I recently asked on an FBReader mailing list about the possibility of porting this ebook reading program to the One Laptop Per Child XO computer. A good ebook-reading program capable of reading epub files was an obvious application for this machine, and once I got FBReader running on my Ubuntu laptop it seemed like the best candidate for an XO ebook reader.
The ensuing thread shows that David Rothman of the Teleread weblog (“News & views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics”) joined in, and he blogged the issue. Friday, David announced that Bennett Todd had worked out how to install the FBReader on the XO and posted the instructions. It still requires a comfort level with the command line, so installation won’t be easy for most XO owners at this point, but the fact that it’s running at all shows that the biggest hurdle has been cleared.
I take back what I said about comparisons of Amazon’s Kindle to the XO being a red herring, because according to Micah Dubinko, the screen resolution in the XO’s monochrome mode is appreciably better than the standard mode, so the machine looks like a good candidate for an ebook reading device after all.
In fact, considering the target audience of the OLPC project, it’s a great candidate.