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Amazon Releases Kindle Source Code

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the use-the-forks-luke dept.

Android 153

MackieChan writes with a piece of news that slipped past earlier this month: "Barnes & Noble receives a lot of credit from the Slashdot community for standing up to Microsoft and for allowing the Nook to be so easy to root, but perhaps Amazon releasing the source code to the Kindle will help it gain back supporters it lost after remotely removing ebooks."

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jeff, /. loves you now (-1, Troll)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201394)

who the fcuk are they?

Hacking time (1)

ron-l-j (1725874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201422)

Well its a nice show of faith by Amazon, let the hacking begin!

Nook easy to hack? (4, Informative)

mystikkman (1487801) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201532)

The new Nook tablet comes with a locked bootloader, unike the Nook touch.

Re:Nook easy to hack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38202370)

You mean, unlike the Nook Color, right? Yeah, yeah, I know...the Touch aslo is unlocked- but it's not in the same class as the Color.

Re:Nook easy to hack? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202496)

That sucks. Makes me glad I didn't trade up to the tablet from my NC, after all, then.

Now I'll just have to keep mine alive forever

Re:Nook easy to hack? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203884)

The new Nook tablet comes with a locked bootloader, unike the Nook touch.

Does it still boot from MicroSD? I'm happy to wipe the internal memory and put CM9 on it anyway.

Re:Nook easy to hack? (2)

glop (181086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203964)

You need to unlock the boot loader first and I have yet to read any news about that :-(

It's very disappointing that the boot loader should be locked as 99% of the Nook users would use the Nook software without any hacks anyway if it wasn't locked.

This just means that they won't get all the free press the Nook Color got everytime a cool hack made it the tablet to have. For instance, this tablet ran a hacked version of Honeycomb BEFORE the first demo of the Motorola Xoom which was to be the first Honeycomb-based tablet. The Nook tablet probably won't ever get such claims to fame.

There is also a partition on the Nook tablet that is reserved to content you buy so I am thinking this must all be part of an effort to have strong-looking DRM to get content deals or something similar.

Re:Nook easy to hack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204702)

Yes it is because of the Netflix HD tie-in that they had to run a locked bootloader. At least it seems that to get the HD Netflix stuff they require manufacturers to run a locked bootloader.

Re:Nook easy to hack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204872)

Um, no....hacked amigo: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1354002

All of 'em (5, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201446)

Not just the source to the recent Kindle Fire, but code for all of them back to the original. Nice move.

I wonder if they held any bits back?

Re:All of 'em (-1, Troll)

confused one (671304) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201478)

I wonder if they held any bits back?

Of course they did...

Re:All of 'em (5, Insightful)

Hardhead_7 (987030) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201546)

Considering that the Kindle Fire runs Android, are we supposed to forgive them for intrusive DRM because they abided by their legal requirements to us? Maybe we should also be happy that McDonald's food isn't full of arsenic or Mattel toys don't have lead paint. I mean, that's great and all, but they had to do it. It doesn't make up for the sorry state of the locked down Kindle.

Incidentally, this is coming from an Amazon Prime customer. I buy almost everything off of Amazon these days, with one exception: books. For that I have my Nook, which I use mainly because it reads PDFs too.

Re:All of 'em (4, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201578)

Considering that the Kindle Fire runs Android, are we supposed to forgive them for intrusive DRM because they abided by their legal requirements to us

Celebrate your easy victories... just because it's "legally required" doesn't mean that anyone will do it, especially major corporations.

Re:All of 'em (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204566)

That was my thought. And to answer the Summary's question, no it won't because the people who aren't buying a Kindle because of remote-wipe capability are the same people who will now complain that there is DRM somewhere or that the chip design isn't also open or...

Re:All of 'em (4, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201602)

I take it you missed the part of the comment you replied to that said they released the source for all of the Kindles? I can't think of anything I'd like to do with mine right now, but it is cool that I can mess about with it if I want. Porting nethack or something might be cool, since that's pretty well suited to an e-ink display.

Re:All of 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38202240)

Isn't this a case of Tivoization, though? I admit I haven't been following closely, but I didn't think you could replace the OS or run your own applications, even with this release.

Re:All of 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38202522)

I admit I haven't been following closely, but I didn't think you could replace the OS or run your own applications, even with this release.

The former clause is obvious, due to the statement in the latter. You don't know what you're talking about; sideloading apps is allowed by the Kindle Fire.

Re:All of 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204732)

So what about the regular Kindles? Can I replace the OS on them now?

Re:All of 'em (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38201630)

The Kindle will display PDF's also.

If the PDF's don't display correctly, use Calibre to convert them to mobi format.

Re:All of 'em (2, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201816)

"If the PDF's don't display correctly, use Calibre to convert them to mobi format."

This is downright funny.

Anyone that has used Calibre knows that it's convert PDF to anything else is so horrible that you end up with a complete mess that is unreadable.

Re:All of 'em (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202238)

Amen to that... ended up adding a 3rd party PDF reader from the app store instead of using the horrible included PDF reader for just that reason.

epub? (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203412)

Amen to that... ended up adding a 3rd party PDF reader from the app store

Nevermind PDF what about epub? The lack of support for epub is my main reason for not buying a Kindle...well that and the fact that the only way to get them in Canada is to order them from the US, paying import duties exchange commission etc. and ending up with an unsupported device.

Re:epub? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203916)

My bad. I was talking about the NC, not the Kindle. I think calibre might be able to convert epub to mobi...

Re:epub? (2)

awyeah (70462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204850)

I thought you could convert ePub to mobi with Calbre? I haven't tried it myself though.

Re:All of 'em (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202372)

That's not just Calibre's fault, any PDF converter will do that. PDF is singularly unsuitable to being converted to any non-whole-page-display format.

Re:All of 'em (1)

BestNicksRTaken (582194) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202792)

not calibre's fault. and it converts textual pdf's just fine, just don't throw too many images etc. at it, which would be crap on a kindle anyway.

Re:All of 'em (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201734)

They're only legally required to release the kernel source.

Re:All of 'em (5, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202076)

Intrusive DRM?

B&N is the one who locked the Nook Tablet's bootloader, tivoizing it. Not Amazon.

I love how the article points out how easily hackable the Nook Touch was while ignoring the fact that B&N has made a major move towards lockdown with the Tablet - locked bootloader, plus it is partitioned so you can only use 1GB of the storage for sideloaded content. The rest is "B&N Content" only.

Re:All of 'em (5, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203276)

B&N is the one who locked the Nook Tablet's bootloader, tivoizing it. Not Amazon.

I love how the article points out how easily hackable the Nook Touch was while ignoring the fact that B&N has made a major move towards lockdown with the Tablet - locked bootloader, plus it is partitioned so you can only use 1GB of the storage for sideloaded content. The rest is "B&N Content" only.

It's apparently a requirement for Netflix.

Sure every Android device can get Netflix, but what they stream is the SD version of the video. If you want the HD version, your device needs to be locked down.

Compare Netflix on the old Color and the new Tablet and you'll see a difference in video quality. It's another reason why I wrote off the "Netflix on Fire is blurrier on Fire" comparison reviews - of course it is if Amazon didn't qualify for Netflix HD. (And yes, the Amazon version was noticiably blurrier as it was scaled up to the screen, whilst the Tablet was scaling down a higher-quality stream).

And the Nook tablet having 1GB of user content - big whoop. Do what you do with every other Android device and stick an SD card in it.

B&N feels more people would want higher-quality Netflix than the small crowd who wants to hack the device (they're a nice bunch, but not as big a group as those who just want to consume stuff).

Re:All of 'em (4, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203962)

(And yes, the Amazon version was noticiably blurrier as it was scaled up to the screen, whilst the Tablet was scaling down a higher-quality stream).

I think the HD stream is encoded with a higher bitrate (per pixel), and perhaps the Amazon scaler is crap. The HD/SD distinction isn't so much about resolution.

Good SD video with competent upscaling ought to be plenty for a 7" screen. I watched a few DS9 episodes on my Nook Color (CM7 w/Netflix) and there was quite a bit of block aritfacting and quantization noise (and ... buffering delays). Playing a DVD-ripped AVI (mplayer IIRC) looked great.

Re:All of 'em (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204368)

Netflix's SD on Android is just plain "meh".

Netflix HD is pointless - I have yet to see a single item of HD content.

Re:All of 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38202434)

How is it "intrusive"?

Re:All of 'em (2)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202530)

For that I have my Nook, which I use mainly because it reads PDFs too.

I have a Kindle ("third generation"; I think they're calling the the Kindle Keyboard now, or something like that), and it reads PDFs just fine.

Re:All of 'em (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202734)

I do not see any requirements under law that they have DRM. They may have contracted with the content owners that included that provision but there is no law requiring it. Lets not confuse safty with IP protection they are nowhere near each other.

Re:All of 'em (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205032)

What do safety or IP protection have to do with the law?

Re:All of 'em (2)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202808)

My Kindle (third generation, 3G) reads PDFs too. I think it was only early versions that didn't.

I actually use the feature from time to time to get around the Kindles awful fonts. Import into OpenOffice.org, format using Century Schoolbook, export as PDF using page size settings optimized for the Kindle, and you have a nice looking document. Only works if you have access to the raw content of course, but for a lot of public domain stuff and websites...

Re:All of 'em (1)

Crimson Wing (980223) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202952)

Uh, the Kindle (at least, as of the Kindle 3/Kindle Keyboard) can read PDFs. It can also read Mobipocket files, and plain text files. And then there's the KindleGen service, which lets you attach files in a number of other formats -- including raw HTML, (unprotected) EPub, MS Word documents, and a number of image formats -- to an e-mail and have them converted to Kindle format and sent directly to your Kindle (there's a small charge if you have these delivered over 3G, but it's free if you get them over Wi-Fi).

Re:All of 'em (1)

DM9290 (797337) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203354)

Incidentally, this is coming from an Amazon Prime customer. I buy almost everything off of Amazon these days, with one exception: books. For that I have my Nook, which I use mainly because it reads PDFs too.

Except that the Kindle also reads PDFs too.

Re:All of 'em (1)

JASegler (2913) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204362)

You do realize the Kindle reads PDFs as well.

I have a Kindle Keyboard (Wi-Fi) and all I have to do is copy the PDF over into the documents folder via the USB cable.

Re:All of 'em (1)

awyeah (70462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204616)

The Kindle can read PDFs. It just can't do ePub - although as I understand it, ePub can be easily converted to a format readable on the Kindle.

Re:All of 'em (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205096)

Note that they have released the code for all versions of Kindle (i.e. the eInk devices as well, including all historical ones), not just Kindle Fire. I don't think those run Android.

Re:All of 'em (5, Informative)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201706)

It looks like this is just the GPL software. Nothing terribly exciting but maybe it has kernel drivers for the e-ink display. AFAIK the Kindle uses a locked bootloader so there is no way to actually get your ROM image running anyway. The Fire is a bit more promising, and the source release does seem to have kicked off a bit of interest in hacking it a bit, it's been rooted and Android market runs [eetimes.com] . I'll save you the 148MB download; here's the contents of Kindle_src_3.3_611680021.tar.gz:

gplrelease/
gplrelease/picocom-1.4.tar.gz
gplrelease/util-linux-2.12r.tar.bz2
gplrelease/atk-1.26.0.tar.bz2
gplrelease/uboot-1.3.0-rc3.tar.bz2
gplrelease/pango-1.24.5.tar.bz2
gplrelease/gstreamer-0.10.17.tar.bz2
gplrelease/taglib-1.5.tar.bz2
gplrelease/e2fsprogs-1.38_patch.tar.gz
gplrelease/fuse-2.7.1.tar.gz
gplrelease/libltdl-1.2.tar.bz2
gplrelease/libol-0.3.18.tar.gz
gplrelease/syslog-ng-1.6.11.tar.gz
gplrelease/busybox-1.7.2.tar.bz2
gplrelease/webkit-1.1.7.tar.bz2
gplrelease/e2fsprogs-1.38.tar.gz
gplrelease/wireless_tools.29.tar.gz
gplrelease/mtd-utils-1.0.0.tar.gz
gplrelease/pango-1.6.0.tar.bz2
gplrelease/lrzsz-0.12.20.tar.gz
gplrelease/gst-plugins-base-0.10.17.tar.bz2
gplrelease/libvolume-id_092.ipk
gplrelease/ifupdown_0.6.8.tar.gz
gplrelease/gst-plugins-good-0.10.6.tar.bz2
gplrelease/gst-plugins-base-0.10.6.tar.bz2
gplrelease/linux-2.6.26-lab126.tar.bz2
gplrelease/gnutls-2.8.4.tar.bz2
gplrelease/module-init-tools-3.2.2.tar.bz2
gplrelease/libgpg-error-1.4.tar.bz2
gplrelease/DirectFB-1.2.0.tar.bz2
gplrelease/libproxy-0.2.3.tar.bz2
gplrelease/module-init-tools-3.2.2_patch.tar.gz
gplrelease/glib-2.22.2.tar.bz2
gplrelease/udev-112.tar.bz2
gplrelease/alsa-lib-1.0.13_patch.tar.gz
gplrelease/enchant-1.4.2.tar.bz2
gplrelease/gtk+-2.16.5.tar.bz2
gplrelease/libgcrypt-1.4.4.tar.bz2
gplrelease/base-files_3.0.14.ipk
gplrelease/alsa-lib-1.0.13.tar.bz2
gplrelease/fuse-2.7.1_link.tar
gplrelease/dosfstools-2.11.tar.bz2
gplrelease/libsoup-2.30.0.tar.bz2
gplrelease/procps-3.2.7.tar.gz
gplrelease/procps-3.2.7_patch.tar.gz
gplrelease/base-passwd_3.5.9.tar.gz
gplrelease/powertop-1.10.tar.gz
gplrelease/iptables-1.3.3.tar.bz2
gplrelease/glibc-2.5.tar.bz2
gplrelease/alsa-utils-1.0.13_patch.tar.gz
gplrelease/alsa-utils-1.0.13.tar.bz2
gplrelease/gdb-6.6.tar.bz2
gplrelease/sysvinit-2.86.tar.gz
gplrelease/cairo-1.8.6.tar.bz2

Re:All of 'em (2)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201818)

And Kindle_src_6.1_11185402.tar.gz contains:

android-2.6.35 kernel
Some Android stuff (mainly webkit)
Some stuff from Texas Instruments (u-boot, x-loader)

The kernel source might be useful for drivers? The other stuff is already open-source projects.

Re:All of 'em (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202556)

Locked bootloader?

That's just not sporting, damn their eyes.

I now want my Touch 3G to arrive all the faster so I can poke at its insides.

Re:All of 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203278)

They better have...

Re:All of 'em (1)

CaptainTux (658655) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205276)

Releasing the source code in this case is pretty meaningless. You can't actually do anything with it. Sure, you can modify the code, but the device is locked so that, in order to put that modified code back on your device, you'd need to break Amazon's DRM. That feat could land you in jail. And they still have some secret parts. Like the part about remotely being able to turn off text to speech, the part that enables them to gather metrics about user use and book access, etc. All of that is still secret. Sorry, Amazon, this won't win you any points.

Although ... but (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38201456)

Choose one.

Re:Although ... but (-1, Offtopic)

venom85 (1399525) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201764)

This. I had to read the summary a couple times to get past the awkwardness of the wording. A simple proofread of one sentence before posting a submission shouldn't be too much for /.

But (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38201462)

Although I read the summary, but it didn't make much sense.

Re:But (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38201524)

That issue comes about when the submitter (or editor) doesn't have a grasp of the English language. They say things like, "Although I write summaries, but I don't know English".

Remote removing (4, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201466)

Is the sourcecode sufficient to disable Amazon's ability to remotely remove ebooks?

Re:Remote removing (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201498)

Yes if someone compiles a new OS and software package and delivers a "hack" that eliminates their control.

I'm just betting the "ad supported" version will become the first target as someone compiles and makes a file that turns it into a normal kindle.
Then we will hear of a federal bailout of the Executives as they will barely afford new Mercedes once a month anymore....

Re:Remote removing (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38201620)

Those already exist for most kindles, with the only requirement being a jailbreak. The kindle is built upon a linux system, with a java framework and a bunch of shell scripts. The shell scripts are the important bits which handle downloading the ads & and there was also a mod to revoke amazon's control entirely.

Source: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=150

is the source code enough for flashing it? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201510)

that's the question. otherwise it's only good for finding security flaws/bugs.

Re:Remote removing (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202828)

If you turn off the wireless, it's really hard for them to do that kind of thing. A charge also lasts 4x as long without WiFi checking in all the time.

Re:Remote removing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205472)

Political pressure has effectively done that already.

Supporters it lost? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38201492)

Way to rake up a totally unrelated 2 year old story about removing eBooks. The Kindle has been kicking ass when it comes to eBook reader sales and eBook sales, not losing supporters. If the source code release was done 2 yrs ago, your reasoning might have made sense.

Kindle Source (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201530)

I know this gem is hidden somewhere in the Kindle source.

10 REM Write I hate Apple to Screen
20 print "I hate Apple"
30 goto 20
40 gosub Kindleforipad

Re:Kindle Source (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202010)

Say what you will, atleast Amazon knows how to redundantly comment code.

Re:Kindle Source (1)

wed128 (722152) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205146)

in basic, no less!

Did they contribute? Is this actually full source? (4, Informative)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201534)

I downloaded the source for Kindle_src_3.3_611680021.tar.gz (randomly picked).

The contents of their tarball is the below list of files. Which of these sub-tarballs contains the Amazon reader and interface software? Or are they just releasing the bare minimum required by the GPL and keeping their stuff proprietary? Can Kindle owners blank their devices and use the published tarball to restore all functionality?

Put another way: is there a contribution here, or are they just doing what's necessary to avoid getting sued?

  • alsa-lib-1.0.13_patch.tar.gz
  • alsa-lib-1.0.13.tar.bz2
  • alsa-utils-1.0.13_patch.tar.gz
  • alsa-utils-1.0.13.tar.bz2
  • atk-1.26.0.tar.bz2
  • base-files_3.0.14.ipk
  • base-passwd_3.5.9.tar.gz
  • busybox-1.7.2.tar.bz2
  • cairo-1.8.6.tar.bz2
  • DirectFB-1.2.0.tar.bz2
  • dosfstools-2.11.tar.bz2
  • e2fsprogs-1.38_patch.tar.gz
  • e2fsprogs-1.38.tar.gz
  • enchant-1.4.2.tar.bz2
  • fuse-2.7.1_link.tar
  • fuse-2.7.1.tar.gz
  • gdb-6.6.tar.bz2
  • glib-2.22.2.tar.bz2
  • glibc-2.5.tar.bz2
  • gnutls-2.8.4.tar.bz2
  • gst-plugins-base-0.10.17.tar.bz2
  • gst-plugins-base-0.10.6.tar.bz2
  • gst-plugins-good-0.10.6.tar.bz2
  • gstreamer-0.10.17.tar.bz2
  • gtk+-2.16.5.tar.bz2
  • ifupdown_0.6.8.tar.gz
  • iptables-1.3.3.tar.bz2
  • libgcrypt-1.4.4.tar.bz2
  • libgpg-error-1.4.tar.bz2
  • libltdl-1.2.tar.bz2
  • libol-0.3.18.tar.gz
  • libproxy-0.2.3.tar.bz2
  • libsoup-2.30.0.tar.bz2
  • libvolume-id_092.ipk
  • linux-2.6.26-lab126.tar.bz2
  • lrzsz-0.12.20.tar.gz
  • module-init-tools-3.2.2_patch.tar.gz
  • module-init-tools-3.2.2.tar.bz2
  • mtd-utils-1.0.0.tar.gz
  • pango-1.24.5.tar.bz2
  • pango-1.6.0.tar.bz2
  • picocom-1.4.tar.gz
  • powertop-1.10.tar.gz
  • procps-3.2.7_patch.tar.gz
  • procps-3.2.7.tar.gz
  • syslog-ng-1.6.11.tar.gz
  • sysvinit-2.86.tar.gz
  • taglib-1.5.tar.bz2
  • uboot-1.3.0-rc3.tar.bz2
  • udev-112.tar.bz2
  • util-linux-2.12r.tar.bz2
  • webkit-1.1.7.tar.bz2
  • wireless_tools.29.tar.gz

Re:Did they contribute? Is this actually full sour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38201576)

"are they just doing what's necessary to avoid getting sued"

why should they do more if it isn't required?

Re:Did they contribute? Is this actually full sour (2)

Sez Zero (586611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201674)

"are they just doing what's necessary to avoid getting sued"

why should they do more if it isn't required?

Doing more than required is usually what it takes to "gain back supporters" like the summary suggests.

Personally I think they should fix the slow page-turns and other problems pointed out by reviewers.

Fulfilling a GPL requirement is fine; releasing extra code is great, but that's not going to help it sell anymore devices, except perhaps to a small segment of customers.

Re:Did they contribute? Is this actually full sour (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202160)

They don't need to gain back supporters.

The kinds of people who care about a source code release don't care about remote book wiping because their primary goal is likely CM7/CM9.

Amazon needs to do NOTHING to win these people over, since B&N drove them away with the Nook Tablet (locked bootloader).

Re:Did they contribute? Is this actually full sour (1)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201682)

Because if we, as customers, demand that they do, they'll have to. The way to demand it is to state that we dislike the fact they didn't, and go to someone who does, or if that someone doesn't exist, to someone who has provided more sources.

A source code release would be good for the customers, for the community and for the general progress of mobile devices such as ebook readers. That's why we should insist that source code should be released.

Re:Did they contribute? Is this actually full sour (1)

mo (2873) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204586)

From the GPL: "a) You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change." So it is required for them to list their changes.

Re:Did they contribute? Is this actually full sour (4, Informative)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201660)

On the bright side, there seems to be enough stuff in there to port any Linux (including Android) system into the Kindle (or, saying that in another way, all the drivers seem to be there).

On the bad side, no the reader is not there, and you won't be able to remove their capacity of remotely excluding your books (except if you remove the reader). It is also not more than they are required by the (L)GPL, and there is nothing telling if the boot loader will accept a user supplied system, or if you'll need to root it like any other tablet.

Re:Did they contribute? Is this actually full sour (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203146)

I've had a copy of 1984 (not from Amazon) on my Kindle for a year now. They haven't deleted it.

Re:Did they contribute? Is this actually full sour (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205518)

They can remove only books with their DRM (that means, stuff you brought from Amazon). Also, they only removed one version, of the several they have available.

I'd buy a Kindle to use as a tablet if it is easy to hack and cheap enough (and meets the specs I need, and if they deliver it here). I'll certanly hack it if I buy one, and won't buy DRMed books (Kindle or not). Thus Amazon probably isn't amazed by the idea of selling it to me. I can see why they'd ignore the entire demographics that thinks like me.

Re:Did they contribute? Is this actually full sour (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201676)

Put another way: is there a contribution here, or are they just doing what's necessary to avoid getting sued?

One of the major lessons of cryptography is that every code is breakable, it's just a matter of how long it takes to break. Releasing a pile of open source is sort of like encryption in the clear, it will take time and effort to decode what has (and possibly has not) been released.

This release of source code should put a good light on Amazon until the Christmas shopping season is over, it will take at least that long for anyone who cares to stir up trouble for them if they haven't released something they should have.

Re:Did they contribute? Is this actually full sour (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201842)

Yeah, doesn't look to me like they released any of the proprietary stuff that makes it a Kindle. It's not surprising, really. GPL doesn't require it, and this is what makes their software what it is, so from their perspective there's no reason to do so.

Still, as has been pointed out, ideally this is all you'll need to write your own custom OS for Kindles.

Gain back supporters? (4, Insightful)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201570)

The remote book removal was 2 years ago, and helped shape Amazon (and much of the mobile tech industry) to be extremely weary of using kill switches. Frankly, I'm glad it happened. It immediately stopped the usual slow creep of increased user control.

I don't think this helps "gain back supporters", but I do think it reinforces Amazon as a company moving in their new direction since then. I like the Amazon model which tries to take the best of Google and the best of Apple, and throw out the worst parts. Tight product integration, but if you want to hack it, why bother stopping you.

Re:Gain back supporters? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38201702)

extremely weary of using kill switches.

I know what you mean. Hopefully they'll find a way to automate the process and we won't get so worn out.

Re:Gain back supporters? (2)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202944)

Some people are very small-minded and hold the very few public PR failures a given company may have up as a totem to their evil nature.

cf. Sony Music's rootkit code for the other one that comes up all the time on Slashdot.

Companies that are better at hiding their evil ways get a free ride somehow among geeks, which makes no sense to me. Sadly, not all geeks are smart, some are just geeky.

Re:Gain back supporters? (1)

guises (2423402) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203456)

cf. Sony Music's rootkit code for the other one that comes up all the time on Slashdot.

This is just about the worst example that you could possibly have come up with. The rootkit was one example of an issue from a very problematic company. Hell, Slashdot had a pole for Sony gaffes: http://slashdot.org/pollBooth.pl?qid=2166 [slashdot.org]

"Very few." Peh.

Obviously, a better example would involve cars. How about Toyota? Their only gaffe that comes to mind was that faulty accelerator issue from 2009 which turned out to be no more common in Toyotas than in any other company's cars.

Re:Gain back supporters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205110)

I think you need a dictionary. Neither Amazon nor Sony are anywhere near the definition of "evil".

And you clearly don't understand what it means to be "smart".

Re:Gain back supporters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38204340)

CSB time:

One of my favorite series, Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt, is released in the UK first. The 7th book just recently came out, and the US releases are only up to the 4th or 5th. I'd lucked out and gotten the first 6 before the publisher prevented people in the US from buying the UK editions.

Anyways, when the 7th book came out, I added Buckingham Palace as an address to my Amazon account. That allowed me to switch my Kindle region to the UK. THAT allowed me to buy the book (at an annoying exchange rate, no less; the dollar sucks compared to the pound). Then I changed my Kindle back to the US.

A couple days after I bought the book, I got an email from some guy at Amazon. Basically, it said something like "I noticed you tried to purchase a UK book from the US. Please get in touch with me so I can help you fix this."

I never got in touch with the guy. I was worried Amazon might try to pull the book from my Kindle, so I kept its wireless turned off until I'd finished reading it. After I finished, I turned the wireless back on, and nothing unusual happened. The book is still on my Kindle, and still shows up in my list of books on the Kindle website.

This is only common gpl software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38201656)

It's useless if you intend to hack the kindle...

Nothing to see here. (5, Informative)

Kufat (563166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201694)

It's just a minimal GPL drop. No application level source. Unlike (for example) Netgear or Linksys, they don't even provide the object code and build tools to let you build your own usable device ROM image from a combination of proprietary and OSS components.

Re:Nothing to see here. (1, Informative)

daid303 (843777) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201812)

Which is funny, because a minimal GPL drop requires:

The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it. For an executable work, complete source code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable.

(from GPLv2 section 3)
How I read it, if I cannot reproduce the binary you produced, then you didn't really give me everything I needed by GPL.

Re:Nothing to see here. (2, Informative)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201880)

I think you're reading it wrong. The code drop looks to be enough to get the /operating system/, but not the Kindle /application/.

If we did a naive reading of the GPL as you did, then it wouldn't be possible to run proprietary software without released source code on Linux.

Re:Nothing to see here. (1)

Kufat (563166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203248)

You can reproduce the binary for the Linux kernel, the binary for busybox, the binary for ncurses, etc. Those are the components covered by the GPL. The GPL does not prohibit the distribution of GPL and non-GPL components on the same device or in the same distribution, nor does it have anything to say about components covered by another license.

Re:Nothing to see here. (1)

Kufat (563166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203740)

Whoops. ncurses is MIT licensed, not BSD. Bad example, but what I said still applies to the components that ARE licensed under the GPL.

Although and But (0)

jesseck (942036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201716)

Although ... but

Does using a double comparison mean there is not comparison between the two?

Hardware locked? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38201742)

Remember the open source software phones that would brick if users tampered with the firmware? It *all* has to be open to be really useful.

Kobo Source Code (2)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201834)

You can get the full Kobo/Touch source code if you e-mail their support staff and wait two to four weeks.
And then you can't really do jack-squat with it.
Which is infuriating because the features most people want to steal from the Kindle are amazingly easy to implement in the Qt environment the Kobo uses.

Anyone care to add EPUB support? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38201908)

Does anyone care to take this source code and produce a largely "stock" OS but add in the sorely lacking ability to be able to natively read the EPUB [wikipedia.org] format of ebooks?

I'm sure thousands of Kindle owners would be eternally grateful.

Re:Anyone care to add EPUB support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38202512)

Use Calibre [sourceforge.net] to convert .epub to .mobi which can be use on the Kindle.

Re:Anyone care to add EPUB support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38203668)

There are two ports of FBReader to the Kindle. Neither is perfect, but both add EPUB support.

http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/Kindle_Hacks_Information

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=107371

Re:Anyone care to add EPUB support? (1)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | more than 2 years ago | (#38204634)

Does anyone care to take this source code and produce a largely "stock" OS but add in the sorely lacking ability to be able to natively read the EPUB format of ebooks?

I'm sure thousands of Kindle owners would be eternally grateful.

While that is a good suggestion and I expect that somebody will implement EPUB support for Kindle (if it hasn't already been done), I really think that people who would be eternally grateful for EPUB support really should have bought ... well, pretty much any e-book reader that isn't the Kindle [wikipedia.org] . Why give your money to support the one player who wants to lock you in by refusing to support standards?

Horrible tfs grammar. (1)

cheeks5965 (1682996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201942)

I was going to do a ftfy, but it would be too long. Suffice to say that Although and But start off dependent clauses, and you can't have two dependent clauses in a sentence without an independent clause.

Kindle Knockoffs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38202670)

So does this mean that there will be kindle knockoffs in the next few months? Also is this going to cause more splintering of the Android ecosystem? Meaning Kindle phones and devices and forget about Google's advancements?

Re:Kindle Knockoffs? (1)

wed128 (722152) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205188)

Nope. Just possible upstreaming of patches to gpl projects. nothing to see here really.

Just the GPL requirements, not full source (1)

BestNicksRTaken (582194) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202776)

Last time I looked at the code it was just things like busybox.tar.gz and kernel.tar.gz, just to comply with the GPL. You can download all that lot from Sourceforge FFS.

Its not like you can actually compile you own Kindle OS from what they're distributing, there's no Makefile or documentation on how all the bits glue together.

Its certainly not like Android where you can compile your own phone OS (if you have the proprietary blobs for gfx/gps etc.)

A shell prompt would suffice (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203024)

The source code is nothing but a simple collection of GPL software. There's NOTHING kindle-specific in it.

Hacks to get a simple (root) shell prompt to the Kindle are actually a lot more useful than this source drop. Google is your friend. Use at your own risk. Slippery when wet.

Little frog, Big pond. (3, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203590)

but perhaps Amazon releasing the source code to the Kindle will help it gain back supporters it lost after remotely removing ebooks.

You are talking about one of the hottest products on the market.

"Winning back" the geek is not all that important.

amazon lost customers? (1)

chentiangemalc (1710624) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205408)

i like the "might win back the customers amazon lost from removing ebooks remotely" how many customers they lost? 5 out of millions? for better or for worse most of us don't care...
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