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Old 06-19-2012, 11:05 AM   #1
rusHack
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Difference between different versions of Kindle

Hello, I am new to the forum and this is my first post . But I was reading this forum for the past 2 days, while jailbreaking (if the term is applicable) my kindle and it had been really useful.

I want to know what is the difference from programming/hacking point of view between different Kindles?

I believe kindles 3 run on 2.6 kernel, and Fire runs a modified Android (but I am not currently interested in fire).
So what is the main difference between Kindle 1,2,3, Dx, touch and why does each hack has a separate version for each? What exactly are .bin files?

Yesterday I installed a TCC ARM compiler and it says that the demo runs on all the versions so C API and headers are probably the same, so that's nice

Last edited by rusHack; 06-19-2012 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:15 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by rusHack View Post
Hello, I am new to the forum and this is my first post . But I was reading this forum for the past 2 days, while jailbreaking (if the term is applicable) my kindle and it had been really useful.

I want to know what is the difference from programming/hacking point of view between different Kindles?

I believe normal kindles run on 2.6 kernel, and Fire runs a modified Android (but I am not currently interested in fire).
So what is the main difference between Kindle 1,2,3, Dx, touch and why does each hack has a separate version for each? What exactly are .bin files?

Yesterday I installed a TCC ARM compiler and it says that the demo runs on all the versions so C API and headers are probably the same, so that's nice
The .bin files are signed installation packages. Each kindle model uses a different package signing key, to prevent installing a package on the wrong kindle model.

Newer kindles have additional ways to install unsigned packages, which also makes it easier to install one for the wrong model, possibly bricking the kindle. But these newer kindles are also easier to debrick.

There are different kinds of programming (each having an index in the master index: kindlet, WAF, native, etc.). You can read more about them in the index and especially in the K4 and Touch Hacking wikis.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:17 AM   #3
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The major hardware difference is the SoC running the Kindle and the processor core running the SoC.
K1, K2, K3, DX(G) : i.MX3* series SoC - ARMv6l core
K4, K5 : i.MX5* series SoC - ARMv7l core
This forum does not "do" K6 (Kindle Fire).

Then the next important hardware difference (if you want to see something) is the hardware controlling the e-ink display.
That is built into the i.MX5* series (K4 & K5) and is an external chip on others.

There are enough other hardware differences that Amazon/lab126 builds different kernels and system images for each.
In the case of the K4 & K5, different kernel and system images within the same series ("4" and "5") - just to make things more difficult for us (or to up the manhours of paid labor for lab126 members).

So the C API and headers being the same as some supercomputer running Linux does not count for much when you get into the details.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:20 AM   #4
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I'll answer the specifics of the .bin format, check the Wiki for broader info about the Kindle OS (basically, it's a bare Linux OS with a java framework on top).

The .bin files are files used by Amazon's update system. They're essentially just a scrambled tarball with a control file. That control file will tell the update system which files are a script, the updater will then run each of these script in alphabetical order. Official updates use these to apply delta binary patches, update the kernel, add new files, remove old files, & co. We use them to inject new stuff in the rootfs, which is temporarily mounted rw during the course of the update process .

With the K4, Amazon introduced an update to the header of this .bin format. The most interesting part of this update was the ability to target multiples devices with a single .bin file. The older format only supported *one* device code, that's why we had to have a .bin for each Kindle model, even if the content of the tarball was identical. (And this device code is one of the first things checked by the Kindle, we can't spoof it [in the .bin file, I mean, we could theoretically NOP this check on the Kindle side], if a device doesn't find its device code in the update file header, the 'Update Your Kindle' link won't be enabled).

Check this specific part of the Wiki for more info about the tools we use (and used) to play with this file format .

Last edited by NiLuJe; 06-19-2012 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:21 AM   #5
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Then the next important hardware difference (if you want to see something) is the hardware controlling the e-ink display.
That is built into the i.MX5* series (K4 & K5) and is an external chip on others.
The K4 complicates this by having a "hardware emulation layer" that uses K3-style framebuffer drivers (einkfb) when booting from main, but K5-style framebuffer drivers (mxcfb) when booting from diags. K5-style is MUCH faster.

I think they use K3 compatibility eink so they could re-use a lot of K3 code in the K4. There are other reports that the K4 framework is more like the K3, despite the fact that the K4 hardware is more like the K5.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:26 AM   #6
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@NiLuJe: Has that link been indexed yet?
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:30 AM   #7
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Thank you all for replies. I have a lot of reading to do now.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:36 AM   #8
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@knc1: Nope, I'm planning on doing a batch indexing/prefixing session sometime this week .
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:43 AM   #9
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@knc1: Nope, I'm planning on doing a batch indexing/prefixing session sometime this week .
The structure is fairly well established, although not (yet) consistently applied across all index pages.

A person might even consider it "stable", at least this week because I am taking the week off from wiki-editing.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:06 PM   #10
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Thank you all for replies. I have a lot of reading to do now.
Super! (en_IBM)
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Better than a paid customer service staff could do.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:39 PM   #11
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Super! (en_IBM)
Twenty-five minutes and your off to deal with your interests.
Better than a paid customer service staff could do.
Yes, indeed! Yet another positive thing about this is that when I learn everything, I may become "customer service stuff" myself, and help other newbies.

Also, what I noticed about hacking kindle, is that most google queries directed my right to this forum. Even through this is probably not that big of a community, most of the people hacking kindle are using this forum, instead of 100s small half-dead once which is really good . When I posted this, I expected to wait at least several days for a reply, but instead they were nearly instant!

Last edited by rusHack; 06-19-2012 at 12:42 PM. Reason: editing
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