Wish to slap a friend in the face...

Right… so my friend keeps bugging me about why I choose to stick with arduino, even tho the entire board costs like 40-ish, while things like super mini linux comps cost like 10 (srsly?) and operate a full OS…

i personally am not very well acquainted with linux so my only argument is what i can do with arduino is epic and the chip the board uses is worth like 5 bucks… but he doesnt let go of the debate… and i dont have a good response… please help a noob smack this guy in the face with an arduino…

*I have nothing against linux super mini comps, i wish to learn UNIX asap myself, but for the sake of this argument, pls help!!

There a a few reason for using the arduino:

  • Great community
  • Diverse usergroup
  • Open Source Hardware & Software
  • Simplicity of use
  • Project developement time [think of a project->code it by selecting a few libraries ->upload->profit]
  • Cute header spacing :wink:

Maybe you could ask your friend where a person might purchase these mythical “super mini linux comps”.

tip of the hat to both of u for good answers, although I think he ended up showing me some site with literally a thumb-drive sized computer, although ive never read any literature on it at all… and yes, the community is epic ;D

While I haven’t learned or owned linux yet, I do think it would be the OS of choice for embedded applications that would REQUIRE a OS.

However many applications just don’t require the power and complexity and overhead of a OS to accomplish the task at hand. The Arduino is great for testing out ideas and wiring experiments to new components. Very fast from idea conception to functional prototype.

It’s a learning tool that is as simple as can be without giving up raw performance when required. The basic chips (picaxe, stamp, etc) also fill this requirements but don’t have the speed and advantage of using a full blown standard C/C++ compiler under the hood for when you need it. Using an assembler might give a little more speed performance but at a much high cost in learning and development time.

The Arduino project along with all the support groups, vendors and this forum, makes it the best micro-controller system going IMHO.


I hope i’ve understood your post (sorry but my english is not so good)…
Two month ago i’ve met Massimo, the guy who has created arduino…
He told me a phrase that impressed me.

“You can stay in front of a pc (linux/windows/mac: it is not a religion war :slight_smile: during a day: it doesn’t realize you’re here. On the contrary you can teach arduino who you are, if you’re next or far and so much…”

I think it is a good answer for your friend, isn’t it? :slight_smile:

PS: well, at this point you can buy a super mini linux computer and you can interface arduino with it :stuck_out_tongue:

Try hooking up an LED to a linux computer and make it blink :slight_smile:

i would like to see such a 10 dollar linux computer.
i doubt it has usable i/o ports, that’s what most of these small computer do not have.
actually you can get an arduino for around 12 dollar, if the price is an argument.


Here’s a linux capable board that has all your direct I/O goodness:


at $250USD it’s not exactly competing with the Arduino.

Though (imo) the hardware value of the Arduino doesn’t quite add up. The product value most certainly does.

You COULD use a “cheap” X86 based machine. Good luck finding a board for $10 unless you plan to use an old PC.

Even if you used an Atom board for instance, consider all the problems youd have with it. Serial, PWM multiplexers, the development alone would be a pain - with little support.

Your next choice is ARM. They arn’t cheap either, a fair bit more expensive than Arduino. It may be possible to mod an old smart phone but I wouldn’t waste my time.

There’s plenty of ignorent people around, I just leave them to it. :slight_smile:

There’s plenty of ignorent people around, I just leave them to it.

Well said, tis true. Just because something is popular does not mean it is the best. Just look at the sales of newspapers.

In my experance if you have a progect in embedded computers that uses an operating system then 80% of the debugging time will be spent debugging the operating system.

Unix /Linex isn’t so much an operating system but an entire hobby in its own right.


Try hooking up an LED to a linux computer and make it blink



(Sorry for the poor quality: it’s my first attempt at video, and I recorded it at 10 frames/second to keep it small. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that MPEGs have to play back at 25fps or faster, so it zips by at 2.5x the speed it’s supposed to).

Now you try hooking up a webcam to an Arduino and getting it to make and upload a video of itself flashing the LED :slight_smile:


p.s. Ironically, that PC did cost me about $10, because it was banged up and stripped of its drives.

The thing I’ve noticed about cheap linux computers is that just because you can usually GET something for $10, doesn’t mean that that’s what is costs. Being able to re-program some remaindered toy (JuiceBox, anyone?) or router is nice, but you can’t base anything very repeatable on it, because the main reason those boxes were cheap was that they were last-years model, and you can’t GET them any more. (for instance, take a look through the list of DDWRT or OPENWRT supported routers, and see how many are still sold…)
By that sort of standard, most of my Arduino boards were less than $10 too, but anybody can buy one at the normal price and duplicate by hacks…

(I imagine the linux blinking LED uses a bit in the parallel port? The same parallel port not present on many “modern” systems? oops.)




Now try running it on batteries :slight_smile:

(I guess what I tried to say was that it took me like 30 minutes to set up everything and get the LED blinking. But if you give me linux and a PC I will just put it in the junk pile because I wouldn’t know where to start)

Sorry, but the only rational response to that question is a long, deep, belly laugh. Give it up. Your friend has the hots for Linux, and nothing you say will change their mind.


if you give me linux and a PC I will just put it in the junk pile because I wouldn’t know where to start

It has occurred to me that it is not an obviously ridiculous idea to port the core Arduino Libraries to, say, windows and linux. digitialWrite() would modify bits on the parallel port, Serial.print would go out the (a) serial port, and so on. It might be useful for debugging sketches, as well as for doing odd things with old PC hardware.

Alas, part of the reason for the success of Arduino is that suitable “hackable” hardware has been disappearing from PCs. Few modern PCs have a parallel port, many don’t have serial ports either.

And there’s always Processing.