"Well guys, the only JTAG unit i'm aware of that is supported on Win CE/WP7 for debugging is TRACE32, and it costs more than a brand new in box HD2.. so unless someone is aware of a cheaper alternative, or has access to one of those units, it's not very likely that getting donations going to get me a device is going to go far enough to purchase one of those too."
Two and a half months ago, I wrote an editorial that argued that a Half-Baked Windows Phone 7 ROM would be a bad idea and now it looks like that bad idea has some serious steam in the form of around $1350 in donations (Mostly in small amounts, although a few site proprietors threw in some considerable cash, and I'm not quite sure why). Honestly, I think it's a great thing for people to tinker around with their devices, even going as far as to buy diagnostic equipment to learn more. But in this case, I can only see problems down the road. In addition to the points I raised a few months ago, now I see an even bigger issue: sunk costs. Sunk costs refer to the amount of money one has invested in a project, and the subsequent attachment one has to that project. Simply put, if people pay for something (even if it's in the form of donations), they expect an end-result that was worth the investment. I'm not saying that the people behind this HD2-WP7 implementation aren't sophisticated enough to do it - I just don't think they'll produce something half as useful as a true Windows Phone 7 device, which will let people down (especially those who invested).
What do you think - are "community" funded projects like this a good idea (ignoring for a moment the legal ramifications, which make this a definite no-no)? And what do you think will come out of it? And more importantly - if you donated and didn't get a working WP7 ROM for your HD2, how would you feel?