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Nook Ebook Reader & DRM

I'm 62 years old, and I've always been a reader. So, a few months ago, I finally coughed up the money to purchase a Barnes and Noble Nook ebook reader. Despite being a Linux user and occasionally enjoying tinkering with the innards of things, I haven't rooted my Nook, or installed any other OS variant—it is completely stock.

Unlike my wife's Amazon Kindle (with its E-Ink display), my Nook's battery doesn't last long. The other day I was reading a good short novel I had just downloaded from Barnes and Noble. I'm about half way through the novel when my Nook's battery level gets very low.

Here's the rub: my charger unit has an intermittent electrical short, and I can't immediately plug it in to continue reading while recharging my nook (a couple of days later, I fix this).

But I want to finish reading my novel now! I've got the time, and I'm really into the story.

So, I'll go to my desktop computer, download a copy to it, and continue reading. Good plan, but after going to the B & N (mynook.barnesandnoble.com/library.html) site and downloading the .epub file, I can't read it. Gibberish on the screen with a warning about DRM encryption protection. Searching on Barnes and Noble's web site reveals that they don't have a Linux DRM reader, only a client for Macintosh and Microsoft Windows PC's.

OK, among the 3 laptops and 3 desktop computers we have here at home, we do have one installation of Microsoft Windows (on a Linux-MS Win dual-boot machine). I use MS-Win for occasional video editing and transcoding, and I don't want to have to restart the computer and boot into windows, just to finish reading the novel.

I consider running WINE on my main desktop Linux machine, but by now, I'm getting really irritated about this stupid DRM.

Bear in mind, I DO NOT STEAL CONTENT. I don't unlawfully download music, software, videos, and books. And when I purchase content, I don't electronically copy and redistribute it to others.

Feeling frustrated, I start looking on the Internet for a way to decrypt my novel so I can continue reading it on my Linux box.

Turns out that someone has written a couple of Python scripts—one to generate the Barnes and Noble encryption key, and one to decrypt the DRM'd .epub books and content. These Python scripts rely on your having the PyCrypto library installed (the script also uses the PyTKinter library for GUI).

Now, Barnes and Noble use an insecure method to generate the key. It is generated from two pieces of information: your name, and your credit card number.

So, I download the two Python scripts (source), and check them through to see if they contain any nefarious code designed to transmit my credit card number to the bad guys—the code is clean.

I invoke the keygen script, and type-in my name and number. Then I run the decrypt program and tell it to work on my novel, not really expecting this to work. Wow—it works perfectly. And now, I've got decrypted copies I can read on any of my electronic devices.

And DRM still stinks. Not only that, it reeks.

And I finish reading the novel.

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

'Turbo Boost Max 3.0' and Mesa 17.2.4

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    The platform-drivers-x86 updates have been sent in for Linux 4.15 and include a range of improvements for Intel hardware support. One of the bigger items is support for Skylake CPUs with Turbo Boost Max 3.0.
  • Mesa 17.2.4 Graphics Stack Lands for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Ubuntu 17.10 Gamers
    Canonical's Timo Aaltonen reports on the availability of the Mesa 17.2.4 open-source graphics drivers stack on the X-SWAT updates PPA for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Ubuntu 17.10 systems. Ubuntu systems have always lagged behind the development of the Mesa 3D Graphics Library, the Linux graphics stack containing open-source drivers for Intel, AMD Radeon, and Nvidia GPUs, but they usually catch up with it through a specially crafted PPA (Personal Package Archive) repository that can be easily installed by users.

OSS Leftovers

  • The Future of Marketing Technology Is Headed for an Open-Source Revolution
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    Despite the fact that OpenStack’s mission statement has not fundamentally changed since the inception of the project in 2010, we have found many different interpretations of the technology through the years. One of them was that OpenStack would be an all-inclusive anything-as-a-service, in a striking parallel to the many different definitions the “cloud” assumed at the time. At the OpenStack Developer Summit in Sydney, we found a project that is returning to its roots: scalable Infrastructure-as-a-Service. It turns out, that resonates well with its user base.
  • Firefox Quantum Now Available on openSUSE Tumbleweed, Linux 4.14 Coming Soon
    Users of the openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling operating system can now update their computers to the latest and greatest Firefox Quantum web browser.
  • Short Delay with WordPress 4.9
    You may have heard WordPress 4.9 is out. While this seems a good improvement over 4.8, it has a new editor that uses codemirror.  So what’s the problem? Well, inside codemirror is jshint and this has that idiotic no evil license. I think this was added in by WordPress, not codemirror itself. So basically WordPress 4.9 has a file, or actually a tiny part of a file that is non-free.  I’ll now have to delay the update of WordPress to hack that piece out, which probably means removing the javascript linter. Not ideal but that’s the way things go.

Red Hat and Fedora Leftovers