Photo Management on Linux - Part 1

This coming Thursday is Thanksgiving in America. As I have yet to make any progress in convincing the Swiss to also make it a holiday, and we tend to have rather large Thanksgiving dinner gatherings, we generally have our celebration the weekend before or after the actual day.

This coming Thursday is Thanksgiving in America. As I have yet to make any progress in convincing the Swiss to also make it a holiday, and we tend to have rather large Thanksgiving dinner gatherings, we generally have our celebration the weekend before or after the actual day. As Thanksgiving falls particularly late this year, we opted for the weekend before, and had 20 or so people for dinner Saturday. That resulted in a lot of digital pictures being taken, which brought my attention back to photo management on Linux.

There are a number of different photo management programs available for Linux - more than I have either the time or interest to look at, honestly - and of course different versions of Linux have different programs available. I'll try to give a brief overview of both of these areas.

- Ubuntu (Intrepid Ibex): Includes the F-Spot Photo Manager and the Eye of Gnome Image Viewer in the standard installation. I have added the gThumb Image Viewer. When I insert an SD Flash Card in the memory card slot of my laptop, or I connect a digital camera via USB cable, Ubuntu adds an icon for it to the desktop, and it pops up a window asking if I want to start either F-Spot or gThumb on the photos.

- Fedora 10 (Cambridge) Preview: includes the gThumb Image Viewer in the standard installation. I have added the F-Spot Photo Manager. When I insert an SD card or connect a camera, it asks if I want to start gThumb or F-Spot.

- openSuSE 11.1 Beta5: Same as Fedora 10

- MEPIS 8.0 Beta5: includes digiKam (0.9) and showFoto in the standard installation. When I insert an SD card or connect a camera, it asks if I want to start digiKam or simply open a browser window on the new photos.

- Mandriva One 2009.0: includes Gwenview Image Viewer in the standard installation. I have added digiKam (0.10). When I insert an SD card or connect a camera, it briefly shows a notification in the desktop window, but it doesn't ask me if I want to start any program automatically.

A couple of things are worth noting here. First, the photo management and image viewing programs are generally built on top of one of the Linux desktop management systems - either Gnome (F-Spot, gThumb, Eye of Gnome) or KDE (digiKam, showFoto, Gwenview). Further, digiKam was very extensively modified from KDE 3.5 (digiKam 0.9) to KDE 4 (digiKam 0.10).

The next step will be to take a closer look at each of these programs.

jw 24/11/2008