No need to argue. DRM do hinder even very legitimate usage, like purchasing an e-book and reading it, just because Adobedrones do not release their bloody tool for your favourite O.S.
But there are lots of cool e-book readers, some run GNU/Linux (door open for hacking). And there are tons of contents that are not protected by DRM: think about the Gutemberg Project and all its public domain e-books.
Furhtermore calibre, a powerful GNU GPL application to manage e-book collections and send them to the reader, can pack into a single e-pub one or more HTML pages: get the “printer friendly” documentation page of your favourite free software and turn it into an e-book to read it on an e-ink screen. Your eyes will be glad .
My reader is the Sony PRS350. I wanted something where you can flip pages moving a finger rather than pushing a button. For about 42 years I readed books this way , buttons are for moving the starship in Space Invaders!
Sony indeed is one of the hungriest scalpers with the contents and I feared I was facing some nasty, Apple iP* style, mandatory application to interact with the device, something that must be run in Windows or Mac.
With my surprise, I discovered I could mount the device and explore its file system.
Then I tried calibre, cool looking and powerful. But with the same Google search that let me discover calibre, I found in the PDF manual that the device uses GNU GPL-ed software and the manual gives you a link to the sources (it runs GNU/Linux…)
Even if, at first glance, it seems that their reader is a Win-or-mac only too, the PRS 350 is very Free OS friendly.
Since I am one that refuses to use automount, gnome, kde and such, I had just to enter a couple of lines in /etc/fstab to let any user mount the reader as an USB disk:
LABEL=READER /media/READER vfat user,noauto 0 0LABEL=SETTING /media/SETTING vfat ro,user,noauto 0 0LABEL=TUX /tux vfat user,noauto 0 0
LABEL=PANDA /panda vfat user,noauto 0 0
The first two lines are for the e-book reader, the other two are for my USB pens, so I can always mount them as user, no matter which device they get (use mlabel, from GNU mtools, to edit USB pen labels. And yes, my usb pens are penguin and panda shaped). With these lines I am free to use calibre as a simple user without tools I don’t want.
The next step after having my books from the Gutemberg Project and my work documents and notes on the reader was checking if I could use the drawings made with the reader notepad.
I feared for some obscure format. I was almost sure that it was some sort of vector format because of the behaviour of the “eraser” on the screen. I was glad to discover, with a run of the file utility on the sketch files, that the notes are in XML. A brief look with emacsclient and The Gimp confirmed that it’s SVG. COOL!
Therefore, while you forget to use DRM covered contents, the device offers a free use. Free as in freedom.
And for DRM ? Save your time (running wine, VMs) and your money, leave DRM protected contents on the shelf. Do only FREE (as in freedom) purchases, much better if gratis ones!
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