Zaurus on the Way

I placed the Zaurus order yesterday. I was dawdling around and got this horrible feeling that I was about to replay my Clie fiasco by waiting too long. It would really have sucked if either the 5600 was sold out or not available at the $330 price (a third off of the nominal $500 list price) so I just did it. I’m a ditherer by nature, so I had to get active. It took me 15 minutes to figure out how to use the Amazon gift certificate (the code number was in invisible white-on-white HTML text just to piss me off) but the order is in.

Interestingly, I emailed David Rothman at Teleread about my anti-DRM post yesterday. I read his blog every day via FeedOnFeeds and he is highly critical of DRM and its various issues. He linked to my post yesterday, and then continued talking about it and my process today by making me the poster boy for dropping proprietary systems for open ones. David, it actually gets better. For unencrypted Fictionwise books my format of choice was iSilo, which isn’t on Zaurus and has a closed format. For similar reasons, I’ll be dropping that as well. A while back the guys at FW were asking if there was any interest in Plucker formatted books from FW. I liked Plucker on the Palm and would be happy for it to be my primary ebook/web page reader on the Zaurus.

I’m a little weirded out by being the spokesmodel for this transition of dumping the closed (Clie/PalmOS/Palm Reader/iSilo) for the open (Zaurus/OpenZaurus/Plucker) but his posts are an accurate summation of what I’m doing and why. Although I can’t say I’m dying to fart around with the OS layer or the rendering code or file formats for my books (and in fact I hope that I never do), it makes a world of difference to me between having that option and not having that option.

The last closed app that I’m really going to miss: Vindigo. On a webpage I heard a whisper of a rumor that someone is working on a Zaurus Vindigo solution. Man, I hope so. I’m still paid up through July.

2 Replies to “Zaurus on the Way”

  1. I’ve just added rudimentary support for iSilo to opie-reader (an eBook reader for the Zaurus). Opie-reader also supports Plucker (full support) and unencrypted MobiPocket (good enough support for Baen books – its difficult to guarantee full support for undocumented formats).

    Even if the iSilo support isn’t sufficient, FW lets you re-download multi-format books in other formats (well, it let me, anyway) – very useful for testing opie-reader 8^) so your FW investment should be safe.

  2. Tim, that is good to hear. I was planning on using Opie because of the Plucker support, but supporting iSilo is even better. The multiformat support is why I buy with Fictionwise in the first place – to insulate me from format wars and to ease the pain in platform or reader migrations. We’re still at risk, because the company may not be in business the next time you need a new format. That’s why I’d prefer to have as many of my books in documented formats as possible. Even though I’m not dying to be doing bitwise parsing of my ebook files, in an emergency I could write a Perl or Python script to extract the text without having to spend all the time to develop a Rosetta stone.

    Thanks for letting me know this. I appreciate it!

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