Flickr screensaver for Linux

The TV in the kitchen is wired up to the MythTV box (which sits in a closet in another room).  If the TV is left on after a recorded show ends, the MythTV menus are not so pretty to look at.   The standard “Pictures folder” screensaver is nice, but I got tired of manually copying and managing pictures on the Myth box.  Why not use Flickr as the automated source of the pictures?

I poked around for “flickr screensaver linux” on Google and was a bit disappointed. Most of the results a) discuss Mac- or Windows-only solutions, b) link to programs that no longer exist, or c) are more complicated than what I need.

Well, it is Linux … time to roll my own. Maybe this solution is so obvious that no one bothered to document it, but this is what I came up with.  Maybe it will save time for someone else.  Besides, I need a new post to break in the new theme on this blog. ;)

The basic formula: RSS feed from Flickr + podcast downloader + cron +  “Pictures folder” screensaver.
Read on for the details …

Actually, any RSS feed with images as enclosures will work, since that’s what the podcatching software looks for.  However, podget does not handle Atom feeds with enclosures, so make sure you reach for the RSS.  The tricky part of this setup was finding a feed for the Interesting pics on Flickr.   Flickr does not supply an official feed, but someone has already solved this problem.  (His APOD feed is nice as well.)

You want step-by-step?  It’s actually pretty Easy In Linux (not to be confused with regular easy):

7 thoughts on “Flickr screensaver for Linux

  1. This was helpful & much easier than the flickrfs thing I found earlier. It would be nice to be able to add older photos to the batch, though. Flickrfs is now a package in Ubuntu, but it seems a little half-baked… “Easy” is a great way to describe it.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. One more comment to answer my issue with getting older photos. It looks like the Desktop Flickr Organizer (available as the dfo package on Ubuntu/Debian) would be a great tool to do an initial deep sync, after which your rss feed idea would be a great way to stay up-to-date.

    DFO is written by the (very generous) author of flickrfs.

  3. Hmm, I get the same thing now – I’m guessing the APOD feed format has changed since I first posted this (which was .. two years ago?!).

  4. Hi there, and thanks for a nice walk-through.

    The rss feeds from flickr have changed a bit, and you have to specify &format=rss_200_enc to get the feed with enclosed images.

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