do it with a BS1, then you shouldn't be doing it at all.

    And I agree with you, and wish I said that first.

    --
    And this message is being sponsored by Bobcats are still everywhere.
  • Brian Fairchild,
    I suspect that 99% of Arduino users don't have a clue what FOSS/GPL/MIT/etc mean. They only know that the software didn't cost them anything. In fact I'll go further and say that they didn't even register that the software came free.
    I suspect you are right.

    On the other hand it's that few percent who do understand and crave Free and Open Source software who pioneered and built the thing. From the GCC C++ compiler it uses to the Wiring IDE and so on. Not to mention those first adopters that jumped on the Arduino because of its Open Source licensing and paved the way for the hoards of "makers" to follow.

    Not to mention all the hardware shield designers and manufactures.
    Arduino is successful because it is a complete end-to-end ecosystem.
    You have processor boards, an IDE/Compiler which works out of the box, expansion boards with pre-written drivers, lots of example software, and a large community for support.
    Yes. And my claim is that it became a complete end-to-end ecosystem with thousands of shared "sketches" and shield designs because of it's Free and Open Source nature.

  • yetiyeti Posts: 415
    edited September 18 Vote Up0Vote Down
    icepuck wrote: »
    What Parallax needs is a catchy marketing scheme, anything the Arduino can do the propeller can do faster, and in just about any language you want.
    -dan
    Some stuff really cries for a $1 ATtiny solution e.g. being easily capable of doing USB (ATtiny85, 2 zener diodes, 3 resistors, 2 capacitors) which would keep 4 cogs busy in a $8 Propeller1.

    Use other MCUs where they fit better than the Propeller and the Propeller where it fits better.
    It really is that simple!

    Don't draw unnecessary frontiers!
    Don't turn Propellering into an intolerant religion!
    ◁ Stay OmmmmmmPtimistic! ▷ ◁ Facebook. ▷ ◁ Google. ▷ ◁ Microsoft. ▷ ◁ No Source – No Go! ▷ ◁ Please help: http://rosettacode.org/wiki/Category:Spin ▷ ◁ Why Asimov's Laws of Robotics Don't Work - Computerphile ▷ ◁ DNA is a four letter word. ▷
  • ***snip

    And speaking of which, they've not yet answered my questions about releasing the YBOX2 firmware so that we Prop users can continue to make use of the YBOX2 ideas on our Prop rigs.

    ***snip

    Buck Rogers,

    Do you mean the firmware here?
    https://github.com/darconeous/ybox2.git

    The repo is curiously read-only now, but could still be forked. Only possible issue for some might be that its license is indicated as GPL-3.0.
    (I believe this used to be at the now defunct svn.deepdarc.com)

    Cheers,
    Jesse
  • avsa242,
    The repo is curiously read-only...
    
    That is not curious. That is normal.

    I would expect that all github repositories are read-only. Unless the owner knows and trusts you enough to grant you access.

    The usual way to contribute changes is to clone the repository, make changes to your own clone of the repo, then post a "pull request" to the original, upstream, repo.

    Of course the owners of that can choose to accept and pull you change or not.

    If not, then you have a "fork" and can develop it however you like.
  • K2K2 Posts: 607
    edited September 30 Vote Up0Vote Down
    yeti wrote: »
    Some stuff really cries for a $1 ATtiny solution e.g. being easily capable of doing USB (ATtiny85, 2 zener diodes, 3 resistors, 2 capacitors) which would keep 4 cogs busy in a $8 Propeller1.
    Use other MCUs where they fit better than the Propeller and the Propeller where it fits better.
    It really is that simple!

    Don't draw unnecessary frontiers!
    Don't turn Propellering into an intolerant religion!
    Very well said. I agree 100%. That's how we work here at Chaos Central. The Propeller is the clear favorite for quick development, tight timing, true multitasking, and unequaled repurposing of code. Other ecosystems have their own strengths. Sometimes I truly need nothing more than an 8-bit Chinese Arduino doing the same stupid thing over and over again forever. I could have used an even cheaper PIC to do the same thing, but that would have taken an extra 30 minutes development time. :smile:

  • Heater. wrote: »
    avsa242,
    The repo is curiously read-only...
    
    That is not curious. That is normal.

    I would expect that all github repositories are read-only. Unless the owner knows and trusts you enough to grant you access.

    The usual way to contribute changes is to clone the repository, make changes to your own clone of the repo, then post a "pull request" to the original, upstream, repo.

    Of course the owners of that can choose to accept and pull you change or not.

    If not, then you have a "fork" and can develop it however you like.

    Hello!
    Yes technically you are correct Heater. His repository is indeed in read-only mode because it has became an archival storage spot. Naturally I stuck a fork in it and pulled it over to me.

    And wonders of wonders his original blog is also up, also in archival form.

    However I was not aware that the firmware in question was written by that guy, I first found about it via Mike Green, and then via the pages at Limor Fried's blog.

    I'll see what I can do about building a something else based on the YBOX2 design.

    ---
    And this is being sponsored by the Hanging Judge of Laporte an excellent tavern catering to everyone in Laporte both human and simian and maybe dolphin.
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