XKCD's 'Windows 7'

fb-hitler is a small program inspired by Windows 7 as envisioned by XKCD (making a joke at the expense of Windows Vista) that displays a picture (of Adolf Hitler in the pure form) and displays another picture when you press Ctrl+Alt+Delete (normally the same picture with glowing eyes).

I wrote the first version of fb-hitler when that comic was first published, and years later revisited it in a more technically sophisticated way.

Original version

The original version of fb-hitler was implemented as a userspace application for Linux, meant to be run as init. I hacked it up in a weekend of mostly reading documentation back in 2009. I recorded a demo video of it at the time, which is predictably poor quality when considering when it was created.

This Linux version uses the fbdev subsystem to display an image, and needs to be run as PID 1 in order to use reboot(2). For reasons I never did debug, the color channels are incorrect so what was meant to be red is in fact blue.

You can view the code on GitLab, or download the original source archive.


fb-hitler-ng is an updated version of the program that I wrote in 2017. This new version in x86 assembly and is designed to be booted directly from legacy PC BIOS. It can be run in QEMU with relative ease:

$ qemu-system-i386 -fda fb-hitler-ng.bin -monitor stdio

Typing sendkey ctrl-alt-delete in the QEMU monitor will then flash the eyes by sending that key sequence to the virtual machine.

Adolf hitler in black and white; his eyes flash red occasionally.
QEMU looks like this when running the program.

This version of fb-hitler is also on GitLab, as fb-hitler-ng.