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iRex iLiad e-Reader: Linux's Answer to the Kindle? (informIT)

David Chisnall takes a look at the Linux-based iRex iLiad, a type of E-book device. "As a development platform, the iLiad is quite interesting. It has a fairly standard Linux kernel and X11 display, with slight modifications to the X protocol to allow for efficient partial updates of the screen. The included software uses GTK. If you register as a developer (it's free), your iLiad is unlocked, allowing you to run shell scripts as root. From here you can install third-party software easily."
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iRex iLiad e-Reader: Linux's Answer to the Kindle? (informIT)

Posted Aug 29, 2008 19:56 UTC (Fri) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

this can't be the linux answer to the Kindle since the Kindle is also running linux.

iRex iLiad e-Reader: Linux's Answer to the Kindle? (informIT)

Posted Aug 29, 2008 20:17 UTC (Fri) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

The Kindle is locked down pretty tight and has no developer community to speak of. It could be running VXWorks for how hackable it is. That said, my impression might be out of date...? If people have figured out how to hack it, I might have to buy one.

I love the look of the iLiad. It's all screen -- tiny bezel and buttons. And with the Wacom digitizer, talk about a slick notetaking device!

For 2X the price of the Kindle, though, its price is awful hard to swallow. Also, the software sounds pretty rough. Nowhere near the OLPC, of course, but lacking polish like good power management and quick boots.

So I could really REALLY use one but I guess I'll stay on the fence for now.

iRex iLiad e-Reader: Linux's Answer to the Kindle? (informIT)

Posted Aug 29, 2008 20:30 UTC (Fri) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

the price is pretty steep.

I have seen sites about hacking the Kindle (I haven't taken the time to go through it in detail)

unfortunantly they seem to be in the same trap as many other folks (including OLPC) where they design good hardware (in some cases _very_ good hardware), but then don't spend nearly as much effort on the software. the fact that they use opensource software means that it can improve drasticly, with or without cooperation of the manufacturer, but the poor initial version should not be sold as a finished product, it needs to be advertised to geeks as a beta product (finished hardware, beta-quality software) and then after a couple of rounds of improvements make the formal launch.

iRex iLiad e-Reader: Linux's Answer to the Kindle? (informIT)

Posted Aug 29, 2008 23:24 UTC (Fri) by JoeBuck (guest, #2330) [Link]

I wouldn't be surprised if the Kindle price is subsidized (they can sell it at or below cost and make up for it from the money you spend on locked-down e-books).

iRex iLiad e-Reader: Linux's Answer to the Kindle? (informIT)

Posted Aug 30, 2008 5:26 UTC (Sat) by rahvin (subscriber, #16953) [Link]

You mean, non-transferable, DRM loaded ebooks you don't actually own.

iRex iLiad e-Reader: Linux's Answer to the Kindle? (informIT)

Posted Aug 30, 2008 13:31 UTC (Sat) by chsnyder (guest, #52714) [Link]

Kindle price has everything to do with the Sprint EVDO subscription it comes with--that's how Amazon puts the books in. You can also browse the net from anywhere, which is nice. The unit is also physically sound and remarkably easy to use and bug-free for a first-generation product from an inexperienced manufacturer.

DRM is a big issue, though, as is availability of e-books: with Amazon as the dominant player, selling directly through their proprietary channel, what luck do Iliad adopters have of finding books?

iRex iLiad e-Reader: Linux's Answer to the Kindle? (informIT)

Posted Sep 1, 2008 15:01 UTC (Mon) by jamesh (guest, #1159) [Link]

From the article and the iRex site, it sounds like the iLiad is also locked down when you buy it. The difference compared to the Kindle is that they are offering to unlock the device for private developers (which presumably they could discontinue in the future).

Note that any software you produce on an unlocked device will only be usable by others who have signed up for the program. If you want to sell software that runs on unmodified iLiads, it looks like you need iRex's permission.

So while the device is more hackable than the Kindle at the moment, I wouldn't call it open.

hanlin v3

Posted Aug 30, 2008 16:24 UTC (Sat) by s52d (guest, #2199) [Link]

iLiand is in a different cathegory. Price/size/features

To read books, I love my hanlin ( ), Check for other simmilar devices: there are plenty.

300 Euro, available in different shops around Eu. (also brabded lBook etc)

Main plus: low battery consumption. Almost a week
of heavy use with no charging!

Hackable, of course.

Kindle: when I read I am supposed to pay to have my own texts on it...

73 Iztok

hanlin v3

Posted Aug 30, 2008 23:51 UTC (Sat) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

$350 and, more importantly, wow, that is mighty compelling. How's the stock firmware? Have you tried openinkpot?

I'd like my ebook's bezel to be the same color as the page background... Wonder if I could find a version with lighter plastic.

If they slapped a touchscreen on it for taking quick notes I'd buy it right now. As it is... hard to say. It sure looks attractive.

hanlin v3

Posted Aug 31, 2008 21:42 UTC (Sun) by fb (subscriber, #53265) [Link]

I have a Hanlin v3 as well. I haven't tried to use openinkpot but the problem there is that they still haven't released anything other than this "v0.0" developers only release.

The good news is that they are active.


About the v3: I like it a lot but

- .chm navigation sucks (important for me)
- opening directories with too many files (hundreds) is too slow
- I find the screen a bit too small

Other than that, if you can control the generation of the PDF you are loading into it (the Guttenberg project has an interface for setting page dimensions and font size & type), then it is quite nice to read on it.

iRex iLiad e-Reader: Linux's Answer to the Kindle? (informIT)

Posted Aug 30, 2008 17:39 UTC (Sat) by drosser (guest, #29597) [Link]

After an admittedly brief bit of research, it makes no sense to me that none of these readers offer robust support for PDFs. I couldn't care less about DRM'd PDFs, but I want the ability to create bookmarks and annotations. Of course, there had better be stunning visual quality and pretty good responsiveness, otherwise there isn't any point to lugging it and a laptop/netbook around.

Ereaders are NOT laptops

Posted Aug 31, 2008 5:17 UTC (Sun) by s52d (guest, #2199) [Link]


Beside books, I have plenty of .pdf on my reader.
Reformatted to A5, they are readable.
A4 only can be read on 6 inch screen: just flip it around.

It is NOT laptop. It is just reader.
When I need laptop, I use one. But on the beach, bus, pub,
I like small, light gizmo. And no charging for few days!
And I can connect it to USB and sync anytime with laptop.

Now, my little sociological research:
People over 45 love it. We read books.
People below 30 do not understand why we love it: no colors,
no games, no keyboard, no internet access.
Those between 30 and 45 miss wifi/touchscreen.


iRex iLiad e-Reader: Linux's Answer to the Kindle? (informIT)

Posted Sep 4, 2008 12:40 UTC (Thu) by lysse (guest, #3190) [Link]

iThink iTire ofApplesque iNames.

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