Hack lets you run Linux kernel on Canon EOS DSLRs

Of the well known operating systems in the world, Linux has had the distinct reputation of being installed almost anywhere there is a processor to be found. Of course, just because you can, doesn't mean you should, but running Linux on any computer possible has always been an exercise in skill and a cause for bragging. While Canon's digital cameras are not exactly as esoteric as refrigerators and washing machines, getting Linux to run on these more often than not very closed devices can open up a world of possibilities.

Magic Lantern, the team of sleuths and hackers behind this achievement, already made some progress in digging into Canon's EOS line of DSLR cameras, getting access to information about the hardware as well as to some of the very low-level hardware resources of the camera. This includes being able to display things on the monitor, access to SD card, and more. The next big step would be to try running a different operating system on the camera, and for that purpose, Linux is the perfect choice.

To be clear, when the team mentions "Linux", they are actually referring to the Linux kernel itself, the very core of the operating system. Not a full Linux distribution that comes with all the bells and whistles of a graphical operating system. Just the barebones foundation for everything else. But even as such, the port is quite functional already. At least, as far as low-level functionality is concerned, with things like being able to access all 256 MB or 512 MB (depending on camera model) of RAM, displaying messages to the monitor screen, etc.

It's not exactly that exciting for end users, but it opens the doors for developers, hackers, and tinkerers to expand or even replace the utility of the camera. The Magic Lantern team is planning on building the GUI bits of Linux next. There might even be a possibility that a Linux-based spin could totally replace the custom software on these Canon EOS cameras.

This port of Linux for Canon EOS cameras have been confirmed to work on 60D, 600D, 7D, 5D2 and 5D3 models.

SOURCE: Magic Lantern