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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Jailbroken

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the rebel-in-the-library dept.

Books 51

hypnosec writes "Amazon's latest Kindle Paperwhite is now officially jailbroken, giving users the ability to do things like turn their eReaders into weather station displays, or connect serially to a Raspberry Pi. To jailbreak the Paperwhite, the user needs to copy a file over to the root directory of the e-Reader and restart the device. The Kindle Paperwhite jailbreak is based on a previously known hack used on the Kindle Touch."

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Interesting? Yes. Useful? No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41567355)

There are cheaper ways to do things like weather displays. And the e-ink display is really only useful for what it's used for - displaying and reading printed text. And Amazon probably will find a way to shut it down, much like Sony does with its PS3 - force you to system update to use new features, which lock it down again.

I'm jailbreaking mine. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41567365)

I'm jailbreaking my Paperwhite so I can read ePubs!

Re:I'm jailbreaking mine. (4, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41567447)

That would be my first, and main reason as well. Same reason i rooted my nook touch, so i could read mobi native.. Having native access to both main formats is far better than having to convert and hope... ( now that both support pdf, that became a non-issue, but the mobi/epub issue is still there )

Having direct access to the both 'markets' for books is good too.

Re:I'm jailbreaking mine. (1)

Mastacheata87 (1759916) | about 2 years ago | (#41568515)

That would be my first, and main reason as well. Same reason i rooted my nook touch, so i could read mobi native.. Having native access to both main formats is far better than having to convert and hope... ( now that both support pdf, that became a non-issue, but the mobi/epub issue is still there )

Having direct access to the both 'markets' for books is good too.

You still need to get rid of either Adobe's or Amazon's DRM, the Jailbreak and software you'll later install will only display free eBooks in the other format.

Re:I'm jailbreaking mine. (1)

bhaak1 (219906) | about 2 years ago | (#41568575)

You still need to get rid of either Adobe's or Amazon's DRM, the Jailbreak and software you'll later install will only display free eBooks in the other format.

Just say no to DRM. Buying DRM-"protected" ebooks sends the wrong message to publishers.

Re:I'm jailbreaking mine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41590911)

Yeah, so I just won't BUY ANY BOOKS. That will tell them "I don't read books", since that's all the signal they'll get out of me NOT BUYING ANY BOOKS.

Or just buy them, rip off the DRM with a simple script, and send them a letter saying "please stop using DRM, it's ineffective".

Re:I'm jailbreaking mine. (1)

bhaak1 (219906) | about 2 years ago | (#41593993)

Yeah, so I just won't BUY ANY BOOKS. That will tell them "I don't read books", since that's all the signal they'll get out of me NOT BUYING ANY BOOKS.

You are suggesting that there are no DRM-free commercial ebooks available. That's just not true.

You get lots of commercial books from a lot of publishers. For example Tor, Baen, and Fictionwise. You might be out of luck if you want to read 50 shades of grey or twilight books. But hey, at least Harry Potter is DRM-free now.

Or just buy them, rip off the DRM with a simple script, and send them a letter saying "please stop using DRM, it's ineffective".

You think common sense and reasoning is the right strategy with people who just don't get it?

Either don't buy their books or buy the cheap paper book and tell them that they could have made more money from you if they'd cut out the middle man if you would have bought the ebook directly from them.

"Money" is the only argument that they'll understand.

Re:I'm jailbreaking mine. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41568621)

I have used both on my rooted nook. Why would the kindle be any different?

Re:I'm jailbreaking mine. (1)

inflex (123318) | about 2 years ago | (#41574567)

A lot of new content /producers/ are avoiding DRM like the plague as well ( We are, and almost all members of our loose, but large association are ). So it's changing.

I do wish Amazon would just get over itself and add ePub ability and be done with it... likewise release a linux-native reader.

Re:I'm jailbreaking mine. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#41573379)

I would actually argue that converting is more convenient, for the simple reason that books converted to Mobi can then be uploaded to Amazon's cloud (by sending them to your Kindle's email). Once that's done, they sync their last read position, bookmarks etc, same as books purchased from Amazon. If you ever read from more than one device - e.g. Kindle at home, and your smartphone on the go - that syncing functionality comes very handy.

Re:I'm jailbreaking mine. (2)

blahbooboo (839709) | about 2 years ago | (#41568365)

Or just convert ePubs in a minute or so using Calibre

Re:I'm jailbreaking mine. (0)

bhaak1 (219906) | about 2 years ago | (#41568525)

Or just convert ePubs in a minute or so using Calibre

But it's much easier to just copy your epubs onto the device than having everything going through Calibre.

Of course it depends on how you manage your ebooks but any conversion can go wrong and Amazon's reader software on the hardware Kindles is quite limited anyway (no kerning and no hyphenation)

I'm also quite sceptical about Calibre's code. But its UI is ugly and considering some security issues in the past by its main programmer I'm constantly surprised that it works fine most of the time.

KindleGen CLI ePub - Mobi (1)

John Bokma (834313) | about 2 years ago | (#41568675)

But it's much easier to just copy your epubs onto the device than having everything going through Calibre.

That's why I use Kindlegen which runs on the CLI and can be downloaded for free: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000765211 [amazon.com] I don't like much Calibre; it feels sluggish.

Re:I'm jailbreaking mine ... to read Epubs (1)

bhaak1 (219906) | about 2 years ago | (#41568859)

I'm jailbreaking my Paperwhite so I can read ePubs!

And what program are you using for that?

I started the HackedUpReader project [mobileread.com] (based on the Coolreader code) for reading epubs on the Kindle Touch.

We know now the Kindle Paperwhite is quite similar to the Kindle Touch (also shown by the internal firmware version 5.1.2 for the Touch and 5.2.0 for the PW) and the latest release of HackedUpReader has possible support for the PW but I don't have heard any report so far.

Re:I'm jailbreaking mine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41573529)

How does jailbreaking it allow for epub support?

I am assuming more hacking would need to be done?

Re:I'm jailbreaking mine. (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 years ago | (#41573567)

That's what you think you did. In reality, you installed spyware with the added benefit for you that you can read epubs.

Re:Interesting? Yes. Useful? No. (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 years ago | (#41568715)

There are cheaper ways to do things like weather displays. And the e-ink display is really only useful for what it's used for - displaying and reading printed text. And Amazon probably will find a way to shut it down, much like Sony does with its PS3 - force you to system update to use new features, which lock it down again.

Weather displays aren't "printed text"? Is there something wrong with wanting a customizable smart display that uses less power and is easier to read than the typical black/gray hardwired LCDs?

Hackable devices. (1)

bejiitas_wrath (825021) | about 2 years ago | (#41567401)

Long may they live. It is good to be able to hack devices and make them do things they were not intended to do. That is the hacker spirit living on in 2012.

Re:Hackable devices. (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41567411)

Or just use it like it *should* be, and not locked down to one particular vendor's file format.

Without epub support the thing is worthless to me.

Re:Hackable devices. (1)

bonehead (6382) | about 2 years ago | (#41567859)

I wouldn't say worthless. More convenient, definitely.

Calibre makes it crazy easy to convert between ebook formats, so turning that epub into a pdf or mobi is pretty simple.

But, yes, if the option is available to read the epub directly, that is definitely preferable.

Re:Hackable devices. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41568599)

You can covert easily, but what comes out the other end isn't always that great.

Re:Hackable devices. (1)

bonehead (6382) | about 2 years ago | (#41569641)

It's not *always* great, but I've had mostly good luck.

The only real problem I run into is pictures landing in the wrong spots so they don't match their caption. For a novel, not a big deal. For a reference book, probably a showstopper. But even that can be rectified with a little work.

Anyway, my point was only that "worthless" was too strong a term. I fully agree that a device that can just use X format directly is a better tool than one that requires conversion.

Re:Hackable devices. (2)

dabadab (126782) | about 2 years ago | (#41568015)

"Without epub support the thing is worthless to me."

Drama queen too much?

I have a K4 and I have absolutely no idea if it supports epub. I mean, it certainly does in the sense that I can send epubs to it and read that stuff on the Kindle without any problem. But the question that it supports it natively or by converting it during transfer is absolutely irrelevant for me and I guess mostly for everybody.

Re:Hackable devices. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#41573385)

Wait - are you saying that sending an ePub file to your Kindle via email will actually convert it?

The hacker spirit is admirable, but little utility (0)

CRCulver (715279) | about 2 years ago | (#41567409)

The e-paper Kindle is a great way to carry a library around with you, but I don't see the utility of using it for anything other than reading books. The Kindle Paperwhite [amazon.com] is more expensive than a generic Android tablet, plus the Paperwhite takes a few weeks to ship because of high demand. If you want to hack it to e.g. show weather data, why wait weeks and pay so much when you could have one of those generic tablets instantly?

e-ink (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41567431)

That is the whole point of e-ink, to provide a good readable display. LCD sucks for anything other than a quick glance of a tech book where you *need* color or a larger format. ( where is my color e-ink amazon and B&N.. ?? )

Re:The hacker spirit is admirable, but little util (1)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | about 2 years ago | (#41567531)

I think the main reason to hack the kindles is to remove annoyances ... I buy a new kindle every year (yeah, I'm a sucker and I love the products) but I don't get my next one until I'm sure I can jailbreak it. Then I can add my own fonts, remove their ugly "screensavers" (exactly what am I saving btw? the display takes 0 power, just leave the fucking text there, thanks) and allow more formats (eg, epub). I buy a lot of books too, amazon isn't losing anything. Why don't they let me do these simple things out of the box? Idiots. No, wait, not idiots. If putting an mp3 in the usb drive can crack it... I think they know how to fix it and choose to not care. But this way, they not only have to not support it, but they don't even get the calls, "Hi, I cracked my kindle to use unsuported features; will you help me?"

Re:The hacker spirit is admirable, but little util (1)

bhaak1 (219906) | about 2 years ago | (#41568683)

The hacker spirit is not for "utility" but for "hacking". :-)

Having said that IMO there is utility in a jailbreak of Kindle devices even if you "only" want to use it for reading. Without a jailbreak you can't directly read specifc formats (e.g. epubs or some comic and manga formats).

Notice to tech gadget corporations (1)

DThorne (21879) | about 2 years ago | (#41567445)

When I first saw ads for Paperwhite, I was sort of meh, I've been using my Transformer Prime/Razr to read books, my Kindle went to my wife. Why another gadget? This notice made me look again...and I'm betting I'll never find a reason to want to actually root it. Just the fact that root-ability is out there attracts a segment of the demographic. I'm thinking I want one of these now...

Officially? (1)

OoberMick (674746) | about 2 years ago | (#41567515)

Officially jail broken? So Amazon have jail broken it?

Re:Officially? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#41567539)

"Official" here seems just to refer to that it actually has happened.

Re:Officially? (1)

OoberMick (674746) | about 2 years ago | (#41567573)

Yep, as opposed to unofficially which basically means he dreamt it.

Re:Officially? (1)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#41567633)

I just looked at Netcraft, but I saw nothing confirmed, so how "official" is it?

Re:Officially? (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | about 2 years ago | (#41567709)

In comparison to the imaginary jailbreaks for the Paperwhite?

Re:Officially? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568473)

I took it to mean "Actually happened and published online".
The validated published procedure is what makes it "official".
(This use would be an antonym to 'reported')

Paper what? (2)

bigdavex (155746) | about 2 years ago | (#41568131)

Isn't there a marketing danger to naming your product almost "paper weight"?

Re:Paper what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41568419)

Isn't there a marketing danger to naming your product almost "paper weight"?

Sure, just look at how much trouble Apple had from naming their product almost "MaxiPad".

Re:Paper what? (1)

SuperMooCow (2739821) | about 2 years ago | (#41568639)

Does that imply that my non-touch Kindle should be called "PaperGrey"?

Re:Paper what? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#41572431)

The screens are glass, so if you don't treat them like glass they will become a "paper weight". Keep that in mind and they'll last as long as any good camera, but treat them like a book and you've got a paperweight.

This shouldn't be news. (4, Insightful)

jmerlin (1010641) | about 2 years ago | (#41569635)

I understand why it is, but when we purchase a computer, it shouldn't be news to the world that "you can run programs on it." This industry has started a fad of creating walled gardens and severely incapacitating the things they're selling. It would be like buying a lawn mower that could only cut Monsanto grass. It would be like buying a Microwave Oven that would only work on a certain few name-brand items. It would be like buying a monitor that would only stream video from approved devices. It would be like buying a car that would only run on Exxon fuel and would only drive properly on certain roads.

All of the above examples are absolutely absurd. So is this artificial limitation of computing devices. It needs to end, now.

Re:This shouldn't be news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41570447)

Some of the competition has Free Software. Support them by buying them. Vote with your wallet.

Re:This shouldn't be news. (1)

iiiears (987462) | about 2 years ago | (#41571007)

Just great! I can jailbreak my kindle read any format now...

With a binary written by someone i don't know and am forced to trust because i can't write or disassemble code. (21st century illiterate. )

Do i trust Amazon to make the kindle less user friendly and progressively more expensive with user lock-in or.. $Random programmer to be honest without anyone reviewing the source code?

I Would love the convenience of a kindle but for this question.

Re:This shouldn't be news. (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#41572859)

The business model with most ereaders is buying the same cheap Chinese devices as competitors and putting custom software on there. That sucks for us because sales versus competitiors depend on keeping that custom software closed and not letting consumers have access to the unmodified devices. Throw a walled garden for books with special price markups for different regions and you've got the mainstream of eink.
Devices that are not so closed can't compete so much on price since they have to make more money from the hardware instead of book sales, so their prices keep them out of a lot of markets (eg. pocketbook, via hosted web forums they seem to be supporting a hacking community of people porting their own linux software). The lack of competition in some markets allows silly claims like the Kobo one about their 5 inch reader being the smallest in the world, simply because the other 5 inch readers have been too expensive to sell well outside of Europe in the past few years.
There are projects like openinkpot but they only work on a small range of devices, which once again are not the cheapest since the mainsteam is supported by book sales and it's not mainsteam hardware. That and pocketbook is the answer for those situations where you wish your ereader would do just one more thing (eg. image viewer, comic viewer, tree based file browser instead of library front end etc), have more fonts or support new file formats that came out after the reader was sold.
I bought a Kobo for a gift and one of my own on the strength of a guy that was hacking it getting some useful information directly from Kobo - but he hit the brick wall of them having to preserve the secrets that seperate their device from the half dozen others using the same hardware and he couldn't do much more with it than play with busybox (shell and a large number of shell utilities), and put static images on the screen. I'm very tempted to replace it with a pocketbook, oynx boox (not sure how open they are now) or something else that will let me use it for whatever I can think of (clock, image viewer, weather page as suggested, man page viewer, text mode web browser, etc), but I also have a temptation to hand over money for a walled garden Kindle and modify it in ways the seller doesn't want. USB networking and X can be done on the kindles, so it could be a handy little third screen for text based stuff (eg. reading slashdot for a trivial example). The downsides are people have to grope in the dark, find clues and guess to use the features available on the device but kept from the consumer. That's kept me from buying one and going through a frustrating process of trying to work out what has been changed and get the linux system on it to do what it is told.
Any openinkpot, pocketbook, or onyx boox users that wish to comment? Any others I've never heard of?

Burried in the list (1)

Qubit (100461) | about 2 years ago | (#41573701)

It would be like buying a monitor that would only stream video from approved devices.

I see what you did there!

Why the hell ... (1)

zapyon (575974) | about 2 years ago | (#41571431)

would anyone want to jailbreak a paperweight?

This is cool, but (1)

badford (874035) | about 2 years ago | (#41571763)

At the risk of getting flamed to a cinder I am offering this up:

I am getting the Kindle Paperwhite and I am not going to jailbreak it.

I like paying for my books. I have purchased some friggin excellent books directly from my kindle touch that I would have never otherwise. "Pines" and "Run" by Blake Crouch are 2 good examples many slashdotters will appreciate. ('Wool" is another). It is an easy way to support an author.

I use my kindle to read PDFs all the time. you CAN read epubs if you convert them (http://calibre-ebook.com/about)

Re:This is cool, but (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41573293)

I am getting the Kindle Paperwhite and I am not going to jailbreak it. ... I like paying for my books.

I see this argument in iOS jailbreaking discussions too, but I don't understand it. Do you really believe jailbreaking is about stealing books? If you do, you're wrong.

I have an iPhone and a Kindle, both of which are jailbroken. I still pay for my books and my apps. The default jailbreaks on both devices wouldn't let me steal stuff even if I wanted to! But I have been able to add functionality - and that's why I do it.

Thanks to jailbreaking, my Kindle 3 now lets me connect to it over wi-fi - I can put files onto it or remove others without plugging the cable in. With the iPhone, I've added SBSettings so I can more conveniently turn the radios off and on. I've also set up gestures that mimic a home button press - having had the home button die on an older iPod Touch taught me the value in that.

It's not about stealing or doing anything illegal or immoral - it's about making great devices even more useful than they already are.

ePub support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41572939)

How exactly would epub support be added?

Re:ePub support (2)

bhaak1 (219906) | about 2 years ago | (#41573067)

Most of the custom framework the Kindle Touch and Kindle Paperwhite are using is based on a Java framework that is quite extendible.

For example a popular jailbreak patch called JBPatch adds lots of stuff to the standard Kindle reading software, like hyphenation

Theoretically it would be possible to add code that decodes epubs and thus lets you read the content.

Practically so far there have been standalone programs developped that let you read them.

Re:ePub support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41574343)

Thank you very much, I figured it had to be along those lines. Obviously there wouldn't be a simple "epub_support = true" flag to set. so actual work would need to be done. I just wasnt sure what the actual kindle eink systems were. Interesting that it is in a java framework.

manga or light novels on paperwhite? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41710111)

Can I read manga on kindle paperwhite and does it have SD so i can read my own japanese translated light novels?

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