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Linux Solutions - Photo Editing

Updated on April 22, 2011

When someone says, why don't you try Linux? After the gut response of, I don't know how to use it. The next thought that comes to mind is, but how will I be able to do all the things I need to do on Linux? Does it have the software I need? How much will it cost?

First let me say that most software for Linux is free. There are some applications that are not, but for the most part you can find solutions to all your computer needs free of charge in Linux. This if mainly due to the large community of Linux users who have the same needs you do; many of them have the ability to create a program to do what they need or at least some of what they need. Once they have created a program, many will offer it to others free of charge.

On another hub I have shown many of the options for managing your personal finances, but at this time I thought I would talk about something else many of us do frequently on our computers. Which is displaying, editing, and managing our digital photographs. All the software I will discuss is for dealing with photographs. They are not graphics programs that will also edit pictures, but are designed specifically for working with photographs.


Google offers a version of their Picasa software in Linux. As of this writing it is Picasa 3 Beta for Linux (version 3.0.0). This is my preferred software for red-eye removal, straightening, and various color tone manipulation with a white balance feature. Out of all I've tried they have the best red-eye removal I've seen so far. With their tags, captions, albums, import options, upload capabilities, as well as a way to order prints, I believe they should handle the needs of most users.

I should mention that since the Linux version is only 3.0.0 Beta it does not have the all the features of the current Picasa. For example I haven't been able to do geo-tagging with Picasa 3. It should also be noted that while it is free for use, the software is proprietary.


F-Spot is another photo management program, that has many of the same features as Picasa. I found their red-eye tool to leave a thin red halo around the pupil that was occasionally distracting. But other than that F-Spot is easy to use and will organize things just as easily as other applications I have tried. F-spot is designed for the Gnome Desktop Environment and is included in default install of Ubuntu 10.04 and before.


Shotwell is my husband's choice for his photo management. Personally the only thing I disliked was that I couldn't be zoomed in on eye when attempting to use the red-eye tool like I can in Picasa. The other edge that Picasa may have over Shotwell for some, is the ability to upload your images to online print order services. We have a family debate as to whether the images saved in Shotwell are smaller in size than those saved in Picasa. Otherwise Shotwell is nice, clean, easy to use interface. It is also the default photo software installed Ubuntu 10.10 and Fedora 14.


While I have not personally tried digiKam. From their website it seems to be very feature rich including face recognition and geo-tagging features. It is designed for the KDE Desktop Environment so don't think you'll be left in the dark if you don't use Gnome.

These are not your only options, but they are some of the more comprehensive programs.  They tend to be feature rich and from what I can find have a pretty loyal following.  There are other programs that make simple cropping or cutting down file size easier, but that is often at the expense of the EXIF or meta-tag information.  There are other programs that will allow you to edit the meta-tag information if you desire.  There are plenty of options, you just have to give them a try.


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