Kobo GloHD firmware 3.17.0 mega update (KSM, nickel patch, ssh, fonts)

As with all the previous versions, I have prepared a mega update for the Kobo firmware 3.17.0. Big warning for a start – this is for Mark6 hardware, thus GloHD only. The update includes all my favorite patches and features. Please see details (although for for Kobo Glo) for 3.16.0, 3.15.0, 3.13.1 and 3.12.1. As before, the following addons are included: Kobo Start Menu, koreader, coolreader, pbchess, ssh access, custom dictionaries, and some side-loaded fonts. What I dropped this time is most of the kobohack part, as the libraries seem to get outdated. But I included the dropbear ssh server from the kobohack package.

Kobo Logo

So what are all these items:

  • firmware (thread): the basic software of the device, shipped by Kobo company
  • Metazoa firmware patches (thread): fix some layout options and functionalities, see below for details.
  • Kobo Start Menu (V07, update 4 thread): a menu that pops up before the reading software (nickel) starts, which allows to start alternative readers (like koreader) etc.
  • KOreader (koreader-nightly-20150808, thread): an alternative document reader that supports epub, azw, pdf, djvu and many more
  • pbchess and CoolReader (2015.7, thread): a chess program and another alternative reader, bundled together with several other games
  • kobohack (web site): I only use the 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): this fix updates dictionaries from the folder customdicts to the Kobo dictionary folder. For creating your own Japanese-English dictionary, see this blog entry
  • side-loaded fonts: GentiumBasic and GentiumBookBasic, Verdana, DroidSerif, and Charter-eInk

Install procedure

Latest firmware

Warning: Sideloading or crossloading the incorrect firmware can break/brick your device. The link below is for Kobo GloHD ONLY.

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 3.17.0 for GloHD) and unpacking the zip file into the .kobo directory on your device. Eject and enjoy the updating procedure.

Mega update

Get the combined Kobo-3.17.0-combined/KoboRoot.tgz and put it into the .kobo directory, then eject and enjoy the updating procedure again.

After this the device should reboot and you will be kicked into KSM, from where after some time of waiting Nickel will be started. If you consider the fonts too small, select Configure, then the General, and add item, then select kobomenuFontsize=55 and save.

Remarks to some of the items included

The full list of included things is above, here are only some notes about what specific I have done.

  • Metazoa firmware patches

    I have included the experimental sickel patch to extend the waiting time until sickel reboots your device.

    The patches I have enabled in this build are:

    • libadobe.so.patch: none
    • librmsdk.so.1.0.0.patch: default (‘Fix page breaks bug’, ‘Default ePub monospace font (Courier)’)
    • libnickel.so.1.0.0.patch: ‘Custom reading footer style’, ‘My 15 line spacing values’, ‘Custom left & right margins’, ‘Brightness fine control’, ‘Search in Library by default’, ‘Disable pinch-to-zoom font resizing’
    • sickel.patch: default (‘SickelService::Ping() timer’, ‘SickelService::Resume() timer’, ‘SickelService::SickelService() timer’)

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

  • kobohack-h

    Kobohack (latest version 20150110) originally provided updated libraries and optimizations, but unfortunately it is now completely outdated and using it is not recommended for the library part. I only include the ssh server (dropbear) so that connections to the Kobo via ssh.

  • ssh fixes

    See the detailed instructions here, the necessary files are already included in the mega upload. 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.

  • 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 mega update.


After installing this patch, you need to fix the password for root and disable telnet. This is an important step, here are the steps you have to take (taken from this old post):

  1. Turn on Wifi on the Kobo and find IP address
    Go to Settings – Connect and after this is done, go to Settings – Device Information where you will see something like
    IP Address: 192.168.1.NN

    (numbers change!)
  2. telnet into your device
    telnet 192.168.1.NN
    it will ask you the user name, enter “root” (without the quotes) and no password
  3. (ON THE GLO) change home directory of root
    edit /etc/passwd with vi and change the entry for root by changing the 6th field from: “/” to “/root” (without the quotes). After this procedure the line should look like
    don’t forget to save the file
  4. (ON THE GLO) create ssh keys for dropbear
    [root@(none) ~]# mkdir /etc/dropbear
    [root@(none) ~]# cd /etc/dropbear
    [root@(none) ~]# dropbearkey -t dss -f dropbear_dss_host_key
    [root@(none) ~]# dropbearkey -t rsa -f dropbear_rsa_host_key
  5. (ON YOUR PERSONAL COMPUTER) check that you can log in with ssh
    ssh root@192.168.1.NN
    You should get dropped into your device again
  6. (ON THE GLO) log out of the telnet session (the first one you did)
    [root@(none) ~]# exit
  7. (ON THE GLO) in your ssh session, change the password of root
    [root@(none) ~]# passwd
    you will have to enter the new password two times. Remember it well, you will not be easily able to recover it without opening your device.
  8. (ON THE GLO) disable telnet login
    edit the file /etc/inetd.conf.local on the GLO (using vi) and remove the telnet line (the line starting with 23).
  9. restart your device

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

14 Responses

  1. dr.dubey says:

    It will be great if you can release this mega update for Kobo Glo (non HD) version also.
    Thanks in advance…

  2. fakefield says:

    the chess game isnt here again , why you didnt make it back ?? from the 3.15 kobo firmware seems bad & slow, and no real visual change was added … please do something to bring back all functionality & speed (i’m on a kobo aura )

    • Hi
      I cannot bring back anything that has been removed in the firmware. For chess I recommend using the vlasosoft launcher where pbchess is included.

      Concerning speed: most people on the MobileRead forums seem to be of different opinion, namely that 3.17 onward is quite snappy.

      • fakefield says:

        can you tell me how yo use vlasosoft ?

        • Do you have KSM, or my mega-pack installed? If yes, when you are in the KSM screen select simply vlasosoft entry.

          • fakefield says:

            no i dotn have , and i never hear about that

          • Well, then there is no way to get Chess back besides installing an old firmware.

            Of course, please go ahead and complain to Kobo and request reinclusion of the chess program – many people would be happy!

          • fakefield says:

            yes ! this is it ! i want to install an old firmware on my kobo aura , but i cant do that , can you tell me please how , i downloaded all the past release of the firmware , but i didnt know how to do ( they told me to copy the files of the old on the new after updating before installing and then installing , but it doesnt work properly )

          • Assuming you have downloaded kobo-update-N.MM.K.zip, you need to do the following steps:

            • connect your Kobo to your computer
            • unpack the above zip
            • copy all the files from the zip archive into the directory .kobo on the mounted device

            That means, when you unzip the above file, you need ot copy the files KoboRoot.tgz and any other directory and file in the zip to your device, into the directory .kobo.

            Then safely eject, and disconnect, and watch the fun going on.

          • fakefield says:

            thank you , i’ll try this

  1. 2015/08/16

    […] Kobo GloHD firmware 3.17.0 mega update (KSM, nickel patch, ssh, fonts) […]

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