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HarjTT Feb 22, 2007 12:46 PM

As you know I've been playing with LightZone now for the last couple for weeks and have been really happy with it but it's missing the library/cataloguing features that LR has and I've been kind of missing that. So I stumbled upon Google picasa for Ubuntu/Debain linux which combined with Lightzone give you something pretty similar (but not integrated) features that Lightroom has and all for free.

The how to is here:



:O :?

JimC Feb 22, 2007 1:28 PM

Yep, Lightzone is free for Linux, even though it's a commercial product for Windows. :-)

As for Picasa, Steve actually ran the story when Google made Picasa available for Linux (I sent him a note about it and it ran on our breaking news page here). It's got some quirks the way they're doing it. I haven't ran it under LInux in a while though (since one of the first betas).

Linux has some good tools available for editing images now, and most are free. Use the package management utility in your favorite Linux distro and search for UFRaw for starters.

Are you using Ubuntu (you mentioned that one)? Which version (6.06 LTS/Dapper) or 6.10 (Edgy)?

You can use Synaptic to install most stuff.

Also, get ufraw-gimp (it's a plugin for the Gimp).

This program is designed to work as a stand alone product or as a plugin for the Gimp (and make sure to download the Gimp, too).

UFRaw is doing the raw conversion and all edits in 16 bit mode, even when working as a Gimp plugin. It also works as a stand alone raw converter. The Gimp itself is just limited to 8 bits.

UFRaw is using the demosaic algorithms from dcraw.c, addding a nice GUI interface and more features. it's also available for Windows.

Another good product available for LInux that will convert your raw files is Eric Hyman's Bibble (also available for Windows). It has a pretty decent feature list available.

It's not free. But, you can download trial versions to see if you like it or not.

Also, make sure to check out DigiKam (free).

It's got a pretty good user interface, and I find myself preferring it's tools to some of the better known image editing applications for simple taks (USM, etc.). You'll also find it available in the repositories for most Linux distributions that use KDE. It's free and will convert your raw files, too.

If you're using Dapper (Ubuntu 6.06 LTS) digiKam 0.9.0 is not in the repositories yet (they're on the older 0.8.2 version which only supported 8 bit editing).

If you're running Ubuntu Dapper, I can give you links to download a couple of packages you'll need to install the newer 0.9.x version of digiKam in it (I'm running it under SimplyMEPIS 6.0 Final and SimplyMEPIS 6.5 Beta 6 right now and have the packages needed). These versions of SimplyMEPIS are using the Ubuntu Dapper respositories (and the new version isn't in the Dapper repositories yet).

Here are some screen shots (and make sure to install the kipi plugins for it).

I like it's highlight recovery better than Adobe Camera Raw. For example, the dog in this snapshot I took Monday was overexposed a good 2 stops according to the Exposure Slider in Adobe Camera Raw, and the JPEG was unrecoverable.

I liked this version better (using digiKam 0.9.0 setup to recover some of the highlights). I ran it through multiple converters, including ACR before I settled on digiKam's conversion.

It's a good thing I was in raw + jpeg and had the raw file. :-)

Another product to look at is Krita. KOffice 1.6 was just released, and a number of improvements were made to Krita (it's image editor), too. Krita now supports 16 bit editing, raw conversion, layers, color management and more.

As you already mentioined, another product worth looking at is Lightzone. It's user interface takes some getting used to. But, it's starting to grow on me a bit.

The Windows and Mac version of it are $149.95 or $249.95, depending on the version:

But, they offer it free for Linux users. BTW, I've seen users report that it's the fastest browser they've found for .raw files with Linux.

In a commercial (not free) product, Pixel supports color management with Linux and is an up and coming tool with 16 bit editing ability:

A lot of Linux users like Cinepaint for image editing. It's a GIMP "fork" (most code oritinally based on the Gimp). But, unlike the Gimp, it supports 16 bit editing.

A good way to do this is to use UFRaw for the raw conversion, color balancing, white point balancing, etc. Then, open the converted images using Cinepaint for any further tweaking desired (Unsharp Mask, etc.). It's free.

You can also get a number of Windows image editors to run under Linux via Wine (a free product that lets Windows apps run in Linux). . There are even dedicated sites to help you out with that part. Forget PS CS2 for now (although with a bit of tweaking, you can get earlier Photoshop versions to run OK with Linux under Wine).

I run products like Raw Shooter Essentials 2006 and the FastStone Image Viewer (both Windows products) in Linux via Wine. This site has more info on using Wine to run Windows apps (and many applications not in their lists run fine, too).

Make sure you install the msttcorefonts package, then install wine, then run winecfg to make sure fonts render OK (some Windows apps with have undereadable fonts if you don't have msttorefonts installed, since the fonts being used may not translate properly to the ones in the distro).

Another up and coming Graphics package that's free for Linux is Xara LX (recently renamed to Xara Extreme). It's pretty slick and powerful software and supports 16 bit edits (but, it doesn't have some of the tools that photographers may want yet like USM). For graphics designers, it would be hard to beat (and it's free).

There are many more out there. These are just some of them I've got installed on my PC.

I've got Windows XP Pro and more than one Linux distribution installed on my PC. Note that Windows XP is now at the bottom of my boot menu choices, since I don't use Windows very often anymore. lol

HarjTT Feb 22, 2007 3:50 PM

Hi Jim

Thats a cracker of a shot . I'd basically been forced to use my Linux box as my wee shuttle XPC isn't playing ball at all and had thought there was nothing apart from Bibble worth even using. I'm slowly getting to like the GIMP but then again there's not much else available and it has a way to go before its as good as Photoshop - in my opinion they really need to redo the GUi and layout of the application. Right now I really like Lightzone - even though my machine struggles with it. Kudos to lightcraft from giving this for free and many thanks for listing all that valuable info in your post.

Lunix wise, I'm using Ubuntu Edgy 6.10, which I think is the best linux distro I've used in years although I've had to skin it too look like OSX.



:? :O

JimC Feb 22, 2007 4:04 PM

A lot of the stuff I mentioned is already in the Edgy repositories (digiKam 0.9.0 and it's plugins, ufraw, cinepaint, krita and more) that you can install with Synaptic.

Have you got wine installed? How about msttcorefonts? Install those and run winecfg from a console and you can run a lot of Windows apps with acceptable font readability. Both are in the repositories and can be installed with Synaptic (or just use Automatix to grab 'em instead, as I think it may have options for them). I avoid it myself (automatix), as it's left my sources messed up before when something didn't install properly.

HarjTT Feb 22, 2007 7:07 PM

Hi Jim

The first thing I did was download and install the MS fonts - linux fionts are just ugly. I've got wine installed and configured but this box is way too underpowered for that. I'm plannign to upgrade the MB/CPU?RAM/Drive soon so I'll be putting thro its paces when I do.



:O :?

JimC Feb 22, 2007 7:16 PM

Underpowered? LOL

Heck, I've got SimplyMEPIS 6.5 Beta 6 running on an old 300mhz PII Mobile my wife still uses with 256MB of RAM. It will actually run in less than 100MB of RAM, and that's with the heavier KDE versus Gnome (SimplyMEPIS uses KDE by default, even though it uses the Ubuntu repositories).

Even though it's based on Ubuntu, it is a little tighter code than you'd find in Ubuntu (takes far less resources for the base OS, even though it has a lot more stuff included by default and used KDE).

I've got wine on it with a few Windows apps. It is a bit slow though (mostly the speed of the old 3600rpm drive in it). LOL

I actually had SimplyMEPIS 3.3.x running on it in 64MB of RAM originally. But, I upgraded it to 256MB later and have upgraded the version of SimplyMEPIS on it from time to time (currently I've got 6.5 Beta 6 on it).

Note the memory being used (69MB) on the laptop (this was actually beta 4, but I don't think beta 6 has really changed much). The old 3.3.x versions used less. lol

HarjTT Feb 22, 2007 7:22 PM

i thought my setup - a dual PIII 500, 512MB RAM and 3 UW SCSI-2 drives was underpowered! For lightZone _ i think if i can get a pair of PIII 700s and another 512MB it'd be ok otherwise I'll be swapping MB out and upgrading the whole thing.

JimC Feb 22, 2007 7:25 PM

Lightzone is a memory hog. They recommend 1GB minimum.

I haven't used it a lot yet. That UI does take some getting used to (and nope, I didn't try to install it on my wife's old laptop). lol

HarjTT Feb 22, 2007 7:54 PM


id say BibblePro was more of a memory hog - at least 1 core dump everytime i used it. Lightzone just works .. a little slow but works.

JimC Feb 22, 2007 8:01 PM

I dunno. I've got 1GB on my PC which has a 3ghz P4 with HT, 800mhz FSB. But, that's plenty for anything I've tried to run in SimplyMEPIS. I guess I might benefit from more. But, for most stuff, far less would probably work OK.

The Base OS (SimplyMEPIS 6.x versions I run) do take more RAM on my PC (a bit over 100mb is the norm). That's probably because I've got Nvidia drivers, etc. on it.

The same OS only uses about 69MB on my wife's laptop . lol

I think Ubuntu probably takes at least twice the RAM for the base OS if memory serves. I haven't tried one lately. I prefer KDE and I don't like the look of Kubuntu.

The biggest downside to SimplyMEPIS is that it's based on Dapper versus Edgy. So, a lot of newer stuff isn't in the repositories. They (Ubuntu package maintainers) really need to do a better job backporting newer stuff to Dapper.

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