Kobo firmware 3.13.1 plus mega update (KSM, kobohack, patch, ssh, …)

A few days ago I had a new experience with my Kobo Glo – it wanted to updated itself while syncing. This was the first update that was delivered to devices in Japan since … since … 2.3 or so, well, since I bought the unit long time ago. Wow, what great news it must bring? And indeed, there is one big news: book statistics are back for side-loaded kepubs. You know, these “how long for the current chapter” etc. Thanks Kobo!

I redid the whole procedure from my previous post, just a bit simplified. So what is included: the latest firmware (3.13.1), the Kobo Start Menu, koreader, coolreader, pbchess, ssh access, custom dictionaries.

Kobo Logo

So what are all these items:

  • firmware (thread): the basic software of the device, shipped by Kobo company
  • Kobo Start Menu (V07 thread): an menu that pops up before the reading software (nickel) starts, which allows to start alternative readers (like koreader) etc.
  • KOreader (thread): an alternative document reader that supports epub, azw, pdf, djvu and many more
  • pbchess and CoolReader (thread): a chess program and another alternative reader, bundled together with several other games
  • kobohack (web site): updated libraries and ssh server
  • ssh access (old post: makes a full computer from your device by allowing you to log into it via ssh
  • custom dictionaries (thread): in particular Japanese-English

Latest firmware

The first step is to update the Kobo to the latest firmware. This can easily be done by just getting the latest firmware (thread, direct link for Kobo 3.13.1 for GLO) and unpacking the zip file in the .kobo directory on your device. Eject and enjoy the updating procedure.

All the rest – nickel, kobohack, ssh, koreader, coolreader, pbchess, …

There are several steps here, but I have prepared a ready-made KoboRoot.tgz that can be installed that contains all the changes listed below. Note that it also includes KOreader and CoolReader/pbchess. Get it here: Kobo-3.13.1-combined/KoboRoot.tgz. Be warned that this file is provided without any warranty 😉

Installing the provided KoboRoot.tgz will give you the following list of changes:

  • nickel patch (included in the combined KoboRoot)

    In principle one has to get the latest version of the nickel patcher (see here), edit the configuration file, and patch it. Then install the resulting KoboRoot.tgz as usual.

    The patches I have enabled in this build are:

    • libadobe.so.patch: none
    • librmsdk.so.1.0.0.patch: default (‘Fix page breaks bug’ only)
    • libnickel.so.1.0.0.patch: ‘Custom reading footer style’, ‘Custom left & right margins’, ‘Brightness fine control’, ‘Search in Library by default’, ‘Unitless ePub line height’, ‘Compact homepage layout (Glo)’, ‘Remove white borders from homescreen tile book covers’

    If you need any other patches, you need to do the patching yourself.

  • kobohack-h (included in the combined KoboRoot)

    Kobohack (latest version 20150110) contains two KoboRoot files that need to be installed (the second one needs to be renamed before copying to .kobo

    WARNING I have seen persistent font corruptions when installing the libfreetype included in kobohack-j’s KoboRoot.tgz. I recommend not installing it as is, but removing the libfreetype* files first.

  • ssh fixes (included in the combined KoboRoot)

    See the detailed instructions here, the necessary files are already included in the above KoboHack I pre-generated. It updates the /etc/inittab to run also /etc/init.d/rcS2, and this one again starts the inetd server and run user supplied commands in /mnt/onboard/run.sh which is where your documents are.

  • Fix ssh password and settings (needs to be done)

    This is an important step, please see this old post and follow the steps from step 9.

  • Kobo Start Menu (V07, included in the combined KoboRoot)

    Get the latest version from here, unpack the zip file, install only the folder with pngs. Disconnect, reboot, and check whether the pngs are listed in your library. Then install the KoboRoot.tgz as usual. You will be dropped into a start menu that allows starting nickel and do other things.

  • KOreader (koreader-nightly-20150212, included in the combined KoboRoot)

    Get the latest version from github, and install only the directory koreader from the zip into your device’s .kobo directory. After this, you should be able to switch to koreader by selecting the respective icon in nickel, or selecting it from the Kobo Start Menu.

    The koreader folder is located in the /mnt/onboard/.adds/koreader, which translates to KOBO/.adds/koreader when mounted. KSM is searching there, and moving it out of the .kobo directory guarantees that it will not be deleted on resets.

  • CoolReader and PBchess (2015.03, included in the combined KoboRoot)

    Get the latest release from here and install only the KoboRoot.tgz. After this you can start the vlasoftstart from the Kobo Start Menu, and there you can find CoolReader and PBchess.

    The vlasovsoft folder is located in the /mnt/onboard/.adds/vlasovsoft, which translates to KOBO/.adds/vlasovsoft when mounted. KSM is searching there, and moving it out of the .kobo directory guarantees that it will not be deleted on resets.

  • Custom dictionaries

    The necessary directories and scripts are already included in the above combined KoboRoot.tgz, so nothing to be done but dropping updated, fixed, changed dictionaries into your Kobo root into the directory customdict. After this you need to reboot to get the actual dictionaries updated. See this thread for more information. The adaptions and script mentioned in this post are included in the above combined KoboRoot.

Again, be reminded all the above can be obtained in one go by installing Kobo-3.13.1-combined/KoboRoot.tgz


The combined KoboRoot.tgz is provided without warranty. If you need to reset your device, don’t blame me!

Make sure that you fix your ssh passwords!

Thanks and references

  • Mobile Read user tshering for KSM, custom dicts, and many advices
  • Ken Maltby for his installation guide and many useful posts
  • yochy4671 for kobohack-j
  • the authors of KOreader and CoolReader/pbchess for the great programs

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