Magic Lantern run Linux OS on Canon DSLRs


Magic Lantern just turned your 5D Mark III into a desktop computer.

The cameras (running ARM processor and up to 512MB of RAM) are seen in this video booting into the Linux kernel, version 3.19. The development paves the way for third party apps to run on the camera and to control all functions of the device.

A1ex at Magic Lantern has the tech low-down

“Starting from our recent discovery about display access from bootloader, we thought, hey, we could now have full control of the resources from this embedded computer. At this stage, we knew what kind of ARM processor we have (ARM 946E-S), how much RAM we have (256MB/512MB depending on the model), how to print things on the display (portable code), how to handle timers and interrupts, how to do low-level SD card access on select models (600D and 5D3), and had a rough idea where to start looking for button events.”

At the moment the OS is able to boot and print debug messages on the screen. It’s a proof of concept and will ‘encourage more users to tinker with their new embedded computer’.

With more development I expect the DSLRs to be able to run a legion of Linux apps, although I expect some kind of USB keyboard would be handy!

The timing of the news initially left some doubts (April 1st!) but Alex confirmed to me via email that it is indeed real.

You can now download the source code here and grab the autoexec.bin Linux bootloader file for your Canon DSLR from the main Magic Lantern thread. As always, proceed at your own risk!