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Hardware Hacking Sony Build Linux

A Sony Camera Running Linux 209

Posted by kdawson
from the answer-is-yes dept.
jonr writes "At the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show, Sony presented the new camera from its Cyber-shot product line. The DSC-G3 comes with a Zeiss lens with 4x zoom, a large 3.5" touch display, and 4GB of internal memory. Most interesting is the camera's software that includes, among other things, face and scene recognition, based on Busybox and Kernel 2.6.11 for the Access Linux Platform. The camera also has built-in Wi-Fi."
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A Sony Camera Running Linux

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  • by ehaggis (879721) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:29PM (#26436803) Homepage Journal
    ...Does it run...oh yeah...never mind.
  • First (Score:2, Offtopic)

    First post thet mentions a rootkit.
  • But... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Will it run *BSD?
  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:30PM (#26436823)

    For busybox.

    So this isn't a new thing for Sony.

    There's even a URL at Sony's site for the code (of course). I forget what it was.

    • by Hairy Heron (1296923) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:33PM (#26436903)
      Well of course it's not new, they are a well-known supporter and user of Linux.
      • by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:35PM (#26436951)

        Shh. Quite. The concept that a company can support Linux and DRM could cause some peoples on Slashdot heads to explode.

      • Sony and Linux (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rob Y. (110975)

        Interesting that there was an article here just the other day about how Sony has no interest in making or selling Linux laptops or netbooks.

        I wonder why not. It's easy to forget that they use Linux in other products and even offer it on the PS3. So why not netbooks? Is it a matter of just avoiding the low-end, low margin segments of the market? It couldn't be any love for Microsoft, could it?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          People expect laptops to behave a particular way. They expect them to act like a windows computer.

          No on really picks up a camara or console with a predisposition a particular UI. They don't expect to have IE or a Start Button or whatever. They don't expect it to be able to run software not controlled by sony.

          Consumers expect computers to run windows. Consumers don't think of consoles and cameras as computers. It's not really all that hard to see why sony makes the same distinctions that their customers

        • by camperdave (969942) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @04:00PM (#26438373) Journal
          Sony has no interest in making or selling Linux laptops or netbooks. I wonder why not.

          Both cameras and laptops require an operating system. For cameras, nobody cares what it is, as long as the thing takes pictures. As such, Sony has a free hand as to which OS to install. Laptops, are different. Customers care which OS is on their laptop. Customers (like it or not) want Windows on their laptops. If Sony doesn't provide Windows on their laptops, the customers will find another laptop vendor who will.
    • by Godji (957148)
      I wonder if they have the source code for all the drivers (the kernele modules at least) they use in the thing?

      Now if only Linux had been GPLv3, we could actually demand the ability to run our own software on it.

      On a lighter note, imagine a Beowulf cluster of Sony point&shoot cameras! Ready..? Now imagine that same Beowulf cluster compiling Gentoo!!! I need to go to the bathroom...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:31PM (#26436831)

    better than nothing..

  • Price (Score:4, Informative)

    by CannonballHead (842625) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:33PM (#26436877)

    For those interested but too lazy to click a link:

    The DSC-G3 costs about $500 in the U.S.

  • by olddotter (638430) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:33PM (#26436897) Homepage
    In the 90's a friend told me Linux would NEVER be used for embedded devices. Its fun to send him links like this. Fun in a very mischievous way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by qoncept (599709)
      He actually said Linux users would never have any luck IN BED, and would need to use devices to satisfy themselves.
    • In the 90's a friend told me Linux would NEVER be used for embedded devices. Its fun to send him links like this. Fun in a very mischievous way.

      You should post his email address...

  • I recently had some pictures taken at a local photographer's studio. All of the cameras in the studio had Wi-Fi. Once the pictures were taken, we were able to view them in another room immediately.
  • by gapagos (1264716) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:38PM (#26436987)

    But can it run Vista?

  • Wi-Fi cameras (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crow (16139) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:43PM (#26437069) Homepage Journal

    Remember the story about Amtrak security forcing someone to delete the photos they had taken? With the preponderance of hot spots and more and more cameras supporting Wi-Fi, this would mean that the concept of deleting photos may soon be an anachronism (and none too soon).

    • by Shakrai (717556)

      Remember the story about Amtrak security forcing someone to delete the photos they had taken? With the preponderance of hot spots and more and more cameras supporting Wi-Fi, this would mean that the concept of deleting photos may soon be an anachronism (and none too soon).

      Is there any reason why you couldn't undelete them afterwards and render it an anachronism without Wi-Fi? Most of those data cards use FAT as I recall and file undelete operations are fairly trivial with that filesystem.

      • by corsec67 (627446)

        2 questions:

        If taking the picture is illegal, why is the AmTrak police officer forcing the person to destroy the evidence? (This should be coercion and quite illegal)

        If taking the picture isn't illegal, why is the police officer coercing the person to destroy their property?

        Don't let cops get away with shit they shouldn't be allowed to. (Relevant [krages.com] page by a lawyer with a very nice brochure)

        • by Malevolyn (776946)
          Taking pictures in a train isn't illegal. Everyone just thinks in is. Same with any public place and people as well. You can snap away and you're perfectly within your rights to do so.
    • by jimicus (737525)

      Remember the story about Amtrak security forcing someone to delete the photos they had taken? With the preponderance of hot spots and more and more cameras supporting Wi-Fi, this would mean that the concept of deleting photos may soon be an anachronism (and none too soon).

      That's a double edged sword.

      "Erm... I can't undelete it, it's already been put on the Internet and stored in three separate geographical locations over which you have no jurisdiction" may work with a security guard or it may wind up escalating the conflict.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PPH (736903)

        Not really. You just say "Yessir!" and delete the local copy.
        If they continue to pressure you, you just say, "Well, I hit the 'Delete' button. What more you you want?"

        • by jimicus (737525)

          Bound to be some pillock who won't do that, though. And I'm sure they'll be all over the news when that happens.

          (I'm also fairly sure that a lot of organisations will suddenly become a lot more jumpy about cameras)

        • by sdpuppy (898535)

          If they continue to pressure you, you just say, "Well, I hit the 'Delete' button. What more you you want?"

          OMG- why did I just think of the officer being the Terminator [Arnold] and then he does something rather gross to you while saying "deleted"

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      It gets better. I ran across a service for my Blackberry called Qik that lets you stream video live from the phone, and saves the video to the site straight away.

      So, for example, if someone who had a phone with Qik was taping the BART shooting or something equally embarrassing to $powerful_group, even if security forced you to delete the video and took the phone, the video's already out there.

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      It'd be fun to reply "Sorry, it's already on flikr" 10 seconds after you've taken the picture.
  • by Van Cutter Romney (973766) <sriram.venkataramaniNO@SPAMgeemail.com> on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:43PM (#26437079)
    The last decade heralded the smart cellphone revolution. Cellphones with more and more features including camera, bluetooth, wireless, PDA yada yada.

    I think what we are witnessing here is the beginning of the camera revolution. Smart cameras with wireless capabilities. Soon we shall see direct integration with social networks, ability to communicate over Skype etc. Innovation from the other end of the spectrum.
    • by Kokuyo (549451)

      Wouldn't it be smarter to just merge phones with cameras completely? We have mobiles with cameras in them and cameras the size of mobiles that are now being equipped with wireless networking capabilities.

      Seems a small step to me.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Enderandrew (866215)

        What we're talking about here is a $500 camera, which is a bit different from the cheap cameras they bundle with phones.

      • by sdpuppy (898535) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @03:50PM (#26438187)
        [imagine low end DSLR] Problem would be getting the nose-prints off the lens when you answer the camera.
      • by he-sk (103163)

        If you want a crappy camera phone, sure.

        Camera phones are a great invention, but the quality of the camera component is really at the low end. These includes better models like the Sony Cybershot series.

        You can make beautiful pictures with a phone if you keep its limitations in mind. Personally, my goal is always to make the picture look good on the phone display and not to care about viewing it on the big screen where artifacts and camera shake are more obvious.

        But bearing a breakthrough in miniaturizati

  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:47PM (#26437141) Homepage

    I have been watching this happen over and over and over again. Companies developing their products to use Linux but turn around and not support Linux client access. I had stupidly picked up a wireless networked video camera that was known to run Linux on the inside and made a very stupid assumption that Linux client access would therefore be a no-brainer. WRONG! It was Windows only for client access... not even Mac could access it. That was the beginning of the eye-openers for me. It is sad and annoying... they take from the community and then don't give back.

    Personally, I just don't buy anything that has the Sony label on it any longer. Not Sony-BMG music, not Sony movies, not Sony games, not Sony cameras, not Sony TVs, not Sony anything else. Sony has burned this customer too many times for me to have any faith in them and so far, I see little changes in their behavior. Their computers are complete crap too, by the way. Sony once had astounding popularity as a name brand, but they have burned more bridges than my own to be sure. I know at least 50% of Japan is anti-Sony. It is amazing that they are still humming along as well as they are.

    • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @03:50PM (#26438199) Homepage

      I have been watching this happen over and over and over again. Companies developing their products to use Linux but turn around and not support Linux client access. I had stupidly picked up a wireless networked video camera that was known to run Linux on the inside and made a very stupid assumption that Linux client access would therefore be a no-brainer. WRONG! It was Windows only for client access... not even Mac could access it.

      Similar experience here. My computer uses capacitors made by Johanson Dielectrics, so I carefully picked a GPS that also uses capacitors from Johanson Dielectrics, figuring that meant they would work together, but the damned thing would not work with my computer.

    • It should. The camera supports OSX, but lacks any kind of OSX driver or software, which suggests that its using a standard unix tool for file transfer (this may require a lot of work). I wonder how customizable it is though. If I could set it up to say, upload selected pictures straight to a blog the moment I hit an open hotspot, that would be pretty cool. Depends on if it will support customization I suppose, if it lets me write my own bash scripts I really really want it.

  • I hope developments like these can help SONY. In my opinion, SAMSUNG has of late, been chipping away at SONY's lunch [and market share] for a while now with interesting products on the home entertainment front.

    BusinessWeek even ran a story [businessweek.com] for SONY at SAMSUNG.

    Where did SONY go wrong?

    • Sony got arrogant and assumed what ever they'd make, people would eat up. They felt they didn't have to listen to consumers or live in reality. And I say that as someone with a plethora of Sony products in my house, and a Sony VISA in my wallet. Sony is still a very good company, but they lost sight of what once made them a great company.

      • Sony got arrogant and assumed what ever they'd make, people would eat up.

        It's just as true that Samsung got better.

        Years ago, I worked at a Korean company (I was the token Caucasian). Samsung for me was just some Korean manufacturer of cheap knock-offs of high quality (a redundant characterisation at the time) Japanese consumer electronics. The company I worked for was making cheap knock-offs of American products so you could say I had a unique perspective on the subject. What was surprising (or not) wa

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I hope developments like these can help SONY

      Why in God's name would you hope that?

      Where did SONY go wrong?

      For me it was when they rooted my computer.

  • There are several Canon cameras that allow 3rd-party open-source firmware.

    If this can be flashed then it's worth a look-see.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The specs on the camera from the Sony website say that this camera only captures JPEG. Does anyone think that it would it be possible to change the source code so that it supported RAW capture?

  • Imagine... (Score:5, Funny)

    by mustafap (452510) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @04:30PM (#26438831) Homepage
    a Beowulf cluster of these. Actually I don't need to; I live in surveillance UK :o)
  • Does this have anything to do with Sony's recent announcement of a $1.1 billion loss?
  • Will owners be able to modify firmware/software to suit their own purposes as the developers of the included GPL software intended? Or is it Tivoized [wikipedia.org]? TFA doesn't say.

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