During my research at the beginning of this project I came across a lot of descriptions of turning an old Wintel laptop into a digital picture frame. Those approaches most often installed some sort of Linux distribution on those systems. Most notably, they typically use feh. feh presents pictures on the screen and is configured and run from the command line, only. While for some this may be a non-starter, for me this is precisely its most important feature. Because the picture frame will lack keyboard and mouse, it will require a convenient method for configuring and updating it. If I can do so with a simple ssh connection, so much the better.
There a couple of hurdles to installing feh. While it is included in most current Linux distribution, it isn’t in Mac OS X. The source code is available from the feh website, but I decided I didn’t want to have to hunt down all the libraries a build-from-source installation of feh requires. Instead, I turned to Fink, which aids in automatically resolving library dependences upon installation of open-source packages. It turned out that feh is a package that Fink is familiar with, which makes installation a lot simpler.
To use Fink, one needs the Apple Developer Tools installed. For Leopard it is Xcode 3.1.3, because it provides a compiler, which does not ship with Mac OS X. To get it, one needs an Apple Developer Connection (ADC) account, which is basically a free login to the ADC website. To register, one does not have to join of a specific developer program.
I still don’t have the iMac I purchased on eBay. However, for testing purposes and preparation, I decided to use my old PowerMac G4, which runs Mac OS X Leopard. Once I had installed Xcode, I installed Fink from source. This took over four hours, although those not that patient can install a pre-compiled binary, which can also be found on the Fink website.
With Fink and Xcode installed, I can install feh. There is some added difficulty in that feh is part of a package the Fink Project calls “unstable.” Therefore, there is an additional, time-consuming, procedure for preparing for the installation, described in the Fink FAQ. Once I am done with that, I can hopefully copy only the compiled feh code over to the SSD drive on the iMac.