The A-Z of Programming Languages: Arduino's Tom Igoe

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Second, product names work a lot like personal names: If I wrote an article and quoted Trevor Clarke, you'd probably be fine with it, but if I wrote it *as* Trevor Clarke, you probably wouldn't. You'd have no way of ensuring that the article was factually correct, or represented your views. But there's your name on it. We feel the same way about boards and software. If you want to use the Arduino designs or source code to make your own board (basically, quoting the project) that's great. If you want to call it "Arduino-compatible" (citing the quote) that's fine too. But we'd prefer you give your own board its own name.

Finally, there's a practical level why we retain the trademark. The hardware end of the business is commercially self-sustaining, but the software doesn't pay for itself. We charge a license fee to the licensed manufacturers for each board they sell. That money goes to pay for maintenance and development of the software and the website. It allows each of us to take a couple hours a week off from our other jobs to maintain the parts of the Arduino system that don't pay for themselves.

You can make derivatives works without permission, it's just the name that is trademarked. Most of the clones did not seek our permission, nor do they need it, as long as they're not called "Arduino." There are tons of *duinos out there that are just fine, except for the fact that they bastardize the Italian language. But then again, so does Starbucks.

Patience. Persistence. And frequent showers. I get my best problem solving done in the shower.(Tom Igoe's advice for up and coming hardware hackers)

What projects have you used Arduino for yourself?

I use it all the time. The first use I ever made of it was with the rest of the team, developing prototypes for a lighting company in Italy. That project made me see how useful a platform it was. I also use it in my teaching. It's the first hardware platform I've used that I feel like I can teach beginners with, and also use in my professional work as well.

As for personal projects: I developed a new version of my email clock (a clock that ticks forward for each new email received) using Arduino. I made a cat bed that emails me when it's taken a picture of the cat; an air-quality meter; a blinking fan sign for my favorite roller derby team; and more. I use it in class just about every day.

Have you ever seen Arduino used in a way you never intended it to be deployed?

Well, it was intended to be deployed in a wide variety of ways, so not really. I guess for me, the one thing I never intend it to be used for is to hurt people or to do damage, so I hope I never see it used for that.

Do you have any advice for up-and-coming hardware hackers?

Patience. Persistence. And frequent showers. I get my best problem solving done in the shower.

Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add?

Thanks to everyone who's used Arduino! We've had a great time working on it, and it's incredibly rewarding to see people realise things they didn't think were possible because of something we made.


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