That is kind of where I am at now. I'm designing and will shortly be building the sequencing function my customer needs using an Arduino. Once I'm done with that, I plan on posting it for our industry to see. After that, though, I'm wondering if I should pursue things further. And if I do, whether it should be as a side hobby, or full time employment.
Well it sounds like you are describing you moving into a role of as an independent supplier of custom solutions for your customers.
I dunno. If you're going to make more than about 20 units, you're probably designing your own PCB anyway, so you just plunk down an appropriate ATmega chip in an otherwise custom design, and maybe make it "Arduino compatible at the software level." Then maybe you start to get nervous about the status of LGPL-licensed code in deeply embedded systems, and convert those Arduino library calls to use privately written code, leaving you with not much more "Arduino-like" status beyond a compatible bootloader (if that.)The thing about Arduino is that it's not really a "big" thing. It lowers the "barrier to entry" of microprocessors to a whole bunch of people (apparently), but the height of that "barrier" looks a lot lower from the "pro" side of the barrier than it does from the "beginner" side. If you look at the derisive complaints about Arduino on a forum like AVR-freaks, a lot of them boil down to "there's not much to it; I can't believe that people are unable to program AVRs without such simple crutches!" And to a significant extent, this is correct. From a Software or Hardware Engineering perspective, the Arduino is not all that impressive. (Although from a Computer Science Education perspective, it IS impressive. Do you know how many projects there have been that were supposed to make "computer programming" more "accessible"? Do you know how few of them have actually succeeded to an extent similar to Arduino?!)
In my opinion, it is a masterpiece.
This leads me to conclude that the wrong license was chosen for the arduino (at least outside of the prototyping community). It should be something more akin to the bsd or apache license for other purposes. I guess that might be too tricky and the arduino group just doesn't care about small niche products, so they just rather not deal with it.