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.

Alison Diana, Contributing Writer

January 10, 2011

2 Min Read

Barnes & Noble Nookcolor

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.

About the Author(s)

Alison Diana

Contributing Writer

Alison Diana is an experienced technology, business and broadband editor and reporter. She has covered topics from artificial intelligence and smart homes to satellites and fiber optic cable, diversity and bullying in the workplace to measuring ROI and customer experience. An avid reader, swimmer and Yankees fan, Alison lives on Florida's Space Coast with her husband, daughter and two spoiled cats. Follow her on Twitter @Alisoncdiana or connect on LinkedIn.

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