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Scott A. Carr

Computer Scientist

UDOO, Linux and Arduino on one board


There is a deluge of Linux single board computers: Raspberry Pi, Beagle Bone, Pandaboard, plus a gaggle of Kickstarters. UDOO is a little different. It combines a fast system-on-chip processor with a separate Arduino compatible processor.

It raises the question, “Why do we want two processors?” In principle anything the Arduino can do the fact SoC can do. I don’t think the purpose of the second processor is more pins. My guess is users love the simplicity of the Arduino ecosystem.

For example, say the user wants to use I2C. The Arduino I2C library documentation is nicely self contained at arduino.cc. With a Linux SBC, the user needs to dig into Linux documentation. It’s actually pretty confusing because if the user just types “Linux I2C” into Google, they might find Kernel code or userspace applications.

While the Linux SBC provides much greater flexiblility and potential capability, there is something to be said for knowing exactly where to look for help (for Arduino users, arduino.cc). Arduino is “batteries included,” libraries, documentation, IDE, and hardware all in one place. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the Linux SBC projects goes beyond the “here’s the hardware, have fun” approach. Power users already have their favorite tools, but every project needs as many users as it can get. A “How to get started for absolute beginners” page might be a wise time investment.

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