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Ubuntu 9.04 On Kindle 2

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  • data connection? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quercus.aeternam (1174283) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:20PM (#29304109) Homepage

    I can't help but wonder - is the kindle's data connection still available?

    And if so, on what end is the code that limits the kindle to accessing wikipedia and amazon?

    • Re:data connection? (Score:4, Informative)

      by wh1pp3t (1286918) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:27PM (#29304183)

      I can't help but wonder - is the kindle's data connection still available?

      And if so, on what end is the code that limits the kindle to accessing wikipedia and amazon?

      It should be; the data connection (sprint) doesn't use an account-name system. It's based on hardware. The hardware hasn't changed, so one can assume connectivity will work.

      • Re:data connection? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by natehoy (1608657) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:36PM (#29304303) Journal

        Someone on the project page asked the guy who did this if the data connection worked.

        His reply was rather cryptic: "YES BUT DON'T DO THAT".

        If the person who managed it is recommending against it, the very same hoopy frood with the smarts who managed to go to all the trouble to hack Ubuntu onto the Kindle, then I gotta go with "it either doesn't work well enough to bother, or there's a really good reason why you shouldn't use it if it does".

        • by Shatrat (855151)

          His reply was rather cryptic: "YES BUT DON'T DO THAT".

          The reason he typed in all caps was because he was running from Amazon's black helicopters.

        • Re:data connection? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:49PM (#29304485) Journal
          I doubt that there is any particular technical reason; but it might well be an excellent way to have the data connection cut off. Much worse, from the perspective of the linux enthusiast, who the presenter presumably is, would be Sprint, or any other carrier considering a future deal to provide a whispernet-like service, insisting on hardcore cryptographic device crippling as a condition.

          Enforcing network security in the client wouldn't be a terribly good plan; but a carrier's attempt to do so could make a project like that of TFA much harder in the future.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by wh1pp3t (1286918)
          Not sure why he states not to do that.
          Granted, if the volume of traffic for a kindle goes way up beyond what Amazon and Sprint negotiated, there would be flags raised.
          I'm sure there are some data usage catch-all's buried in the license agreement.
        • by Ma8thew (861741) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:53PM (#29304541)
          He probably doesn't want to draw attention. If the data connection is abused then Amazon may try and block people from installing Linux.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by bhartman34 (886109)
          I can't say for sure, but I imagine the reason he said "YES BUT DON'T DO THAT" isn't because it doesn't work, but because neither Amazon nor Sprint intended the Kindle to use the 3G connection for heavy browsing. (Otherwise, it wouldn't be free.)

          Amazon has locked people out of their store (and the Kindle accounts) before for misbehavior. Best-case scenario, if you go wild, is you'll find yourself without access to the online bookstore and/or your Amazon account. Worst-case scenario, probably, is havin
        • Re:data connection? (Score:4, Informative)

          by pilot1 (610480) * on Thursday September 03, 2009 @06:00PM (#29305277)

          Someone on the project page asked the guy who did this if the data connection worked. His reply was rather cryptic: "YES BUT DON'T DO THAT". If the person who managed it is recommending against it, the very same hoopy frood with the smarts who managed to go to all the trouble to hack Ubuntu onto the Kindle, then I gotta go with "it either doesn't work well enough to bother, or there's a really good reason why you shouldn't use it if it does".

          Amazon only guarantees that the Kindle can be used to access a few websites (Wikipedia, Amazon, maybe one or two more), but they currently allow you to access all of the internet for free over Sprint's cellular network. Amazon pays for it.

          If people were to start tethering their Kindles and using them as a means of getting free internet anywhere, it would become too expensive for Amazon to continue. This is probably why the author said not to use the data connection; he doesn't want Amazon to discontinue the free internet service.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by popo (107611)

        Wait, really? You mean to say that if I have the right hardware, I could conceivably get free wireless access (at least to Wikipedia) anywhere -- and there's no system of authentication to shut it down without shutting down every existing Kindle?

        That seems like huge news.

        If true, I'm surprised there aren't black market chips that do this.

        • Given that the connection is just a standard cellular modem, it'd be easy enough for either Sprint or Amazon(depending on exactly how their access deal is structured) to flag an offending device and just stop talking to it. It may well not be automated at this point, the process might even have be improvised on the fly for the first couple of times; but it should be doable enough.

          I assume that Amazon is getting a much better deal, per modem in use, than most other users are because of bulk and because the
        • You mean to say that if I have the right hardware, I could conceivably get free wireless access (at least to Wikipedia) anywhere -- and there's no system of authentication to shut it down without shutting down every existing Kindle?

          Actually, Amazon has built pretty good authentication into the system. The system stores:

          1) Your Amazon account information
          2) Your credit card number
          3) Your location (via the GPS)

          So if you do decide to piss Amazon off, like someone else implied above, you might as well just sit down, have a cup of coffee, and wait for the black Amazon helicopters to land on your lawn. :)

          • by idontgno (624372)

            So if you do decide to piss Amazon off, like someone else implied above, you might as well just sit down, have a cup of coffee, and wait for the black Amazon helicopters to land on your lawn. :)

            Oh, boy, finally! A real-world use for yelling "Get off my lawn!"

    • Re:data connection? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Trepidity (597) <.delirium-slashdot. .at. .hackish.org.> on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:27PM (#29304185)

      The Kindle isn't limited to accessing Wikipedia and Amazon even with the default OS-- there's a web browser under the "experimental" features in the default menu. Amazon doesn't play it up much partly because it's not very good [techcrunch.com], and partly because presumably they'd lose money if people bought Kindles just for web browsing.

      • Priced at $299, I doubt they lose any money on the hardware.
        • Re:data connection? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by rm999 (775449) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:50PM (#29304503)

          Amazon presumably pays Sprint for the service connection too. My guess is Amazon pays per byte, because they charge to wirelessly transmit books to the kindle (unless you buy the book from Amazon, in which case that's baked into the price).

          If my guess is true, using it purely as a browser could cost Amazon a decent amount. Fortunately for them, the browser is terrible and the screen is too slow to browse quickly.

        • by Trepidity (597)

          They don't lose money on the hardware, but they're selling you the hardware and a few years of unlimited 3G connectivity for that $299.

          • I love the use of the term "unlimited" in contexts like this. I think I'm going to publish my own I.T. industry dictionary with revised definitions that match reality.

            unlimited (\-Ëli-mÉ(TM)-tÉ(TM)d\, adjective) - for data transfer, any amount less than approximately 500 GB per month.
      • by trawg (308495)

        Does the Kindle have an EULA or something that defines what "unlimited" means?

    • by langelgjm (860756)

      And if so, on what end is the code that limits the kindle to accessing wikipedia and amazon?

      In your head? Or is that just a Kindle 2 limitation? 'Cause the DX can visit any site its primitive browser is capable of displaying. I've got a slashdot bookmark on my DX.

      Or, did you mean the code that prevents you from tethering it?

  • by filesiteguy (695431) <kai@perfectreign.com> on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:29PM (#29304227) Homepage
    This is very highly cool. I wish I had the time and money to spend on such an endeavor. However, my question is - how does one get to the CLI and type in the inevitable commands that must be run to make things work??
  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:34PM (#29304285) Homepage
    The new functionality was presented in a talk at OSCON 2009. Be warned, [Jesse] has a very high geeky-hacker level. Make sure you have a tech dictionary and Google at the ready when you watch the video embedded after the break. His talk starts at about two minute in and runs for five minutes total.

    is there a new rating system i don't know about? what are the other options besides "very high geek-hacker level"?
  • by NoYob (1630681) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:36PM (#29304309)
    From their terms of use [amazon.com]:

    No Reverse Engineering, Decompilation, Disassembly or Circumvention. You may not, and you will not encourage, assist or authorize any other person to, modify, reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble the Device or the Software, whether in whole or in part, create any derivative works from or of the Software, or bypass, modify, defeat or tamper with or circumvent any of the functions or protections of the Device or Software or any mechanisms operatively linked to the Software, including, but not limited to, augmenting or substituting any digital rights management functionality of the Device or Software.

    I wonder what the legal team will do? This is a derivative work and the guy did reverse engineer how things worked (a little) to get Linux on it.

    • by Shikaku (1129753) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:47PM (#29304463)

      Did Amazon put a lease on the Kindle? No.

      It's yours. The debt was paid and you own the device. You can bash it in with a hammer if you wanted. There's nothing stopping you from doing anything to the hardware, including damaging it. There's no law against hacking hardware, and you can already put your own ebooks on it so it's a moot point that it promotes piracy like you can argue for consoles. There are laws on the effects and results it can cause, mostly to do with the FCC and radio frequencies, and other illegal things you can do with any normal computer. The EULA has no sticking power.

      Now, the idea that the 3G internet connection still works is interesting. There's no login credentials. So technically you DO have unlimited access to their network, until they decide to ban your chip ID. Then someone could make a class-action lawsuit and say they gave me unlimited access, you can't ban me.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by FlyingBishop (1293238)

      The Kindle runs Linux already. All he did was disable a few protections, which you would know if you had watched the video. That TOS has absolutely zero applicability, since they have already released the modifications they made to the Linux kernel (as required by the GPL.)

      In fact, given the fact that the Kindle is Linux, the software provisions of their TOS are patently absurd.

    • by Khashishi (775369)

      Erm, those terms of use are clearly in violation of the GPL.

  • by Drunkulus (920976)
    If a Segway could somehow be incorporated then the fanboy circle would be complete.
  • A couple notes... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jesse (306) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @05:07PM (#29304689) Homepage

    What I did was to get a Jaunty _chroot_ running on the Kindle 2. The interesting bits were mostly around making X work and beating the 5-pad into submission.

  • Semantic Web (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tomun (144651) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @06:10PM (#29305359)

    Watch the video until the end, there's a brilliantly funny presentation about the semantic web that you wont want to miss.

If a thing's worth having, it's worth cheating for. -- W.C. Fields

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