The Canon Hacker's Development Kit, aka CHDK.
Many of my camera prayers were almost answered today when this site was posted on several sites such as DIGG.
which links to http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK
I've always wished for an open source camera that I could program for time lapse, lightning detection and motion detection.
What these guys have done is very close to what I wanted (it may even be better).
I may have this wrong but it appears to be kind of like booting an OS.
Normally your camera runs internal flash software.
CHDK has files on your flash card which control the camera behavior.
Unfortunately only the newest canon I have is supported - the ixus zoom I fly in my model parafoil isn't (yet at least).
I hastily tried CHDK on my a650is - I had trouble uploading to file and then found the camera wouldn't work in still mode.
I finally selected "reset all" in the camera menu and the camera began to work again.
I will pursue this further.
My only real complaint about the 650 is lack of raw format support - it sounds like CHDK will fix that.
If the zoom becomes supported then I should be able to program it to take still photo every say 10 seconds to get good aerial photo from my RC models.
I think I need to find/get a flash card reader to go any further.
I bought a card reader today.
I managed to check my firmware version and it is correct (D).
Putting BOOTDISK.BIN on the card and running it in the camera did nothing.
I then read the reason I'm missing the PS.FIR file (mentioned on the lifehacker page) in the zip is that my camera uses and OS called dryOS.
It turns out you don't run CHDK manually on this - you have to make the card bootable and flip the write protect tab for the magic to work.
To do this I downloaded and ran a windows program called "cardtricks".
CHDK is definitely running now but I haven't learned how to use it.
I used one of Fingalo's builds and as he into stereo photography it flashed up something about this on boot up.
I got it more or less working. Canon should feel embarrassed they didn't have the CHDK improvements as standard features.
Open source canon rocks.
Not only do you get scripting but also improvements like live histograms and a decent battery monitor.
I think the RAW format stuff is this being written for this camera.
I have one interval time script working but one didn't - it went through the motions but didn't take pictures - could be my fault.
One trap was to make sure the script are correct. On the first attempt I actually grabbed the html source for the page instead of the basic script - no surprise that it didn't work.
Cutting code from some of the screens doesn't work either because you end up with line numbers.
Note the file on http://tools.assembla.com/chdk/browser/branches/grand/script have an "original format" link at the bottom which does the trick.
The CHDK project involves a lot of people and the information is a bit disorganized. There are bits of code, script and tutorials scattered over several sites and formats.
Overall it is great achievement and if I had spare time I'd get more involved.
Stay tuned for some more time lapse work.