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Sunday, October 06, 2013

Did Arduino Yún Win Them All ?

While I am still excited about Tessel release date, I've received this Arduino Yun beauty a couple of days ago and I must say this is a pretty damn good little board!

Zero Experience With Arduino? No Problems

This is the very first Arduino board for me and I've always been a bit skeptical about these boards VS Raspberry Pi, Cubieboard, BeagleBone Black, and friends potentials.
"Let's be honest, it's cool to switch on and off some lightbulb", was repeating the little voice inside my head (OMG, I hear voices!!!!), "but how much more I could do with a fully powered Linux board", was the answer from voice at analogOutput(PIN_2, 13) (jeeeeez, I'm done here!).
Anyway, the point in this paragraph is about how easy it has been to start from the scratch to have a complete software up and running via WiFi ... let's talk about that later on ...

Not Just Sketches!

400Mhz aren't bad at all for most basic common tasks, neither are 64MB of RAM. So the raw power is already higher than tessel plus the microSD card is integrated and as soon as you put your super fast class 10 or higher card in there, a new world of possibilities become instantly available even if not directly integrated with the OS.

Connecting Arduino To A SQLite3 Database

You read correctly, and probably everyone else out there has already done this. I have to admit I didn't even google for this, it has simply been conceptually the very first problem to solve.
Interoperate with Linux behind the Arduino capabilities is one thing, keep tracking, updating, exchanging data about anything between these two systems and independently, brings them in a new level of possibilities.

A Tail Of SQLite3 Wrapping Experience

One of my latest projects which is targeting every OS but is tested mainly in embedded Linux boards is called dblite and it conceptually does with a higher level of possibilities, what this sketch does too: connect to an sqlite3 database through the sqlite3-cli interface and do everything that would possible to do directly in there.
The difference between this Arduino Yun approach and dblite is that here the equivalent of nodejs spawn is performed per every single SQL statement and not once per application lifecycle.

20 Minutes Plus Some Remote Testing

Yeah, the little IDE that comes with Arduino is full of examples too and most of them specific for the Yun.
This has been the easiest, fastest, learning curve ever for something so hard to do a while ago!
Massive kudos for the team, including all connational chaps working on it, too bad this Yun is the first board not fully made in Italy though :D

What's Not So Easy Yet

Latest version of Linano could be built with a MIPS compatible gcc so that it is possible to build directly through the board some software even if it will probably take forever in bigger apps.
It is also quite painful to rebuild the whole OS instead of having some incremental update possibility directly via the package manager and all you can do right now is cross compile hoping that after 5 hours you won't have an error.
I am using an Atom based Ubuntu x64 netbook for this task so maybe that's why it takes forever, however it never took that long to prepare a linux distribution for other embedded boards ... I hope things will become easier to install, build in the board, or update thanks to the constant effort from OpenWrt community (or maybe ... some link that points me on how to do these things in a way that works? :P)

Have fun with Arduino!

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