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How to Turn Turn your Kobo eReader into a Linux Tablet

kobo aba indieboundBord with your Kobo ereader? While you could make it the guest of honor at a skeet shoot, one hacker has found a better solution.

There’s a new post over on MobileRead today that detail the steps needed to install Debian Linux on a Kobo ereader. With a little bit of luck and a fair amount of technical know-how, you can create a one of a kind Debian tablet.

Marek, the Linux developer who has done most of the work, reports that he has gotten this project to work on a Kobo Touch and a Kobo Mini. He’s been working on it since the middle of August, and he’s posted proof of concept screenshots which show that FBReader is running:

kobo debian linux tablet 3

Yes, I know that the screen shot is in color and the Kobo hardware has grayscale screens. The driver software for the screen hasn’t been modified yet; it still thinks it’s dealing with a color screen.

Other MR members have also been trying Marek’s early work. One has confirmed that this project almost works on the Kobo Glo. It had screen resolution issues but that is probably fixable.

Marek has also gotten other apps to work, including a web browser, Solitaire, and a calculator:


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Jack Lennon September 10, 2013 um 11:45 am

Eeewwwww. While I like this hack, I can’t help thinking that FBReader just wrecks it.

It may be the worst EPUB app ever. And should I be its developer, I would be quite ashamed of making it available as it doesn’t even respect something as simple as CSS, which is the equivalent of giving the middle finger to the articulation of the phrased, what makes a book worth reading.

And believe me, I tried using FBReader, but it completely destroys the books I love. As a matter of fact, the lack of CSS support results in the alteration of the meaning of a text in some languages, european languages in particular.

It’s high time we stop using and start “demoting” apps which developers doesn’t respect the art of writing. Unfortunately, FBReader is the perfect example… and it’s not the only one. Seriously.

Name (required) September 10, 2013 um 12:56 pm

I have been using FBReader for quite a few years in form of application on PocketBook e-ink reader and I LOVE it.
FBReader was originally developed to read FB2 format. FB2 is XML based e-book format that describes just the structure of the document and not the presentation. So it marks up text elements as regular text, footnote, poetry, headings … and leaves the presentation of said formats to the reading application.

So. I can take an epub (or any of 10 supported formats, including .doc and .docx) that has atrocious format and read it formatted JUST the way I like it. I have configured my FBReader to use font, justificaion, margins, hyphenation, line spacing, first line indent the way I like them. And all books look great.

See … what you perceive as a serious shortcoming I see as a great advantage.
You do not like FBReader? Use something else.

Nate Hoffelder September 10, 2013 um 1:09 pm

What’s even better is that the user-controlled formatting is optional. There’s also a check box for obeying the publisher’s formatting.

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