Kindle, Wine, DRM

I finally broke down and bought a Kindle book. I don’t approve
of this behavior, but it was a book (Among Others) by a writer (Jo Walton) I’ve enjoyed
reading free (on and from
the library) quite a bit, and it was well reviewed by a number of
people I trust. And it hasn’t yet appeared on Kobo, and my account on Barnes and Noble is so well protected I can’t log into
it. (I seem to have used some odd password, and when you ask them
to let you change it, they don’t give you enough tries to guess
the capitalization and punctuation you used for the city of your
birth before disabling the account.)

I have yet to succeed in breaking the DRM, although I have
hopes that there’s some combination of the tools in this
which will do it for me.

But thanks to this page, I
have KindleForPC working under wine. The lib32nss-mdns package is
neither present nor necessary on Ubuntu, and everything else
Just works.

So it isn’t quite the same as buying a book yet, but I can read
it on either a linux laptop or my Android phone.

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

I seem to have the problems on the laptop worked out about as
well as I expect to for the near future, so I’ll probably be
installing it on the desktop soon.

On the other hand, there were more of them than I would expect,
and there was less support for working through them than I would
have hoped for.

So I still recommend Ubuntu, on the grounds of the highly
supportive and large community, but if you hear of people
abandoning Ubuntu in droves for something else, you might want to
consider leaving with them.

Here’s the list of problems I hit with pointers to the

  • I installed an early beta version, and expected there to be
    some problems, but just as the things like the cursor going away
    when you closed the lid were starting to be fixed, they released
    a kernel version that caused my laptop to boot to a black
    screen. This is still not fixed in the official version — I’m
    working around it by using an unreleased kernel version. The
    details are <a
    and <a
  • I had been using wicd instead of network-manager, since I
    never figured out how to configure my wired connection with
    network-manager. On 10.04, there’s a problem with the wicd
    configuration. The symptom is that when you boot, although the
    networking is configured, dns doesn’t work. If you disconnect
    and then reconnect the wired configuration via the wicd GUI, it
    works fine. I never figured out
    how to fix it — I’m working around it by uninstalling
    both network-manager and wicd and writing
    /etc/network/interfaces the way I want it. This will be a
    nuisance if I ever take the laptop anywhere else and want to use
    a wireless configuration, but since the battery is dead, I
    probably won’t. If you just want to use DHCP and a wireless
    configuration, 10.04 seems to work exactly the way you want it
    to out of the box.
  • A relatively minor problem was that the xmltv underpinnings
    of freeguide were incompatible with the freeguide distributed
    with 10.04. So a program that worked fine on 9.04 upstairs,
    wouldn’t download listings on the downstairs laptop. I’m
    working around this by installing the xmltv stuff from Debian
    unstable, as explained here.

So the upshot is that I seem to have a working laptop, over a
month after the official release of 10.04. But it’s by no means
by way of a completely standard install. And this is a system
that really doesn’t have to do much. So I’m still nervous about
putting it on my desktop. I’m sure I’ll get around to it before
they stop doing support for 9.04, but I’m going to be very wary
about installing another non-LTS version.