With the amount of cheap storage growing, people are more likely to store more media. Home-videos and photographs are a priceless treasure for any family. Photographers have bigger capacity cameras which capture and save more photographs in every outing. And with growing storage sizes, people are saving more and more on their hard disks. Of course, with this massive increase in the quantity of media, it becomes incredibly difficult to maintain and tag it all properly. Here is where a photo-manager comes in.
These are considered the best Linux photo albums, that will scan your drives and make a list of all the photos on your computer. They will then organize them in a bunch of different ways depending on how you want them. A few photo managers will go that extra mile and bundle in a photo-editor which saves you from the hassle of opening your images in an image editor just to give it a few touches. But well, this is just a simple explanation of a photo manager/album’s job. Each and every application available today has its pros and cons and is suited to different demographics and purposes. I’ll go through a few of them which are some of the best available today.
F-Spot is one of the most feature-filled photo manager/album out there today. And it’s free! Some of the features included in the latest version are the ability to work with 16 different types of images, importing from hard drives, cameras, or iPods, tagging, searching, grouping, and full screen and slideshow modes. F-Spot also supports viewing and exporting EXIF and XMP metadata in your images.
Is that all? No, far from it actually. F-Spot also has a built-in photo editor which allows you to do basic tasks like cropping, resizing and rotating images. You can also do color adjustments to your images like changing contrast, brightness, hue, saturation and temperature. The icing on the cake is in the form of various ways to export your photos. You can burn them to a CD from within the application itself, or upload your images to one of the many media-uploading websites (Flickr, 23, Picasa Web, SmugMug). If you have your own website running a content-management system like Gallery or O.r.i.g.i.n.a.l., F-Spot will support that too!
F-Spot can also be extended using extensions which can be downloaded off F-Spot’s site.
Another amazing photo manager/album software is Picasa by Google. Although it’s the Windows version which has been ported to Linux by Google, it does an amazing job of helping you manage your photos, and bundles in a slick interface and a simple photo editor with it. Picasa supports 8 different file formats including videos. While the feature-set is comparable to that of F-Spot’s a number of features are unavailable or buggy in the Linux version of Picasa. My recommendation? Skip this one.
While F-Spot and Picasa scratch that itch pretty well, DigiKam manages to scratch the itch and swat the mosquito in one swoop. Although a couple of limitations are annoying (like having to copy all images to its folder), DigiKam excels at the job it’s supposed to do. It has more features than the above two photo managers, with the ability to blur, sharpen, and invert colors, and red-eye correction. Something which you’ll find incredibly useful is the fact that DigiKam uses an SQLite database to keep track of all your content, speeding up operations.
More features are offered through KIPI (KDE Image Plugins Interface), and it is the only photo manager in Linux that can handle 16bit/channel images. New features like a GPS locator, iPod support, RAW image support, and advanced metadata editing are routinely added through the aforementioned plugins interface.
To top it all off, DigiKam has won various awards including the 2008 Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite Digital Photo Management tool. To shorten all this into one sentence, I’d say “Go for DigiKam!”