If you're an adventurous early Nook adopter, there's good news for you this morning. The folks at NookDevs have already rooted a Nook.
Rooting an Android device refers to obtaining administrator rights to the device, which allows you to do things like update the Android build on the device, back up your device, run apps from a microSD card, and lots of other geeky/useful things. It's vaguely equivalent to jailbreaking an iPhone but gives you even more control, from what I've ascertained. And by "ascertained" I mean: I've read a lot about this but haven't been brave enough to try to root my Droid yet. Rooting a non-phone device sounds a lot less stress-inducing to me. Now if I only had a Nook.
The downside of the news is that, for now at least, you have to take your Nook apart; it turns out the OS runs from a microSD card inside the machine. You need to open the case, remove this card, plug it into a reader on a linux system and make a few tweaks. The process sounds pretty straightforward but of course you'll be voiding the warranty on your Nook.
So what can you, the non-programmer, do with a rooted Nook? Not much yet. But gaining root access is step 1 for the hacking community. Porting apps from other Android builds is what makes this news really interesting. It sounds as though a browser is one of the first apps that the community is working on; that alone would make rooting worth it to me. I'd love to be able to pop over to the web to look up an unfamiliar term while I'm reading a book. Give me that and a Pandora app and I'll be happy.
Have you rooted an Android device and if so, are you happy with the results? Would you root your Nook? And if so, are you comfortable taking it apart or would you rather wait in the hopes of a method that doesn't involve cracking the case? Comments encouraged!