Linux and Photography – Round Two

Some may remember that a fair while back now, I blogged about using Linux (Ubuntu Studio 8.04 to be exact) for photographic purposes. I came to the conclusion that whilst it was completely possible, life was just easier if you were running a Windows or OS X install and using either Lightroom or Aperture. Since then however, I got rid of the Ubuntu Studio install and just ran a regular flavour of Ubuntu and what I found was that it became even more useful for the odd bits of photography work I had to do each day and as a day to day operating system.

Jump forward a year and a bit and I know sit here with a semi fresh installation of Ubuntu 9.10 (64bit) in front of me and I am astounded at how quickly things have progressed. The experience is just so much more polished and it feels like such a solid OS to work with. There are some negatives however, such as the music library management program I had been using, Songbird, ditching its iPod support, but that is for another time. So without any further ado, lets jump into how I handle my workflow from start to finish.

First off, we have a nice and clean desktop to work from. You may be different, but I absolutely hate clutter in the back ground. Whether it is a gazillion shortcuts, mounted devices or a busy wallpaper, I just cannot stand it.

desktop
Now, so you have come home from a busy day covering a protest or trekking up and and down mountains in search of that “perfect” landscape, you have your images on your card and you want them downloaded onto your PC. My recommendation would be a nice little app called Rapid Photo Downloader, which does exactly as the name suggests, it downloads your photos off your memory cards nice and quick and has management for folder structure and file management among other things. It isn’t a catalog manager but for those who are used to using Explorer, Finder or Nautilus to manage your collection of images, it isn’t a bad starting point.


Next up is getting around to the actual processing of the images. At the moment, I am using a trial of Bibble 5 and I am amazed at how much it has improved since Bibble 4. There are a few areas of the program that by far outshine parts of Lightroom, like incorporated Noise Ninja, the ability to create edit layers and some of the presets as well. It mightn’t be as polished as Lightroom is or as quick sometimes, but it really is a powerful image editing program. There are some basic catalog features in there and the interface is straight forward and rather easy to get used to as you use it. Of course, one large downside is the price, Bibble 5 is currently selling for USD$199.95, a bit of a sting if you are more than used to the free nature of most of the Linux world. If you decide it is worth it though, you get an incredibly powerful and versatile piece of software for your money. If you don’t want to fork out this kind of cash, then there are other options out there such as Raw Therapy (which I spoke about in my last article) and RawStudio which can be had for the grand total of nothing.

bibble

bibble2

Once you have finished editing your photos, you will most likely want to share them with the world. In my case, that meant finding an application to upload batches of photos to Flickr with as little trouble as possible. I also wanted something where I could specify a particular set for the images to be placed in as well as tags and resize options if I needed to resize something quickly without opening the Gimp or Bibble. After a quick search of the internet, I decided to give kflickr a go as it looked like it was the best match for my needs. It is incredibly simple to use and nice and quick. Haven’t had an issue with it yet (touch wood).

kflickr

I decided to not include any mention of the Gimp as it really hasn’t changed all that much since I last spoke of it and also, I never really use it. Same for another great program, Inkscape, it is incredibly feature rich and a great free alternative to Indesign, but I just have not had a chance to use it lately and give an accurate opinion on it. If you like to do some video editing on the side, then there are options there as well such asPiTiVi which seems to be a well polished, feature rich video editor/movie maker (don’t ask me any more about it, I only have it installed and haven’t used it yet).

So there we have it, a quick run down of what is available to a budding photographer who doesn’t want to rely on either Microsoft or Apple for their computing needs. Using an OS such as Ubuntu also means that you can save a fair bit of cash when building a system to use for your editing needs, which leaves more money in the bank for cameras, lenses and other accessories 😉

Been A While

Yes, it has been a hell of a long time since I last posted anything here. A couple of months in fact. Well, what has been happening? Lots, but not really of the good kind. Life took a few turns for the worse a month back and I am still getting myself back on track.

I had also been using Ubuntu as my sole OS for about two months and while I was getting on great with it, I really was missing Lightroom waaay too much. So here I am, back on Vista because of one program and because Adobe refuses to port their software over to Linux. The OS was great though (Ubuntu 8.04 LTS) and I had some good alternatives to Lightroom, I just missed having my workflow encased in one program as opposed to several. That and I now can play some games every now and then and use iTunes again as well. We shall see how it goes though. I may cave and go buy a mac or you never know, Adobe may announce that they have released Lightroom and the rest of their Creative Suite for Linux. Whe that day comes, I see a lot of Windows and Mac based photographers making the switch. I mean, why not? It is free, more stable than Windows ever could be and fully customizable and expandable. For the first time in my life, Linux was easy to use and actually worked for me (overlooking the absense of Lightroom). By the looks of it, I will be keeping a Debian or Fedora server running for dad as well, after he had a few problems with Windows Home Server.

Anyways, uni and life in general has gotten in the way of taking many photos, but the semester is now over and I only have two exams so expect a bit more in that regard very soon.

Linux and Photography

Linux and photography have always been somewhat of an odd couple. Photographers have mostly preferred to use Windows or Mac OS over any Linux distro thanks to the wider range of image management and processing applications available for them. Now, I had been one of those photographers happily using Windows and a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop until a few months ago when Vista went south on me. While reinstalling, I did some reading on the new release of Ubuntu Linux (Hardy Heron) and through that, found Ubuntu Studio. After a bit more reading about the OS and some of the new applications that are available, I decided to take the plunge and installed Ubuntu Studio 8.04 on my laptop along side my Vista install.

Keep reading for more on my experiences using Ubuntu Studio as my photo editing OS.

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