Feb 27, 2012

Linux for Photography


I have had great fun keeping a blog for quite a while on using Linux (and open source software in general) for photography. This sort of culminated in an article "Linux for photography, where we stand" where I tried to have an honest overview of the situation - like always, the best part about it was the  discussions it started.

Since then, that little thing called "real life" kept getting in the way and the blog has been dormant. With years passing by, it is high time for an update, so let's revisit the subject: three years down the line (and as a special PentaxForums feature) where is Linux as far as photography is concerned?


Table of Contents


In this entry, I want to reconsider the 3 main functions which together form the bulk of a photographic workflow:

  • images management - "heck, I know I have this picture somewhere on my hard drive, but where?"
  • RAW development - most of us will use RAW at the time of shooting but when it comes to sharing our pictures (or uploading them to the Pentax Photo Gallery, for that matter) a good RAW convertor is invaluable.
  • photo editing - taking a picture to the next level: local or more sophisticated retouching.

Now some programs (Lightroom, Aperture...) will attempt to do everything at once with the great advantage of a better integration but with the danger of bloat: "everything plus the kitchen sink" as the saying goes. In the Unix / Linux philosophy to "write programs that do one thing and do it well", we end up with several programs doing one task well at the cost of lesser integration.

One more word about Linux: "why the heck don't you buy a Mac with Photoshop, if you are as serious about photography as you  pretend?" Well, maybe because I like to be a little different (I am a Pentaxian, after all) and maybe because I would rather buy a new lens (or two) for the price - temporary relieving LBA and keeping my two kidneys (and my wife) for a bit longer.

The softwares I will present here are the ones I currently use and feel most at home with, having tried several. My goal is honesty in evaluating their strengths and shortcomings.

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