Ubuntu 9.04 on Kindle 2


Having read books on a Palm device for years we were excited when Amazon came up with the Kindle. Our problem is that if you’re going to carry around a portable device it should do a whole lot more than just display text from a few books. [Jesse Vincent] managed to get Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope running on the Kindle 2. This opens up endless possibilities to run whatever you want on this hardware.

The new functionality was presented in a talk at OSCON 2009. Be warned, [Jesse] has a very high geeky-hacker level. Make sure you have a tech dictionary and Google at the ready when you watch the video embedded after the break. His talk starts at about two minutes in and runs for five minutes total.

[via Gizmodo]


  1. googfan says:


    Probably the lowest power netbook in the world

  2. Universal says:

    very impressive

    yer that’s it

  3. Tim says:

    That’s really dodgy about the GPS/syslog uploading.

    The video’s really not that technical.

  4. sean says:

    $400 for e-paper signage that you can update over the internet? Sounds like a heck of a good deal to me.

  5. Yrb says:

    If you don’t comprehend the terms he uses, you shouldn’t be using a computer.

    Stop embedding flash videos! for fuck sakes already.

  6. Rich says:

    @yrb: Um, maybe YOU shouldn’t be using a computer. The video is QuickTime, not Flash. N00b.

  7. bry says:

    @rich: Yes, that’s probably why the context menu says “About Adobe Flash Player 10″ when I right click the movie.

  8. Tommy.S says:

    Dosn’t the Ubuntu 9.04 include the 2.6.29 release of the Linux OS?

    Well, Linux OS running on Kindle is something nice.

    And if you can use it for notes, remote server queries and checks it would be awesome!

  9. Peter Shank says:

    “I tarred up a copy of Ubuntu… I typed chroot, and I have a working Ubuntu on my kindle! But x requires a TTY, for no good reason. So I added a couple of return one statements, and x works fine!” [gets biggest audience reaction of entire talk]

    This is comparable to:

    “Unless you have a DIS, you can usually
    fix hesitation by moving the timing so it’s not as far retarded.”

    If you don’t comprehend those terms you shouldn’t be using a car.

  10. RamBahadur says:

    I dare you to run ubuntu on my nokia 5300.

  11. medix says:

    I dare you to use debian

  12. IceBrain says:

    @tommy.s: actually, Kindle’s platform is Linux. He didn’t “install” Linux in it, he just used the running Linux installation to run some software included with Ubuntu, like Xorg.

  13. meh says:

    im really not that impressed with this because of the fact that kindle is using a form or linux

  14. Bucky says:

    How many minutes into the video until Jesse starts his presentation?

  15. Tom says:

    It is really a shame that a hackaday.com editor thought this was an overly complex explanation. Why not assign stories to staff members that have relevant knowledge in that field?

    It seems like at least once a week something is put up here that the staff member simply didn’t understand, or at least misjudged. Kind of embarrassing considering that technical articles are basically what this site is about.

  16. sean says:

    it says 2 if you read the story bucky

  17. cyd says:

    The most interesting use of this, to me, would be SSH through the wireless service. If Amazon allows those packets to get through, then I could do a lot of my work from a Kindle wherever I went. I suspect they’ll not allow this, blaming bandwidth issues. But a day’s worth of SSH would amount to fewer packets than a single web page with graphics. Really, if Amazon just included that single app, I’d buy a Kindle right now.

  18. cyd says:

    It might be possible to SSH to a server with sshd on port 80 or 443. Worth trying, anyway.

  19. Shyft says:

    Interesting… Where does the atmega328 go again?

  20. andrew says:

    not enough arduinos.

  21. me says:

    I want this book.

    Seriously though…

  22. NidStyles says:

    I’m not into the whole Kindle scene, but it’s nice to see something other than Arduino hack’s that really aren’t useful for much more than oddities.

  23. salt says:

    Ok, so how do I enable Kindle on my Ubuntu Laptop?

  24. cptfalcon says:

    i’m curious why he chose ubuntu, but frankly not curious enough to watch the video.

  25. Kop says:

    Lol, was reading about Kindle on Wikipedia, hit StumbleUpon button, and landed here.

  26. Beavis says:

    I’m going to run out *right now* and load Ubuntu on my Atari 2600!

  27. Mike Szczys says:

    @beavis: If you do get ubuntu running on your atari 2600 make sure to send it in. I’d love to see it.

  28. ffilou6 says:

    What Would John Connor Do ?!

  29. David Legg says:

    The difference between cool and useful would be when some-one gets a desk-top running on a kindle. To save power, it would have to avoid things like constantly changing clocks and flash animations etc. Quite a challenge :)

  30. andysuth says:


    I think I might buy one, but only when the DRM which stops PDFs going on the Kindle is removed.


  31. Gene Venable says:

    I don’t think anything “stops” PDFs from going on the Kindle. I didn’t detect an invisible shield popping up over my Kindle — I can put anything on it, basically. PDF’s won’t WORK on the Kindle, because there’s no PDF reader on it, but to say DRM stops PDFs from going on the Kindle is a bit too incoherent for me.

  32. deathcapt says:

    The new Kindle Global has a native PDF reader, and free global Wifi.

  33. damon says:

    the wifi you speek of is actualy using the 3g mobile network and the new kindle speeks of being able to load simple webpages and having net access i beleave it has access to face book

  34. JohnC says:

    Has anyone tried this on Kindle 3? Need a wordprocessor for mine real bad

  35. hayden says:

    this would be cool to try. but it would be cooler to have it as just a browser. like chrome

  36. Eirinn says:

    @Yrb the terms he uses makes no sense for people who have no expertise within the following two areas: electronics/linux – so i suggest crocheting a brain (if you get that one :) ) or at least a little moral sense.

    I advise everyone to watch not just the kindle part but the entire video, it’s quite interesting.

    And yes it’s a flash embed and no i can’t see why there should be anything wrong with it :)

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