I'm currently using a netbook as a small home server and I was thinking about extra uses I could set up. Currently it has Ubuntu (possibly a netbook-specific version) installed, so it contains X-Windows, but also a bunch of stuff I don't care for such as GNOME. The trackpad doesn't seem to work, which should give you an idea of how much I use it as an actual graphical terminal (although I will sometimes log into it as a console terminal).

However, since the screen is there, I've been thinking it could be cool for it to display some things. I've been thinking a photo frame/general info display, showing photos that are on an SMB share elsewhere on the network, as well as home automation info like temperature and recent temperature trends. My thinking was this could all be done via DHTML so all the "photo frame" needs to show is something like Firefox in a full screen mode and ignore the keyboard.

One nice feature would be to have a button I could press to get a real GUI login back, but I don't really mind that, since I'm happy to just switch to a console screen and switch X-Windows round that way if I need it.

So basically, how can I make it such that instead of firing up to a login screen, X11 will start to running an app (possibly as a 'photoframe' user) which is as simple a window manager as possible (or none at all) running a full screen/kiosk mode Firefox (or just some dumb WebKit-frame-hosting app) pointing at a web server on the local machine? :)

  • 2
    I'll try some things when I have time, but look into using a simple WM (xwm, fluxbox, etc) and putting feh with some options (-F, -r, ?) into your .xinitrc or wm-specific startup file.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 0:41
  • feh for the win. related question on AU about using feh as a slideshow viewer: askubuntu.com/questions/131390/… Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 1:08

1 Answer 1


You can use feh -FrzD30 /path/to/pictures to start a slideshow with a 30-second pause between pictures (change 30 to whatever you want the delay to be). Using slim (as a login manager) I was able to get the slideshow to start at login and present a gui on exit (Esc) with the following ~/.xinitrc:

feh -FrzD30 /path/to/pix
exec fluxbox

You'll have to use slim and change your WM to fluxbox (though I suggest you do install and try fluxbox), or look up how to get your desktop manager to use your ~/.xinitrc. And if you want an auto-login, you'll need to look that up for your DM too.

  • This seems to be along the lines of what I want, I'll keep experimenting, thanks :) Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 7:45

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