I just checked the eBay Widget Design Contest rules page again, and was happily surprised to see two important changes to the rules that now make it feasible for Flex developers to enter the contest. You are now allowed to use open-source code licensed under the MIT or BSD licenses, and your widget can be up to 400 kb. Below are the changed portions of the official rules:
Widget may not exceed 400kb in size
Widget may not incorporate any open source code except for Adobe Flex under the MPL license, or any open source under MIT or new BSD license in addition to source code published by eBay under CDD license;
Awesome. The wording seems a little odd to me (ahh, lawyers…), but the intent is to allow the Flex SDK, any MIT or new BSD code, and the eBay toolkit code that eBay released under the CDD license. So now you’re free to grab any number of open source projects and use them in your entry. Note that this doesn’t apply to every open-source license (understandably), so make sure you don’t get your hands on anything with those nasty GPL viral licenses. But the MIT inclusion covers a huge library of open-source Flex code that’s out there.
They also raised the file-size limit from 200k to 400k. If you’ve developed Flex apps, you know that you’re not likely to have an app less than 200k. I think 400k is a much more reasonable limit, and opens the door to Flex developers.
I’ve been called out.
So I originally bitched and moaned about how I wasn’t going to enter the eBay widget contest because of the restrictive rules about no open source code. That same day I got an email from someone at eBay, spoke with someone on the phone to explain my issues, and now they’ve gone and changed the rules to be accommodating. I was very impressed with eBay’s concern and willingness to listen to developers. So now I guess I have to enter the contest, right? Unfortunately the truth is I probably won’t get my act together to create an entry, but now the only excuse I have is that I’m too busy. I’m going to try to carve out some time to make an entry, but god knows if that will actually happen. When I originally complained, I was hiding my busyness/laziness behind my rant about the rules. Now eBay has gone and done everything I wanted to make the rules better, and I feel like my bluff has been called.
So to all the Flex developers out there, go win ten grand by making an eBay widget. You can use Flex, you can use whatever cool open source code you can find. You’ve got until February 22 to make some cool shit. A big thanks goes to eBay for being awesome and listening. Thanks guys, you rock.