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Old 10-08-2010, 12:38 PM   #20
Junior Member
Zog began at the beginning.
Posts: 3
Karma: 14
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Device: Kobo
Cool-er system on the Kobo

Trying the cool-er system on the Kobo:

Basically the Kobo can boot a root filesystem from an sd card if it is formatted correctly. If you look at the contents of the firmware update for the Kobo found here:

you will see a small linux filesystem designed to flash a new uboot, kernel and filesystem to the kobo. What we need is the normal Kobo filesystem which is a tgz file located inside the firmware tgz file at files/eb600em/fs.tgz. So to extract this on a linux system:

tar xzvf bordersau-full-1_4.tgz ./files/eb600em/fs.tgz

So we now have the fs.tgz file. To make an usable sd card I created a single linux partition on an sd card and extracted the contents of fs.tgz onto it.

Using fdisk on linux I created the partition on the sd card:

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sde1 1 1024 999393+ 83 Linux

formatted it:

mkfs.ext3 /dev/sde1

mounted and extracted the new filesystem:

mount /dev/sde1 /mnt
cd /mnt
tar xzvf ../files/eb600em/fs.tgz
cd ..
umount /mnt

What you end up with is a an sd card that can boot the normal Kobo system. This is useful if your Kobo isn't booting properly and you want to recover/backup the filesystem all your books are located on before you flash the/a new firmware.

To run the cool-er filesystem the difference is where you get fs.tgz from.

I got the cool-er firmware from here:
COOLER-vfat-eb600em-0203 5th February

Just extract the zip file and again look for files/eb600em/fz.tgz
Uncompress this onto your formatted sd card. I also modified the /etc/init.d/rcS file in the cool-er filesystem by using the # sign to comment out so that it doesn't try to mount the sd card. This may not have been technically necessary as if the system tries to mount an sd card that is already in use as the root ext3 filesystem as vfat it will probably just fail out.

If you want to flash the cooler filesystem to your Kobo replace the files/eb600em/fs.tgz file in bordersau-full-1_4.tgz with the one in and follow the sd card flash procedure for the Kobo:

Things to know:
Both of these processes keep the uboot and kernel from the Kobo firmware. If you try to flash the cool-er kernel onto your Kobo it will run for a few seconds and crash. I think this is due to the fact that the cool-er has mp3 playback functionality in its hardware that is not there in the Kobo. I think it's better to keep the Kobo uboot and kernel just to be safe.

When running the cool-er filesystem you lose bluetooth functionality and cannot access books in the Kobo sqlite database or I expect anything with DRM. Don't expect all you books to be there. Non DRM epub files that were put on the device via direct file copy will show up. Adobe digital editions DRM will work but you will most likely have to set it up again.

Its unlikely you can use a vfat formatted sd card as vfat does not support the symbolic links required to run the linux root filesystem.

Maybe shortened battey life running from the sd card?

If you booted from the sd card the sytem will go back to normal on next power cycle.

Don't remove the sd card if your running from it!

How to boot a filesystem from the sd card on a Kobo:

1) Power off your Kobo e-Reader.
2) Insert the SD card in to the slot on the top of the Kobo e-Reader.
3) Power on your Kobo e-Reader.
4) Whilst pressing down the middle button of the D-Pad, press the reset button on the rear of the device with a paperclip (do not release your finger from the middle of the D-Pad button).
5) Keep the D-Pad depressed until five blocks appear in the lower-left corner of the Kobo e-Reader screen.
6) After five blocks have appeared in the lower-left corner of the screen you can release your finger from the D-Pad.
7) The Kobo e-Reader should boot the new filesystem. It may take a bit since it's running from the sd card.

Note: I am aware these instructions are for linux systems. As I have not used a windows (or Macintosh) operating system as my primary operating system in more than a decade I have no idea how to create a linux partition and format it with ext3 in windows nor do I want to learn. If you want to follow these instructions the easy way I suggest you use tinycore linux ( as at the very least you will become familiar with a tool that I have used to save windows machines under quite a few circumstances. Also note: I am not responsible for your actions. If your worried about warranty violations or damaging your Kobo in any way don't mess with it. It works on its own just fine. I'm just the curious type. If I brick it because of my own actions the last thing I'm going to do is be an idiot and bring it back to the store expecting a new one and/or refund.
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