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Graphics Software Businesses Linux Apple

Linux Alternatives To Apple's Aperture 271

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the linux-users-deserve-pretty-pictures-too dept.
somethingkindawierd writes "An experiment focusing on open source tools for Ubuntu Linux to compete with Aperture on the Mac. The author didn't think he would find a worthwhile open source solution, but to his surprise he found some formidable raw processing tools. A good read for any Linux fan or photographer looking for capable and inexpensive tools"
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Linux Alternatives To Apple's Aperture

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  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:01PM (#24136317)
    Hi, I'm GlaDoS, how may I help with your photo proooooocess-ss-ing needs?
  • by DanWS6 (1248650) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:03PM (#24136361)
    So far it's the best tool I've found. It's lightweight and very fast. I love how easy it is to adjust the exposure and color temps. It's easy to find blown highlights and get rid of them. The downside is getting it to work with my new XSi was a pain. I had to use a hex editor on the executable and convert my CR2 files into DNG files. The extra steps are annoying. I tried out Lightroom, but there's no way I'd pay $300 for that bloated crap. I'm definitely going to check out rawtherapee.
  • Here's a Summary! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kamineko (851857) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:06PM (#24136427)

    F-Spot, The default photo editor that comes with Ubuntu 8.04, was quickly discarded. [FOSS]

    Picasa, Really liked the application overall. I crop all my photos to the golden ratio of 1.62:1, so this limitation is unacceptable. [NOT FOSS]

    LightZone, very similar to both Aperture and Adobe's Lightroom. Costs $200 and is not open source. No online support forum.
    Bibble, very fast and it only costs $130. It does not however have any photo-management capabilities. No tagging, project management, or meta data editing. [NOT FOSS]

    Raw Therapee, raw photo processor, free. It does not, however, run on Mac OS X. Does not manage projects. And it does not work with anything but raw photos, so it will not allow for processing jpegs or tiffs

    Qtpfsgui, another useful application. HDR tool for Ubuntu Linux, Macintosh, and Windows.

    The result:

    There isn't an all-in-one package that will do the trick, but by combining Ubuntu's file manager Nautilus for project management, Raw Therapee for raw processing, and the Gimp for non-raw processing, just about everything I do in Aperture can be done on Ubuntu Linux using free and open source solutions.

    • by beh (4759) * on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:37PM (#24137155)

      But that's part of the shortfall...

      Lightroom and Aperture are so good BECAUSE they are integrated.

      There is nothing really in Lightroom that you can't do with Photoshop - but the way it's integrated and how it's able to work with / organise large collections of photos makes Lightroom one of the most run Apps on my Mac.

      As long as Linux doesn't offer a good competitor to Lightroom / Aperture, I will keep doing my photography stuff on the Mac...

    • F-Spot, The default photo editor that comes with Ubuntu 8.04, was quickly discarded. [FOSS]

      Maybe change that to [fOSS].

      It's open source, for sure, but since F-Spot is built on mono, a port of Microsoft .NET, it probably contains Microsoft intellectual property, the licensing of which may be dependent on which distro (e.g. SUSE) you're running, so 'Free' is debatable.

      It could be a patent trap ... or not. That uncertainty is certainly disconcerting.

    • Re:Here's a Summary! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Fred_A (10934) <fred@@@fredshome...org> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:59PM (#24137651) Homepage

      There's also digikam [digikam.org] which does a *lot* of things including management, basic editing and raw processing (although I do that last bit in Bibble). It's Qt but will run fine on a Gnome desktop.

    • by harry666t (1062422) <harry666t&gmail,com> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:00PM (#24137663)
      > Qtpfsgui

      Holy crap, how does one spell that? o_0

      How did the author come up with this name? Did he smashed the keyboard with an enraged basement cat or what? Or is it "Cthulhu" reversed and triple-ROT13'd?...
      • > Qtpfsgui

        Holy crap, how does one spell that? o_0

        How did the author come up with this name? Did he smashed the keyboard with an enraged basement cat or what? Or is it "Cthulhu" reversed and triple-ROT13'd?...

        Not exactly from the project website -
        Qtpfsgui at sourceforge [sourceforge.net]
        Why this name?
        Qt: the program uses Qt4 to show its graphical widgets.pfs: the main backend library and original sourcecode base.
        gui: this stands simply for graphical user interface.

      • by retzkek (1002769) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @03:23PM (#24140843)
        It certainly allows for some creative pronunciations... Cutey-puffs-gooey?
    • Re:Here's a Summary! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Draek (916851) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:02PM (#24137741)

      Raw Therapee, raw photo processor, free. It does not, however, run on Mac OS X. Does not manage projects. And it does not work with anything but raw photos, so it will not allow for processing jpegs or tiffs

      Huh? out-of-the-box it can't, but you just click on Preferences > File Browser, uncheck Show only RAW files, and there ya go. Can't understand why "doesn't run on MacOSX" would be a con in an article about *Linux* alternatives to Aperture either, but oh well.

      Ohh, and about Lightroom, the older (v2.x) versions used to be free (as in $0) on Linux, plus they ran on non-SSE2 CPUs, so Linux users strapped for cash may want to search the 'net for them instead.

    • by sootman (158191) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:04PM (#24144139) Homepage Journal

      ... Qtpfsgui ...

      OK, it's been a joke/cliche/truism for years about OSS packages with crappy names, but... damn. I think we have a winner. 6 consonants in a row and two vowels at the end. No one will over beat that. It looks like someone's cat walked over the keyboard just as the owner was clicking 'create new project' on SourceForge.

    • But I'm a bit surprised to see that no one has mentioned BlueMarine [tidalwave.it].

      Granted, I'm just beginning to examine how such applications address me needs (not sure if they do, yet... Adobe Bridge seems to be all I need), but I do like the way that BlueMarine works.

      Any thoughts?

  • by ehack (115197) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:07PM (#24136449) Journal

    Color management means an image is shown the same on every screen, and as close as possible on paper. You cannot do serious photo work without integrated color management, but unfortunately even Winsh*t still leads Linux by ten years here. It's time the Linux guys moved their efforts to desktop app integration - the server is done - you hear me, guys ? the server is done, move to improving the desktop !

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      the server is done - you hear me, guys ? the server is done, move to improving the desktop !

      So far, I have not been impressed with the efforts to "improve" the desktop. With every new iteration of the various popular distributions, it seems like more and more functionality is tied to GNOME and/or KDE with fewer and fewer features available through the command line.

      I think it would be better if people kept their hands off the desktop.

      Oh, and I can't do serious photo work, because I'm not any good at photogra

      • by iamwhoiamtoday (1177507) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:25PM (#24136849)
        I LIKE IT that less and less features are tied into the command line. It's a lot easier for me to use a computer via GUI then via obscure command line commands. I run Ubuntu on two different computers at home, 3D acceleration, COMPIZ, WINE, all work extremely well. And I didn't have to use the command line to set any of them up. The average person who uses a computer (Example: My Mother) can now use Ubuntu, because the average person depends on a GUI instead of memorization of a bunch of command line commands. Most people don't CARE what Operating System they are using, as long as it is simple, as long as the UI is friendly. Look at OS X. It's rather user friendly. Linux is heading the same way, while Vista.... well, it's Vista. ;)
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fork_daemon (1122915)

          A line needs to be drawn somewhere..

          Us geeks like the CLI even today because we know that the CLI is much more efficint for the kind of task that we do. It is quicker to do many tasks from the CLI than the click>wait app to launch> Click the Tab> Select The Option> Apply> Close. But we need to remember that the population of average user outruns the population of us geeks.

          The developers need to continue designing better GUI apps without compromising on the CLI bundle that we still use.

          • by samkass (174571) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:54PM (#24137507) Homepage Journal

            Speak for yourself, and don't try to speak for "us geeks". There are a lot of geeks who use the GUI for almost everything. Yes, I like to have tcsh available on my MacOS Terminal (I know some prefer bash), but the idea that preferring a GUI costs me geek cred (finally!) died over a decade ago.

            • by jedidiah (1196)

              Until the GUI tools are comprehensive (they just aren't, on anyplatform) there will always be the need to have CLI tools.
              Fortunately, there is really nothing forcing those to go away.
              Package managers make it trivial to add things that aren't
              installed by default and simpler CLI tools (and even some GUI)
              tools don't require any fancy installers. You can just pick up
              a binary and use it.

            • You aren't much of a geek, then. Preferring the GUI for CERTAIN TASKS is a good thing. But the GUI is simply not the best interface for everything. There are some things that are much better done with the CLI, which is what I think the GPP was getting at. Don't stop development of the command-line interface and tools simply because we want to appeal to grandmas and other people scared of the command line.

          • by JerkBoB (7130)

            A line needs to be drawn somewhere..

            Us geeks like the CLI even today because we know that the CLI is much more efficint for the kind of task that we do.

            Oh please. Get over yourself.

            A GUI, when designed well and used appropriately, is zillions of times faster than a CLI for performing certain classes of tasks.

            A concrete example? Wi-Fi management. On my Ubuntu 8.04 laptop, I click the little network icon in my upper panel, choose a wireless network, and enter a password if necessary. Then I wait for both green lights to come on, and I'm done!

            I know how to do all of that in the CLI (did it for YEARS... since the late 90s), but it's by no means faster to

        • What about the guys who'd like the $FUNCTIONALITY on *both* GUI and CLI?

          I've been trying to control Amarok with DCOP && ssh from another room, but this isn't really a sane solution...
        • I LIKE IT that less and less features are tied into the command line.

          The problem is that features are becoming tied to the GUI, so the command line is not an option.

          It's a lot easier for me to use a computer via GUI then via obscure command line commands.

          Well, its a lot easier for me to type commands at a prompt than dig through obscure menus.

          I run Ubuntu on two different computers at home, 3D acceleration, COMPIZ, WINE, all work extremely well. And I didn't have to use the command line to set any of them

      • the server is done - you hear me, guys ? the server is done, move to improving the desktop !

        So far, I have not been impressed with the efforts to "improve" the desktop. With every new iteration of the various popular distributions, it seems like more and more functionality is tied to GNOME and/or KDE with fewer and fewer features available through the command line.

        When last I checked commands were not "either-or".

        Additionally, That's kinda the point...

        I don't want to have to drop to a shell every time I want to do file management because every graphical manager lacks a "sudo" dialogue.

        2 other important things on my wishlist besides this and color management, an OSS version of "column view" from finder, and I want gnome to integrate true next style navigation. In an era where vertical real estate is at a premium, slapping a menubar into each window is a huge waste.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Eli Gottlieb (917758)

        Ummmm... DBus? You can open up a text editor and write a program that scripts your desktop (ie: GUI-based) applications in C++, Python, C, Java, or basically any other language. Then you can run that script from the command line.

    • by kwalker (1383)

      Seeing as how most of that color-management some want so badly is patented by various for-profit companies, and considering that patent lifetime is (currently) 17 years, and finally if Windows is "ten years" more advanced than Linux, then it's as much as 7 more years (Barring a patent lifetime extension being rammed through Congress) before those patents expire and Linux distros can finally start integrating those technologies legally.

      For the time being, there are ways to get color management in Linux [wikipedia.org] depen

      • by ehack (115197)

        This is typical Linux FUD. All the basic stuff has been made generally available by the various people who defined the ICC profile standards. There are no royalties attached. There are some excellent CMS packages under Linux (argyll, lcms) , but system-wide support is missing because of the fragmented nature of the community - read they cannot make up their minds where to put the config files, I'm not joking.

  • Golden ratio? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by martinw89 (1229324) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:08PM (#24136479)
    I have to admit, even though Picasa could probably use more crop aspect ratios, I immediately subconsciously discredited the author when he stated that the golden ratio was a requirement.
  • What a tool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jonnythan (79727) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:12PM (#24136565) Homepage

    I stopped caring when the author said that he crops "all" his photos to the same (non-standard) ratio.

    Closed, done. Sorry.

    • I stopped caring when the author said that he crops "all" his photos to the same (non-standard) ratio.

      Oh, I gave him that one - artistic expression and all that. What killed me was the smilies.

      Real reviews don't use smilies. Ever.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kestasjk (933987)
      But it's the golden ratio: the most perfect of ratios!
  • digiKam? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:22PM (#24136785)

    What, has no-one mentioned digiKam [digikam.org] yet?
    What a terrible omission from the review.

    Take a look, it's really good.

    • Re:digiKam? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MMC Monster (602931) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:57PM (#24137589)

      Totally agree.

      I prefer Digikam to iPhoto for many reasons. The most important to me is that I can keep a folder organization that makes logical sense on disc and have it reflected in digikam.

      One thing it gets right that other photo managers get wrong: Selecting photos and moving them to another photo will bring up a small dialog asking if you want to copy or move the files. Stupid and irrelevant for /.'ers, but great for those that forget that holding down the shift or control keys are how this is generally done in other applications (like my dad, who constantly screws up his iPhoto folders by copying when he thinks he is moving, or vice versa).

      One slight gripe: It follows the KDE standard of a single click opening a photo instead of selecting it (easily changed by installing kcontrol in ubuntu and changing the mouse property).

    • If you like KDE apps, which I don't. There's just something about the interface and menus and what not that I just can't stand. Oh well.

      Back on topic, I personally use rawstudio [rawstudio.org] to import from my camera [sonystyle.com] do some basic adjustments and then export to gimp. And mono be damned, F-Spot is a perfect iPhoto replacement. I've played with lightroom and aperture on vista and leopard respectively and find both work well, but just don't justify their pricetag for me.

      There are plenty of options, and they should all

  • I used to have these awesome perl scripts that selected some random FLAC files that hadn't been selected lately, decompressed them and converted them to mp3 on the fly, and copied them to my sandisk player. "It does everything itunes can do!" Then I tried showing it to somebody (a chick) - got all flustered, and f*cked it up. "Just use iTunes" I said in defeat :-)

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      How does iTunes do with the non-Apple media player BTW?

      Given that iTunes doesn't even like non-Apple mp3 files, I can't imagine it being pretty.

      "The one true interface" probably doesn't do the multiple device management either, or the at-will compression.

      It sounds like the perl script is not "doing everything itunes can do" but is "doing what itunes can't".

      That's usually why people have perl scripts: The "shiny happy people" never thought of it.

  • I do all my photoprocessing on Ubuntu.

    -I use gthumb for organization and importing from the camera (way better than f-spot, which I've never liked)
    -I use ufraw with the GIMP plugin to process raw files
    -I use GIMP for further processing
    -I use Hugin and its associated tools for panoramas

    That's all I need, and I sell photos every week, however, I'll be looking into some of the tools mentioned in the article.

  • by smably (992308) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @12:55PM (#24137541) Homepage
    I don't know why the author thinks that Raw Therapee can't process JPEGs or TIFFs. Just go into the preferences screen, uncheck "Show only RAW files", and you're set.

    Also missing from the comparison: Rawstudio [rawstudio.org] and UFRaw [sourceforge.net].

    If you're interested in RAW processing on Linux, there's an excellent blog called Linux Photography [wordpress.com] about this very subject.
  • From TFA:

    I am a bit disappointed that there is no online support forum.

    Then what's this [lightcrafts.com]?

  • by kwalker (1383) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:05PM (#24137815) Journal

    Since the author of the blog post is asking for an Aperture clone for Linux, the answer will pretty much always be "no". If the author were to ask "Can I do my photo processing, from importing RAW files to storing the finished picture and printing?" the answer is yes.

    Here's how I do it:

    1. gthumb-import (Which uses gphoto) to talk to the camera and bring in the RAW files. It even imports the .mov or .avi files for videos shot from the camera.
    2. gthumb for photo organization. You can do some basic photo manips (Rotation) right from here, as well as tagging, categorization, and creating collections.
    3. gimp (with ufraw-gimp to decode the RAW structure and doing some initial tricks like exposure-compensation and white balance) for more advanced photo manipulation, cropping, rotation (For anything other than 90-degree-increment rotations), perspective correction, red-eye removal, HDR, de-noising (Using GREYCstoration-gimp), workflow-automation (It's scriptable in Perl, Python, and others) and finishing after running through other programs like...
    4. hugin for panoramic creation. Photo-stitching is pretty easy. It helps with reference-point creation, FOV calculation, and final panorama "projection" (rectliniar, square, wrap-around, etc).

    Just save all projects in .xcf or .xcf.bz2 and export finished product to .png.

    One last thing, for all the haters who whine about ONLY having 16.8 million colors to work with, even without your help GIMP is integrating GEGL which will bring 16bit integer and 32bit floating point per component.

    • > gthumb-import (Which uses gphoto) to talk to the camera and bring in the RAW files.

      Not being familiar with this tool, what is the advantage of just rsyncing the files over USB mass storage? Seems to be adding a layer of complexity for no realy gain.

      • by kwalker (1383)

        Not all cameras show up as usb-storage devices. Some speak "PTP" (Photo Transfer Protocol) which gphoto understands.

        If you're running a modern GNOME desktop, when you plug in your camera, gthumb-import auto-launches and asks if you want to import, so it's actually easier than opening a terminal and rsyncing (Especially if you don't have a script to handle most of the mundane details for you). Plus it auto-launches gthumb on the newly imported directory (generally named the date-time of the import, so as to

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jockm (233372)

      8BPP is fine for viewing images, or just making a few edits. But having only 256 steps in each channel becomes a liability very quickly if you need to apply a few filters, touch up a bit, do a little dodging, etc. You quickly loose the subtly.

      I am very excited that GIMP is integrating with GEGL. Of course I have been waiting 6 years for this (not kidding that is when the effort to go beyond 8BPP started), and it still isn't out yet. So I am not going to hold my breath until it comes out.

      But even when it

  • Cinelerra does raw .cr2 decompression & all the processing in floating point. Useful for stacking hundreds of astrophotography images. Only for build system masters of course.

  • by BigJim.fr (40893) <jim@liotier.org> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @01:07PM (#24137883) Homepage
    I have used many Linux image browsers and editors along with a stable of home grown bash scripts. Even though I still use my scripts out of habit, I must say that Digikam can replace most of them and provide a seamless JPEG workflow in a state of the art environment. There are still some small things I would appreciate, such as a better curves dialog, but overall I have been a very happy user. Some tools such as the crop tool with framing aids are the best I have ever seen, and overall I have seen my photo editing time almost halved by using Digikam. It is not a general graphics editor - for retouching you still need something else, but for the basic editing (everything that touches the whole image) it fills the need perfectly. And it is the best IPTC tagger I have used so far.
  • Lightroom wins (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Boarder2 (185337)

    I've fought this same battle for a few years. Originally I used Canons software to process RAWs, it was terrible and I needed an alternative.

    I tried Pixmatic Raw Shooter when it was free and that worked ok for me, and ran in Wine with minimal issues.

    I switched to Picasa when it became available for Linux and supported RAW. It had much better album management, but looking back, the photos it produced looked terrible.

    Eventually I switched to Capture One's software. I had to pay money for it, but it worked

  • He is confused (Score:4, Informative)

    by skeeto (1138903) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @03:47PM (#24141369)

    This experiment focuses mainly on Aperture and what tools, if any, exist for Ubuntu to replace my Aperture workflow with something cross-platform and open-source that I can use on Mac OS X and Ubuntu.

    And then what he looks at,

    • F-spot
    • Picasa - proprietary
    • LightZone - proprietary
    • Bibble - proprietary
    • Raw Therapee - proprietary
    • Qtpfsgui

    He stated a criteria ("open-source"), then 4 out of 6 had nothing to do with that criteria. Nice work on consistency there, pal.

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