Will e-reader companies ever provide an open source software option?
ab1630's bookmarks 2018-07-28
"Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo all run their own version of Linux and they lock you into their ecosystems. They sell you the e-reader hardware and try and generate long term revenue by pushing audiobooks and ebooks. Will e-reader software ever change or embrace an open source software model? The Hope XII conference is where some of the world’s leading hackers and and software developers convince to talk about the future of software. Marc Juul was interested in the possibility of bringing Free and open source software (FOSS) operating system to e-reader devices. During his talk “Liberate Your E-book Reader with fread.ink!”, he gave examples such as Amazon’s infamous remote deletion of 1984 off of users’ Kindles as a perfect example of the sort of control these companies exert on our personal devices. Marc believes the goal should be to completely replace the operating system on these devices with a free software alternative that still retains the ability to open electronic book formats. Not only would this keep the likes of Amazon or Barnes and Noble out of our reading habits, but turn these cheap readers into more capable devices in the bargain....
I don’t think there is any incentive for Amazon or Kobo to do anything different with their operating system. It makes better business sense to continue to develop uncrackable DRM based ebook formats and slowly improve on the UI and once in awhile introduce new features.
Sadly, I think a free and open source operating system for e-readers will never happen. The tech is too fringe for serious developers to allocate time and resources to do anything for free. Some people like Marc will try and make something happen, but it is very likely he will lose focus and move onto other things."