18 Jan 2010 mjg59   » (Master)

Nook GPL update

"We are currently working on getting the code shipped out, we have your shipping address on file and will ship the code out as soon as it is ready, this will be by the end of this month."

2/10, must try harder. Even ignoring the fact that it's taking the best part of two months to get from shipping binaries to shipping source, it'll be interesting to see which version of the firmware the source release corresponds to given that the 1.1.0 update included a new kernel.

Speaking fo firmware updates - as shipped, the nook was a disaster. The firmware update improved things greatly, but I'm still stuck with cases where books render with the last couple of words in a page left out, and the order of books in the local content library is now based on last modification time rather than, say, author name. The continuing lack of any way to implement catagorisation or provide worthwhile metadata means that it's frustrating having to remember which order the books in a series go in. The fact that there's even a distinction between content you've obtained from B&N and content you've obtained from elsewhere is mindboggling. You need to explicitly switch between the two, which means that collections are broken up if you've had the audacity to buy some books from B&N and some books from elsewhere.

Having now spent a while travelling with the nook, it's clear that it's still not an especially effective example of its type. If my Sony hadn't suffered an unfortunate accident, I'd be using it instead. The nook's hardware is significantly better and as a platform it's got much more potential, but it just doesn't do a terribly good job at its core role - reading books. It'll get better with time, but if you're in the market for something that actually works today then go elsewhere.

There's other little things that are upsetting at a conceptual level. The 1.0.0 firmware will flash unsigned firmware, which is useful[1] but also an obvious wtf. The filesystem is full of scripts that are world writable and executed as root. There's a libGLES, but the coverflow implementation appears to be handled entirely in software. There's a general feeling that the platform's been put together by people who either don't know what they're doing, don't care about doing it properly or were working under sufficient time constraints that getting it right wasn't an option. I'm really not impressed.

[1] Especially given that the 1.1.0 firmware will happily flash the 1.0.0 firmware...

Syndicated 2010-01-18 23:00:00 from Matthew Garrett

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