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Old 01-03-2012, 11:24 AM   #1
geekmaster
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Arrow Newbies Guide to Kindle Development


(This first post is a place holder that will describe a new wiki that we can refer new members to, who just got a new kindle and their desire to add features to it brought them to our forum.)

We need to consolidate old and new information scattered deeply throughout the mobileread forums, which is necessary knowledge needed by beginning kindle developers, who may have little or no linux knowledge and may have never heard of bash. We need to put this information in a clean and easy to read format into a new wiki.

Here is the brand new empty wiki:
http://wiki.mobileread.com/w/index.p...le_Development

EDIT: It's alive! It is not so empty anymore. The wiki has begun to acquire basic content!

It should be much more general than typical answers to questions posted in the forums, and it should target beginners as its intended audience. Complex details should be avoided. Being a guide, it should have simplified explanations, with pointers to other places to go to read more about a subject to gain a deeper understanding.

It also needs an easy to read style, so important information does not get lost in a flood of details.

Please feel free to add to the new forum. Do not be angry if we move or change the information that you provide in order to consolidate it with other similar information.

Please help, and please enjoy!

Thanks.

Last edited by geekmaster; 01-03-2012 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:27 AM   #2
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Here is a snippet from the IRC channel about this thread and its corresponding new wiki:

Spoiler:
Code:
09:44 < geekmstr> Hello all. After recent experiences I have had with with PMs and such, 
                  where I gave details on how to exacly solve their problem, but then I got a 
                  reply saying they did not wait for a reply but pressed random keys in the 
                  diag ment and now their kindle has a blank screen and rebooting does not 
                  help, I have decided it is time for the forum to have two new items.
09:45 < geekmstr> We need first of all a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) which is a sticky 
                  similar to the list of hacks, where the first post gets updated with new 
                  questions and answers gathered from the forums.
09:46 < geekmstr> We also need a "Newbies Guide to Kindle Develpment" in a wiki, so all can 
                  bring their different areas of expertise into the mix to help improve that 
                  knowledge base.
09:47 < geekmstr> There is a recent influx of people to the forums who want to add features 
                  to their new kindles, and google pretty much takes them to the mobileread 
                  developer's corner, and perhaps a few other places that eventually lead 
                  here.
09:48 < geekmstr> They need a single common entry point so they do not all have to begin by 
                  asking us variations of the same questions.
09:49 < geekmstr> We can now give them a simple answer saying to read the Newbies Guide 
                  first, then if they have questions to consult the FAQ, then if still have 
                  questions ask them in the forum.
09:49 < geekmstr> I will be busy for awhile. Who wishes to begin this task?
09:49 < jerojasro> geekmstr: if you can point me to the forums with info about development, 
                   I'll "wikify" them
09:49 < jerojasro> and put them in http://wiki.mobileread.com/
09:55 < geekmstr> http://www.mobileread.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=150
09:56 < geekmstr> Kindle Developers Corner forum ^^^
09:56 < geekmstr> jerojasro: may I include your comments above when I copy my above 
                  comments to the forum?
10:01 < jerojasro> geekmstr: talk about drinking from a firehose ;)
10:24 < geekmstr> here is the new thread announcing the empty wiki I just created:
10:25 < geekmstr> http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho....php?p=1907936
10:25 < geekmstr> It links to the wiki.
10:25 < geekmstr> Please feel free to give it some style and some starting content.
10:56 < GID> I've just added some info about USBnet for Kindle 4 (that is what I started 
             with). Tell if it what you are mean to see on this page
10:57 < geekmstr> We can always reorganize and consolidate wiki information later. Just about 
                  anything is better that what I started with.
10:58 < geekmstr> I need to get some work done now. I just thought I should open a new door 
                  for new forum members who want to add stuff to their new kindle christmas 
                  presents...
10:59 < geekmstr> This recent influx could suck a lot of time away from kindle development, 
                  and a wiki (and an FAQ we need to add) should deflect a lot of that.
11:00 < geekmstr> Questions that are too uninformed, or replies asking for more detail, 
                  should be directed to the wiki.
11:03 < geekmstr> GID: when the page gets too big we can split individual topics off into 
                  separate pages.
11:06 < geekmstr> It should support all kindle models. It can even have a link to Kindle Fire 
                  development to be maintained by those interested in that.
11:07 < geekmstr> If android ever gets ported to the Fire, there could be crossover between 
                  the touch and the fire.
15:10 < geekmstr> P.S. please keep adding SIMPLE stuff to the newbies guide, with links to 
                  the more advanced pages you are creating. Thanks...
15:12 < geekmstr> Newbies guide should say kindle runs linux, and difference between signed 
                  kindlet hacks and native apps such, and perhaps mention optware using ipkg, 
                  and the bigger debian repository using apt-get.
15:12 < geekmstr> But need to start with basics such as what to type at an SSH command line 
                  prompt. Many are GUI only these days.
15:13 < geekmstr> This is for all kindles and not all can take advantage of touch features 
                  like the GUI launcher.
15:13 < geekmstr> But we certainly DO want the GUI launcher in there too.
15:14 < geekmstr> This is just an entry point for beginners into the larger Kindle Developer 
                  "Scene", to give them enough knowledge so they can ask intelligent 
                  questions and understand the replies...
15:14 < geekmstr> I (and others) have spent too much time giving answers that are not 
                  followed or not understood.
15:15 < geekmstr> We need the guide to start with a warning to not just do random stuff in 
                  developer mode. And not press random keys in diagnostics mode.
15:16 < geekmstr> So, keep up the great work guys, and add simple intros and links for your 
                  other detailed pages to the newbies guide. 
15:16 < geekmstr> Thanks.
15:19 < geekmstr> *** also, pages linked to FROM the newbies guide should probably start with 
                  an intro, which says "if the following information is too technical for 
                  you, please read the Newbies Guide to Kindle Development first", and follow 
                  that with a link.
15:20 < geekmstr> We have a recent influx of people with kindle christmas presents that want 
                  to do stuff they see people doing on androids and ipads. We do not want to 
                  mislead them into bricking their new toys with their lack of knowledge"...

Last edited by geekmaster; 01-03-2012 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:19 AM   #3
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Updating Kindle software in case of data corruption

I'm new to Kindles, though relatively experienced in Android hacking/dev. My qns:

Device: Kindle 4 Ad supported, Non touch

If I ssh/sftp and corrupt some important files, and prevent it from booting up, how can I restore the firmware? Is there a flashable update file available for my device, and how can I flash it? If not, then can I do a dd command to backup and restore a whole file system image?

How does the Kindle boot process happen? What init scripts are used, and where? How can I setup init via a bash script so that root file systems are mounted in normal boot mode? I had a look at /etc/init.d, but couldnt follow the bootup process

I saw a package of source code for the Kindle on amazon. Is it a whole source (is the Kindle firmware open source), or is it only a kernel? Again same qn as in Q1. How can I flash the compiled binaries?

How can I compile binaries for Kindle? Is there a precompiled toolchain available (If someone could upload one, it would be really helpful). If not, can I use the config.gz for my .config.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dzchimp View Post
I'm new to Kindles, though relatively experienced in Android hacking/dev. My qns:

Device: Kindle 4 Ad supported, Non touch

If I ssh/sftp and corrupt some important files, and prevent it from booting up, how can I restore the firmware? Is there a flashable update file available for my device, and how can I flash it? If not, then can I do a dd command to backup and restore a whole file system image?do dd first before making changes.
You can backup your main root boot partition like this:
dd if=/dev/mmcblk0p1 of=/mnt/us/mmcblk0p1.bin bs=1024

flash update uses USB HID device. People are trying to discover how to use that. Not ready yet.

The k4nt has a diagnostics mode that gives all you need to fix damage to the primary partition, especially if you backed it up with dd as shown above. From diags you can just do same procedure used to enable root developer mode, but also fix your broken script, or worst case, use dd to replace /dev/mmcblk0p1 with you backup copy.

Last edited by geekmaster; 01-05-2012 at 05:01 AM.
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Old 01-06-2012, 03:45 AM   #5
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Thank you. Could you also tell me what kind of kernel the Kindle uses, and how to write the kernel to it? The USB HID driver ought to be writable to the kernel, and if kernel has the driver, it should show up like an adb device would?
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Old 01-06-2012, 04:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dzchimp View Post
Thank you. Could you also tell me what kind of kernel the Kindle uses, and how to write the kernel to it? The USB HID driver ought to be writable to the kernel, and if kernel has the driver, it should show up like an adb device would?
I am not aware the USB HID has been tested on the kindle touch yet.

Patching the kernel may prevent firmware updates.

yifanlu would be the person to talk to about upgrading kernel versions. He did the version 3 firmware upgrade for kindle DX.
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:15 PM   #7
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Hi,

Could someone here teach me how to use the software found under the Signing applications heading here:
http://www.cowlark.com/kindle/getting-started.html

ie, how would I use it to create a developer.keystore file, and (more importantly for my uses), how would I use it to create a *.bin update file. I've tried running the python script with the developer.keystore file in the same location, but I'm afraid that doesn't work.

I'm working from within windows.
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:21 PM   #8
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I'm not able to install the RNDIS drivers on x64 Windows7. It's about the linux.inf file, which seems not to be the proper one. Help?
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Old 01-08-2012, 04:55 AM   #9
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I'm not able to install the RNDIS drivers on x64 Windows7. It's about the linux.inf file, which seems not to be the proper one. Help?
64-bit windows will only install 64-bit drivers that are signed with a very expensive security certificate that must be renewed periodically.

You can override this behavior with a boot option to allow using unsigned drivers. Or you can use VirtualBox and run linux in it, or run a 32-bit Windows in it (like XP for example). Virtualbox lets you connect USB devices directly to the OS running in the emulated Virtual Machine.
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:40 AM   #10
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I've a couple of questions that still puzzle me:

- Why is it possible to start some homebrew apps via launchpad, while others require keystore updates? Do these apps work because the jailbreak adds their keys to the keystore?
- I really hate the language limitations of the dictionary lookup and had a look at the KDK API, but there doesn't seem to be any method to get the word under the cursor. Is this a hard-coded feature that is not accessible to apps?
- I noticed that the alternative Kindle 3 OS Duokan 2012 installs a minimal Python build. Is there any easy way to create Python based apps on K3s?
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:46 AM   #11
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Different kindlets (java apps) use different developer keys. Jailbreak does not add all of the developer keys. Check out the combined keystore by PoP, which you can find in the kindle hacks sticky at the top of the Kindle Developer Corner forum threads.

Launchpad can also use native mode apps (such as the onscreen console, mplayer, and others), which do not need or use a developer key.
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