Electronics > Microcontrollers

Why do people not like Microchip?

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spostma:

I read on another forum a post of a personal experience of the developer of the Proton development system
(an early Arduino-like system for PICs) banging his head on the arrogant non-cooperative managers of Microchip:
http://protoncompilers.com/index.php/topic,169.msg946.html#msg946

DavidAlfa:
C'mon, The only really hateable companies are nVidia and Allwinner. The rest do ok-ish :-DD

Nominal Animal:
Do consider how useful the reasons listed for liking/disliking Microchip the company or the products in some of the messages in this thread are.
Not only with respect to Microchip and its products, but overall, by comparison to other companies.

Nvidia has cornered most of the asymmetric HPC domain (i.e., high-performance computing using CPU + another processor type, here graphics processors via CUDA; AIUI OpenCL is not nearly as widely used yet).  Because almost all of that is done on Linux, it means sysadmins cannot really do any debugging/fixing of the issues themselves (unless they can duplicate the bug on a Linux machine with all open source components), and need to report the bug upstream to Nvidia devs, and hope they can do something about it – and the mean time, try to work around the issue.  If you want to use CUDA, this is what you do; no "hate" involved.

I won't ever use Nvidia cards on my Linux dev machines, but I wouldn't mind having a powerful rack-mounted HPC unit with a couple of Nvidia cards to do CUDA.
Does that mean I hate Nvidia, or that I love Nvidia?  No, it means I choose rationally.

As to Allwinner, their business model is odd.  They ignore copyright laws with gay abandon, which makes no sense –– unless they know they'll never expand outside China.  And they are utter shit when it comes to the software side.  Comparing their operations to e.g. RockChip (which is a very similar company), especially their software efforts, means I will definitely focus on RockChip-based SBCs instead of Allwinner-based ones, for my tinkering/development devices.  (The other companies that I like for Linux SBCs are Amlogic and Samsung, since I can use fully open source upstream vanilla Linux kernels for these.)
For tablets running vendor-provided software anyway, who cares?  Not I; I choose my Android tablets mainly based on their display properties anyway.

See? No hate.  But background information –– experiences, history, typical behaviour wrt. products –– to base ones own opinion on, means one can make a rational choice, knowing what to expect, what the likely problems and benefits are, instead of an emotive one (which the "not like" in the thread title kinda implies to me).

AaronD:

--- Quote from: Nominal Animal on August 16, 2021, 12:01:45 pm ---Nvidia has cornered most of the asymmetric HPC domain (i.e., high-performance computing using CPU + another processor type, here graphics processors via CUDA; AIUI OpenCL is not nearly as widely used yet).  Because almost all of that is done on Linux, it means sysadmins cannot really do any debugging/fixing of the issues themselves (unless they can duplicate the bug on a Linux machine with all open source components), and need to report the bug upstream to Nvidia devs, and hope they can do something about it – and the mean time, try to work around the issue.  If you want to use CUDA, this is what you do; no "hate" involved.

I won't ever use Nvidia cards on my Linux dev machines, but I wouldn't mind having a powerful rack-mounted HPC unit with a couple of Nvidia cards to do CUDA.
Does that mean I hate Nvidia, or that I love Nvidia?  No, it means I choose rationally.

--- End quote ---

Hmm.  I like a Linux box with Nvidia graphics.  All free software, including the closed-source driver, but closed-source is fine with me as long as it's still free and it works.  And both Linux and Nvidia can do *anything*, as opposed to Windoze/Mac and AMD graphics, that each have a specific use in mind and can do that REALLY WELL, but anything else is a barely-functional hack.


--- Quote from: Nominal Animal on August 16, 2021, 12:01:45 pm ---As to Allwinner, their business model is odd.  They ignore copyright laws with gay abandon, which makes no sense –– unless they know they'll never expand outside China.  And they are utter shit when it comes to the software side.  Comparing their operations to e.g. RockChip (which is a very similar company), especially their software efforts, means I will definitely focus on RockChip-based SBCs instead of Allwinner-based ones, for my tinkering/development devices.  (The other companies that I like for Linux SBCs are Amlogic and Samsung, since I can use fully open source upstream vanilla Linux kernels for these.)
For tablets running vendor-provided software anyway, who cares?  Not I; I choose my Android tablets mainly based on their display properties anyway.

--- End quote ---

Before the Raspberry Pi 4 came out, I used a Banana Pi in a couple of projects because the hardware was (nominally) better than the Raspberries at the time.  It had an Allwinner chip on it, and used its own derivative of Debian to make it work.  After a lot of |O with far worse support than the RPi community, I was able to work around enough hardware issues to make it reliable, and those projects are still running today.  Now that the RPi 4 is widely available though, I don't use Bananas anymore.

I was in a Facebook group for a while for the Raspberry Pi, and every couple of months or so, a user post (not an ad) would come up (in the Raspberry Pi group) to promote a Banana Pi variant.  It would get slammed down pretty quickly and reliably, sometimes for a laundry list of genuine basic technical problems with the product itself (onboard WiFi is the absolute dirt-cheapest speck of sand they could get their hands on, for one example, and it shows badly), but usually for the audacity to post *that*, *there*.  It's like the Chinese don't understand Western culture at all, but keep trying anyway in hopes that something they still don't understand will stick.

Nominal Animal:

--- Quote from: AaronD on August 16, 2021, 04:32:12 pm ---Hmm.  I like a Linux box with Nvidia graphics.  All free software, including the closed-source driver
--- End quote ---
You mean "free" as in "no cost"; my definition is different ("libre").  There is also an open-source driver, noveau, which may or may not work for given Nvidia hardware, but does not provide CUDA compatibility (I believe).


--- Quote from: AaronD on August 16, 2021, 04:32:12 pm ---anything else is a barely-functional hack.

--- End quote ---
No; for typical web-browsing and video-watching needs, built-in Intel graphics in Linux work just fine too.  Yes, video playback is properly accelerated nowadays, with Nvidia/Noveau/AMD/Intel drivers in Linux.

For ARMs, Mali-400 and Mali-450 are supported by the Lima Mesa drivers for Utgard-based hardware; some other Mali versions are supported by the Panfrost Mesa drivers, if one wants to run an accelerated Linux desktop on ARM.  Exact support, and whether a binary blob is needed or provides better video performance, depends on the exact hardware; but Samsung, Amlogic, and RockChip at least seem to be trying to get fully open source support for their System-on-Chip implementations in Linux.  (Which makes very much long-term sense, maintenance and support-wise, if you make your money by making and selling those SOCs, and not charge for SDKs and dev support too, like e.g. Microchip is trying to.)

(Although only business success will really tell which approach actually made most sense, of course!  If it makes business sense, it makes business sense; no way to argue around that.)


--- Quote from: AaronD on August 16, 2021, 04:32:12 pm ---It's like the Chinese don't understand Western culture at all, but keep trying anyway in hopes that something they still don't understand will stick.
--- End quote ---
I'm not sure these companies are interested in understanding.  RockChip seems to understand it pretty well, pushing support for their hardware upstream to Linux kernels, although some of their devs still do seem to prefer to push binary blobs out via their GitHub account instead of doing development in the open, so perhaps there indeed is a cultural aspect.  Then again, many Western companies have the exact same attitude (just look at Linux-based routers and WiFi Access Points), so maybe not.
I blame the middle management for keeping it up, and upper management not caring about the long-term effect it has on the brand and their products.  Same for all other embedded appliances.

(Then again, sometimes the software support is deliberately time-limited, to ensure customers will shift to the next hardware version; hopefully from the same vendor.  Problem is, the risk of customers choosing a different vendor is unknown, and if any vendor decides to provide much longer support for the same cost and successfully communicates this to their customers, they're likely to grab significant market share from the "augh; I have to get yet another router/AP" customers, which are an increasing portion of the entire customer base.)

What really surprises me every time I look at provided Linux-based firmware images for all sorts of appliances, is the utterly shitty quality of the systems integration (i.e., the filesystem images, the open source components used to provide the necessary services in the Linux userspace, and so on).  It isn't difficult to do better, so who the hell are they hiring to do this stuff?  First timers?  High-school kids?  I dunno.

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