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10:52 AM

Hacker Ports Ubuntu Linux Onto Nook Color

Barnes & Noble e-reader mod boots from an SD card and doesn't alter the native Android operating system.

Barnes & Noble Nookcolor
(click image for larger view)
Barnes & Noble Nookcolor
XDA Developers member 'devastatorx' on Friday disclosed he had ported Ubuntu Linux onto a rooted Nook Color e-reader.

The Indianapolis-based hacker posted step-by-step directions.

"You know the risks, bricking, breaking, etc. I'm not, nor is anyone else responsible if something goes wrong with your device, especially should it turn into a cave troll and bludgeon someone to death," devastatorx said. "You will have to be rooted for this to work."

To add Ubuntu onto Barnes & Noble's popular color e-reader, devastatorx used an Android VNC app. The Ubuntu install booted off the SD card, and does not replace the built-in Android OS shipped with the Nook Color.

"It does seem a little laggy...," devastatorx said.

In response to users who rooted Nook Color devices, Barnes & Noble began sending out software authentication checks in late December, according to Android Community. If a device failed, the vendor remotely reset and wiped the e-reader. Some users questioned the legality of this move since they were never asked to sign a contract and were never told of any consequences arising from the use of unofficial software, Android Community said.

But when rooted Nook Color users hit the Barnes & Noble shop icon, a message appears stating, "There was a problem with authorization. Please wait while we reset your device," the article said. At that point, the Nook Color automatically erased all purchases, downloads, media, and books, and reset the e-reader to its factory defaults, the report stated.

In December, Barnes & Noble said its Nook electronic reader is the company's best-selling item in the bookseller's nearly 40-year history.

"Nookcolor was one of the most sought-after gifts this holiday season and has quickly become the bestselling device at Barnes & Noble. And, even more encouraging to us, Nook's popularity is helping to drive new sales at both our stores and online, where 60% of Nookcolor owners are new customers of our Barnes & Noble digital bookstore," said William Lynch, Barnes & Noble CEO, in a statement on Thursday.

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