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Chumby, an open hardware flash player

Lots of discussion on Chumby has been happening ( here, here, here and here).

A couple of points on Chumby are:

  1. An open source hardware flash player
  2. Schematics completely open
  3. Runs Linux
  4. The hacker that wrote Hacking the Xbox is one of the leads behind this
  5. Lots of O’Reilly alpha geeks seem utterly into this
  6. Price point at around US$150

Here’s my analysis of those points. A $150 price point isn’t bad however as a thrifty geek who has bought more than enough gizmos that run linux I’m skeptical this will really rock my world. Although I really am for companies that support open hardware designs. However, if the price can eventually be brought down to $100 I’d definitely be interested in picking one up to play with. In regards to Flash. Why a closed, proprietary format? While I understand the ubiquity of flash, without either:

  1. A reverse-engineered open set of creative tools
  2. A more open specification than the one that is available
  3. Adobe opening up their toolsets

Flash remains one of those formats I tolerate but do not encourage its proliferation. Chumby only seems to be aggravating the situation when I look at it. But, nonetheless it’s still a cool gadget but I’ll take a wait and see approach. Right now I’m looking at something that fits my current needs more.

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{ 2 } Comments

  1. John Dowdell | November 2, 2006 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    True, the Adobe Flash Player does not publish its source code for creation of variant rendering engines, nor does it use a cross-company committee to first draft its design documents. But it does provide a standard capability across the widest range of consumer machines, and does provide a very wide and accessible base of content developers.

    I suspect you can also use a spec-driven approach to delivering to whichever implementations of such specs Chumby supports, but adding the Adobe Flash Player to those devices lets you go further, faster, too. Your choice.

    (The SWF format can be written by any of many tools… it’s the structure of the format which is not committee-driven… check for ways to create SWF similar to what you describe.)


  2. John Dowdell | November 2, 2006 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    (Sorry for the mess… that was actually four paragraphs in there. 🙁