Using Linux for Photography, where we stand

I promise I will not turn that into a habit, but after quite a few months and more than 100 entries in this blog, I feel like it is time for a little rant indepth analysis summary of where we stand. I mean of where Linux stands as far as photography is concerned.

Graphics and photography have been Apple’s chasse gardée for years but for quite some time, MS Windows is on par with the Mac and the system of choice for photographers boils down to personal preferences more than anything else. Mac users have the exclusivity of Apple Aperture, but Photoshop and Lightroom, Adobe’s behemoths, are available on both platforms – and the CS4 64 bits version of Photoshop for Mac will be delayed due to the necessity to porting it to Cocoa. Maybe Adobe could port it to QT and offer a Linux version, but I digress…

So what about Linux then?

My goal with this entry is to brush a big picture of where Linux stands as far as photography is concerned. What are the achievements, where improvement are needed and being worked on and which pieces are still missing. I will survey what I consider the 3 main areas that an OS has to cover for serious photography work: color management, printing support and workflow.

Note that this is a summary of subjects that are covered in more detail elsewhere in this blog; I provide internal links where appropriate.

Color Management

Color Management is about ensuring color consistency throughout all your work (graphic chain). What you see on your screen has to match what will come out of your printer and viewing your image on another monitor should not alter its colors. Obviously, Color Management is a crucial part of an OS that is used for photography.

This is certainly an area where Linux has done great progress recently. Most application are CM aware and Xorg has been supporting monitor profiles VGC Tags loading through xcalib and dispwin. We also have Argyll supporting most monitor calibration tools, including the cheaper ones like Huey and Spyder, the notable exception being the newly born Spyder 3.

Missing and being worked on, we find a GUI way to calibrate a monitor – the next version of LProf should offer that. Missing as well is a central way to manage profiles: I should not need to tell each and every application to use AdobeRGB as editing profile, where my monitor profile is and which rendering intend I want. Oyranos’s aim is to provide such a framework, but it isn’t widely used yet – only in Cinepaint, afaik. It would be a waste to have each application or desktop environment developing a different framework – the openicc mailing list hosted at freedesktop is the central place where this type of discussion is being held.

The one missing piece is printer calibration. Recently, with A3 prints becoming an available standard and multiple paper references, “affordable” printer colorimeters are starting to appear on the market. These aren’t supported under Linux for now, so the printer/paper/ink profile’s measurements have to be done in another OS. I don’t think anyone is working toward supporting these products in Linux.


Speaking of printing, this is another area where digital photography has modified (most) photographers habits. It is now possible to handle our images ourselves from capture to exhibition quality print. Even if it is still possible to send images to processing labs, home printers allow very high quality print and can be coupled with a vast choice of papers – yes it has a (high) price, but it is also a great side of the creative photographic process.

Printing manufacturers basically have to handle 2 problems: 1) make (very) small drops of ink placed (very) precisely on the paper; 2) blend the drops from the different ink colors in a way that allows subtle nuances and perfectly continuous gradients.

The fist task is in the hardware hands and although there are minor differences, all the leading manufacturer (ie Epson, HP and Canon) achieve very good results both in terms of quality and longevity, as long as you pick the right combination of ink and paper.

The second task, however, is in the driver’s hands. Obviously, I am not able to test all models from all manufacturers, but here is the situation: HP has been sponsoring HPIJS and HPLIP as high quality driver for Linux which works for most HP printers and includes bells & whistles such as scanning. It also offers a high quality photo mode which I have been using for a while with (almost) complete satisfaction. On the Epson side, the Gutenprint project aims to “provide high quality printing for UNIX (including Macintosh OS X 10.2, 10.3, and 10.4) and Linux systems that in many cases equal or exceed proprietary vendor-supplied drivers in quality and functionality”. Canon has recently joined the A3 photography quality club with its Pixma Pro line. However, these aren’t yet supported in Linux.

So have a check at the Gutenprint / Hplip website before you buy a new photo printer if you want to make sure it works with Linux.

Here is a little checklist to be able to do high quality photo printing under Linux:

  • Check if your printer is supported, especially for Black & White output; borderless printing is a hit and miss as well.
  • If you have a colorimeter, use Windows to create your custom ICC print profiles or (if you only need a couple of profiles) have someone do them for you.
  • printer color management is not always transparent. You have to convert your file to your printer profile manually before sending it to the printer – at least with Cinepaint, which offers the most advanced color management

OK, this looks like a lot of hassle but these are things you do only once: choosing a printer, a paper / ink combination and having an ICC profile made for this combination. And converting a file to the printer profile is more a habit to take than anything else; plus support for Color Management is being worked on in Gutenprint. My experience of printing under Linux has been a success – although it is rather limited.


From loading your picture from your camera to tagging and archiving them, workflow is very important and… quite hard to define. Workflow is about how seamless the photographic process is: loading images, sorting them out, post-processing, printing, tagging and archiving them. And all of that while keeping the highest quality for the images, of course.

So this means either one software doing everything with the danger of becoming dog slow, over-complicated and a useability nightmare or having several specialized applications working hand in hand with the danger of the apps not working seamlessly together and ending up in an over-complicated process. Well, it is all dealing about complexity, and indeed, digital photography processing is a complex process.

How to go about it?

Open Source Software Development (and its “bazaar” development model) has shown an ability to tackle major projects such as the Linux kernel or (more recently) OpenOffice or Firefox – though not without bumps on the road.

However, the Unix tradition is more like “one tool for one task” and we have seen numerous tools on Linux for most photography related tasks. Some are command line based: GREYCStoration (denoising), DVD-Slideshow, xcalib and the ArgyllCMS suite (calibration) not to forget the powerful imagemagick suite. UFRaw (raw converter) can be used both as a command line tool or with a GUI. Add to the mix Gimp, Cinepaint and Krita (editing), Rawstudio (raw converter) a myriad of image viewers (GThumb, Gwenview, Gview or Mirage), a couple of “image management programs” (F-Spot and Digikam) and a few metadata and tags editors (jbrout, xmpmanager…)

You guessed it: it is a mess bazaar. A few chosen examples:

  • I can achieve high quality denoising by choosing the parameters in a Gimp-plugin but then I have to run the command-line version of GREYCStoration to keep a 16bits / channel image.
  • I can view my JPEG images in Rawstudio but not modify them. I can view RAW thumbnails in GThumb but I can’t do anything with them; but GThumb allows me to view and modify JPEG.
  • The only way to edit a picture in 16bits modes is with Cinepaint; it does the job but misses quite a few “must have” like preview for unsharp mask, effect layers, etc. Krita has proved to crashy for me and Gimp is limited to 8 bits.

The list goes on. Basically, it is working, but it is clunky. So what do we need, what is missing and being worked on and what is definitely not on the radar screen?

High bit depth editing

Linux definitely needs a credible high quality photo retouching program. Cinepaint has a Ferrari engine inside an old 2CV, while Gimp has the 2CV engine inside a Ferrari. Krita is taking more the direction of a high flying painting program than a photo editor. So this piece is badly needed although being worked on with Cinepaint’s next generation (Glasgow) and the integration of GEGL in Gimp.

If I was a billionaire in charge of a Linux distribution, I would hire Sven and Mitch to work on Gimp full time… now that the plan is clear and that real productive work is being done, that would be a project with high visibility in the community. Without this, Linux will just not cut it for serious photography.

RAW Conversion

Another important step is the RAW conversion. Again, the balance between the possibilities of RAW tweaking and the necessity to keep the software reactive and its complexity under control is tricky. If you read this blog, you’ll know that my favorite converter is Rawstudio for its speed, simplicity and “well-thoughtness” – it is developed by people who were photographers before being software developers… However how do I correct lens vignetting, purple fringing and distortion? That is where the Lensfun project comes in: a database of lenses / body characteristics that allow for automatic lens defects correction (à la DXO). Other areas where Rawstudio needs some love are denoising, exif support and contrast boost (unsharp mask with large values).

At that point, you will mention RawTherapee and you will be right: it does all of that. But the price to pay is too dear for me, in terms of speed and interface complexity. But don’t hesitate to check RawTherapee, hundreds are very happy with it. Or LightZone, now that its (paying) Linux version is back on track. To each its own.

Image management

Then there is the image viewing / management / tagging issue. In the proprietary world, this is handled by Lightroom which does file management and RAW conversion. Even if there is a lot of choice of image viewers / managers in Linux it still is hard to find “a good one” mainly because there are so many interpretation of what “a good one is”:

  • Photo organizer (Digikam / F-Spot) that do everything for you, including copying your files, image edition, raw development…
  • Photo viewer (Gthumb, Gwenview) that are “just” showing you the images in a current folder and have basic editing capabilities

As far as I am concerned, what I need is:

  • display quickly any file type (including RAW)
  • thumbnails / image / metadata / folder browsing panes that can be moved around and hidden
  • full exif and XMP tags management / search support
  • slideshow / fullscreen
  • create contact sheets (I know, this looks like a gadget, but it comes in very handy)
  • right-click on an image to open it in the raw converter / image editor
  • Color Managed

What I don’t need is:

  • Image edition (there are better tools for that)

What I don’t want is:

  • a program that copies / moves / saves my files by itself

I am yet to find the perle rare, although GThumb is pretty close (with quite a few extras that I don’t need) and with missing parts being worked on in SVN. Other candidates are Geekie and Gwenview (for KDE users).

Making them work together

And remember that these have to work closely together. A little option like “Export to Gimp” in Rawstudio is the perfect example of something simple that makes life easier (at least that will be the case when Gimp supports higher bit depth).

I don’t think we need a billion apps for photography. In fact, I have argued that it boils down to 3:

  • a high bit-depth capable editor
  • a well thought RAW converter
  • an image viewer / manager / tagger

All of them keeping exif datas, supporting xmp tags and allowing 1 click opening images in each other (open in ImgEditor, open in RawConverter, open in ImgViewer). At the end of the day, it doesn’t look very difficult. But it is always easier to write a blog entry than good code. Plus there is this push for more features that has been a trap in open source projects – and closed source, when you come to think of it.

I can live with having a few “on the side programs” for special tasks like DVD-Slideshow generation, Panorama stitching and HDR – and yes, these exist in Linux.

Xorg dual screen

Once you started using dual screen, it is very hard to go back to single screen; having your image displayed fullscreen on a calibrated monitor while keeping your tools on another monitor is such a productivity and comfort boost. It is not like Xorg doesn’t support dual screen. It is that it is such a pain in the ass neck to set it up. But with the new xrandr 1.3, proper monitor hotplug is being supported and we start to see GUI coming for an easy configuration (grandr, krandr).

As always with Xorg, there is then the question of your particular graphic card’s driver supporting the feature, but with Intel and more recently AMD (ex ATI) opening their specification and the dynamism of Xorg / Freedesktop community, this is an area where there is hope – just think about recent achievements like compiz or xorg.conf (almost) disappearing.


I don’t think that the answer to Linux for photography is “Photoshop & Lightroom on Linux”. Open Source Software has developed some amazing pieces of software and I don’t see why photography would be an exception. My dominant feeling is “work in progress” and I see the “Linux photography ecosystem” maturing and moving forward in the right direction.

But let’s face it: Linux is not a drop-in replacement for Windows or MacOS for photography yet. Far from it. You can use Linux for serious photography, but critical pieces are still missing or are too kludgy for efficient work; you need to be willing to accept sacrifices. I use Linux for photography as an amateur, but I would never recommend Linux to a pro photographer with time / production constraints.

Still, my hope is to see Linux maturing to the point of being a great OS for photography. And this hope is strong enough to keep me blogging about it 🙂


106 Responses to Using Linux for Photography, where we stand

  1. paurullan says:

    Niepce power! ^_^
    Well, when it is ready!

  2. Arthas says:

    The Pixel Image Editor supports some features others lack in, but it’s not free:

  3. Ryan says:

    Great blog! I found it invaluable for color-calibrating my monitor, something that I had been avoiding for too long : )

    I think that you left out possibly the most important tool in my workflow–Python. The UNIX philosophy that you mention–a tool for each job–depends on scripting as the “glue” that binds these tools. The combination of exiftool, dcraw, imagemagick, and python allows me to just pop a CF card in the reader and hit a button. A script then sorts my RAW files into a “raw” folder, creates JPEG previews in a “preview” directory, and ensures that the exif information is copied (and/or edited) correctly. And when I want to email/post pictures to the web, a wx-python GUI frontend to the python imaging library (or imagemagick) sharpens, rotates, and re-sizes effortlessly and reproducibly (important for photoblogs).

    I would also add Bibble and Turboprint to the list of software–though neither is free. And if you’re lucky enough to have an NVidia GPU the “twinview” feature of the binary driver makes dual monitors a snap (just make sure everything is compiled with xinerama enabled).

    I couldn’t agree more about Image Management. How hard is it to make a program that allows you to just browse the files inside logically-named folders!? I hate programs that feel the need to copy/modify your files and programs that are too stupid to, for example, skip files in directories named “resized” so you wind up seeing everything twice. Grrr.

  4. Frank says:

    Hey Great review, the only thing that I notice is missing is : SCANNING! I had so many problems with that on linux Xsane is a joke ;}

    Thank you

  5. Rolf says:

    Well said! I’ll point to it, even if you don’t allow trackbacks. 😉

    @Ryan: Can you publish that script(s)?

  6. David Marrs says:

    I agree with Ryan about the scripting. That’s doubly important in the open source world where we rely on users to contribute features. The easier it is to programme, the more programming we’ll see.

    Getting back to me as a regular user, A big plus for Linux that you didn’t mention is the desktop environment. Unix window managers are vastly superior to the Windows shell. Gimp’s dialogues-as-windows paradigm that everybody hates on Windows allows it to exploit some really cool features of the unix window managers that massively improve my workflow.

    My favourite window manager for doing photo editing is Fluxbox because it has a very low memory footprint, is very fast and allows you to stack windows (imagine the tabbed browsing experience of firefox, but applied to windows). This combined with the focus-follows-mouse and raise-window-on-focus features provides an unparallelled workflow. It means that all windows are kept accessible and visible without ever having to click the mouse button. It’s especially useful on smaller monitors.

    This is only really possible because Gimp manages dialogues the way it does. I know the dev team are planning to ease the experience for Windows users. I hope that they are able to do so in such a way that doesn’t spoil the experience for the rest of us.

  7. Ryan says:

    Since these are written just for my own personal use I make no promises about portability. You may have to edit them to work on your system (though hopefully I’ve written them better than that!). You can edit neftojpeg to tweak the brightness/gamma settings as you see fit. Also, if you invoke neftojpeg with -h it will give you a little help screen–with no switches it will just try and process the NEF files in the current directory. If you’re converting files with a different extension you can change “self.ext” so that you don’t have to do use -e every time. ShrinkImages was written for an ex-Windows user with little patience so it should be self-explanatory.

    And don’t blame me if your computer catches fire : )

  8. Hub says:

    That’s summarize very well my goal. Given how long the post is, it is easy to realize that it is a very long shot. The good side of the thing is that in the end, lot of bits can be reused, because it is Free Software.

    (Freedom stay my goal #1)

  9. prokoudine says:

    The one missing piece is printer calibration.

    In fact, X-Rite’s DTP20 “Pulse”, DTP22 Digital Swatchbook, DTP41, DTP41T and DTP51 are supported by ArgyllCMS already for quite a while. Which is why it’s planned to have it in LProf2, whenever it’s out 😉

  10. jcornuz says:

    Hi there,

    You are absolutely right about scripting. I use it to generate web images and blogged about a guy who had a Python script to develop Pentax RAW Pefs. I just thought it wasn’t the most user friendly tool one can use for Photography on Linux; plus there is Phatch 🙂

    Take care,


  11. ssam says:

    I like the hire some gimp devs to work full time. it is not hard to raise $10,000 in donations from the community for a cause like this ( ). it might be feasible to gather a years wage for 2 devs, you might be able to get sponsorship from someone.

    The difficult bit is finding someone to handle the money.

  12. TheGrudge says:

    digiKam is able to edit photos in 16 bit…

  13. DigitalHermit says:

    Linux is a great tool for creating HDR (High Dynamic Range) imagery. We recently gave a talk at our local LUG and discussed HDR tools such as OpenEXR, pfstools, and qtpfsqui.

  14. mikmach says:

    digiKam 0.9.x has 80% of what you need, 0.10 version which is coming out for Christmas should have 99% (no contact-sheet).

  15. I think Krita 2.0 (which will, deo volente, be released this year) will satisfy many of your requirements for photo work. We’ve got the precision, the bit depth, the filters and the tools — and the nested layers, non-destructive filter masks and all that. As well as painting stuff and oodles of flexibility, of course.

    By the way — why haven’t I seen bug reports about those crashes in Krita? Which version did you try? It’s the deal, after all, I provide software to the best of my ability, and my users provide me with a chance to improve it through fixing bugs, and then I provide you with better software again 🙂

  16. Vadi says:

    I think this web-based suite ( would be quite useful.

  17. John says:

    It is amazing you don’t mention Phatch ( I use it for all my workflow and works perfectly.

  18. Michun says:

    digiKam does all the digital asset management and has a quite useful if limited image editor. In particular it works with 16 bit images and has a built-in RAW converter based on dcraw. It talks EXIF, IPTC, XMP, GPS. What more do you want? Photoshop/Conepaint/Gimp OK. But nothing else.

  19. jcornuz says:


    Thanks for your comment. I always tried the standard Ubuntu version of Krita – so quite outdated. I have burnt a certain amount of KDE4 liveCDs but never ended up with a usable desktop. I can’t wait to give Krita 2.0 a try 🙂

    Take care,


  20. Aaron says:

    Thank you so much for this great set of info!! I have recently gotten a dSLR (Canon 450D) and been playing with RAW photography, but I keep having to boot into Windows to run the RAW->JPEG conversion because I don’t have a good set of color profiles for GIMP import. I’ll certainly check out some of the tools you have mentioned that I had no clue existed!

  21. Ravi says:

    I use Bibble Lite ($70) on Linux and I’m quite happy with it plus it runs on all 3 major platforms. The upcoming version 5 should be everything that Aperture/Lightroom are and more.

  22. Guy lafleur says:

    Wow. Wow!. Now THIS was a real blog post. And useful too!
    None of those half assed barely thought out and researched pap we see litter the net every day.
    Good research and really well organized article and great links that I am going to put on the side and re-read a few times later on.

    I installed Ubuntu Studio a few weeks ago and have really been impressed by the advances in audio, video and animation and will be trying the photo software you have mentioned.

    Based on what I read today, I will definitely put this blog in my bookmarks and come back again.

    Helpful stuff? You bet.

  23. A friend pointed me to your post. I’ve been talking about the same topics (with mostly the same conclusion) for more than a year now in some workshops on Photography and Free Software.

    Great post, and things seem to be going fine, but slowly. Gimp 2.5 seem to feature 16-bit editing, and better yet, non-destructive editing. But this will solve only a small fraction of the problem. Gimp is still far from being as productive as Photoshop is (and I’ve used Gimp for far more time than PS, in fact, I started with Gimp).

    Productivity is the main problem I see in Linux (as far as photography is concerened, I’m much more productive developing software on Linux, for example). I just can’t manage my 1000+ photos from a wedding, or 400+ photos from a graduation which should be done in 24h. It’s just not that fast.

    Anyway, great post and great to see I’m not alone here. Neither in my point of view, either in my desire that one day Linux will be a good platform to use for photography.

    Take care,


  24. Dohn Joe says:

    In regards to your call out for a photo management tool have you considered:

    DigiKam (comes with ShowFoto):
    CHECK * display quickly any file type (including RAW)
    CHECK * thumbnails / image / metadata / folder browsing panes that can be moved around and hidden
    CHECK * full exif and XMP tags management / search support
    CHECK * slideshow / fullscreen
    SORRY * create contact sheets (I know, this looks like a gadget, but it comes in very handy)
    CHECK * right-click on an image to open it in the raw converter / image editor
    SORRY * Color Managed

    CHECK * display quickly any file type (including RAW)
    CHECK * thumbnails / image / metadata / folder browsing panes that can be moved around and hidden
    SORRY * full exif and XMP tags management / search support
    CHECK * slideshow / fullscreen
    SORRY * create contact sheets (I know, this looks like a gadget, but it comes in very handy)
    CHECK * right-click on an image to open it in the raw converter / image editor
    SORRY * Color Managed

  25. Er, digikam does do color management: go to settings/color management and check the checkbox that says “Enable color management”.

  26. David Marrs says:

    @Rafael: are you sure 2.5 features 16-bit & non-desctructive editing? I know it integrates gegl, but I wasn’t aware they’d actually implemented any of its advanced features.

    “Productivity is the main problem I see in Linux (as far as photography is concerened, I’m much more productive developing software on Linux, for example). I just can’t manage my 1000+ photos from a wedding, or 400+ photos from a graduation which should be done in 24h. It’s just not that fast.”

    Can you explain why this is the case? I also use both PS and Gimp and find that it is Gimp that is faster for my needs, but I am an amateur working with a few photographs at a time and don’t have to worry about deadlines.

  27. qetur says:

    Awesome post! For the time being I’m working with my pics. in CS2 through Wine, but that isn’t the fastest way to process the pics. No matter what people are saying, you can’t run Windows apps. in Linux flawless…. 😦

  28. Sabature says:

    I just use Windows XP and Adobe Photoshop.

  29. Jim McDish says:

    I too have always used Windows and Photoshop however, I recently loaded a new laptop with Linux and have become totally sold on LInux. Its worth a try.


  30. alon says:

    Great article, go go linux

  31. jobs says:

    This is alternative platform to Windows, but suitable for Linux users.

  32. Great summary! It is still far too much of a struggle to get all the tools together and working correctly. E.g. I struggled a lot just loading a pre-existing ICC profile into Xorg… never managed to get my spyder2 recognized at all. I also find it very hard to give up Lightroom 2 – it has added so many tools that were previously missing that I find it covers 100% of what I need to do with my photos.

  33. Tai Kahn says:

    Mac and Windows are NOT on par when using photoshop. PCs cannot do center based, ratio kept donut selections or deselections. The fonts look like horse shit on a PC too. Just a couple quickies I can think of, there are other things Windows cannot do as well as a Mac in photoshop.

  34. Pickles says:

    What about running either Lightroom or Photoshop with Wine on Linux? Is it a viable solution?

  35. FMLove says:

    Please, don’t forget the great, cross platform RAW converter: Bibble. It beats (IMHO) the pants of most of the competition and it’s good, inbuilt handling of colour management doesn’t hurt either. 🙂

  36. Jason says:

    Don’t forget about Google’s picasa. I know it’s not FOSS, but it is pretty good for image management. I had 13,000 photos in it on Ubuntu and it ran great.

  37. Eric says:

    In regards to professional printing here is a link to a fully functional Linux (Mandrake) based RIP called Caldera. Our shop tested it out and were very impressed but it wasn’t a good match for our workflow at the time when we were shopping for a second RIP.

  38. James Cooper says:

    Great article, Joel. As sombody who uses Linux at work on a regular basis (as an electrical engineer and software developer), I appreciate seeing a well-thoughtout consideration of what your job requires and how linux does (or doesn’t) provide that.

    It’s unfortunate that so many people instantly turn this into a Linux vs. Windows vs. Mac argument. Which platform you use, just like which applications you use, is a personal choice. This article is about Linux, not about Linux compared to other OSes. It’s great to see an article that considers application choices from a Linux users point of view, rather than trying to convince everybody to change their OS to Linux.

    To everybody else, stop trying to convince us that we shouldn’t use Linux. We’re not looking for another OS; we’re looking for better programs for the OS of our choice.

  39. उन्मुक्त says:

    I am not a professional but work on Linux. I think GIMP is good enough.
    मैं लिनेक्स पर काम करता हूं मेरे विचार से जिम्प अच्छा है।

  40. Larry says:

    I just want to add my agreement to the scripting approach. The tools are all there (dcraw, exiftool, ImageMagick, netpbm, perl, python, etc), and they are first rate. It’s just not the usual GUI approach that many are looking for, but it *is* the unix way.

  41. Michael Chubber says:

    A lot of tools on Linux for this sort of thing are, frankly, third rate. You’ve said it: the “standard” for image editing is Photoshop (GIMP is nowhere near as good).

    Photo album type software is another thing. I personally use ACDsee Pro 2 on Windows.

    Linux has a very long way to go before it will compete with Mac/Windows and Photoshop.

  42. Rax says:

    Nice Blog!

    Not sure if anyone else mentioned this, but I think Bibble (and Bibble Lite) is also available.
    I tried the trial version (30 day of something) which seemed ok.
    At the moment I use ufraw, rawstudio, gimp, digikam mostly.. but sometimes tinker with other tools.
    Haven’t tried profiles as yet.


  43. kernel_panic says:

    It’s true, dual screens are almost a MUST, many times I have felt frustrated with Gimp because of one screen, trying to deal with the image been covered by, say, curves tool…

    I’d like to point out, now that you mention xrandr, an easy way for people to configure their dual monitor setups to work, I hope you find it useful

    in a terminal emulator type

    xrandr — output VGA/DVI –fb AxB –pos CxD –mode ExF –right-of/left-of VGA/DVI

    –output VGA/DVI is the output you wish the command has an effect on
    –fb AxB establishes the size of the virtual screen where the displays of the two physical screens will be, A is the sum of the horizontal resolution of both displays and B is the biggest of the two vertical resolutions
    –pos CxD establishes where will the second screen be placed in the virtual screen, C and D are the horizontal and vertical coordinates of the “origin” of the secondary screen
    –mode ExF is simply to set the resolution of the second screen, E and F respectively the horizontal and vertical resolution values
    –right-of and the others are to set the relative position of the secondary screen in reference to the primary screen

    For instance, I have a 19″ 1280×1024 VGA and a 14″ 1024×768 VGA monitor, the 19″ is connected to de VGA-0 port and the 14″ is connected to the DVI-0 port using a DVI-to-VGA adapter. Since my vidcard is a radeon 9250 and the closed source driver is VERY old, I can’t rely on ati’s tools to do this, I tried with Xinerama and MergedFB with no success, after a lot of reading (man xrandr is your friend) I figured out how to do this from a termianl (I tried urandr, but it didnt work, it enabled the secondary screen but only as a clone to the primary) and in my case, the command line is as follows

    xrandr –fb 2304×1024 –output DVI-0 –mode 1024×768 –pos 1280×0 –right-of VGA-0

    Just to make sure that you’ll have no problem with the whole virtual display stuff type “xrandr -q | grep maximum ” and check which value is reported as “maximum”, this is the largest virtual dosplay size, default setting is 2048×2048 so if you need to change this you’ll have to edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf and add the line “Virtual A B” (remember who A and B are) in the “Display” subsection on the “Screen” section.

    Sorry if this is too long, but I hope this will be useful for somebody :p

  44. Neil McShane says:

    Very interesting comments on what other people use on Linux for their Photography.
    As I have already said in an interview with Joel on this blog I started using Bibble Pro and still to this day. I hope version 5 will do a Lightroom for Linux. I also use Digikam for all my non Raw files for the newspapers to crop, caption and rate. I am no great expert on software with Linux but always used it for the last 10 or so years now because it’s sable and safe. I don’t mind changing from program to program do to all my workflow as long as it works and stays working. For all my Fine Art Black and White photography I will be staying with The Mac for now, but I do think Linux is catching up very fast.

  45. jcornuz says:

    Hi everyone,

    Just coming back from an day of very hard work and finding so many encouraging comments. My dream for this blog is to have a space where people can exchange their ideas, tricks and discoveries about using Linux for Photography. Great stuff!

    Take care,


  46. Daniel says:

    I wish this blog post had been written three or four years ago! I have spent a long time finding a photo workflow I’m happy with and finally ponied up the money for Bibble Pro. Although it’s not open source, it’s an amazing piece of software and the only one for Linux that really provides everything in one application: workflow, tagging, total image manipulation control, and raw support. (I must admit that I HATE the Bibble straightening tool, though)

    There are some not yet mentioned, though. One is Light Zone, though it’s coming from a whole different photographic philosophy, based on Ansel Adams’ concepts of light. The software is powerful but requires a mental adjustment.

    I’m also VERY impressed by Google’s Picasa. If you want workflow and RAW support, but not a complicated editing process, this is really for you. Google is taking steps to make it port more natively in Linux, with 2.0 the best so far. I work in an ebay business and use Picasa for all of the pics we shoot. Picasa also integrates with Google’s picasaweb so you can host pics online.

    Thanks for the post, I’ll be adding you to my feed reader.

  47. qmutz says:

    Interesting take on science and technology. I think this is the less complicated hassle free version.

  48. Helene says:

    I love GIMP and use it for art-exhibit work. Also like DigiKam for tagging/sorting/rating, but when I upgraded my SuSE OS, I lost all the tags. I wonder if this is going to happen again next time I upgrade.

  49. Allan Registos says:

    Under the hood improvements of Gimp 2.5, that will become the 2.6 version:
    (From 2.5 released notes)

    Most notable of under-the-hood changes are the first steps of GEGL integration. Right now the effect on user experience is minimal, but it is an important development for the future. Once GEGL integration is complete, GIMP will finally get support for higher color depths, more color spaces and eventually non-destructive editing.

    Peeking out from under the hood are subtle differences in the way the UI draws its elements. These changes are due to internally making use of the Cairo library to draw UI elements. This is visible for example in the drawing of Layers and Paths docks and Curves dialog.

  50. AD says:

    Very good article, specially for people new to linux, or want to adapt linux but are afraid of the possibilities. Thanks for helping Linux spread.

  51. troy_s says:

    “The only way to edit a picture in 16bits modes is with Cinepaint; it does the job but misses quite a few “must have” like preview for unsharp mask, effect layers, etc. Krita has proved to crashy for me and Gimp is limited to 8 bits.”

    I’d like to point, once again, to Blender.

    Nodal compositing in Blender supports some amazingly high quality effects and nigh on infinite bit depths, so you can keep your work in pristine form. You can save as OpenEXR for the full bit depth. 16 bit full TIFFs are being worked on as we speak, but the OpenEXR format has some serious versatility regarding bit depths etc.

    Personally, I’d encourage everyone here who is serious about this matter to give Blender a shot. Flip to the nodal compositor and load a linear 16bit TIFF as output from the most amazing dcraw. Slam the image through a photo receptor node and poof — instant lightroom.

    The interface is by _far_ the most sleek and professional of any Linux application I have seen. The flexibility of the nodal compositor is stunning, and allows you to set up extremely complex node formations and simply replace the head node. It is one heck of a top shelf application. Perhaps the ‘killer app’ many have wanted for years.

    If you are looking for something to use tablet twiddles / selective masking / burns and dodges / etc. on images with, it is _not_ the tool. That said, for straight raw processing and brilliant granularity akin to Nuke and like tools, Blender is an amazing product.

    jcornuz — great blog as always. Great post. Keep up the tremendous work. If you are interested in Blender and want some tips from a photography standpoint, feel free to email me.

  52. photostore says:

    I just use Windows XP and Adobe Photoshop.

  53. Richard Smith says:

    What is the premiere tool for image editing on Linux?

  54. Richard says:


    For scanning, try Vuescan

    It is very reasonably priced and the pro version gives you raw and colour managed features, as well as lifetime updates.



  55. Dread Knight says:

    Great post (perhaps even blog, will need to check it out soon!)

    Gwenview and Digikam for kde4 are really great!
    Krita will get there too, hopefully asap.


  56. Ryan says:

    Would someone mind posting a link to Phatch that isn’t down?


  57. Granma Wants to Email Photos too says:

    One good thing about Gwenview is that it is folder based and does not auto import photos into a database before you can use them (thank goodness). However, F-Spot has a time-line photo thingy that would be nice to have as an additional Kipi-plugin for Gwenview to use when you needed to take a directory of photos (and sub folders) and build a time-line of those photos in a graphical inventory display. Oh- The best tool for emailing photos is again a kipi-plugin that auto resizes the selected photos, and starts the email tool, then puts the photos in the email THEN all the user needs to do is to fill in the send-to part of the email and type a short note… then send (with the photos already attached by the kipi-plugin). Sending photos is a 4 step process with this Kipi-plugin feature – select, then use email kipi-plugin, address email, and send email (easy). This one feature has made LINUX so nice to use for many that I have introduced to LINUX (as really they just want to browse the internet, send emails with photo attachments to their families and not to get confused as to how to do that! Gwenview is not just a KDE desktop tool as Gwenview can be used in Ubuntu (Gnome) by adding it via the Synaptic tool found in the Administration tab (but for some strange reason the Gwenview software does not have kipi-plugin as a automatic part of the program that gets added when you select the program (don’t use the Gwenview from the main Add/remove tool in Ubuntu as you will get the KDE 4.x version that is not complete and can not be used as it does not have the famous Kipi-plugins yet (so gotta go to the synaptic Package manager and get the KDE version 3 Gwenview and then search and manually install the Kipi-plugin (and you are good to go).

  58. Marcel Geijsberts says:

    Great blog. Good Summary.
    I would like to mention one or two tools that I like very much:
    GQview and EXIFsorter.
    For the management of your pics I sometimes run into the following problem: I have downloaded all the pics from my memorycard to my laptop but I FORGET to erase/format the memorycard after that. Later on I shoot soem more pics and now I have old and new pics on my card. But which is which?
    To easily solve this type of problem I download all the pics from the card to /home/marcel/UPLOADFOLDERpics
    then I start renaming all the pics into date_time.jpg or date_time.raw using exifsorter (by Amok).
    After that I take GQview and start looking for duplicates: Gqview has the abilitiy to compare two groups of pics (recursively for subfolders) based on their md5 checksum; I believe that that is sufficient for distinguishing pictures. Any way it really quickly finds duplicates and with one selection I can erase all duplicates from the upload folder. (put the uploaded ones in one set and all the rest in the second set)

    I hope that someone finds this useful

    Marcel , the Netherlands

  59. Jeff D says:

    I’m happy to stick with analog black and white film photography. And to think, digital was supposed to make everything so uncomplicated.

    I love my darkroom!

  60. lt_gustavsen says:

    For printer profiles I use an eye-one pro. It works very well with linux and argyllcms. And you should also check out photoprint
    for colormanaged printing. You don’t have to convert the image to the printer profile with that application.
    I have a hard time see why not a professional should not go for linux. Especially if he have a bibble licens.

  61. Marc says:

    What i am REALLY missing is support for cmyk. Linux software only supports RGB but for prepress I need cmyk support.

    Jeff: have you ever seen the complexity of analog image manipulation?

  62. Brotherred says:

    It seems that most of these issues could be solved with better management of the tools now available. As some have said a photo specific distro might work very well. Dual screens would probably have better support in such a distro. What few hardware and driver issues are raised here would be better served in a new distro option.

    I see nothing here that makes the Linux team look bad. Perhaps this BLOG will spur further discussion and inspire agitated photographers/ Linux distro users to scratch there own itch. Then maybe just maybe the kernel people will have issues to address.


  63. arf says:

    Speaking of Pixel, according to the forum on pixel-website, the project has stopped working and has a lot of unsatisfied users, which are waiting to really working version. For more information, see webforum on their website.

  64. prokoudine says:


    In fact, Krita does support CMYK.

  65. micha says:

    Linux/ubuntu is getting better and better – so itś just a question of time!!!

  66. Jeff says:

    So what ever happened to Google’s project with Wine to get Photoshop/Wine working?? That would be a nice addition…

  67. JavaFan says:

    Concerning workflow you know this?

  68. A very nice review and a good page to come back to for resources.
    Although I use a Mac at work for my work flow and high end printing, I’ve been using Linux at home for two years waiting for some sign that Adobe would get on board at some point. Finally, I purchased Codeweavers excellent CrossOver (Wine done really well) to run Photoshop and haven’t been disappointed. I do stress thought that this is not for mission critical work. I am also pretty confident that in the coming year we will see breakthroughs in Linux for professionals having witnessed enormous strides on the end user side.

  69. FX Belloir says:

    Just want to mention that, as a possible complement to Joel’s (excellent) work, you can come also here to share your experience

    Joel, I hope you won’t be offended that I mention “photolinux” board in a comment of your blog…
    Please, tell me

  70. BDion says:


    Thanks for posting this. I have been thinking of starting one myself. Maybe for now I don’t have.


  71. moltonel says:

    Didn’t see it anywhere on this page, so just tought I’d add a link to the bazaar :
    is like the rest a work in progress, but a very promissing one. It’s meant to integrate with krita (pity it was too crashy for you, hope that gets better).

  72. Gandalf says:

    The photo administration program of my choice is digikam … it’s really great and moreover improving all the time 🙂 Let me point out some features mentioned in the blog and comments which are covered in the latest version (digikam 0.10svn, for kde4):

    – color management is supported
    – advanced denoising is included
    – works at 16bit per channel
    – the raw converter is currently being redesigned and now about the same level of quality as rawtherapee, with more to come
    – full exif and xmp support
    – slideshow, fullscreen is present
    – your image files are not moved arround if you don’t want to, you can use several root albums in the digikam database
    – lensfun correction is included
    – all the kipi-plugins are available in digikam, in particular the email images plugin (in fact, these plugins are developed mostly by the digikam team)

    but there are many more extra features, for example:
    – geo tagging of images from a gpx track or by placing images on a google map
    – search your geotagged images by selecting parts of a map (under development, uses marble)
    – search by a multitude of parameters; like tags, focal length, aperture, camera, and many more
    – advanced search features like “fuzzy search” or searches based on sketches drawn by the user
    – a light table for comparing similar images
    – a timeline view (as in f-spot)

    the image editor is separated from the album organization and has a lot features as well. in addition to all basic adjustments, these include for example
    – removing small artefacts (via cimg)
    – free rotation, shear etc with anti-aliasing
    – vignetting correction
    – aspect ratio crop tool with composition guides

    as an extra plus, many adjustments like renaming, adding borders, recompressing, raw conversion, … can be run as batch processes on sets of images.

    as a basic viewer, gwenview is probably more polished than digikam. but for organizing your picture collection and basic photo correction, digikam is the top linux application in my opinion

  73. A very good tools to manage the photo library is kphotoalbum (

    i use it to manage/tag/search/… around 18000 pictures and it work great.

    it do only the tagging part, but allow some editing through the KIPI plugins


  74. Greg M. says:

    Okay, so I’ve been working on getting my monitor profiled for the last few days as you may have seen in some of my previous comments. That went well, so I decided to move onto my printer and look into getting an icc profile done. So I download a set of color patches, and load them in cinepaint (with color management turned off of course) to try a print, and I’m looking for the file -> print menu choice. It’s nowhere to be found in my Mandriva 2008.1. From what I am reading around the web, several distros including ubuntu disable printing support in cinepaint, but I can’t find any information as to why? What’s up with that?

    So I am left with no way to print a 16-bit tiff with color management turned off. Obviously GIMP doesn’t work because it is 8-bit only and I can’t find a way in krita to turn off color management. Is there another solution?

  75. lt_gustavsen says:

    Greg M
    Try to either rebuild cinepaint from source with print support, or try to install photoprint You have to build that one to.
    There is a small bug with photoprint and 16 bit tif files from argyllcms printtarg. If you do something like
    exiftool -ResolutionUnit=inches -XResolution=100 -YResolution=100 mychart.tif
    they load perfectly when you set photoprint to manual size and the correct paper size. The bug is reported to the photoprint author (and fixed in a unpublished beta).

  76. Greg M. says:

    Lest anybody think I let the problems I was running into deter me from getting things going, I have stuck with it and finally gotten a working setup. I have to make a few tweaks to the imageable area as Joel did to get an even margin on full sheet prints, but I am satisfied that everything is now working properly.

    The main culprit was the distro I was using, and I suspect other distros may have similar problems. One of the key development goals in the linux distro world these days is to make things easier for unsophisticated users, so the details of things are abstracted from the user in a gui interface, but at the same time, much control is lost and intermediate processing (like resampling audio to use a sound server like pulseaudio) confuses things. So with Mandriva and it’s printerdrake tool, I was not getting the correct printer settings for the hpijs driver, so things weren’t working. Once I configured my hpijs printer driver with the cups configuration tool instead, I got the right settings and everything worked.

    Then I had to recompile cinepaint with gutenprint support. It seems that many distros disable the printing function in cinepaint and I can’t figure the reasoning, and I don’t see a lot of discussion on the matter out on the net. I’d be really curious to understand this if anybody knows the reason.

    So cinepaint can print, I have printed my color patches to get a printer profile and as I write this I am re-profiling my monitor at a higher quality level under more controlled conditions. Yaayyy!!!

    Anyway, to make a long comment short, if you stick with it, you can make it work, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

  77. Gav says:

    Nice blog and very informative. I’ve used all of those RAW converters you mentioned and have stuck with Lightzone where I can do some minor tweaking to the raw files before exporting to tiffs. Once Gimp gets full GEGL support in version 1.6, all will be complete for me; except for the business side of things. What’s out there for linux to deal with the studio? Nothing really. I’d like something to manage studio time, type of shoot, clients, accounts (to see if I need to “send the boys around” ), quotes, invoices and order tracking, and associate the images to each client AND shoot. Any ideas?

  78. Moshe says:

    Am an amateur, hence GIMP works great for me, but I have gotten a little too used to the windows interface and photoshop but I do not think that porting photoshop to linux will do much, we just need to improve on what we have till its better than on mac/windows( if not so already ).

  79. PR Photog says:

    I’ve loved the open source community and all the great software out there for quite a while. I was a faithful gimp user for many years, until finally I made the jump to RAW images and realized the GIMP was selling me short. For the last 12 months I’ve done virtually nothing in linux and only use Firefox and Open Office regularly (as far as OS software).

    Yesterday I found Raw Therapee… today Ubuntu is back on my computer and I’m excited. I know I’ll have to wait, but seriously, RAW Therapee offers more controls and apparently better algorithms than Adobe CS3. This is the place to start promoting Linux as a serious photo-editing platform. Photographers spend lots of time trying to make sure they have the best quality RAW converters–just look at reviews, and the number RAW editors out there. There is a market for the best quality RAW editor. When you spend $1000’s on your camera you need to be sure that your software isn’t throwing away the quality you’ve invested so dearly in. I think the quality and flexibility in RAW Therapee is worth running with. Yes, I need it to be faster and it needs to be integrated with a photo organizer and a top quality 16 Bit GIMP, but the majority of my image processing right now is done in Adobe Bridge and ACR–so speed up that RAW Therapee (and change the name, for heaven’s sake) and get one of these many photo viewer, organizer programs to work like they should and we’ll be more than half way there. Yes a GIMP fix will be important as well, but without a good RAW editor and organizer it’s not going to win too many.

    Oh, and btw, I will be using RAW Therapee when I am not totally satisfied with what my Adobe CS3 is doing for my images. I feel like its doing a better job as soon as I use it. And that’s awsome!

  80. Gav says:

    Hi PR Photog,

    Did you know that Photoshop’s RAW plugin and RAW therapee both use dcraw. Interesting huh. I believe Bibble have their own RAW converter, and I think Lightzone may have their own as well (not sure, can’t remember). I still use RAW therapee quite a bit in conjuction with Lightzone. A direct comparison between the two has LZ images are a bit lighter in tone with RAW files. I’m looking at testing Bibble 5 at some stage since there’s a native linux version, but I have to say I didn’t like 4 much. 5 is supposed to be much better.

  81. Where has this blog been all my life… :’)

  82. Sandor Laza says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more! Being a photography enthusiast using Linux is not that fun. I always feel left behind by Windows and Mac users with all their fancy tools…



  83. jza says:

    I disagree with the assumption of serious photography and professional vs amateur. The reality is that many ‘professionals’ use (as well as regular users) just 10% of the software. Sure there might be features that they grew accustomed to that they might not find it in Linux. However, true photographers should be able to apply very professional techniques to photography on Linux very well into their software.

    Krita for example provide the wildly requested CMYK, same with Blender provide a variety of text and effects to create very photorealistic imaginery.

    The concept of you needing a ‘right’ tool, is a wepon commonly used by the people that don’t want to push their skills to further mastery of techniques facing lack of tools. Just like comparing a oil pan to a microwave. Sure, microwave is faster, is digital and u can program it potentially to do serious cooking. But a chef could and should be able to cook great food with an oil pan and sometimes better than the microwave can.

  84. Neil McShane says:

    Well I am very nearly got the complete Linux Photography system set up now.
    How’s this : I have a PC running DreamLinux looking like my Mac OSX and a Mac running OpenSUSE PPC.
    With DreamLinux I have a computer using Linux OS, Mac Desktop and using Windows Photoshop software on it.
    The workflow now is :
    Auto upload the memory cards into folders with dates.
    Open BibblePro for the RAW conversion and saved into folders for web jpegs and 16bit Tiffs.
    Using digikam to rate and comments tagg them.
    And finally go to Photoshop (16bit support) to do the final edit.
    Not perfect but close. However this is running along side my Lightroom and CS3 on Mac so see the different results you get with the two systems. The only problem I have is the speed of the Linux system because its 5 years old now. So I am thinking of getting a high spec up to date PC and then see what happens.

  85. paul says:

    Just a hint which might be useful: You can use f-spot without copying/moving all the photos to its own directory. You can import them leaving them where they are. It uses its own db (which is is a must for enable fast searching in filenames and tags).

    Another hint: For RAW converting, if you mention Lightzone, there is Bibble, too. Quite Powerful, with a few managing features in the pro version, batch queues (which can be filled by digikam or f-spot plugins), etc, too.

  86. Amir says:

    RAW developing in F-Spot: did you know about the two extensions, DevelopInUFRaw and RawPlusJpeg?

    I am giving F-Spot a shot after a while, and apparently it now manages RAW files like regular photos in its database. Luckily, I looked at the extensions list before importing anything, so I did not immediately freak out. 🙂

    If you, like me, shoot only RAW, then no problem, DevelopInUFRaw allows you to do what the name suggests, and then the JPEG is associated with the RAW file as a version of the same photo. Batch operation is also supported and looks very promising, but I still need to figure out exactly how it works.

    Additionally, if you, like I did on my trip abroad for sending pictures quickly, shoot both RAW and JPEG, then you need to run the function of RawPlusJpeg once after every such import roll, so to make the JPEGs versions of the RAWs.

    Thanks for keeping the blog up!

  87. Janne says:

    I have tried using digikam and its color management (monitor profile) but I think something is wrong. Has anyone else noticed this?

    I compared Gimp, Firefox, Geeqie and digikam. The first three shows images identically, but digikam view has a blue shift.

  88. Janne says:

    I just noticed that Eye of Gnome and F-spot does support color management (Monitor profiling). You need xicc to set your monitor profile globally. Eye of Gnome will detect it automatically and use it. In F-spot you need to enable it in settings.

  89. Jonathan Lui says:

    One feature that I’ve found very useful in F-Spot, that I haven’t seen any other program implement, is the auto-versioning of images.

    Simply put, whenever you edit an image F-Spot copies the image first, and lets you work on a copy. That way, you don’t touch the original.

    My wife likes to crop, and do simple edits to the images, having F-Spot automatically keep the originals is great.

    I don’t use F-Spot now because it starts slowing down when your collection gets very big.

    I especially don’t like the way that F-Spot changes the EXIF timestamp. It’s trying to account for timezone differences, but it’s doing it the wrong way, without informing the user, and without the option to disable.

  90. Paul says:

    I want to thank you SINCERELY for this – I have been grappling with switching over from Vista (which actually runs well if it’s tweaked) to Ubuntu/Xubuntu, and my ONE major drawback is I’m a photographer and need something other than my default GIMP (which I use in Windows) to edit photos. Namely gamma control, for which I was using FastStone and which doesn’t run well in Wine. I will be a regular visitor here and thanks so much for addressing photography wholly handled by Linux.

    Considering 64bit Linux runs more efficiently than a 64bit machine running its default install of 32bit Vista (!?!?!) – I know I’m making the right move (with tile cache boosted, GIMP runs terrific in Linux, for which it ws designed, obviously) . . . and look forward to any and all comments you make here.

    I despise Fstop and need a thumbnail viewer that resembles “FastStone” in its ability to dimension crop, enhance, saturate and fix gamma contrast quickly – but if I have to I’ll use GIMP for all of it. I routinely use GreyCStoration and Unsharp Mask 2012 to finish up images, so it may just be a “GIMP for all” workflow change and I’ll get used to it.

    Cheers and best regards to you! / Paul

  91. PeterM says:

    Paul Says:

    Namely gamma control, for which I was using FastStone and which doesn’t run well in Wine. ”

    Not sure what you mean here, GIMP does not allow for for altering the gamma in the image itself the way MTPaint does for example. (The screen layer is what I use to brighten portions of an image) The gamma of the main GIMP display window can be adjusted by means of the gamma option under the display filters. xgamma also can adjust gamma on a display as GAPA does which runs well in WINE according to my experience.

  92. Paul says:

    Thanks Peter – I thought you COULD using levels, set to value I believe, and use the middle slider. FastStone alters Gamma. Well. FastStone has trouble running in Wine, at least for me.

    Hope that’s clearer and thanks for the input / p;

  93. Bob K. says:

    So in other words professional photographers should forget about Linux completely. And just be content with MacOSX or Windows, since there won’t be any high end photo editing apps natively on Linux in the near or distant future!. Great!!.

  94. Tim says:

    For scanning I use VueScan by hamrick. Mac, Windoze, linux… it’s the same everywhere and well worth the one-time-for-lifetime non-freeness.

    Otherwise, I agree with the needs presented in the post, but note that one person’s workflow is not another’s. On the Mac I choose to keep original raw files, work on 16-bit PSD and save final JPEG in archive, flickr (1600×1200) and website-sized (800×600) files; more to the point, I have 160Gb of stuff, all of which lives on a backed-up RAID volume with my own directory-structure, and only the most recent work-in-progress lives on either the mac or linux boxes. And I like it this way; nothing that relies on a central library (like iPhoto/iTunes) is ever going to do it for me.
    On linux, where an increasing amount of my photo-processing happens, I can *just* cope with gimp as long as I do something to smooth the histogram (wide-radius USM, orton, whatever) at the end but I would rather be using 16-bit TIFFs there. The workflow is mostly shell-scripted; I have functions for doing bulk RAW conversion with dcraw, for invoking gimp across files in turn, for renaming them, for restoring EXIF info, for geotagging, and for outputting in the various required sizes.

    Much as we need visual tools for editing, and like them for image-selection, we need something that has a “push to archive” function so it only shows the stuff actually being edited.

  95. Dessius says:

    I can’t wait until Linux finally puts windows out of its misery! I am so sick of general fault errors and slow performance caused by the worst designed operating system ever devised. Keep on rolling Linux, its waaaaay past time to kick windows, well, out the window!

  96. Jim says:

    I’ve personally gone completely to Mac. One of my friends is an independent film producer and that is all he uses…Mac. Its just too easy to work with and uses the hardware resources wisely. Plus he tells me he gets editing done 25x as fast with mac as with his windows machines. That’s why he sold them.

  97. I am in the market for a photo printer, possibly A3+, and I find that at least one of three I am investigating does seem to be unsupported under Linux. I have, however, come across a pay-program that solves that problem, if their web is to be believed. It is called Turboprint 2.

    Does anyone out there know if it is any good? A quick internet search for reviews came up with little useful information.



  98. Graphius says:

    I used TurboPrint for a while a few years ago, and again fairly recently as my Canon did not work in Linux.
    It is a great program, but I think it would be better to try to find a printer that works natively in Linux.
    I recently (yesterday) bought myself an Epson Stylus Photo 1400 and so far it seems to work perfectly in Linux.
    I realise this is not a “pro” printer, but for the money it is a great bargain.

    What printers were you thinking of?

  99. HP 8850, Epson R2880 and Canon Pro 9500 II.

    It all started when my lowly, old HP deskjet 5550 had a bad cartridge moment some three weeks ago (HP has promised to mail me a new cartridge but I am not holding my breath) and I started to think about a proper photo printer. A friend of mine suggested the HP 8850. It gets good reviews and its ink is supposed to be longest lasting. I soon figured out the Epson R2880 also gets very good reviews.

    I also found that a lot of HP 8850 and 9180 owners have experienced grave problems. It seems you either get a good unit or a lemon printer from HP. Another one of my colleagues actually owns a 9180 and it works just fine apart from big ink consumption.

    Talking of which. Epson has a reputation for ink thirst. I have not been able to figure out if this is a problem of older models only or if it applies to the R2880 too.

    I had overlooked Canon’s printers until about a week ago when I got wind of the 9500 II. It also gets very good reviews and I have picked up very little in the ways of bad owner experiences on the internet. This is the one I think lacks Linux support. It is also the most expensive of the three.

    All three are pigment ink printers but last night I read that the latest dye inks have pretty decent lasting power so maybe I should look and dye ink printers as well.

    In Sweden, where I live, it seems no photo equipment dealer carries HP printers. All have Canon and Epson. I don’t know if there is a message of some kind hidden in that fact.

    Long post, sorry for that.


  100. Graphius says:

    Canon actively says they will never support Linux. Right away this puts them off my list. I also find the Canon colour pallet very “bubblegummy” and as you can see from my website I like saturated colours. At work we sell low end HP, Canon, and Epson printers (among others) and we have way more defective Canon returns than any other.
    I have heard great things about HP, and they actively support Linux, but I have had a few bad experiences with paper feeds and paper compatibility.
    Until very recently, Epson owned the high end photo printer market. I still prefer the output of the Epson print heads.
    For my money, they are the only viable option.

    • Are you sure about that anti-Linux stance of Cannon’s? I found this without much work:

      To me it seems some printers are supported but not all.

      Your Epson comment is in tune with me picking up that over here Epson dominates the professional market by a huge margin.

      Yesterday I found out the Epson R2880 works right out of the box under Ubuntu 8.10. Sounds promising.

      I also fathomed yesterday how big those A3+ printers are. That factor is quite a problem in the room where I want it. Maybe I should consider a smaller printer and buy bigger prints from an on-line printer.


  101. graphius says:

    hmmm. apparently I was wrong about Canon. I am sure I saw something on their site (US or Canada) that said they specifically don’t support Linux. Of course I can’t find it now.

    However my other point still stands. I still find the Canon colours quite garish…

  102. I feel your annoyance. I never had any good luck with this stuff,
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