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Old 05-01-2020, 05:09 PM   #1
geek1011
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NickelMenu: An integrated launcher for Kobo eReaders

NickelMenu
The easiest way to launch custom scripts, change hidden settings, and run actions on Kobo eReaders.
___



NickelMenu adds custom actions the main and/or reader menus. It works on firmware 4.6+, and persists between firmware upgrades.

Installation:
  1. Connect your Kobo eReader to your computer over USB.
  2. Download KoboRoot.tgz (release notes) into KOBOeReader/.kobo. You may need to show hidden files to see the folder.
  3. Safely eject your eReader and wait for it to reboot.
  4. Ensure there is a new menu item in the top-left main menu entitled NickelMenu
  5. Connect you Kobo eReader to your computer again and create a new file (of any type) named KOBOeReader/.adds/nm/config, and follow the instructions in KOBOeReader/.adds/nm/doc to configure NickelMenu.

Features:
  • A built-in failsafe will automatically remove NickelMenu if any fatal error occurs, and will never result in an unbootable Kobo. Non-fatal errors will appear as a menu item with more details.
  • Multi-version compatiblity (even for future versions).
  • Many built-in actions:
    • Debug messages (dbg_syslog, dbg_error, dbg_msg, dbg_toast).
    • Nickel settings (nickel_setting:{invert,lockscreen,screenshots,for ce_wifi}).
    • Nickel extras (nickel_extras:{web_browser,unblock_it,sketch_pad, solitaire,sudoku,word_scramble}).
    • Other Nickel stuff (nickel_misc:{force_usb_connection,rescan_books,re scan_books_full}).
    • Gracefully exit Nickel (power:{shutdown,reboot})
    • Launch system commands and optionally display the output (cmd_spawn{,:quiet},cmd_output).
    • KFMon (kfmon, kfmon_id).
  • Action chaining.
  • Simple configuration format with support for multiple configuration files.
  • Comprehensive logging to syslog (view over telnet or SSH with logread, or enable developer options and see the syslog files in KOBOeReader/.kobo).
  • No system files are ever touched directly, and no patching is required.
Future features:
  • Automatically generate items for actions like kfmon.
  • Reload configuration files without a reboot.
  • More actions and settings.
  • Log viewer.
  • More menu locations.
  • Custom browser URL and injected stylesheet.

Troubleshooting/FAQ:
  • I don't see any menu items in the main menu
    Try re-installing NickelMenu. If it still doesn't appear, please reboot and post the contents of the syslog.
  • I rebooted, and NickelMenu suddenly disappeared
    You probably triggered the failsafe (if you rebooted within 20 seconds after first turning it on).
  • I want to uninstall NickelMenu
    Create a new file named KOBOeReader/.adds/nm/uninstall, then reboot your Kobo.
  • I want to update NickelMenu
    Follow the installation process again. Your configuration files will be preserved.
  • When I press one of the actions, I get an error message about dlsym
    Something has probably changed in your firmware version. Try updating NickelMenu, and if it still doesn't work, please post your current version and the action you are trying to use.
  • When I try to open a file in KOBOeReader/.adds/nm, I get asked what I want to open it with
    Open it with a text editor, for example, Notepad, Notepad++, or Visual Studio Code.
  • When I open a configuration file, everything is jumbled in one long line
    Open it with a different text editor which supports unix line breaks. If you are trying to view the documentation, it is also available online.
  • I need help writing a configuration file
    There is an example configuration file in the documentation. If you still need help, feel free to post in this thread.
  • I found a bug in NickelMenu
    Try re-installing NickelMenu. If that still doesn't work, please post your syslog, your configuration file, and a description of the issue in this thread or on GitHub.
  • I would like to request a new feature
    Please post it in this thread or open an issue on GitHub.
  • I receive an error message when trying to launch a KFMon action
    Make sure the launcher name you specified is correct. It should look like action.png or something similar. Also, make sure you have installed the latest version of KFMon and try re-installing NickelMenu.
  • How do I configure NickelMenu
    Read the instructions above again, and see the documentation.

Credits (initial version):
  • geek1011 (@geek1011): Original idea, reverse engineering, implemented core functionality, implemented most actions.
  • sherman (@shermp): Implemented action chaining, tested everything, provided feedback and ideas.
  • NiLuJe (@NiLuJe): Implemented kfmon action, tested everything, provided feedback and ideas.
  • jackie_w (@jackiew1): Did some testing, provided feedback and ideas.

Contributors:
Download | Documentation | Source Code | Release Notes

Last edited by geek1011; 05-07-2020 at 06:20 PM. Reason: v0.0.2
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Old 05-01-2020, 05:15 PM   #2
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Yes, this works! And it's awesome!

I'm working with supporting this with my Kobo-UNCaGED program in the near future.

Huge thanks to geek1011 for all the hard work on this one.
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Old 05-01-2020, 05:18 PM   #3
NiLuJe
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It is indeed mighty cool .

----

Right, to expand a bit on the current possible interactions with KFMon: currently, that involves a bit of manual labor, in that you'll have to tell NickelMenu which bits of KFMon you'd like to run, and you have to make sure to do so in a way that matches your actual current KFMon setup.

A quick look at the example should make it obvious, but, say, given KOReader's KFMon config:

Code:
[watch]
filename = /mnt/onboard/koreader.png
action = /mnt/onboard/.adds/koreader/koreader.sh
label = Start KOReader
The matching NickelMenu entry for the main menu would be

Code:
menu_item : main : Start KOReader : kfmon : koreader.png
(i.e., you want to use the plain filename of the png as the argument ).

----

Ultimately, you'll just be able to say in your NickelMenu config "build me some menus out of the stuff registered in KFMon", and magic happens!
But that's for later .

----

Also, this requires KFMon 1.4.0, released a few minutes ago .

Last edited by NiLuJe; 05-01-2020 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 05-01-2020, 05:22 PM   #4
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Oh, and now I remember why I chose KOReader as an example .

Because I know someone is going to try this: you can perfectly well ask to launch KOReader via a NickelMenu cmd_spawn... as long as you're running KOReader >= 2020.05 (right now, that means a current nightly).

Otherwise, stuff may be subtly broken (inside OR outside of KOReader).
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Old 05-01-2020, 05:24 PM   #5
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Random facts, tips and tricks:
  • Unlike other methods, enabling invert screen through NickelMenu takes effect instantly.
  • You can use cmd_spawn to add an action to remove screenshots and prevent them from being imported.
  • rescan_books is useful for software which transfers books wirelessly (and if you chain it after cmd_output, it waits for it to complete first).
  • The config file ignores whitespace, so you can make everything nicely aligned if you want.
  • If you write tools and apps for Kobos, you can include a NickelMenu config file in the installation package, and it will be automatically picked up.
  • If you want to learn more about ELF injection, C++ vtables, Nickel's design, and so on, take a look at the source code on GitHub.
More coming soon...

Last edited by geek1011; 05-01-2020 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 05-01-2020, 07:06 PM   #6
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Thank you for this great work.

Are you taking requests?

Could you add the capability to set light levels? What I'd like to do is have one menu item for invert AND set light level to 30 and one menu item for invert and light level set to 8.
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Old 05-01-2020, 07:28 PM   #7
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Given that the fl is accessible over sysfs, you might able to cobble something together with a cmd_spawn and a chain...

Note that Nickel won't be able to track a frontlight level change made via sysfs, though. (It could, on Mk. 7 only, but I've never bothered to check if it actually did so).

EDIT: Well, it might not even be accessible via sysfs *at all* on Mk. 6 w/o NaturalLight, anyway, so, never mind me .

Last edited by NiLuJe; 05-01-2020 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 05-01-2020, 07:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John F View Post
Could you add the capability to set light levels? What I'd like to do is have one menu item for invert AND set light level to 30 and one menu item for invert and light level set to 8.
Yes, that's a pretty simple change to make. I'll do it for the next version.
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Old 05-01-2020, 08:14 PM   #9
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Hi, this is a great idea, it is fine.
I have tried usb conection, reboot with a 'sh', and I have tried this in the config file

menu_item :main :Coolreader :cmd_spawn :/bin/sh -c mnt/onboard/.adds/vlasovsoft/launcher.sh > /dev/null 2>&1

The problem is that when I exit from vlasovsoft program, the items have disappeared and I must install NickelMenu again.

Thanks

Do you know what can be happened?
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Old 05-01-2020, 08:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmelocotonto View Post
Hi, this is a great idea, it is fine.
I have tried usb conection, reboot with a 'sh', and I have tried this in the config file

menu_item :main :Coolreader :cmd_spawn :/bin/sh -c mnt/onboard/.adds/vlasovsoft/launcher.sh > /dev/null 2>&1

The problem is that when I exit from vlasovsoft program, the items have disappeared and I must install NickelMenu again.

Thanks

Do you know what can be happened?
I think vlasovsoft triggered the failsafe, because it kills Nickel. Try reinstalling NickelMenu, then wait at least 20 seconds before launching vlasovsoft.

@geek1011 you may want to shorten the failsafe time, or make it configurable.
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Old 05-01-2020, 08:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmelocotonto View Post
The problem is that when I exit from vlasovsoft program, the items have disappeared and I must install NickelMenu again.
You've probably run into the failsafe. Try waiting a few seconds longer after turning on your Kobo. I'll probably half the failsafe time for the next version (it was longer during development to make things easier).

Edit: looks like sherman responded at the same time .
Edit 1: Here's a test build with the timeout halved: https://github.com/geek1011/NickelMe...ifacts/5490309.

Last edited by geek1011; 05-01-2020 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 05-01-2020, 08:36 PM   #12
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@geek1011: Actually, does anything ever delete the .failsafe if the "loaded from .failsafe" check is tripped after a reboot?

(I seem to recall rebooting a couple times and it still being there when I tripped it after my Lucky Luke incident, if you recall . I basically renamed it manually to fix it.).

Because if it's still here, even after a reinstall, that check'll probably still get tripped, I suppose?
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Old 05-01-2020, 08:42 PM   #13
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@geek1011: Actually, does anything ever delete the .failsafe if the "loaded from .failsafe" check is tripped after a reboot?

(I seem to recall rebooting a couple times and it still being there when I tripped it after my Lucky Luke incident, if you recall . I basically renamed it manually to fix it.).

Because if it's still here, even after a reinstall, that check'll probably still get tripped, I suppose?
It gets deleted on the next successful run, but it's harmless to have around, since both plugins will still be loaded without conflicts after the failsafe exits itself. I figured it was safer and simpler to leave it as, since it'll get cleaned up anyways.
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Old 05-01-2020, 08:43 PM   #14
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@geek1011: But is there a successful run if both the .so and .failsafe are loaded?

EDIT: Okay, tried it for fun, yeah, that works, :+1: .

Last edited by NiLuJe; 05-01-2020 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 05-02-2020, 03:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherman View Post
I think vlasovsoft triggered the failsafe, because it kills Nickel. Try reinstalling NickelMenu, then wait at least 20 seconds before launching vlasovsoft.

@geek1011 you may want to shorten the failsafe time, or make it configurable.
Hi Sherman and geek1011. Yes. I have waited more than 20 seconds before running coolreader from NickelMenu and indeed everything has worked fine. Items have not disappeared.
Am I to understand that the same can not be done with Koreader v.2020.4 (initial)?. Should I install the latest version of koreader?
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