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Linux-powered digital photo gadget morphs into Doom console

Feb 23, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Jobo AG, a specialist in digital imaging, originally fielded its Giga Vu Pro as a tool for digital photography buffs, but this small embedded computer, running a Linux 2.4 kernel, has much broader potential. A free software development kit for the device is now available at, along with instructions for loading software into flash memory, a tutorial on turning the device into a Doom game console, and a contributions page for those willing to share their new apps.

(Click for larger view of the Giga Vu Pro)

Based on a 400 MHz Intel PXA255 Xscale processor, the Giga Vu Pro contains a 40 or 60 GB hard drive, plus an appropriate complement of peripherals and interfaces, including a QVGA (320 x 240 pixel) 3.8-inch touch-screen LCD, CompactFlash slot, USB 2.0 mass storage connection, generic USB client connection, built-in speaker, audio output, TV output (PAL/NTSC selectable), joystick, and soft buttons. It can decode and display JPEG, TIFF, and raw formatted photos, as well as being able to play MP3 audio files and MPEG1/2/4 and DivX3/4/5 video files. The unit measures 5.7 x 4.2 x 1.5 inches and weighs 14.82 ounces, and it comes with an internal, rechargeable 2200 mAh battery.

Giga Vu Pro was originally designed to be a portable image storage and viewing device for use by professional photographers. In its normal mode of operation, the device loads images automatically from memory cards or “microdrive” hard drives when they are inserted into its CompactFlash slot or from other types of memory cards via available adapters. The company says it can decode a 6 megapixel JPEG image in less than one second.

The free SDK for the Giga Vu Pro includes Linux sources, file systems, and documentation. The step-by-step guide to porting Doom, according to project maintainer Laurent Bousis, is “intended as a tutorial for hobbyists wishing to extend or replace the functionality of their devices in the hope that they will share their own experiences by contributing their custom applications to the community by means of this site.”

The Giga Vu PRO is available from Jobo for $549.95 with a 40GB hard drive, or $599.95 with a 60GB drive. The free Linux SDK is available here.

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