Feeds

Pictures of Ubuntu: Linux's best photo shots at Windows and Mac

F-Spot, Shotwell, RawTherapee in the frame

Boost IT visibility and business value

Bring on the GIMP

Feature-wise, Shotwell lags well behind F-Spot offering only very basic editing controls. In fact, at this point Shotwell is basically just a photo organizer. However, the roadmap indicates the next release should support opening your images in external editors like GIMP or UFRaw.

Shotwell is also a native Gnome app with no need for the overhead of Mono, which appears to be the reason both Fedora and Ubuntu have embraced it.

If you're looking for a lightweight, speedy photo organizer and prefer to do your editing in GIMP, Shotwell fits the bill.

Editing photos in Rawtherapee

Early signs are RawTherapee is headed to a strong, third installment

The last option on my list is not really a Linux app, but Google does make a version of Picasa for Linux that runs under Wine. Frankly, Picasa for Linux doesn't offer much that you won't find in Shotwell or F-Spot, but if you're used to the interface from the Windows version then it may be a good choice.

If your photos are in camera RAW format, none of these editors are going to do you much good. That's where you'll need an advanced editor.

Camera RAW images are uncompressed and offer post-production controls that far outstrip what you can do with a JPEG, but the cost is greater complexity and a swamp of proprietary file formats - neither of which lead to good open source software.

One of the best options for editing and organizing RAW images on both Windows and Mac is Adobe's Lightroom 3. Other options include ACDSee or Apple's Aperture.

There are several quite capable RAW editing programs for Linux, but the best of the free options is undoubtedly RawTherapee.

RawTherapee offers impressive RAW processing tools (decoding is done by dcraw, but the image processing is all RawTherapee) that generate excellent results. Check out the comparison page which, though slightly out of date, shows how RawTherapee's algorithms stack up against those of Adobe, Bibble Labs and other software.

RawTherapee is also on its way to what looks like a very impressive update. Version 3, currently an alpha, is slated to bring a new curves editor, some additional perspective correction tools, true multi-image processing and more.

Transitioning from Lightroom or Aperture to RawTherapee can be a little bumpy, but if you give the app a chance you'll find it can do almost everything its competitors do.

Inside Bibble

Bibble: confusing but a match for anything on Windows

The last option is neither free, nor open source. Despite that, Bibble Labs continues to turn out a Linux release of its flagship Bibble Pro.

You can download a 14-day trial, so I took the latest version (5.1) for a test drive. I found that while the interface can be a little confusing, the processing tools themselves are every bit as good as what you'll find in the much more expensive Windows software.

Where Bibble falls on its face is in its failure to support the DNG file format. If you're coming from Lightroom especially, you probably have a lot of DNG files, which renders Bibble quite useless.

And of course at $200, with no source available, Bibble Pro 5 is definitely not for everyone.

Other RAW editors for Linux include Lightzone (also not open source and priced $99.95) and UFRaw, a very basic, but capable, RAW editor that can also be used as a GIMP plugin.

While Linux has some capable photo editors that can handle the basics, whether you're an advanced or just casual photographer, the apps lack some extra features and polish found in similar offerings on other platforms.

That said, upcoming versions of Shotwell and RawTherapee look to close the gap considerably and should provide Linux users with enough options to fit everyone's needs. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.