Following my post “Using Linux for Photography, where we stand“, Svetoslav Trochev sent me an email inquiring about Photography oriented Linux distribution. Months later, I received another email from Svetoslav: he hadn’t abandoned the project but rather had given it lots of thoughts and wanted to share his reflexion with the community. It is my pleasure to have him as the first external contributor to Linux & Photography blog. Thanks a lot!
As a kid, I won a small price, an USSR made camera. Very quickly I become obsess with it. As result, it became a problem. I was bended from all parties because unwillingly produced too much “black mail” quality photos and second my parents and I could not afford the expensive hobby. I was forced to give-up on photography. At the same time I become fully occupied with the computers and later it turn into my profession. Several years ago I bought my self a new shiny digital camera and the old charcoals re-ignited again. I am Windows System Administrator at work, but at home I would run Linux only. Except I am struggling setting-up good workflow for my photography under Linux. That is how I found Joel’s blog.
What is the solution?
After I finished reading Joel’s post my immediate reaction as other that have commented his post was that we need new Linux distribution, design from the ground up for all of us Linux photographers, armatures and professionals. Not only that I in fact started to research and create plan for that kind of distribution. Very soon I hit the wall and now I think this is wrong approach to the problem.
- Creating a new distribution has big overhead that will slow down the project.
- The new distribution will have limited set of tools that will provide single workflow and making this workflow fitting the needs for every one will become impossible task. I thing that is why we have so many independent projects that re-discover the wheel over and over again. And the main problem is that many of moved to Linux because we like to customize our systems to fit our needs not other way around.
- Linux distribution designed for Photography has place only on dedicated workstation in professional studio, but most of as will need our system for general tasks like surfing the Internet, e-mail and etc.
So the big question do we accept the current situation and wait for independent projects to mature on the own or we can take charge and help the process?
What I would like to see?
I think what we need is new approach to our problems. After reading all the comments I realized that there is huge untapped pool of knowledge between us. So I think the first step should be everyone of us to make effort to document their workflow. This should produce lists of tools that can handle each step of the image processing. Next, if we can establish contacts between leaders of those projects allowing them to work together on building a common frame work. For example how many databases we need to store tags? I would say one that provides core functionality and expandability for new features. If we are successful with that very soon all tools will improve rapidly because each project could spend more time on their custom features. At the same time interoperability between tools will make quantum leap. Even better if we have stable frame work will allow to be included in different desktop environments and even the kernel it self.
Can we do this?
I think we can. So I have an idea for project something like wiki pages where everyone can document their workflow. Share ideas between us how to overcome common problems. At the same site we can maintain list of common and unsolved problems that will work as reference for other projects. We can have something like live FAQ and HOWTO pages. I would like to know if there is interest in that kind of project or might be already exist!