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Old 01-16-2006, 12:37 PM   #1
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EBX 40 bits encrypted pdfs in Linux


I just bought an e-book. I'm all for buying things, as long as the price makes sence.

But the book can not be read - even with my Acrobat Reader 7.0.1 for Linux... It seems EBX is not supported in any PDF-readers that are not made for Win... Is this true, or is there a plugin somewhere that I should know about?

Crossover Office won't let me install Acrobat 6.x (or higher) either... Only 5.x. So I'm stuck with a book I can't read.. Is VMWare and a Windows installation my only option left?

Thanks for any hints!

Old 01-16-2006, 01:54 PM   #2
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Have you read the ebx part of the ebook faq?
Old 11-28-2007, 04:02 AM   #3
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HOWTO: read encrypted Adobe Ebook (.ebx) files in linux

HOWTO: read encrypted Adobe Ebook files in linux - ebx.etd

I don't know if the original poster is still looking for an answer to this question, but I'm going to post the method I used as it took me ages to figure it out and it might help someone in the future. The instructions are slightly generic as the exact commands will be different for each linux distribution, but they should give you a head start. Read the whole post before starting!

The ebx.etd file seems to be an XML file which contains a URL where the ebook can be downloaded. The only software that's able to read it is Adobe Reader 7 for windows running under WINE. Presumably Adobe Reader 8 would also work but I couldn't get it working under WINE. So the first few steps:

1. Install WINE (

2. Download and install Adobe Reader 7 for windows.(

3. Start Adobe Reader 7 under WINE. Go the "File" menu -> "Digital Editions" -> "Authorize devices". I'm not sure if this step is required, but I did it.

4. Open the ebx.etd file from within Adobe Reader. You should see a message along the lines of "downloading ebook".

Hopefully you should now be able to see and read your ebook. The next step is to produce a non-encrypted version that you can read with standard PDF tools. You can "Save a copy" from within Adobe Reader but the file will still be encrypted. This is different from just being password-protected - the normal tools (pdf2ps, hacked xpdf) don't work. Neither do any of the commercial pdf decryption tools I tried (if anyone finds one that works I'd be interested to hear about it). The only was I could generate a normal, non-encrypted PDF was to use a slightly clumsy method - set up a PDF printer using cups-pdf, and "print" the entire document to it from within Adobe Reader. So:

5. Install cups-pdf ( and set up a pdf print queue. This is probably quite easy if you're using a recent distribution - I tried it on Ubuntu and Fedora Core 6 and it was straightforward Search for specific instructions for your own distribution

6. From Adobe Reader, go to "File" then "Print". From the list of printers, choose the cups queue that you set up. Make sure the "print to file" checkbox is NOT ticked. Choose the page range to print (best to test it with a single page first) and click print.

7. Check that the output PDF has been produced and is readable. This should be an absolutely standard PDF file that will open with evince, xpdf, pdf2ps, etc. It will probably take much longer to print to a PDF than normal, so be patient. The output directory for PDFs produced by cups-pdf is specified in the config file:


I think the default is ~/Desktop

8. IMPORTANT NOTE 1 - for the ebook I was working with I had to change the print settings to "print as image". I don't know whether this will be the case for all Adobe ebooks. To change the print setting, from within Adobe Reader go File -> Print, click on Advanced and make sure the "print as image" checkbox is ticked. The fact that you have to print as image is kind of annoying as it means that (1) the resulting PDF file is much bigger and (2) you can't extract the text from it. However, it's fine for reading or printing. If anyone finds a way to print normally, please post a reply (I will do the same if I find one!)

9. IMPORTANT NOTE 2 - Ebooks may have printing restrictions on them; i.e. Adobe Reader will only let you print a certain number of pages per week. You can check this from within Adobe Reader using "Document" -> Security -> show security settings ->show details. What this means is that if you have several tries at printing to the pdf queue, you might run out of printing privileges! If so, you can just re-open the .etd file and Adobe will re-download the ebook and the printing privileges will be reset. HOWEVER, Adobe reader will DELETE the .etd file when you open it, so make sure before starting that either (1) you can easily re-download the .etd file from somewhere or (2) make a copy of the .etd file before you open it in Adobe Reader.

Hope this will be helpful to someone - I'll keep an eye on this thread so feel free to ask questions and I'll try to help.

Last edited by mojones; 11-28-2007 at 04:08 AM. Reason: the actual file extension is .etd - the full name of the file will be ebx.etd
Old 11-02-2009, 08:24 PM   #4
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Thank you!

Thank you for the great how-to. Printing the document to a pdf file never came to me.


adobe, ebook, howto, pdf

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