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Old 03-14-2015, 11:14 PM   #1
RTL
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Red face Any e-ink kindle supports RTL properly?

Hello, MobileRead forum community,

I have been reading this forum recently to find answer to my question. I need to read RTL Arabic text on e-ink device. I learned that any device supporting EPUB3 or KF8 format could possibly display RTL Arabic text. The following source

http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/KF8

says:

---
KF8 is Amazons new Kindle Format 8 used on the Kindle Fire. It is also supported by fourth-generation Kindle devices running firmware version 4.1.0 or later, by Kindle for PC and by Kindle Reader for the Mac.
---

And I also found that technically KOBO Auro H2O ereader supports EPUB3, thus meets my requirement.

Before I decide to buy any device, I would like to ask advice from the experts and experienced community memeber here. Could you please give me any advice about this? Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:34 AM   #2
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Yes, the Kindle Keyboard (with latest firmware update) and later models all support the .AZW3 format (Kf8/mobi8 -- lots of names ) and if your book is on that format it should display properly. In my case, occasional usage of Hebrew text, but same difference. (Edit: Yeah, not so much, huh? )
I can testiify that Hebrew looks all right on my Kindle Touch fw5.3.7 anyway.

Just make sure you use AZW3 and not MOBI.

(This is the Kindle forum, we don't want to hear about no stinking Kobo.
Ah, good -- I see you asked in the Kobo forum -- they may have an idea how well it works, there. }

Last edited by eschwartz; 03-15-2015 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:35 PM   #3
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All current eInk Kindles support RTL text in AZW3 files, however, the Arabic glyphs from the default font, code2000, are rather ugly and code2000 doesn't handle diacritics and Eastern Arabic numerals well.

I.e., if you're a typophile or you're mainly reading Arabic books with lots of diacritics in them, you might want to consider a different model, because all current models with a 5.6.x firmware (Basic Kindle, PW2 and Voyage) can't be jailbroken and you can't embed Arabic fonts in AZW3 files.

However, if you find a cheap refurbished PW1 (or a PW2 with a 5.4.x firmware) online, you could jailbreak it and install a code2000 override font, e.g. Arial.

As for Kobo readers, AFAIK, only some models have RTL support. You may want to ask in the Kobo forum about it. You can post the epub file that I attached and ask them to post a screen capture or let you know whether the text looks like the text in arabic_epub3_Arial.png. (The epub might need to be converted to a Kobo kepub first.)
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Old 03-15-2015, 01:12 PM   #4
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Is there a reason why Arabic fonts can't be embedded? That seems rather curious, given that other fonts can be.
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Old 03-15-2015, 01:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Is there a reason why Arabic fonts can't be embedded? That seems rather curious, given that other fonts can be.
You can actually embed Arabic fonts, but they're not rendered correctly. They're displayed RTL, but letters are displayed as isolated (disjointed) forms. (It looks like the glyphs in the screen capture.)

When Amazon first introduced AZW3 support, glyphs from embedded Arabic fonts were completely ignored.

eInk Kindles with a 5.6.x firmware actually show glyphs from embedded Arabic fonts but they're not properly shaped.

Most likely there's something wrong with a font configuration file.
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Old 03-15-2015, 02:10 PM   #6
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Thanks. That's rather disappointing. Have you reported it to Amazon as a bug?
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Old 03-15-2015, 05:59 PM   #7
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Doitsu,

Thank you very much for your reply and information.

I exactly want to read Arabic with those diactric marks, not the simple one. Now I have some more questions:

(1) Can we downgrade (or reinstall) e-ink kindle's firmware (or system)?

(2) Can Kindle 4 Non-Touch (firmware version 4.1.2) support kf8, azw3 format and thus Arabic with diactric marks properly (provided we replaced the font)?

(3) What is the best software and method to produce those Arabic with diactric marks text in kf8, azw3 format and copy it to kindle?

(4) Can we embed proper Arabic font in kf8, azw3 file and read it on Kindle 4 Non-Touch (Arabic with correct diactrical marks) without replacing the font or jailbreaking it?

(5) Can a jailbroken kindle be returned to its original factory state?

The reason I mentioned Kindle 4 Non-Touch is one of my friend has this model and if I am successfull in reading Arabic on it, I would buy him a new Kindle and take his old one.

Last edited by RTL; 03-15-2015 at 06:16 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 03-15-2015, 05:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Thanks. That's rather disappointing. Have you reported it to Amazon as a bug?
No. Since RTL languages aren't officially supported and Amazon KDP doesn't accept self-published Arabic Kindle books, I don't think that Amazon would fix this issue, if I reported it.
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Old 03-15-2015, 06:11 PM   #9
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The K4NT can still be jailbroken. Once jailbroken the Fonts hack will probably do everything you need.

The Paperwhite 2 (KPW2), Voyage (KV), and latest Basic model (KT2) are the unjailbreakable ones, hence you cannot install the Fonts hack.
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Old 03-15-2015, 06:32 PM   #10
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Not quite sure the complex font-shaping thing is theoretically handled properly at all and/or fixed by the Fonts hack on the K4, since its fontconfig (and thus KF8) handling is rather hackish and crude there, but Doitsu probably remembers that better than I .

It's handled as a rather dirty hack in the FW 5.x fonts hack (related to how the fallback font is handled), and I never could manage to make it behave properly 'on demand' for a specific family (without making it globally pass as the fallback font, which is the current workaround), which explains why embedding doesn't help on a vanilla device. Thanks for the tests on FW 5.6 though, since that was going to be my next question, as that release saw some significant changes to the font rendering stack .

Last edited by NiLuJe; 03-15-2015 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 03-15-2015, 06:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by eschwartz View Post
The K4NT can still be jailbroken. Once jailbroken the Fonts hack will probably do everything you need.
AFAIK, it isn't possible to remap the code2000 fallback font with the older K3/K4 fonthacks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTL View Post
(1) Can we downgrade (or reinstall) e-ink kindle's firmware (or system)?
Only some of the older Kindles and Kindle PW2s with a 4.5.x firmware can be downgraded. For details search the Kindle Developer's Corner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTL View Post
(2) Can Kindle 4 Non-Touch (firmware version 4.1.2) support kf8, azw3 format and thus Arabic with diactric marks properly? (provided we replaced the font)
AFAIK, this would only be possible with a jailbreak and a fonthack. However, AFAIK, the K4 font hack doesn't allow you to remap the code2000 font that is used for Arabic. If you want to be absolutely sure, please ask in the Kindle Developer's Corner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTL View Post
(3) What is the best software and method to produce those Arabic with diactric marks text in kf8, azw3 format and copy it to kindle?
I use Sigil 0.8.4 with my simple Kindlegen plugin. However, if you want to convert multiple ePubs, it's probably more efficient to use Calibre. (Both Calibre and Kindlegen will automatically convert properly formatted Arabic ePubs to azw3 books without further modification.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTL View Post
(4) Can we embed proper Arabic font in kf8, azw3 file and read it on Kindle 4 Non-Touch (Arabic with correct diactrical marks) without replacing the font or jailbreaking it?
No. For details see my 5th post.

Note: Font hacks are not required. AZW3-compatible Kindles will display Arabic texts with diacritics without further modification. However, some diacritics will overlap letters and the overall readability isn't ideal. If you can live with these cosmetic issues, you don't need to install a font hack.
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Old 03-15-2015, 09:01 PM   #12
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Thank you all for your reply.

I am still confused. To have best reading experience with diactrics Arabic on Kindle 4 NT (firmware 4.1.2), Is font-hack sufficient or do I have to jail-break? Is font-hack reversible? Is jail-break reversible?
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Old 03-16-2015, 12:25 AM   #13
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Hello everyone,

I brought a Kindle 4NT from my friend. So I can test everything. Before I start doing anything, let me ask a few more questions:

(1) It has already had the font hack from this very forum. No screen saver hack yet. How can I know if it is already jail-broken?

(2) Its folder is a bit messy now. For ease, can I reset the Kindle to its factory state? The current firmware is 4.1.2 and on its menu, there are 2 options, RESTART and RESET TO FACTORY DEFAULTS available.

(3) If I want to do everything from fresh and zero, (and I would like to do that), Do I have to un-install the font-hack first or I can simply factory reset?

(4) What will happen if I factory-reset a font-hacked Kindle? Will it become a brick?

(5) Is it possible to rescue a bricked Kindle 4NT?

(6) For the purpose of having a best reading experience with diactrical Arabic, if I follow your instruction to jail-break, font-hack and anything else, will the English (Latin) letter be broken? I mean if I use an Arabic font for Arabic reading purpose, will the English and East Asian (Japanese, Chinese) fonts be broken?

Thanks again.
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Old 03-16-2015, 12:47 AM   #14
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  1. It is, unless the previous owner jailbroke, installed hacks, and then uninstalled the jailbreak while leaving the hacks. Theoretically possible, but doubtful.
  2. Reset To Factory Defaults will do Exactly What It Says On The Tin.
  3. Uninstall each hack, factory resets do not affect installed hacks -- well, they do wipe the userstore, which is its own problem (settings and binaries are stored there ).
  4. It won't be bricked, but see #3.
  5. Yes, Kubrick is an invaluable resource.
  6. No, other character sets should be unaffected or else have their own font overrides applied.
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Old 03-16-2015, 06:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doitsu View Post
All current eInk Kindles support RTL text in AZW3 files, however, the Arabic glyphs from the default font, code2000, are rather ugly and code2000 doesn't handle diacritics and Eastern Arabic numerals well.

I.e., if you're a typophile or you're mainly reading Arabic books with lots of diacritics in them, you might want to consider a different model, because all current models with a 5.6.x firmware (Basic Kindle, PW2 and Voyage) can't be jailbroken and you can't embed Arabic fonts in AZW3 files.

However, if you find a cheap refurbished PW1 (or a PW2 with a 5.4.x firmware) online, you could jailbreak it and install a code2000 override font, e.g. Arial.
Doitsu,

After jail-break and font-hack a Kindle 4NT and converting your *epub3.epub file into kf8 with KindleGen, I got the following screen shot as attachment.

It seems the RTL part is working correctly, and from my programming experience, I know those numbers in little squares are the Unicode (UTF-16) code of those Arabic letters. I replaced the code2000.ttf with an Arabic font. But I do not know how this weird problem comes out.
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