Author Topic: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.  (Read 7999 times)

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Offline firewalker

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Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« on: December 23, 2011, 04:57:03 pm »
The two last days I started to play around with MPLAB X for GNU/Linux. There was some issues with the software and I wanted to report them, seek for help. There was a nice link o the MPLAB's start page for the forum.

I must be one of the most ugly and counterproductive (in the category) ? have come across.

It can't event "understand" new lines (in some cases), making reading really hard.

As I can understand Microchip doesn't care too much for a "community" the way Atmel does.

Why Microchip?

Alexander.
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Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2011, 07:15:55 pm »
As I can understand Microchip doesn't care too much for a "community" the way Atmel does.

Since when does Atmel care for a community? Atmel is entirely focusing on large buyers. The fact that AVR communities exist is not because of Atmel, but despite Atmel.
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Offline firewalker

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2011, 07:27:03 pm »
E.g. Atmel's C toolchain is under G.N.U. G.P.L. Also (if I remember correctly) avrfreaks.net is officially sponsored by Atmel.

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alm

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2011, 09:11:57 pm »
At least Atmel pays for the servers and bandwidth and outsourced their tech support to avrfreaks.net, so they are aware of its existence.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2011, 09:50:21 pm »
avrfreaks.net hasn't been properly maintained since years. The aging, unmaintained forum software is falling into pieces. E.g. search for "Hacking attempt 1" on the site and check out for how long this is going on. The wiki is a first class spam playground.

And it wasn't Atmel who did the GCC port of the compiler to AVRs. That was done by enthusiasts around the world, and is maintained by them for years. Same for the AVR C library.  Atmel only recently picked up the port, calling it Toolchain  and bundled it with their IDE, since then pretending it is their compiler. However, Atmel messed their compiler build up (missing patches), and the thing is therefore rather broken.

The worst thing of this is that previously an Atmel employee did a build in his spare time, with the help of the community, but without the help of his employer, Atmel. He got the build right. However, since Atmel is shipping the Toolchain thing he was "convinced" to no longer update his build. So effectively Atmel hindered the work on a working community compiler build in favour of publishing their broken own build.
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alm

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2011, 10:07:10 pm »
Despite this AVR gcc support is still better than the other micro families. Even ARM is more hassle to get working.
 

Offline jerry507

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2011, 12:17:44 am »
This is hardly an issue of Microchip not caring about community support. Their forum sucks, that is true. That's also all it means. Whenever I've gone there over the years, I generally do find answers, though it takes a bit. I go back and forth between there not being many people on there (but the ones who do go there are quite good) and it being fairly popular.

A big part of it is probably that we generally get used to very good open source forum solutions, and the microchip forum is some sort of crap custom software.
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2011, 02:02:09 am »
I haven't used the Microchip forum in quite some time, but although I found it rather convoluted and hard to use, my questions were mostly answered by the active community on there. So it at least works.

I don't understand why companies try and roll their own forum software, it almost never works.
The absolute worst example of this is Altium. Not only did they goof it once, but when they re-did their forum and everything else from scratch they screwed it up AGAIN, and actually made it 10 times worse than the old one in the process. You really have to see it to believe something could actually be that bad. Looks pretty slick in the promo's though of course...

Dave.
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2011, 03:10:30 am »
I remember Atmel mentioned opensource and AVRDUDE in an official ATMEL power point presentation on AVRs.

It stuck in my head because it was pretty funny to see the word "DUDE" in an official presentation :P
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Offline firewalker

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2011, 07:40:08 am »
It would be the most easy thing to use a simple open source forum engine (like SMF) and properly maintain. Hell, you could find an AVR/PIC "junkie" do it for free. 

Don't use DIY aspx! It can't even read new line chars in some cases.

Something irrelevant with the topic: I had the impression that Atmel somehow helped the creation of avr-gcc. Would it be possible to make such a great tool without Atmel's help/tolerance/guide lines/whatever? Why isn't there a gcc version for PICs. PICs have a huge user base (bigger than AVRs I think).


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Offline joelby

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2011, 08:30:32 am »
Why isn't there a gcc version for PICs.

There is - Microchip C30 is based on GCC. There's no GCC for the 8-bit PICs, though.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2011, 10:42:12 am »
I remember Atmel mentioned opensource and AVRDUDE in an official ATMEL power point presentation on AVRs.

It stuck in my head because it was pretty funny to see the word "DUDE" in an official presentation :P

And still the avrdude maintainer is begging Atmel for ages to get complete, correct protocol documentation. Which Atmel doesn't supply. E.g. all the Xmega support in avrdude happenes only because someone reverse enginnered parts of the protocol and provided the information to the avrdude maintainer.

Debugging support (via avrice) is even worse. It took people thee years to partly support Xmega debugging, and again only after someone worked very hard to reverse engineer and analyze the protocol. And only for some version of Atmel tools. Atmel did shit to help.

Atmel is very quick to claim there is free software support when it helps to sell their microcontrollers. But they almost do nothing to build and maintain it.

I had the impression that Atmel somehow helped the creation of avr-gcc.

That was entirely a community effort. Occasionally with Atmel employees helping out in their spare time, without the support from Atmel.

When Atmel took avr-gcc to make it into part of Toolchain they missed some important patches in their build, but also added own code. I.e. adding code generation support for some AVR versions not supported by avr-gcc at that time.

And that was when it got very ugly. If you enhance GPL code you are required to publish your changes under the GPL, too. Atmel didn't, citing internal organizational issues and all sorts of other excuses. They were outright doing a copyright violation, because it was more convenient for them. I haven't check if they finally came to their senses. Maybe they have finally published their changes.

But the fact remains that Atmel is withholding important information needed by open source tools, and that Atmel doesn't play by the rules. What they like to do, however, is to pretend they do all the AVR free software work and get credit for it when it helps sales.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2011, 10:44:30 am by BoredAtWork »
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Offline Rufus

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2011, 11:53:15 am »
I don't understand why companies try and roll their own forum software, it almost never works.

Microchip didn't they use

"© 2000-2009 ASPPlayground.NET Forum Commercial Version 3.5"

The problem being it is obsolete (current version is 3.9) and badly configured. I can't believe it would take more than one day a week for someone competent to maintain such a forum but it isn't happening. That is the real story, why doesn't someone responsible at Microchip realise their forum is an embarrassing mess and allocate some resource to fix and maintain it?

 

Offline MikeK

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2011, 01:52:37 am »
I suppose it's a case of "why bother?"  As long as Microchip is selling chips they probably aren't concerned about the hobbyists who use the forum.  I've also pointed about many errors in their datasheets, which they never correct...THAT bothers me the most.
 

Offline firewalker

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2011, 08:29:09 am »
I don't think it's only the hobbyists. An engineer hoe uses MPLAB X will press the forum button on the interface. Like I did.

Alexander.
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Offline Simon

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2011, 09:40:12 am »
It would be the most easy thing to use a simple open source forum engine (like SMF) and properly maintain. Hell, you could find an AVR/PIC "junkie" do it for free. 


3

that is exactly what I did when my local council decided they are going to pull the plug on a website and forum they setup claiming humungus running costs (£10'000/yr) and issues with the "supplier" no longer developing the system. I got so pissed off that I did exactly what I boasted i could do on the forum and set up a SMF in a mater of hours, did some research for anti spam plugins and voila job done, The albeit small community have mostly moved to the new forum I created them and it's 2 fingers up to the local council.

Why people make custom forums is beyond me, a good example is www.theanswerbank.co.uk I actually got them to sort two things a few years ago so that it behaved sort of like a half decent forum (new posts notification for any thread and then stopping the a stupid thing sending you an email saying that YOU had posted a reply to your own thread), they are both broken again and when I raised the issues again no one could figure out what I was on about - very sad, the last time the editor actually bothered to contact me offline to discuss the features i was suggesting and they were implemented in weeks.
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Offline Rufus

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2012, 05:53:51 am »
I don't understand why companies try and roll their own forum software, it almost never works.

Microchip didn't they use

"© 2000-2009 ASPPlayground.NET Forum Commercial Version 3.5"

The problem being it is obsolete (current version is 3.9) and badly configured. I can't believe it would take more than one day a week for someone competent to maintain such a forum but it isn't happening. That is the real story, why doesn't someone responsible at Microchip realise their forum is an embarrassing mess and allocate some resource to fix and maintain it?

About 5 months later Microchip finally upgrade to version 3.9.

Still seems to be badly configured. The letter sequence 'ipod' anywhere in a post causes the post to silently disappear. There is a user called 'Antipodean', no one seems to respond to him - lol.

 

Offline icon

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2012, 07:28:10 am »
The two last days I started to play around with MPLAB X for GNU/Linux. There was some issues with the software and I wanted to report them, seek for help.

Well do let us know how you get on with that. After wasting about two days just trying to get the development environment working (when I could have been wasting two days getting the mc code to work), I uninstalled MPLAB X and installed 8.84. Frustratingly, it *had* worked (once I installed a suitably aged version of JRE), but started producing frustratingly vague Java exception errors after a while. Google just turned up people fruitlessly pleading for help, so I binned it.

John
 

Offline MikeK

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Re: Microchip's forum, thumbs down.
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2012, 02:12:39 am »
They still haven't fixed their search engine silliness.  I went to the Application Notes section, typed in "AN1416", and got 102 results...all the same.

I then tried their upper-right-corner search box, typed in "AN1416", selected the single result from the quick list, and it took me to a page with 182 results.

 


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