A GNU/Linux-based Picture Frame (that's right)      2004.11.29 @ 8:09:29 PM
I've had this old Greenbell BluePad Tablet PC sitting in a drawer for almost two years. When I got it back then, I immediately blew away the preinstalled CE.NET and, with a bit of effort, got a linux prompt in the screen. The fact that I didn't have a small factor CDROM (don't even know if it would boot from a CDROM) the installation was a bit difficult. Asking Greenbell for support is wasting your time. I hate when people treat you like a criminal simply because you are running linux on their product. Oh well... this will change soon.

Yesterday, after a long time, I decided to resume my old project. Back then I didn't know what I was going to do with it but this time I knew for sure what I wanted: A Linux-powered Digital Picture Frame.

First, I needed to get back in track, so I grabbed the bits and pieces of my Tablet PC and repeated every step detailed in my previous article. In a matter of minutes I had the linux prompt on my screen again. Next, I formatted the internal 128Mb flash memory, copied the whole enchilada from the CompactFlash and installed grub. The Tablet PC booted up from its internal flash with no problems. Therefore, I compiled a 2.6.9 kernel with Realtek 8139 Ethernet support, copied it over and I was in business.

With the Tablet PC finally assembled after such a long time, I was ready for the next step: Getting X11 to work while mantaining a lean structure. As usual, I did the right thing and asked Mr. Google who told me about 2-Disk Xwindow Linux. This distro features a stripped down version of X11 and only weights two floppy disks. Of course I already had my own kernel and busybox running. All I needed was the X11 binaries, so I immediately started to move stuff over. I took me a couple hours to figure out all the dependencies and general stuff I was missing in my primitive linux box, but I finally got it to work:

x11 running on BluePad Tablet PC
x11 finally running on the BluePad Tablet PC in VESA 800x600x16bit mode

The very last piece was to find a lightweight image-displaying application with slideshow capabilities. That is, Quick Image Viewer (QIV). Installation was smooth and after fighting a bit with libgdk_imlib.so.1 (who didn't wanted to display jpgs) finally my masterpiece was ready. Actually it was "almost" ready as it still needed the picture frame.

QIV up and running
QIV continuously displaying images

Armed with patience and my yellow tool box, I've put it all together. Below you will see my Linux-powered Digital Picture Frame, before all other "analog" ones.

Linux-Based Digital Picture Frame
My linux-based Digital Picture Frame

The latest version of the Kernel I uploaded takes full advantage of the Cyrix MediaGX/Geode processor capabilities, features PCI, PCMCIA and USB support, including USB Mass Storage devices. This means I can not only upload pictures via ethernet but also simply by plugging a USB flash drive.

If I really wanted to go wild, I could simply configure my D-Link DWL-122 and wi-fi enable my picture frame. The question is: Does a picture frame really need to be online ? I guess not for now.

In case someone is interested, here is the full contents of my flash drive (9.5Mb) linux-2.6.9-x11-qiv.tar.bz2

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