Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Nook Ebook Reader & DRM

I'm 62 years old, and I've always been a reader. So, a few months ago, I finally coughed up the money to purchase a Barnes and Noble Nook ebook reader. Despite being a Linux user and occasionally enjoying tinkering with the innards of things, I haven't rooted my Nook, or installed any other OS variant—it is completely stock.

Unlike my wife's Amazon Kindle (with its E-Ink display), my Nook's battery doesn't last long. The other day I was reading a good short novel I had just downloaded from Barnes and Noble. I'm about half way through the novel when my Nook's battery level gets very low.

Here's the rub: my charger unit has an intermittent electrical short, and I can't immediately plug it in to continue reading while recharging my nook (a couple of days later, I fix this).

But I want to finish reading my novel now! I've got the time, and I'm really into the story.

So, I'll go to my desktop computer, download a copy to it, and continue reading. Good plan, but after going to the B & N (mynook.barnesandnoble.com/library.html) site and downloading the .epub file, I can't read it. Gibberish on the screen with a warning about DRM encryption protection. Searching on Barnes and Noble's web site reveals that they don't have a Linux DRM reader, only a client for Macintosh and Microsoft Windows PC's.

OK, among the 3 laptops and 3 desktop computers we have here at home, we do have one installation of Microsoft Windows (on a Linux-MS Win dual-boot machine). I use MS-Win for occasional video editing and transcoding, and I don't want to have to restart the computer and boot into windows, just to finish reading the novel.

I consider running WINE on my main desktop Linux machine, but by now, I'm getting really irritated about this stupid DRM.

Bear in mind, I DO NOT STEAL CONTENT. I don't unlawfully download music, software, videos, and books. And when I purchase content, I don't electronically copy and redistribute it to others.

Feeling frustrated, I start looking on the Internet for a way to decrypt my novel so I can continue reading it on my Linux box.

Turns out that someone has written a couple of Python scripts—one to generate the Barnes and Noble encryption key, and one to decrypt the DRM'd .epub books and content. These Python scripts rely on your having the PyCrypto library installed (the script also uses the PyTKinter library for GUI).

Now, Barnes and Noble use an insecure method to generate the key. It is generated from two pieces of information: your name, and your credit card number.

So, I download the two Python scripts (source), and check them through to see if they contain any nefarious code designed to transmit my credit card number to the bad guys—the code is clean.

I invoke the keygen script, and type-in my name and number. Then I run the decrypt program and tell it to work on my novel, not really expecting this to work. Wow—it works perfectly. And now, I've got decrypted copies I can read on any of my electronic devices.

And DRM still stinks. Not only that, it reeks.

And I finish reading the novel.

More in Tux Machines

Linux commands to display your hardware information

There are many reasons you might need to find out details about your computer hardware. For example, if you need help fixing something and post a plea in an online forum, people will immediately ask you for specifics about your computer. Or, if you want to upgrade your computer, you'll need to know what you have and what you can have. You need to interrogate your computer to discover its specifications. Alternatively, you could open up the box and read the labels on the disks, memory, and other devices. Or you could enter the boot-time panels—the so-called UEFI or BIOS panels. Just hit the proper program function key during the boot process to access them. These two methods give you hardware details but omit software information. Or, you could issue a Linux line command. Wait a minute… that sounds difficult. Why would you do this? Read more

Android Leftovers

BlackWeb 1.2

BlackWeb is a penetration and security testing distribution based on Debian. The project's website presents the distribution's features as follows: BlackWeb is a Linux distribution aimed at advanced penetration testing and security auditing. BlackWeb contains several hundred tools which are geared towards various information security tasks, such as penetration testing, security research, computer forensics and reverse engineering. Starting from an appropriately configured LXDE desktop manager it offers stability and speed. BlackWeb has been designed with the aim of achieving the maximum performance and minimum consumption of resources. There are 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86_64) builds of BlackWeb available on the distribution's website. I downloaded the 64-bit build which is 2.6GB in size. Booting from the media brings up a menu asking if we would like to try BlackWeb's live desktop, run the installer or run the graphical installer. Taking the live desktop options presents us with a graphical login screen where we can sign in with the username "root" and the password "blackweb". Read more

Feh is a light-weight command-line image viewer for Linux

The default image viewer in most Linux distros is a fine option for many users, but if you want a distraction free alternative, Feh is a good option. Feh's interface is as barebones as it gets as it does not have any toolbars or buttons but is a command line interface application; because of that, it is very light on resources and still easy enough to use even for users who shy away from using the command line whenever possible. Read more