Using Linux for Photography, where we stand

August 21, 2008

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.

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What is a good image viewer?

June 5, 2008

Hitting sourceforge.net with a search for image viewer gives a whooping 3110 results … and counting. If you narrow it down to “image viewer” you are left with only” 126 results. Compare that with 3 image editors (Gimp, Krita and Cinepaint) and a couple of RAW converters (Rawstudio and Ufraw). OK add one in each categories that are not Open Source (Pixel and RawTherapee) and you’re done. So why, oh why so many image viewer projects? I guess it is a easier to code an image viewer than full featured image editor but still…

Plus consider the wide range of possibilities that you find under the umbrella of image viewer: from “image managers” à la F-Spot or Digikam to the most simple viewers à la Mirage or Ristretto and middle solutions like GThumb, Gwenview (yes, it is a KDE app) or GqView.

This got me into thinking: what do I expect from an image viewer? Why do I use it for? What do I NOT want to be included in it? Obviously, this is my opinion, but I would like it to be a basis of discussion more than the definite answer – so don’t hesitate to comment.

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