Generate Awesome Photomosaics On Linux With Metapixel

Ok, I admit. I thrashed the servers for a little while using an open source website mirroring tool, which I wont mention, but it’s easy to find. 🙂

About 30,000 user icons later, I present to you a product created by a couple very short and sweet command line tools.



On an unrelated note, I’ll be disabling hotlinking of images shortly, so if you’re going to steal my content, please rehost these images yourself.

So how can you make your own mosaic? Simple! Download and install metapixel, if you’re running Ubuntu, it’s located in the universe repository.

Then we are just a few commands away from generating sweet photomosaics. First, we prepare the images.

metapixel-prepare -r source destination --width=48 --height=48

This copies all images from the “source” folder, (recursively) searching into every folder within, and dumps every image it finds into the “destination” folder after resizing them into 48×48 pixel images. You’ll want to modify the width and height to fit the source images. This took a LONG time for me, since my library of images was so gigantic – but once we’re done preparing the images, you don’t have to do it again. Woohoo!

Next, we actually generate the output file(s) with this one liner:

metapixel --metapixel input.jpg output.png --library destination --scale=35 --distance=500

This takes input.jpg and increases the output size by 35 times (i.e. REALLY BIG IMAGE), uses the library destination and does not repeat any images found in the library closer than 500. It’ll spit output.png after a little while. If you don’t care about repeating images, removing the distance flag will result in MUCH, MUCH faster generation times.

Here’s a another I generated, this HUGE image was scaled down from about 228 megapixels.


In related news, here’s a groovy post over at Kristen Symonds’s blog with a ton of GIMP/Photoshop brushes, check it out, good stuff. 🙂

Which images would you like to see rendered in Digg user icons? I’ve got lots more ideas but not much time to use them, since I’ve got some holiday shopping to do. 🙂

I’m back, here are some more…





Ok last update, promise… this is actually pretty darn fun.

Last Jedi Supper:
The original was a 460 megapixels PNG file (30720×15040 – 370MB) scaled down to 7680×3760 – only 28MP, saved as 70% quality JPEG ended up as about a 7MB file… still HUGE! The GIMP was using about 1.2GB of RAM (Thank god I upgraded last week to 4GB!) while scaling the image.



Linux/Unix Censorship on

Every Thursday, for the last 10 weeks straight I’ve been providing a quick synposis on the top 10 or 15 stories on the most popular topics on in the Linux/Unix section. Not anymore… not Digg anyways.

This isn’t gonna be a rant, just the facts. Of the last ten articles I’ve written, all of them have been buried.

Two of them were buried even after hitting the front page.


Digg “Linux Nation” for Thursday November 8th 2007

For the 9th week in a row… Seven more days pass, 15 more stories from the Digg Linux/Unix section. I like doing this piece every week… I actually missed a few of these. Maybe I don’t pay enough attention to what’s popular… I tend to spend more time in the upcoming section on Digg since that’s mildly more interesting in general.

1. How to tell if a web site sucks, a flowchart
I love this flowchart.. I’m sure this website is NOT Brain rot, Web 2.0 fluff, a fanboy site, but unfortunately I might be a “Newb ego blogger,” since my picture is in the sidebar – does it make you wanna hurl? If not, is the real deal. What I’m not sure of is why this is in the Linux section at the number 1 story with over 3500 diggs. Hmm. Strange.

2. BBC admits massive underestimate of Linux users
I’ll forgive them, since they greenlighted Dr. Who for yet another season.

3. Introducing the real 3D Compiz!
This is sweet! Using red/blue glasses you can view your desktop in true 3D.

4. Firefox 3.0b1 has NOT been released.
It’s actually “Firefox 3.0 Beta 1 Release Candidate 1.” Who knew?

5. Turn Your Old PC into a Webapp Monster with gOS
Lifehacker quotes me in this, so it’s worth reading. I really like gOS, I ran it for about a week and had no big problems with it, other than the fact that it’s designed for a Linux neophyte.

6. :: When open source projects close the process, something’s wrong
Somewhat boring nerd drama… KDE had icons STOLEN!!!!!1111 from their public SVN repo, that were licensed under both LGPL and CC, and they cry about it. Secondly, the GIMP UI brainstorm is like throwing a penny in a wishing well. The developer mailing list shows how absolutely patheticly prepared they are for new developers to join the team. It’s just rotten how badly this would-be volunteer gets completely shot down… and he doesn’t come back for more.

7. Ubuntu: Just how popular is it?
Nobody knows in the end… but it’s more popular than anything else. Go figure.

8. Why Linux Will Succeed On The Desktop
From the article: “I believe Linux will become the de-facto standard desktop operating system. Though it’ll take a while for many users to break free from ties to Windows, there is good reason to believe that this day will come.” – Nicholas Petreley

9. We’re only Human after all: a review of Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon
YARoU (Yet Another Review of Ubuntu) – Two weeks late.

10. Anatomy of the Linux File System
Boring… I buried this.

11. Lego-like computer building blocks run Linux
This is really cool… worth reading.

12. Ubuntu – Outside the Sandbox
Daddy runs Ubuntu and gets quizzed by geek son.
What did you like most about using Ubuntu Linux? I didn’t really find it to be any different than using Windows.

13. Up close with the Eee PC user interface
A neat video of the Eee PC UI… Blimblam!

14. Ubuntu to get visual refresh with Hardy Heron
Ok, ok… I give up, more crap about the new theme for Ubuntu 8.10. I wonder how many times this is going to be dugg before it actually is released? I bet something like once a week.

15. Linux Game Company Opens Doors
Hmmm… I think this should have been buried.. this looks totally bunk… some bullshit get rich quick scheme… they’re trying to raise $40 grand for a 2D space shooter? Lame!


Digg “Linux Nation” for Thursday November 1st 2007

Every week I comment on the top stories of the week in the Linux/Unix area.  Last week there was so much junky Ubuntu news, due to the release of Gutsy Gibbon, I needed to cut it out a little bit, just to keep some sanity.  This week, there seems to be a good balance so I’ve left the list as-is and we’re back to the top 15 of the week format.

1.  Ten Absolutely Stupid Quotes By Steve Ballmer
Oh, my god.  If you’ve ever enjoyed watching the Steve Ballmer developers video, you’ll enjoy this list.  I haven’t seen all of these until now.

2.  ATI Releases Catalyst 7.10 Drivers for Linux
This is pretty fsckin great news if you have an ATI video card.

“The Catalyst control center for Linux now has a new 3D user interface as well that allows users to adjust settings like anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering and VSync. This release also provides support for version 7.3.” – Shane McGlaun

3.  Itty-bitty, teeny-weeny Linux PCs 
Want a computer that James Bond would envy?  Something like the 3ePC from Asus might get a reaction.  I’m personally considering buying one of these.

4.  Linux Doesn’t Lack Drivers, it Lacks Complete Drivers
I think this article hits the point squarely on the head with the following quote.

“Linux may be free as in beer, but it effectively costs me $50 if it reduces my $80 mouse to the feature set of a $30 mouse.”

5.  Cracking Windows passwords with Linux
Whether you’re cracking windows NTLM passwords with rainbow tables or just using a registry tool to remove the password completely, this is a really great guide to recovering a password on a Windows XP machine.  Highly recommended.

6.  Mac4Lin – Mac OS X Leopard Is Coming to Your Linux Desktop
Well… I’ll admit I tried this guide, and it failed badly because the instructions are specifically for Feisty Fawn and Gutsy doesn’t have a few of the files in the default repositories… it still left me asking myself, “Why do this?  There are better themes out there that aren’t in a legal grey area.”

7.  Current plans for Ubuntu 8.04
This is good.  Way good.  I wrote a very comprehensive article about these plans and what I think of them (including a new default theme for the next version of Ubuntu), check it out here.

8.  Mandriva: An open letter to Steve Ballmer
Have you ever read 419 Eater?  Perhaps you did all the research, fact checking, etc to make sure these fine folks from Nigeria were able to be trusted… but I can’t say that I didn’t expect something like this to happen.  Microsoft has deep pockets, and when they partner with unsavory folks like this, it makes Microsoft look really bad.

9.  Ubuntu Certificate of Authenticity
AHHHHAHAHAHA…. I love this.

10.  New York Times opens up code
NYTimes has been releasing open source code since July, but this is a good article that explains how it all came about.

11.  Mythbuntu 7.10 hits 20,000 downloads in one week
I didn’t know that many people used Mythbuntu. 

12.  Ubuntu 8.04 to finally get a new default theme? 
Two articles this week on themes….. see my comments on it here.

13.  Wine 0.9.48 Released
Everyone’s favority not-an-emulator gets a new point release.  It’s usually a good idea to upgrade to the latest version, if you’re feeling adventurous, grab it.

14.  ATI: Linux vs. Windows Vista
This is a really good comparison of ATI video game performance in both Linux and Vista.  Very interesting results, check it out.

15.  Fedora 8 Werewolf (Screenshots)
I’ve tried out a beta of Fedora 8 and was fairly impressed.  The biggest piece of news with the latest release (for me, anyways) is Codec Buddy, which makes it easier to install codecs for proprietary formats.

That’s all for the week, if you haven’t already, check out the video where I go and delete every file on a Linux machine while it’s still running.  You might be asking why I’d do this… the answer is simple – because I can!  If you’ve ever personally wondered what happens, you can’t say I didn’t show you.  🙂

See you next week!


Digg “Linux Nation” for Thursday October 25th 2007

Another Thursday, another Linux Nation. Roy Schestowitz from Digg suggested that my weekly round up is not really about Linux, that it’s almost all about Ubuntu. I can agree with that, with an explanation:

I don’t make the news, just talk about it.

What I can do to fix this? Talk about it differently to not alienate readers who don’t care to hear so much about Ubuntu – we already get enough on Digg, why compound the problem?

It may be time for a change in format. For this edition, as a trial, I’ll do a non-Ubuntu version. I’ll just write about the top 10 stories instead of 15, since there are only 11 stories this week that don’t mention Ubuntu in the title or description. Like it? Hate it? Got a comment? Use the comment form down below, or hit my picture on the right to contact me via email.

Top 10 Linux Stories of the Week:


Digg “Linux Nation” for Thursday October 18th 2007

This is the 6th weekly edition of “Linux Nation” where I talk about the top stories of the week in the Linux/Unix section on  I’ll be out of town for the next couple of days, so expect a huge update on Monday after spending a weekend with my brand new black Macbook that I’m getting tomorrow!


1. The Gutsy Gibbon is out!

I’m reminded of a scene in a pretty famous movie…

Yippee-ki-yay, motherfu(BANG)! -John McClane

2. Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Torrent RELEASED

See #1.

3. Go to school on how to admin a server

Wow! After going through in detail, this website has TONS of very in depth articles on setting up all sorts of Linux servers. Very nice!

4. Linux vs. Patents : first round 🙁

Ahh… IP Innovation. Notice the singular innovation? I did. Apparently these patents go all the way back to Xerox Parc, and if you’ve ever seen the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, you’ll know EXACTLY what this is about. It’s quite comedic. Apple settled with these folks awhile back, I wonder when Microsoft is being sued?

5. Red Hat sued for patent infringement!!

See #4. Goto your local library and pickup Pirates of Silicon Valley and watch it for free… you’ll understand.

6. Ten Funny Quotes By Linus Torvalds

Linus, Linus, Linus. You’re so passionate about the right things, good read.

7. Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) Release Candidate

Apparently this week is going to be a Gutsy Gibbon marathon. See #1.

8. Linux Jeolousy: My Wife Switched to Ubuntu

Not only does she like Linux, she can do neat tricks with her tongue – watch! Just kidding.

9. Wine is Getting Good – there’s less and less need for Windows every day

Amen! By the way, check out my article on running the Orange Box in Wine, it’s seriously easy. I haven’t had any need for windows at all, other than my pesky iPhone… arrrg. I guess that’s what a laptop from work is for, right?

10. 13 reasons why Linux should be on your desktop

I like this quote from the article:

“Once the gloss wears off, it’s about applications” – Kim Brebach

11. PICTURES: Ubuntu gets gutsy, Screenshots


12. Wired Review: Ubuntu’s New ‘Gutsy Gibbon’ Brings Linux Out of the Jungle

This is a really sweet article, I hope it makes it into print.

13.465 Free Fonts for Ubuntu

These aren’t really “free” as in speech, but they are “free” as in beer.

14. A Look at Ubuntu 7.10 “Gutsy Gibbon” RC1

See #1… again. I have a fever, and the only cure is more Gutsy Gibbon!

15. 7 reasons why Ubuntu is so successful

Probably the biggest reason is the last one listed:

7) Fragmented competitors: When Ubuntu started it’s “march to glory” there were three “big” distributions, SuSE, Mandriva, and Fedora. Debian and Slackware were popular but were not very appealling to newbies (Debian still had a text based installer…). All of the “big three” were not at their best when Ubuntu came out and started gathering users. SuSE had recently been bought by Novell and was still undergoing internal reconstructions, Mandriva has in the middle of a severe financial crisis, and Fedora was just at FC2 which wasn’t nearly as easy as it now is. – Linux4Coffee

That’s pretty damn insightful. The rest of the article is a great read, have a look.

That’s it this week, enjoy Gutsy Gibbon without me!


Digg “Linux Nation” for Thursday October 4th 2007

It’s that time of week again, every Thursday I write about the most popular stories in the Linux/Unix section on

This is makes one month that I’ve been writing these, if you like “Linux Nation”, please comment. 🙂

There are (as usual) lots of fantastic stories this week.

1. CNN call him a Linux hero, but local government inspector wants to shut him [down]
James Burgett makes the top story again this week. This time the title isn’t quite so misleading. Story number 11 is also about James. Mr. Burgett, who runs a non-profit and gives away computers which run Linux. He had a routine inspection from the Deptartment of “Way-too-long-a-name” and they wanted to make sure all the computers he had lying around were on the up and up.


Quick Note On How To Use Google To Find Like-Minded Friends On Digg

If you add friends at random, then you end up with a bunch of “friends” that may not like what you post about.

If you don’t check first you could end up with a big problem!

Say someone you add might be into politics, but you only submit articles in video. If they don’t like your latest video submission on Burma, you stand a chance to get your article buried.

Here’s the solution: Quit adding people at random, and use the following query in Google:


Digg “Linux Nation” for Thursday September 27th 2007

This is the 3rd Weekly Linux Nation news report for the week, where I link to and provide some brief commentary with my opinions about the most popular stories for the week in the Linux/Unix section on the website. I am committed to doing this every Thursday.

“Why Thursday?” you may be asking – why the hell not! Enough banter. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

1. Man is Dugg for donating 16,000 Linux boxes, then gets the regulatory axe

Number one with a bullet, this story is worth reading. Summary: Guy donates computers to those in need, and then the Department of Toxic Substance Control of the California Environmental Protection Agency issues him a citation for hazardous materials.

First get over the fact that the Department of Toxic Substance Control of the California Environmental Protection Agency has of way-too-long-of-a-department-name-and-should-be-shortened-asap-p.s.-add-yellow-dolphins-as-our-logo-thanks.

Second, this guy donates computers to people and organizations that could not otherwise afford to buy them.

These computers he gives away are put to good use, which would otherwise be sitting in a landfill or elsewhere, poisoning the water supply, giving cancer to baby kittens dwelling in sewers, and far, far more evil things. So where’s the problem?

Sounds like this inspector has a hair trigger up his ass.

2. OPEN SOURCE GOD: 480+ Open Source Applications

Cynical Summary: Author browses Sourceforge, Freshmeat and other similar websites, writes about it, and get a ton of diggs. If you’re looking for something new, I can assure that you will find it in this very long list, with screenshots and such – obviously quite a bit of work went into writing this article, especially with the descriptions.

Mr. Sharma, keep up the good work. This article is one in a series of “GOD” articles that have all been very exhaustive and informative. Give it a read.


Digg “Linux Nation” for Thursday September 20th 2007

I’ll be posting a new “Linux Nation” every Thursday starting today. Why Thursday? Why not. It’s a not so busy day for me, and I started it last week on Thursday, so I’ll keep doing what works.

  1. SUPERGUIDE: How to replace Windows completely with Linux
    ‘Number 1 With A Bullet’ is a “superguide” and that’s no kidding. A 10-part series of articles on replacing Windows completely with Linux. Part 1 through 9 is a list of tasks, such as installing, email and device connectivity, and part 10 is the conclusion. Go ahead, skip straight to the conclusion (like I did), but please read the rest of the articles.
  2. Funny (but real) linux commands and results
    Oh my… funny errors from Linux commands. I’m pretty sure this is really old, since many of the commands do not work in the BASH shell, but now it’s making the rounds again, making people laugh out loud about something like this one:
    % “How would you rate Quayle’s incompetence?
    Unmatched “.