TinyCLR 2.0


I am a C# developer and new to the platform. A few basic questions about TinyCLR 2.0 from a noob:

  1. Will it be OSS?
  2. Will you offer OSH reference designs?
  3. Will it…
    a) be netstandard2.0 compliant?
    b) support modern C# 8?
    c) support hardware intrinsics?
    d) work with modern (Roslyn) toolchains?
    e) work with modern (VS Code) IDEs?
    f) work with modern IOT cloud platforms (MS, AMZN)?
  4. Will it support a REPL, ala CircuitPython?
  5. What hardware platforms will it support…
    a) on launch?
    b) within a year from launch?

I am unable to sign NDAs, but I think these are reasonable questions people will want to know in order to consider adopting it.

Thanks in advance!

Welcome to the community David.

TinyCLR works with modern Visual Studio, not VS code. Also, while we have bit and pieces open, this is not the usual open source platform. We focus on commercial customers that want things to simply work. The system is built and tested to work on the modules we provide, like G120. On the hardware front, we have always provided open source reference designs to help the commercial customer. And yes to IoT question, all is supported!

I hope those answers are enough for you to decide if TinyCLR is for you or not. For commercial users, we always recommend a direct phone call to discuss the need and help you determine if TinyCLR fits.


Thanks for your quick reply!

That’s certainly enough for me to want to learn more. Coming from the medical device field, my principal concern is adopting a platform that could “go away” or can only be fixed/adapted by GHI. If the core firmware modules are closed source and commercial licenced, I would at least like to know that there is a perpetual licenses to the source, so that it can be migrated to the latest-greatest if/when we need to switch hardware (even if GHI changes it’s model or has to close).

I am also considering TinyCLR and have the same concerns.

I am concerned to bet our product on a closed source especially with the current OSS environment. There are very few companies who can support a closed source with the capability for updates and security patches.

Also waiting for the update from Microsoft after their acquisition of ExpressLogic. Similar to Xamarin, they may most likely make it OSS.

It would be great if Gus can elaborate on how GHI would provide automatic o/s updates and security patches. Also what does the “not the usual open source” mean?

Thanks in advance

We have been covering the same concerns you both have with thousands of companies for 15 years. We usually discuss the concerns and address them if there are any. We are only a phone call away.

I would like to point out that while you will always have an open source software that doesn’t mean you will always get support for it and it doesn’t mean your team is capable of fixing it and updating security risks. So please grab the phone and let’s talk about options. TinyCLR is not for every need but surely fits the bill for anyone needing a complete yet very small secure managed IoT platform.

I think you have made an important point there Gus with ‘We focus on commercial customers that want things to simply work’

When your a company building a device, there is a benefit in knowing if you spot an issue, you can get immediate help. Unlike OSS where you invest time building out a project only to find something thats suspect, then go through the post issue, decide to fix yourself or wait for response/help from someone ‘maybe’ at some time that has knowledge in that piece of the code base…
Not knocking OSS, its got great benefits, but commercial clients might value ‘instant’ support over being open.

After spending time in other OSS platforms recently, this exact thing came to mind… 'If I use this, how do I know it works? and if a issue happens today… how long till its fixed?"

Just my thoughts anyway. Horses for courses.

OSS is great in many cases but it is not the answer for every need. How useful are a million line of code that you have but you can’t fix and build? Generally speaking, for someone having fun with a project, the more open the better it is. Our customers however want things to simply work and if they have an issue they want it fixed, and they want it fixed NOW! This has been our specialty for the last 17 years.

But hey, we love makers and we love open source and we will continue to provide open source libraries and designs as much as we can, as long as we keep the commercial need at a priority.


Appreciate the points made here, and appreciate the history of success with GHI’s existing model.

I think it’s a bit of a fallacy, though, to say things are either commercial or OSS. There are plenty of successful examples of OSS with commercial licensing options and dedicated support. My stated rationale for OSS was primarily about portability, not financial cost to my organization. It might not be a business that GHI is interested in, but I think it’s important to say these things aren’t mutually exclusive.

Per my follow-up comment, there can also be perpetual source licenses (for the life of the product, for example), that accomplish some of these same concerns without making the code open to the general public. We have established this type of contract with a different firmware vendor.

You are absolutely right. I meant generally speaking, most of our customers do not need the source code for the reasons mentioned. Not every case is the same and that is why we ask to discuss directly to see what your commercial needs are.

There are software escrow services for for protecting source code.

@Mike, interesting, thanks!

@Gus_Issa, appreciate your responsiveness. GHI sounds like a great commercial partner. Will reach out shortly.

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