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Old 04-02-2009, 06:47 AM   #1
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Kindle 2 Unicode Font Hack

I've put together a patch that adds Unicode fonts to Kindle 2. I plan to release it publicly after more testing. Since I've tested it in and out on my Kindle 2 as much as possible, I'm looking for volunteers to try it.

Screenshots and details can be found here: Cyrillic Kindle - Beta testers needed!

If you are interested in testing the patch - either PM me or drop a comment on my blog and I'll email you.
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Old 04-02-2009, 08:44 AM   #2
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is chinese supported?
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Old 04-02-2009, 05:55 PM   #3
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I have two versions of the patch - one with more proper typefaces (bold, italic, sans, serif and mono) but it only supports little more than Cyrillic. Another one uses DroidSansFallback and this one has support for Chinese.

As with other people on this board my main problem is finding one-size-fit all font. Advise on this matter would be much appreciated.
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Old 04-03-2009, 03:56 PM   #4
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I'm interested in it, potentially, but doesn't this interfere with official patches? I don't want the Kindle to brick if Amazon fixes the lack of Unicode by patching and I don't notice that there's a patch in time. So I'm wary. I'm still surprised Amazon left out Unicode.
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Old 04-03-2009, 08:59 PM   #5
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Official patches will fail to install if files on Kindle are different than what it expects. That's why you need to manually revert these unofficial patches, install offcial ones and then reinstall unofficial patch again. So there is very little chance of bricking the device by official patch.

As to why Amazon ignores the unicode - they only care about books they sell from their store and since none of them are non-latin (and for those few that are they embed fonts). Since there are always features that don't make it to the realease I'm sure unicode support gets cut every time they get close to shipping new version.

For the same reason - it doesn't hurt their ebook sales I don't think they'll be too unhappy about this patch either way just as they ignored the screensaver patch.
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:11 PM   #6
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Yes, I can see that, but I'm having problems with accented characters and similar characters in homemade e-books in which I'm not using anything out of the ordinary. I've even seen it fail when using the special hyphen character (not sure what it is; it looks likea hyphen in TextWrangler but the Kindle doesn't see it that way).

Very strange... especially since it's actually not all that uncommon for English-language books to quote languages that require Unicode -- Greek is a common one.
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Old 04-04-2009, 04:14 AM   #7
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I believe that standard fonts have Greek glyphs and if the don't topaz which is not documented by Amazon can embed fonts.

I'm reading books from The Dark Tower series right now which are purchased from Amazon and amazingly there are characters missing even there.
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Old 04-04-2009, 05:48 AM   #8
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After some testing by me and other folks - the hack is publicly released.
Instructions and download links can be found here: Kindle 2 Unicode Hack
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Old 04-05-2009, 01:51 AM   #9
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wow, thank you for such easy and safe hacking tool!!!
I got Chinese going now, just two questions here:
1. The droid font is taken from the google project for android?
2. The Chinese is not properly displayed in the title? Any way to change it?
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:07 PM   #10
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wow, this looks awesome... if someone (maybe me) were to make a new dictionary that looked up Chinese words, i could finally have a way to read Chinese books without having to refer incessantly to a dictionary
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Old 04-05-2009, 11:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshdu1125 View Post
wow, thank you for such easy and safe hacking tool!!!
I got Chinese going now, just two questions here:
1. The droid font is taken from the google project for android?
2. The Chinese is not properly displayed in the title? Any way to change it?
1. That is the one. The font is open-source so it can be legally used.

2. It's a limitation of the Java book reader application rather than the font or hack. It treats book metadata as ASCII and displays unicode titles and authors as junk. There's little that can be done in this regard. If you just use text files, file name is used as book title. In this case unicode characters are properly handled.
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:44 PM   #12
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thanks for this!!
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:02 PM   #13
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Blog Kindle, I am hoping you may be able to discern what I did wrong. I have a beautiful unicode font (4 .tff files for regular, bold, italic, and bolditalic) that I've purchased and that I was hoping to use on my K2. I followed your "Using your own fonts" instructions, and I took your advice to test it out only on the browser first and then apply to the reader if that works. Here's what I did, step by step:

1) I replaced the 4 Serif*.tff files in the /src directory with the corresponding files for my font, keeping the original Serif names.

2) I ran the build-updates.cmd.

3) I copied the update_unicode_fonts_droid_install_browser.bin file into my Kindle 2's root directory, and I ensured it was the only .bin file there.

4) I applied the update.

The Kindle restarted fine. I opened the browser and the font was beautiful. I went to some sites that were in unicode in the languages that I am most interested in, and they looked spectacular!

So, next, I

1) copied the update_unicode_fonts_uninstall.bin to the root directory of my Kindle 2.

2) applied the update

After the restart, I checked the browser to ensure it was back to the default Kindle font. It was. So then I was ready to apply it to the reader and the browser. Here are the steps I took:

1) I replaced the 4 Mono*.tff files and the 4 Sans*.ttf files in the /src directory with the corresponding files for my font, keeping the original Mono and Sans names as I had done previously with the Serif fonts.

2) I ran the build-updates.cmd.

3) I copied the update_unicode_fonts_droid_install.bin file into my Kindle 2's root directory and ensured that it was the only .bin file in there.

4) I applied the update.

The result was an infinite loop that went from the applying update ... will take a few minutes screen (never any progress on status bar) to the Kindle is restarting ... may take a minute screen (again no progress). After I watched it do this for about 10 minutes with no progress, I initiated the Recovery Mode, connected the USB, removed the .bin file which was still there in the root, pressed R to reboot and it did so normally. I'd like to try again, but I'm a bit wary.

I'm on 2.0.2 with the SS 0.4 hack installed. Any idea what may have happened?

*Update*
I changed all the Mono*.ttf and Sans*.ttf files back to original ones and left the Serif*.ttf changed to my desired unicode font. I ran build-updates.cmd, copied over update_unicode_fonts_droid_install.bin, ran the update and it worked great. My home page and all my books now read in my font. Thank you! I am guessing that I was never supposed to mess with the Mono*.ttf and Sans*.ttf files. Is that right? Does the reader, just like the browser, only make use of the serif font? Thanks again!

Last edited by Damętas; 04-10-2009 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:45 AM   #14
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I don't believe you did anything wrong. This is the second report of K2 stuck in an infinite reboot-update loop caused by custom update.

The way out of it is exactly what you did - recovery mode and remove the update from the root folder. You can mess with mono and sans files just fine.

Which particular font did you use?
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Old 04-15-2009, 04:55 PM   #15
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That's great to know. Thanks! Where in the Kindle are the mono and sans fonts displayed? Menus?

At the time, I was using a font I purchased call LaserGreek. I ended up deciding on a modified Verdana, which reads very well. Thanks again!

Last edited by Damętas; 04-15-2009 at 05:33 PM.
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