Amazon Quietly Bricked Jailbroken Kindle Devices Last Year

from the taking-money;-building-walls dept

It appears that Amazon is very serious about walling off its garden. Late last year, it pushed out a firmware update for its Amazon Fire TV devices that not only made rooted devices unusable, but prevented Fire TV owners from rolling back firmware to previous, more root-friendly versions. Apparently, Kindle users were also included in this lockdown.

A recent post at Good Reader notes that the latest firmware for Kindles is pretty much identical to its Fire TV firmware, right down to the destruction of functionality.

The new firmware was pushed out to all modern Kindle devices in late November of last year. Anything after version 5.60 will not allow you to hack the firmware and do interesting things like change the screensaver system or install custom apps.

And, like its firmware for the Fire TV, rollback to less hack-resistant firmware is nearly impossible. You can force it back, provided you have a soldering iron (and the willingness to apply it to your device) or you can follow a few not-so-simple steps to take your root access back from Amazon. But once again, it’s the company removing functionality for the sole purpose of making devices perform the way Amazon wants them to, rather than leaving these sorts of decisions to those who have purchased the devices.

And it’s not as though Kindle owners are receiving any heads up from Amazon about the firmware’s plans for their jailbroken devices. No mention of it is made in the firmware’s specifications, which only tells you about the (supposedly) good things the update will bring: vague “bug fixes and improvements.” Softpedia’s hosting page for the latest version (5.6.1) goes into a little more detail, but it only contains a list of slightly-upgraded Amazon features, rather than the limitations the firmware will impose on paying customers.

If you like Amazon’s walled garden, the company is more than happy to ensure you never find the gate. If you don’t, Amazon is more than happy to step in and brick over any openings. The latter does a huge disservice to paying customers who are looking to get the most out of something they purchased and own, but seems to still somehow “belong” to Amazon.

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Comments on “Amazon Quietly Bricked Jailbroken Kindle Devices Last Year”

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121 Comments
Ruben says:

Re: Re:

It’s also why it’s important to have device makers who aren’t beholden to their own app ecosystems in the way that Amazon and Apple are. Guys like HTC and Samsung are less paranoid about people rooting their devices and loading custom roms on them. Vote with your dollars, people. It’s the only way they’ll learn.

David says:

What's not to love?

The customer pays like a buyer, but only gets the rights of a renter. The company gets money like from a purchase and has no further obligations like if it actually sold an item, but retains control over the device.

It does not take a Stallman to figure out that this is a rather one-sided shift of balance.

AJ says:

Re: What's not to love?

“The customer pays like a buyer, but only gets the rights of a renter. The company gets money like from a purchase and has no further obligations like if it actually sold an item, but retains control over the device.”

Very well put. This is the main reason file sharing and jail breaking are so popular. It’s the consumers attempt to regain control over their media. Your average consumer isn’t a lawyer. They don’t understand that even though they payed for something, it’s not really theirs.

It’s also very ironic. The very one sided control these companies are exercising is, IMO, one of the main reasons people choose file sharing over legal methods. I’m sure there is a percentage that never intended on buying, but I’m betting the bulk of file sharers do so because of convenience and control over the media.

KoD (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 What's not to love?

I do not think we mean the same thing we we talk about the content. The hardware is worthless without the content, meaning software, videos, ebooks, music, and various files. rooting the device does not create new hardware capabilities. The only reason to root the device is to gain greater control over the content.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 What's not to love?

“rooting the device does not create new hardware capabilities”

Technically true. Rooting the device gives you control over the hardware that you do not otherwise have. So while it doesn’t create new hardware capabilities, it does give you access to hardware capabilities that were otherwise unusable. In practice, there isn’t much difference between the two in this context.

As to “content”, I think you’re right — I was getting tripped up by that word. To me, “content” means “data that other people are providing” (this includes software). People I know who jailbreak are not doing so to gain greater control over that stuff. They’re jailbreaking in order to gain greater control over the OS and, by consequence, the hardware.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 What's not to love?

The hardware is worthless without the content …

You’re wrong and he’s right. You’re assuming it’s obviously for infringement that they’re doing it. Certainly many are, but just as certainly, many are not. I couldn’t care less about the content I see out there these days. I do care that a PS2 could be used to run Linux with its other OS feature. Many bought them just to do that. Rooting it could allow owners to “pirate” video games, but that’s nothing I care about.

Think Apple and its music players. You could get all your content from iTunes, or you could use them to play any mp3 you want. Bricking a machine because the owner isn’t also buying your content is assault on the customer post-purchase. I refuse to support vendors who assume I’ve joined their club just by purchasing something. When you’ve got my money and I’ve got my hardware, we’re done; end of story.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 What's not to love?

You’re wrong and he’s right. You’re assuming it’s obviously for infringement that they’re doing it.

He didn’t say piracy, he said content.

I do care that a PS2 could be used to run Linux with its other OS feature.

I think KoD would consider the operating system content, so that would fit right in with his description of why people want to control their devices.

KoD (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 What's not to love?

You missed the entire point of the comment you replied to. You wanting to put Linux on a Playstation is exactly what I was talking about. My comment had nothing to do with piracy. I have never gone out of my way to root any device simply for pirating purposes. We are in complete agreement about how ridiculous it is that OEMs believe they retain control over OUR hardware. I root most devices I own within the first week. Not for piracy, but rather because I will be damned if I do not have admin rights on a device I own.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: What's not to love?

Those are the exact reasons I do what I do.

When I go to the theaters and pay $10 for the worlds shittiest hotdog and $5 for a 12oz Coke which is filled to the brim with ice. I see it as a purchase of the dvd release of the movie I’m going to see. Or when I have to sit through 10 minutes worth of ads with each 30 minute show I watch, I feel I’m financially entitled to download the pirated versions of the seasons instead of purchasing the dvd box sets.

Back in the 80s the entire premise for cable TV was to watch TV without ADs. But now, not only are they forcing us to watch insane amounts of ads but they’re making us pay $50-$100 a month to watch them.

Every time I hear the argument that pirating media is destroying sales this silent rage inside me grows a little bit bigger. lol

Anonymous Coward says:

The mentality that goes with ownership of ‘Intellectual Propert’ is slowly turning people into serfs, via ‘intellectual Property’ owners asserting control over every device that can display or use their content. When you cannot control the means that support how you live, you have become a serf.

Anonymous Coward says:

Oddly enough, not too long ago – maybe four weeks – the Android Kindle app started delivering ads to clients as notifications. There are separate options in the settings to enable “service-related” notifications (available downloads, expired loans etc.) and to enable marketing-related notifications – but the app now simply ignores that second setting and shows ads as notifications if any notifications are enabled.

There seems to be a consistent shift to less user-friendly actions by Amazon lately.

Anonymous Coward says:

this goes all the way back to the ridiculous judge who allowed Sony to ‘still own’ their devices and stop the installation of ‘the other O/S’ that so many people bought the playstation devices for. had that judge used a bit of intelligence and foresight, he would have known the can of worms he was opening. but then i suppose it’s always more important to consider what the likes of Sony can do for individuals like him than actually use a bit of brains. since that decision, there have been more steps to allow a company continue to own something that has been bought and paid for, while taking away the rights of the consumer to do as wanted with a piece of hardware.
i wonder what dragsters, for example, would say and do if when they tried to do whatever they wanted with an engine, for example, and they were stopped from doing so by the original manufacturer?

Anonymous Coward says:

I had bought a Kindle Fire some time ago when they first came out. The exclusion of Gapps made it feel like more of a high tech toy rather than a fully functional tablet. The first thing I did was root it and put gapps on there to bring some functionality back to the device.
Thankfully I sold it off shortly after the fact because I had no need for a 7″ tablet. I would have been royally pissed if I were still using this device and it was bricked for me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Pardon My Ignorance

Well in this case rooting a Fire TV would enable the installation of alternative software like the Kodi Media Center. Since these devices are sold at cost or a very small margin, replacing the software would deprive Amazon of advertising revenue and valuable user data.

http://kodi.wiki/view/Amazon_Fire_TV

me says:

Re: Re: Pardon My Ignorance

Rooting is not required to install Kodi. Even in the Kodi link you gave states, “rooting is not required”. Your evidence contradicts your statement.

You only need to check, “allow third party software” in settings. For Fire TV Box, or Fire Stick, or Fire Tablet. Same setting like any android device. When you want to install something that doesn’t originate from the app store.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Pardon My Ignorance

“Root” is Linuxese for “Admin”.

“Rooting” a device means to gain admin access to it. It was once used solely to describe gaining admin access to someone else’s computer (i.e. hacking), but modern devices often try to prevent their owners from having absolute control over them. Thus, people have to “root” their smartphones and tablets to be able to do whatever they want with them.

E. Postley says:

Re: Abuse of power

Thanks for asking! I suppose this means that after a customer’s paying +20% to AZ to keep their creepy ads off his new e-reader, AZ will just start pushing them on anyway. Why not? Whose going to stop them?

Did you know that the “supposed” Kindle Page at Amazon.com will actually only ship outside the US?

Sadly, I have bought my last Kindle. I used to like Amazon.

P.S. Don’t give car makers any ideas!

Anonymous Coward says:

Stallman was right (again)

Either users control the software, or the software controls the users. What were once minor inconveniences are fast becoming major injustices. As these devices grow smaller and live on and in our bodies, how much do we really trust the manufacturers to control them in our best interests?

https://fsfe.org/campaigns/android/android.html

Andy says:

My recent beef with Amazon comes via the ‘instant video’ app. I have a cheap tablet (hi-sense) that does exactly waht I need it to & for not alot of money.

I tried to install the instant video app seeing as I had amazon prime. But no, apparently Amazon dont wnt to make it compatible with my tablet.

So I can get video on my phone (too small for anything beyond 5 minutes) or on my laptop (too big for settling down to a program/film in bed).

Luckily I found the relevant .apk online and low and behold – IT WORKS FINE

This is purely a case of amazon wanting to make people by a kindle fire.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I don’t really see a problem with not making it compatible. They see it as a hardware limitation and isn’t worth the cost to make it compatible when the majority of their business won’t come from that device. If they did make it compatible and it wasn’t working they would have to support it.
If I was going to program an app for a phone. I would do it for Apple and Android and maybe Windows but will avoid Blackberry. I also won’t try to make it compatible with older then 3 years of age. You may be able to install it on your 5 year old device but since it doesn’t meet the specs, I won’t be supporting it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Two sides of the coin

If a device can be rooted through software….

1. Malware can take advantage of that, so it is a security issue (bug) that one would expect Amazon to fix.

2. Users can gain more control over the device they purchased.

I’m all for allowing custom firmware on a device but not at the expense of security.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Two sides of the coin

People put them selves at risk when they download pirated software. It’s not up to Amazon or anyone else to say which security privileges you may have.

Imagine if Windows or Mac imposed these restrictions on their desktop OSes…

Regardless, some people root their devices to gain more control and to remove all the BS while others do it because they can afford the software they want to use.

In the end, it’s not up to you or anyone else to say what I can and cannot not do with what I OWN.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Two sides of the coin

“I’m all for allowing custom firmware on a device but not at the expense of security.”

Why not? If someone is bypassing the security mechanisms on their devices, that’s something they should be able to choose to do. The manufacturer isn’t a nanny.

Also, just because a device has been jailbroken doesn’t mean that device is insecure. It’s entirely possible jailbreak a device without sacrificing security. In fact, I would argue that it’s better that way — if you’re relying on the manufacturer to keep you secure, you’re in a weak position in terms of security.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Two sides of the coin

” It’s entirely possible jailbreak a device without sacrificing security.”

I root my devices to not only increase security, but stability and performance.

Although I have to agree that the less tech savvy are putting themselves at risk but that’s their choice – live and learn.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Two sides of the coin

My phrasing is not that great.

Not all rooting is done through vulnerabilities, some are tho and it is only the rooting through vulnerability that I am referring to.

I would not advocate that a company leave a security vulnerability in a product for the sole purpose of allowing users to exploit that vulnerability to root the device.

If a company fixes a vulnerability thats a good thing, we should encourage companies to care about security of their products. The fact it prevents future people from using the vulnerability to root the device is irrelevant.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Two sides of the coin

You’ve got it all backwards my friend…

However, you’ve helped me to realize, just now, that by companies imposing hardcoded root restrictions they can leverage the public to find specific vulnerabilities for an attacker to gain root access thus increasing security.

However, they need to stop punishing those who wish to have root access and instead reward them for their efforts.

David says:

Re: Two sides of the coin

I’m all for allowing custom firmware on a device but not at the expense of security.

You are confusing “security” with knowing who the bully with the skeleton key to the appartment block is.

If I rent an appartment, I don’t want the landlord go snooping through my drawers regularly “for security reasons”. Or change back door locks that I have replaced for whatever reason.

Let alone if I buy an appartment. The previous owner has no business at all with my drawers, even if he built them himself.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Two sides of the coin

I’m all for allowing custom firmware on a device but not at the expense of security.

You’re buying a freaking tablet, not a device that’s critical to national security!

Wow…comments like that show how much this country’s turned into a bunch of chicken littles, scared shitless of their own shadows.

eschwartz says:

Re: Two sides of the coin

If a device can be rooted through software….

1. Malware can take advantage of that, so it is a security issue (bug) that one would expect Amazon to fix.

2. Users can gain more control over the device they purchased.

I’m all for allowing custom firmware on a device but not at the expense of security.

There is a tremendous difference between dangerous vulnerabilities to malware, and a process (vulnerability) that requires multiple user interactions, with physical access to the device. I encourage you to explore the concept behind said root vulnerability. An excellent starting point would be the canonical source of said exploit.

Of course, the idea of Kindle owners, i.e. affected people, having the right to an opinion is probably quite foreign. I expect most people here would rather chant wisely about security theory.
Personally, I find it depressing in the extreme that the apparent experts here have not bothered to find out any actual facts.

KNC1 says:

Re: Re: Two sides of the coin

On the subject of actual facts, and both numbered items:

For the grayscale Kindles…
(and for the Kindle add-ins offered by the site I frequent, mobileread.com …)

The device system is not “rooted”, we add another package certificate to the system’s certificate store.

That (as we distribute it) is only done from a file(s) placed on the user visible storage. The same place the user would place their own books.

Even so, nothing is every done “automatically” – everything requires the user’s interaction.

A user is free to shoot themselves in the foot if they wish, but we aren’t taking any shots at the users from OTA ambush.

There are two (2) update package handlers provided by Amazon in the standard firmware.
One of them handles OTA (Over The Air) updates.
None of our packages have ever been packaged such that the OTA updater will recognize them. None, Ever.

The certificate and packaging used by our add-ins only work with the manual package updater that Amazon provides.
The (rather new) bulk package installer, released to install our existing packages on the 5.6.x series firmware, also uses only the manual package updater.

So much for concerns about our “Jail breaking” (freeing the grayscale Kindles from being limited to Amazon packages) opening a door for OTA malware.

– – – – –

The real concern, as seen by myself, is the question if the owner of a device by purchase also owns the behavior of the device.
NOT who owns the I.T. rights to the firmware that provides the behavior, but the ownership of the device’s behavior.

Socrates says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Two sides of the coin

I assume he mean that an owner of a device has the right to decide whatever operating system or software to use on the device, what the device should do, and how it does it. As in: the owner has the right to continue to use “other-OS” on a Sony Playstation (or not), while Sony wronged citizens by crippling Playstations after the sale. Allowing non-Sony operating systems to run is a “behavior”. The same goes for stopping advertising in your notifications in Amazon devises, choosing if a Apple or Microsoft or Sony product should be allowed to film you (and your family) without even turning on the LED that indicates that the camera is on.

It is separate from whether anyone has the right to (mass) distribute a specific piece of code, or whether such a code exist yet.

At least that is how I interpreted it.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Two sides of the coin

I don’t own an e-reader and never have. However, I have lived through ages of devices, so I know what licencing vs. purchasing and ownership vs. rental are.

If it’s my box that I legally own, it should be under my control.

The blistering controversy here about rooting vs. jailbreaking is just noise. I consider it honorable to leave your stuff up right or wrong. “Sure, see what I did. Note the “Update:” at the end of the article.”

Meh. Don’t believe anything you read on the web, isn’t that the old saw?

Some of us are here to try to learn.

gilbert (profile) says:

Re: Two sides of the coin

This is a misconception that some people which have a basic and sometimes moderate understanding of the freedoms a rooted device gives.

However, in the operating system world, there isn’t a continuum, there isn’t a spectrum, and it definitely isn’t black & white.

Why is this so?
Premise: “If a device can be rooted through software”
Inference/Conclusion: “1. Malware can take advantage of that”

The Inference/Conclusion is false given the operating system in use.

Without going into the details with every Linux distro ever created(hundreds, maybe thousands), Fire OS(Amazon’s Android adopted OS) follows the same basic rules regarding root access. At least if security is a real concern of theirs.

If there was a way for malware to take advantage of Fire OS, but not other Linux distros, especially its most closely related OS, Android, Malware would also be able to take advantage of all Linux OS’s.

But they cannot.

The fact of the matter is, not a single piece of Malware has every been able to infect a Linux system in any “meaningful” way, “meaningful” being used in this case meaning harmful in such a way as being able to recover personal data such as identity or financial.

Consider why someone would want to create malware for Linux systems in the first place. Distros of the Linux OS are used in more databases than any other OS. This includes databases which contain large amount of financial information like hundreds to thousands to millions of people’s personal and credit card info.

If Fire OS does have such a vulnerability, it is because they didn’t follow the one rule which Linus Torvalds has repeated said is the one thing he would NEVER compromise in the Linux Kernal, which is “breaking the userspace.” A quote directly from Linus Torvalds himself.

If Fire OS has a vulnerability that allows malware to take advantage of the device, it is because Fire OS has deviated from the one single reason the Linux Kernal is “relatively” immune to malware that can cause “meaningful” harm.

Consider that Fire OS while originally based off of Android, making it a Linux OS, isn’t considered a Linux OS anymore, they have changed too much, yet there is only a few, probably 1 thing they really needed to keep which would protect against malware even after a person gains root access to their Fire OS device.

In short, Amazon, having created a OS based on the Linux kernel, shouldn’t punish their customers because Amazon may have created a vulnerability by breaking the userspace. A proper fix would be one that would correct the userspace issue and not one that “bricks” their own customers’ devices.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Here is an idea … buy the book not the kindle.

I’d prefer to just shoot the politicians and lawyers who let them get away with this. I’d love to be able to carry around my $10,000.00 worth of books with me everywhere I go, but that’s infeasible. An e-reader could let me do that, but Amazon won’t let me. Why? Because they insist I remain in their walled garden, ignoring my personal reasons for purchasing it.

I resent their intention to interfere with my personal affairs which are none of their damned business.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Who said anything about daily basis? I’m talking about taking my technical library; hundreds of technical reference books, each is only used sporadically dependent upon what I’m doing. I’m a geek. I’d love to have that at my fingertips.

I’d also like a Nokia N-800 Linux box in my shirt pocket running Cyanogen, while I’m asking. Sad I missed that.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“I’m talking about taking my technical library”

This.

Before eBooks, my technical library took a LOT of physical space, and searching for whatever piece of information I happened to need at the moment was time-consuming. Now, my entire technical library lives on my phone, and I can find anything I need within seconds. There is simply no comparison.

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: Brick?

“Bricking” refers to a software issue that removes all functionality from a device, making it essentially a “brick.”[1] Normally this applies to complete functionality removal, in other words, the device no longer works at all for any purpose.

That being said, the “jailbroken” Kindle is being bricked by this update. After the update, the Kindle can no longer be rooted, which means that the core functionality gained by rooting is lost. If, for example, I had a smart phone that I expected to be able to surf the internet, but an update removed that functionality and only let me make calls, I would consider that a bricked phone; the partial functionality removes key uses for which I purchased the device.

So if I bought a Kindle Fire expecting an inexpensive Android tablet with good reading capability and suddenly the “tablet” part of the equation was removed I’d be pretty upset, especially since the Fire is not really any cheaper than other equivalent Android tablets. They advertise it as a tablet, and while they mention their proprietary OS, it is “built on Android with enhancements.” What if I want some of those enhancements, but not everything? What if I want stuff other than their 100,000 apps in their appstore? Their is nothing in their hardware that prevents me from doing so; it’s purely a software lock.

Therefore, if I bought the device knowing I had these options, and then the company removes those options, that device has lost its core functionality due to a software issue, not a hardware one. Which is the definition of “bricking.”

MrTroy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Brick?

You do realise that the very reference you cited for bricking lists two types of bricking:

Soft bricked devices[2] are generally those devices which show some signs of life. A soft bricked device usually boots unsuccessfully and generally gets stuck on vendor logo or reboots endlessly.
Hard bricked devices[2] are generally those who show little to no signs of life. A hard bricked device doesn’t power up or show any vendor logo, basically the screen remains turned off.

Removing unofficial features and limiting the device to just the advertised functions may be a shitty thing to do, but calling it “bricking” is overdramatic. Words have power precisely because they have agreed meanings. Co-opting a word to give it your own definition for use in a discussion does nothing to further the discussion.

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Brick?

Many newer systems capable of accessing online services (such as the Xbox One, Playstation 4 and iPhone) have internal hardware-based unique identifiers, allowing individual systems to be tracked over a network and banned from accessing certain online services. Banned systems usually continue to operate for purposes unrelated to the online service, but they are often considered “bricked” by users of the online service.

And if a device loses expected functionality, for instance due to being banned or having its IMEI removed from the network, it is considered “bricked.” In fact, the entire controversy over remotely “bricking” phones was to prevent them from accessing the network, not prevent them from booting.

While using “bricking” may not be the common understanding of the word it is accurate to say a device that has expected functionality removed due to a firmware change or error is “bricked.”

MrTroy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Brick?

We still disagree on expected functionality vs advertised functionality.

In those cases, the device is unable to perform one or more advertised features of the product[1]. In this case, the device is unable to perform an unofficial feature.

Again, not saying that removing the feature isn’t wrong, but a device that still does everything it’s advertised to do really isn’t “bricked”. It may be useless to you, but that’s a different thing.

FWIW, if you were to say that it’s now as useful to you as a brick for what you purchased it for, that’s completely accurate and understandable. Bricking means that the device is as functional (as opposed to useful) as a brick.

[1] – and is still IMHO a dramatic misappopriation of the term “bricked”. Damaged, impaired, restricted, even broken – all better words.

BernardoVerda says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Brick?

Dear Techdirt,

the Techdirt forum/comments board desperately needs another option/button in addition to “insightful” and “funny” — namely “unintentionally funny” (or maybe just “unintentionally”, as I suppose that there are occasionally “unintentionally insightful” comments, as well).

Anonymous Coward says:

Amazon: screwing its users since 1994.

Why do people even buy there? It’s overpriced, their support/CS is non-existent, and they’re so bad at hidden fees that even Visa/MC employees are so mad at them that they’ll do a charge-back no questions asked as soon as you mention them.

If people would only lighten up, they’d just due the horrible death they deserve and someone better can take over.

MrTroy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Why do people even buy there? It’s overpriced, their support/CS is non-existent, and they’re so bad at hidden fees that even Visa/MC employees are so mad at them that they’ll do a charge-back no questions asked as soon as you mention them.

Because despite all of these things, and everything else that they do badly and make us hate them…

1. They make a good device – the e-ink kindles with 3G are currently unbeaten in terms of convenience and quality.
2. They have enabled more authors to publish more good work than any other single publisher in history. Amazon is nearly solely responsible for a shadow industry that puts as much royalty dollars in authors’ pockets as the rest of the publishing industry combined.
3. Their customer support simply beats many of their competitors. Even if you don’t like it, most of the rest of the world is worse.

If people would only lighten up, they’d just due the horrible death they deserve and someone better can take over.

Why should people stop using the best option currently available? Someone else can build something better, then everyone will migrate across without needing to moralise about anything.

So yes, they strongly push for DRM on their content to tie their customers to them. They go too far in trying to protect their IP. But who is better?

–“Beelzebezos is my dark god”

lfroen (profile) says:

I don't see how devices became bricked

So, Amazon fixed bugs which make rooting exploit possible. It is right thing to do, because software is not supposed to be exploitable. That’s bug, not a feature.
Exactly same goes for iPhone, Xbox and so on.

Author probably should learn what “bricked” means, before embarrassing himself in writing.

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, even least technically inclined knows that you can’t install stuff on iPhone without Apple’s approval. Don’t like it – don’t buy iPhone; there’s hundreds of Android phones on the market.
Similarly, if one don’t like Amazon’s locked deal – just you know, don’t buy it. Other people may find this “locked down” thing useful.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: I don't see how devices became bricked

It is right thing to do, because software is not supposed to be exploitable. That’s bug, not a feature.

You’re saying it’s appropriate for the manufacturer to make it difficult or impossible for customers to take control of the devices they’ve purchased?

Software shouldn’t be exploitable, but the owner shouldn’t be considered an attacker. The customers should be able to take control in a straightforward way, without relying on bugs.

eschwartz says:

Re: Re: I don't see how devices became bricked

The problem with that logic is that the article seems to be primarily discussing E-Ink ereaders.

Additionally, the headline implies merely jailbreaking on the current firmware will brick the Kindle ereader.

I assure you, no Kindle ereaders have been reported as being bricked by the 5.6.x line of firmware. All they have done is prevent users from newly-jailbreaking the KV, KT2, and KPW2 (and use NiLuJe’s latest jailbreak with root elevation builtin).

For more details, read a long list of discussion threads HERE.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Not sold, just rented...

Not sold, just rented…

That’s not the way I look at it. I paid $99 for my Kindle PaperWhite, so as far as I’m concerned, I own it.

My solution against Amazon’s walled garden is simple. Switch to airplane mode and give it a hard reboot (hold power button for 30 seconds). That removes all of Amazon’s annoying advertising.

Any e-book I purchase I download to my PC and remove the DRM with Calibri and side-load it to my Kindle because I prefer the actual cover images on my books as opposed to Amazon’s default cover. It also gives me the advantage of having a saved copy of what I purchased just in case Amazon decides to arbitrarily remove anything from my library.

Fernando says:

both approaches involve soldering

“You can force it back, provided you have a soldering iron (and the willingness to apply it to your device) or you can follow a few not-so-simple steps to take your root access back from Amazon.”

Those not-so-simple steps also involve a soldering iron: “Open the back panel and get serial connections where printed “SERIAL DEBUG” Tx, Rx, GND”

eschwartz says:

The original source

Guys, we aren’t exactly hard to reach, the source of all the info is actually linked to in the article.

Note that:

a) No Kindle ereaders have been bricked as the headline assures us they have. This is because the author of the article seems to have conflated Kindle ereaders with Kindle FireTVs.

b) Any previously-jailbroken KPW2 that received the 5.6.x line of firmware has a trivial hotfix that restores complete functionality.

c) As NiLuJe says: “And the cat and mouse game is nothing new, it’s been a constant battle since the Kindle 2.x days. Although, granted, it’s now hit a serious standstill.”

d) The KV/KT2 began on fw5.6.x, so the only way to jailbreak them is by the serial port method referenced in the article — twice????

e) Having confused one of our members already, there is now a MobileRead thread discussing this article, which may serve to give a little background: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=257717

— A long-time MobileRead member and Kindle Developer’s Corner lurker

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: this is a nasty trend

“I see some nasty rumors that MSFT wants to remove the option to switch UEFI off”

Those aren’t rumors. They fact from the mouth of Microsoft itself. However, what they’re doing isn’t quite as extreme as you’re saying. What Microsoft has done is to no longer require OEMs to provide a mechanism to disable UEFI. They are not demanding that OEMs remove that mechanism.

BernardoVerda says:

Re: Re: this is a nasty trend

Sure… Remember, Microsoft wielded its market position to force the OEMs to adopt UEFI and Secure Boot, in the first place.

And now Microsoft is going the extra mile to “relax” the UEFI/Secure Boot requirement so that it’s up to the OEM whether or not UEFI/Secure Boot is implemented properly — or merely well enough to run Windows, but prevent the user (a.k.a. owner) from running some competing operating system on their own hardware.

(They tried to do this with Windows 8, but there was enough blow-back that Microsoft made a tactical retreat, required a proper implementation (at least officially — in practice, deficient implementations didn’t hinder the granting of Microsoft certification or participation in Windows 8 Logo “co-marketing” programs.)

BernardoVerda says:

Re: this is a nasty trend

Not so much UEFI, but the UEFI Secure Boot module, which under Microsoft’s currently proposed Windows 10 Hardware Certification requirements, will let the OEM decide whether the hardware’s owner is allowed to decide what operating system shall be permitted to run on that computer. And also, of course, that decision will be formally/theoretically out of Microsoft’s hands, and entirely up to the OEM (yeah, suuuuure).

Socrates says:

Re: Re: UEFI Secure Boot module

“We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10,” Myerson told Reuters. “The plan is to ‘re-engage’ with the hundreds of millions of users of Windows in China,” he said.

Terry Myerson, runs Microsoft’s operating systems unit

Though, whether Microsoft just crave to serve the Chinese a Trojan horse, or if they also have been served a NSL, who knows? Who can say if the main objective is peeping tom or making it difficult to ever choose software that does not force the citizens hands?

Using hardware or software produced in the five-eyes is like patting a helicopter on the head, you have been told it isn’t wise by people in the know, refrain from doing it while you still have time.

Stephen says:

The Virtues of Printed Books vs Digital Ones

Stories like this just go to show why it’s still better to buy books in actual printed copies rather than digital ones. At least with paper ones you get to to own the paper and binding and so are able to sell it off after you read it to a secondhand book store or pass it along to your heirs after ytiu leave this mortal coil. With digital books you don’t own ANYthing about.such books. All you’ve done is purchased access; and even then only the term of for your life.

Valhalla says:

Amazon Bricking Kindle

Let’s not forget the fact that when they ship you damaged goods and offer a refund, they don’t refund you the tax they collected. I’ve had to report them to the FTC three times already. If the law refuses to enter the premises and arrest the CEO like they would any non-corporate criminal, perhaps we will see a resurgence of lynch-mobs… as they say, history is doomed to repeat itself, though, always starting with corporate greed and stupidity.

Adam (profile) says:

potential piracy?

I would be led to believe just by having content that’s free, but wasn’t intended to be free, is some type of piracy.

I do know that most companies install software in order to benefit. Such as pay per clicks, pay per installs and such. This is why many app developers have ads in the app, unless you pay them a price for the app and they take the ads away.

TV stations and movie stations, etc. They charge subscription rates and when things are unlocked and jail broken, or rooted. Wouldn’t this be considered piracy from these media companies? Which if you have an Amazon Fire Stick and you subscribe to the stations you would have to pay and odds are Amazon gets a kickback from that from the station you subscribe to. If you completely avoid having to pay, Amazon and the station you stole loses the money. So you are getting free media that is not intended to be free.

How would rooting your products to do just so exempt you from piracy laws?

I’m not trying to create confrontation, I’m really just trying to understand.

Thanks.

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