More seriously, I hear what you say about the issue of buying clone boards, but the issue is a tricky one, with a lot of apparent contradictions lurking beneath the surface.
On one hand, I think it's a good thing to vote with your $$$, and put money towards the companies and inividuals who you would like to see rewarded for their work in the open hardware and open source arena. It's not really different from donating to a worthy charity that you think is doing good work.
OTOH, surely the whole point of open hardware and open source is not about a financial reward, but rather non-monetary rewards. I'm thinking about the Stallman manifesto on "free" software from way back when.
The other thing is that if you are open, you must expect to be copied by people whose sole motivation is to make a buck. That's just axiomatic. I don't see how you could ever imagine it's not going to happen.
So the question is: Why are you going down the "open" route in the first place? Can your business (or non-business) model stand being potentially undercut by cloners?
There are certainly some open-source companies that have built very profitable businesses around the open source/open hardware concept. But they are usually doing something clever in terms of value adding (e.g. consulting, support) to get a revenue stream that is not for the licensing of the software or hardware design per se. Tricky stuff. I think it's a helluva neat trick if you can pull it off.
I'm not sure where the value add comes in terms of say, an Uno. If I am supposed to feel bad for buying an Uno clone, what if instead I buy a 328p chip, add a half dozen component to end up with a home-brewed Uno class dev board, and then program it with the Arduino IDE?
You might reasonably say "but what about all the effort that went into developing the Arduino IDE? You can't ignore that, you freeloader."
Fair enough. But when you consider the IDE is really essentially wrapping paper for the Gnu compiler that actually does all the heavy lifting, how does it make sense to financially reward only the makers of the wrapping paper but leave the makers of the Gnu compiler financially unrewarded?
It strikes me as akin to taking a taxi to hospital where a brilliant surgeon saves your life, and then tipping the taxi driver handsomely in your gratitude!
You might (also) reasonably say "but what about the 'wiring' libs? Surely that's value-added over and above the Gnu compiler?"
Fair enough. But then there are also all the third party libs that (personally) I actually find are far more valuable than the wiring stuff, but once again, how does it make sense to financially reward only the makers of the 'wiring' libs but leave the authors of the (much more valuable, imho) third part libraries financially unrewarded?
And finally, there is the question of scale. The total development effort of the entire Arduino development team to date just disappears into insignificance when compared against the sheer number of man-hours of development effort of something like the Gnu compiler. Or the AVR chips, for that matter.
When I buy a clone board, Atmel still get their financial reward. When I buy an "official" board. the developers of the Gnu compiler and the authors of the third party libs still get nothing.
Lots of contradictions. If it really is a moral issue (and I'm not sure even that's true), then it certainly isn't a straightforward one.