Adafruit start hostile “takeover bid” for Arduino?

You have to feel a bit sorry for those who run Arduino. After being involved in a protracted internal battle which saw the organisation split into two, they have resolved their differences and created a way forward.

Unfortunately, now they have more trouble – ironically from Open Source “friends” who seem to have taken a dislike to some Arduino personnel. These “friends” are Limor Fried and Phillip Torrone from Adafruit/MAKE, and Dale Dougherty, CEO of MAKE magazine.

MAKE magazine, which now seems to be a PR channel for Adafruit, has a hit piece calling for a “Free Arduino Foundation” – which basically means taking control of Arduino away from Arduino LLC et al, the legitimate owners of the Arduino brand, and a business that has taken many years to make successful. http://makezine.com/2017/06/09/free-arduino/ This crusade is endorsed by Adafruit, who say “Thanks Dale” https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/06/09/free-arduino-by-dalepd-freearduino-make-arduinoorg-federicomusto-arduino-makebusiness/. They have even created a logo and hashtag https://plus.google.com/+adafruit/posts/LsPHyX86LMb. I suppose many pressure groups use social campaigns, but I don’t recall one business using it as a takeover tactic of another’s business.

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

It seems that Adafruit may have some ulterior motive, I’m not sure what it is.

Perhaps Adafruit have decided their share of the Arduino pie is not enough, and now they want the whole thing? Either way, it’s an unnecessary distraction for the Arduino organisation, who I believe really want to just get on and create cool stuff, without hostile third parties making a grab for their business.

Update: It seems there is a more powerful motive behind this than money – spite! This piece in Wired, explains the background Arduino’s New CEO, Federico Musto, May Have Fabricated His Academic Record

Torrone says that one of the reasons why he went to the press with the information about Musto’s credentials was precisely that: to defend the community.

To women in the maker movement, who are often accused of being fake geeks and frequently have their expertise questioned, Musto’s apparent lies are personal affronts. “When you go to MIT, there is always this murmur that they had to lower the standards for you,” Fried says. “And after you graduate, you get asked all the time if you were actually smart enough to have earned your credentials. It’s a little bit insane that this guy has gotten this far without ever being questioned.”

It seems clear that Mr Musto does not have the degrees he claims, so that makes him a Bad Guy.  tsk tsk. The sort of Bad Guy who is not just going to step aside. The whole thing about a “Free Arduino Foundation for the benefit of the Arduino community” is a ruse, the real goal is a hate campaign against Musto. Since Musto owns 50% of Arduino, probably the only way for Limor Fried to achieve her goal of ousting Musto is to take over Arduino.

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