Linux distro or software for full-screen kiosk slideshow?
July 29, 2008 1:13 PM   Subscribe

Linux software or distribution for running a kiosk-type slideshow screen?

You've seen them in doctors offices and sometimes restaurants. They're typically used for advertisements. I've been tasked with creating a screen that can show variable information with little to no user interaction, but I don't want to reinvent the wheel.

Is there some software that will easily allow me to hook up a Linux box to a screen, is easy to update remotely, and will cycle through a variety of media in a fullscreen display?

I'd like to potentially display various picture formats, HTML, perhaps videos, RSS feeds, etc.

Surely someone has done the legwork on this already? If not, I considered creating a website with meta-refreshes between each page, then loading a full-screen browser on the kiosk computer and pointing it to the site. This would allow me to handle the updates on the web server.
posted by odinsdream to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've done this several times previously (only for Windows) - typically I leveraged an internet browser (IE) that already had some form of kiosk & full-screen mode and customization toolkit. Thanks to the magic of plug-ins, it would handle many different media-types. I could also display local HTML/images or remote - depending on connectivity.

Unfortunately - I still had to do some ugly fix-up work (disabling browser features - removing menu entries via resource hacking, locking-down Windows, etc.) as this was a pay-per-use device, which would operate in kiosk-mode when not active.

Consider embedding the renderring engine used by Firefox (Mozilla/Gecko) or the one Konquerer/Safari uses (WebKit?) -although - if you embed just the engine, do you get plug-in support?
posted by jkaczor at 1:20 PM on July 29, 2008

Wow - GNU/LINUX Kiosk Project based on Firefox and a custom Window Manager looks almost perfect.

First link on a Google search for "Linux kiosk"...

Second link is a project from DNALounge... (go jwz!)...

So - there are a few projects out there - I'd search for "kiosk" as well.
posted by jkaczor at 1:25 PM on July 29, 2008

Just to be clear: I've already set up kiosk web browsers in Linux for interactive use, and I could come up with a hack to do auto-refreshes and make that work, but that also required me to install a full Linux distribution which is very much overkill, it seems.

I would think someone has come up with a mini-distribution just for this purpose.
posted by odinsdream at 1:26 PM on July 29, 2008

Ah - sorry - I wrote an application which essentially executed as a Windows service - it then embedded my customized browser. It had a ton of timing features (as the device had to keep track of how long a paid session was). Total time to build this was about 40-50 hours.

I have not heard of a full distribution yet - I keep an ear out for these things, even though I *shouldn't*.
posted by jkaczor at 1:40 PM on July 29, 2008

This sounds pretty similar to what you're doing:

He's using a Windows application called MySlax Creator to generate the live CD iso.
posted by Loudmax at 2:45 PM on July 29, 2008

Great links, thanks everyone.
posted by odinsdream at 7:55 AM on July 30, 2008

I once used the Slideshow screensaver in a stock Ubuntu install to do this job - surely overkill, but it was very easy to set up. After setting it up to auto-logon (System->Administration->Login Window->Security), the only thing that needed to be attached to the system box was the monitor (no keyboard or mouse). If you want to update it remotely, you can use a network folder.
posted by flabdablet at 2:13 AM on August 5, 2008

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