After reading cote’s blog post on the chumby, I got intrigued. The chumby is a small linux device, specifically designed to run flash based widgets, served up from the chumby servers. It looks like and interesting device, priced at a reasonable price point, and eminently hackable.
The only dig seems to be the Developers Agreement, especially section 3.1:
Your Modified Device and/or Licensee Applications must comply with the following: (i) your Modified Device and Licensee Applications must not enable you or anyone else to access the Chumby Service and/or servers without an active network ID issued by Chumby; (ii) your Modified Device and Licensee Applications must not block or interfere with any advertisement that is served by or distributed through the Chumby Service and/or servers; and (iii) any Modified Device or Licensee Application that connects to a Consumer Content Network must also enable the end user to connect the Modified Device and Licensee Application to the Chumby Service in substantially the same manner as the Modified Device or Licensee Application connects to the Consumer Content Network.
Which pretty much counts me out. The license which is “you can only write software for our device that registers with our service, and that serves our ads” seems to completely miss the mark of having a fun, openly hackable device. It’s frustrating when a consumer electronics company comes so close to making an open piece of hardware, but then freaks out at the last minute with their licensing and substantially shuts down their community growth in the process. Hopefully they’ll realize that and adjust their license in the future to be actually open.