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This module forces the picture field on the user, to be set to the default image, configured in the account settings.
By using this module, a user picture is always available to any module/function that handles entities, because the file reference is set as a property on the entity.
Drupal's default behavior is that the code which handles a user entity must check the user_picture_default variable but this is not as flexible, since it does not populate a field with an image etc.
Core: 7.x (developed on 7.17)
git clone --recursive --branch 7.x-1.x http://git.drupal.org/sandbox/esbenvb/1454252.git user_picture_default
NOTE: The sandbox was initially called superior_user_picture_default but the module is now called user_picture_default which is also the desired full project name.