I thought it would be nice to provide an update of on my Christmas project to give my wife a media server that will display her photos on the living room TV.
This is proving to be a pretty interesting project because there are two challenges: making it easy for my wife to add pictures to the server, and dealing with the large numbers of photos she wants to display, approximately 16,000.
I will use eog as suggested by others on this forum to display the pictures.
Next is the challenge of where to get the pictures from. I don't want to fetch photos directly from my wife's computer, because I'm afraid of the load that might put on my home network, and any performance issues my wife sees while working will likely come back to me for resolution. I imagined I would get the pictures from her external NAS drive, a Buffalo brand but not a "LinkStation" model. However, if you want to connect to this drive over the network, you must use Buffalo's proprietary software, and I don't want to do that. There is another option with this drive: connect it to the xM over USB. I tried this, and eog displays the photos on that drive just fine. But there is no way for my wife to update the drive with new pictures easily. So that idea is out. Because there are so many pictures involved, I don't think it makes sense to write them to the SD card.
The next approach would be to put the rootfs on a 2.5" notebook hard drive connected to the xM over USB, and mount that at boot time. Then create an unprivileged user /home/linguine and set things up so that one can scp the photos over the network, from my wife's computer to the directory /home/linguine/Pictures.
I went ahead and installed ssh and ssh-askpass on the xM, and also gedit because I like it as a text editor. I've scp'ed some sample pictures things look good so far.
I am starting to learn quite a lot about the performance side of the Beagleboard xM. Mine is running Ubuntu 10.10 (from a distro provided by Robert Nelson, I think.) I am using only a 4 Gb, Class 4 microSDHC card. XFCE in that distro runs pretty slowly, but it does run. There is a noticeable delay between clicking a checkbox, for example, and seeing the checkbox cleared or checked. This might be due to the slow SD card.
I have connected an HDMI cable to my TV, and run it to where the xM will go. Likewise, I ran an extra network cable from my router to the shelf where the xM will go. When I connect the Beagle to the TV over HDMI and then power both up, the TV gives me an error "unsupported display mode". I know I need to change the display mode to hd720 in my bootargs, and I will do that soon as the project continues. I do not plan to use the svideo connection.
The next step is to find a cheap 500 Gb laptop hard drive, put my rootfs on it, and mount it at boot time. I hope this will allow effectively sending large numbers of photos to the xM. Maybe I can clone my current rootfs from the sdcard to the hard drive and resize the partition with gparted.
Other interesting bits: the Dog House for the Beagleboard xM provides a safe, sturdy enclosure that can be screwed to the underside of a wooden shelf. Transporting the xM in this thing is easy. It is like the protection of Fort Knox to the xM. The enclosure also prevents access to interesting components like JTAG and LCD connectors. I guess I can live with this for the moment.
I suppose I should buy a Ubuntu manual to learn how to change settings and update the OS the Ubuntu way.