I would like to gauge the interest in the following project: A file or sketch you could download into an Arduino device that would allow you to program a new Mega 168 with the Arduino bootloader. This would allow users to create their own Arduino chips.
So, it would be turning the Arduino board into an In-System Programmer (ISP)?
but do not have the web presence to distribute the project and I do not care to develop web pages.
Well, you could always put it up on somewhere like SourceForge or Google Code.
I would appreciate any comments on the concept and how well it would be received. Is it possible that such a thing exists?
There's been a number of projects that have tried to turn an Arduino board into an ISP (mostly implementing the STK500 v1 or v2 protocols), I've collected links I know of in this list of projects turning Arduino into an ISP
I'm interested in the project because there's no technical reason that I know of that the Arduino wouldn't work as an ISP and there's no point in buying or making another piece of equipment when you don't need to. Having said that, I got tired of waiting for it to get developed and have now ordered a USB programmer kit. (While I want to work on a similar project my current project is more urgent.)
From what I've seen the mega-isp project looks quite promising if they follow through.
Having said that, I wonder if these projects are going about things the wrong way by trying to embed too much "intelligence" into the code running on the Arduino. The avrdude software already has all the "intelligence" needed to communicate with a chip with SPI to program it (due to the need for this for bitbanger programmers like the parallel cable). So I think a small program on the Arduino to act as a USB Serial<-->SPI proxy might be a better approach and it would mean it could be a lot simpler than implementing the the STK protocol(s) on the chip itself.
What I'm not sure about is how easy it would be to get access to the "raw" bytes needed without having to write an avrdude programmer "plugin". It *might* be possible in the interim to use a local-proxy to take advantage of the avrdude's ability to connect over the network--but I'm not sure if that would be as simple as an SPI-proxy.
So, anyway, that's my thoughts... :-)