It looks like Jesse Vincent has hacked an Amazon Kindle 2 to run a custom version of Ubuntu Linux! Well, the Kindle 2 does run on ARM, there’s a lot of linux software out there that’s running on ARM including the Palm Pre but this is pretty amazing indeed.
I could not find any further details on how to accomplish this but I can say one thing, if you can make use of Kindle 2’s EDVO connection, you might just have hacked a “free” per-say, linux computer that uses very little energy. 🙂 Jesse tells not to think about it but I say go ahead and try it out, why not? (Turn the GPS off before you do and setup anonymous proxies.)
This guy makes it sound too easy, maybe it is?
What you see there is a Kindle 2 with the Ubuntu 9.04 port to ARM running in a chrooted environment. On the screen you see xdaliclock in front of an xterm with the remains of a “top” command and a few mildly embarrassing typos.
To open up the Kindle, I used the USB networking debug mode Amazon left hanging around when they first shipped the Kindle 2, a statically linked telnetd and a cross-compiler to bootstrap myself. From there, I built a daemon that can convert DRM-free PDFs and ePubs into something Amazon’s reader on the Kindle can deal with.
After that, I started to get curious about what else might be possible. It only took a few evenings to get a moderately usable Ubuntu environment running.
Mostly, the Kindle is a lovely little Linux box. Getting X working took a bit of hacking, but everything else “just works” with very little configuration.