[Herts] Making a Skype Photo Frame as a Linux Appliance for my Granny!

David Honour david at foolswood.co.uk
Sun Jan 2 10:58:17 UTC 2011

Hash: SHA1

I have been considering this, I found that skype for linux has auto
answer and auto video in the options, so all you need is a DE that can
distinguish between the skype windows and manage the layers (so video
is in front, other skype is behind the slideshow). I know this is
possible in fluxbox, don't really know about anything else.

I think that having something you can administer remotely and that
changes will stay over reboot is worth having. In case of hdd corruption
having an emergency boot partition/cd and setting grub up to use it in
case of failure would be worth doing, just something command line with

In terms of which distro, it doesn't really matter, but it is easier to
put stuff on than to take it out. On the other hand if space is not an
issue then if you can find something that has what you need then you
could use that. However distros with releases rather than rolling
updates could be difficult to maintain given you don't have access to
the machine physically.

Hope there's something in there,

On Fri, 31 Dec 2010 18:40:14 -0000
"Mike - XP Computers" <mike at xpcomputers.co.uk> wrote:

> Hi All,
> I have a cunning idea developing in my head, but no idea how to
> complete it!
> I want to turn an old laptop into a Linux Photo Frame... but I want
> to make one that will allow my 93 year old Granny to also be able to
> receive Skype Video Calls!!! It seems to be a logical progression on
> the "Linux Digital Photo Frame" idea, but am surprised that I can't
> find details on the web of anyone who's made a "Skype Photo Frame"
> before (unless it is just my poor Google searching skills!). (Surely
> some had this idea already?) 
> She has never used a computer before, so simple = better.
> I am thinking laptop screen in a wooden frame (with no keyboard or
> mouse accessible). When powered on, auto boots into photo slide show.
> Skype runs in the background. She can't call out, only receive calls.
> When a call is incoming, she gets the normal skype message on the
> screen, and it either auto-answers with full-screen video after a set
> number of rings, or probably more likely, has a single button on the
> frame to answer the call, pause the slideshow and make video full
> screen. At the end of the call, the frame reverts to photo slideshow
> mode and puts skype into background again.
> Damn Small Linux seems to be a popular choice for Linux Photo Frames,
> but I've been advised that this would probably be a pain for Skype
> (due to QT or something - this is where my current Linux knowledge
> get sketchy!).
> Arch Linux was suggested as an option. I've also dabbled in Mint
> Linux in the past, so have some experience with it, which makes me
> lean slightly in that direction naturally.
> Mint however has many flavours itself. Gnome, LXDE, Xfce, KDE or
> Fluxbox.
> Before I get carried away with the fine detail (which will need
> considering at some point), is there good reasons to use one DE over
> another, because it handles slideshows, scripting or Skype
> better/easier than the others, or is it really likely to just be
> personal preference, as they will all work? 
> I've heard that LXDE, Xfce or Fluxbox are all lighter weight, and
> therefore snappier than Gnome (which is the version of Mint I've used
> previously).
> So at this stage, bearing in mind the end goal, the first thing to
> decide is which Linux base would you start with? Arch? Mint? DSL?
> Something else? And why?
> Then I'll need to get thinking about details later. I'm assuming
> device will have power cuts / unclean shutdowns, so having some sort
> of boot image that loads a runtime in another partition / ram might
> work well (or something similar?), in case this impinges upon Linux
> version choice.
> Deadline for completion is End of Jan, as we are emigrating to NZ at
> beginning of Feb. Any other thoughts and input would be most
> welcomed! 
> Hope you all have a great New Year's celebration, and 2011 is a good
> one!
> Mike
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