Photo management applications

It’s been a couple of years now since I have been a digiKam user. I have been mostly happy with it (actually I don’t even use a lot of its features as my needs are not particularly advanced), but from time to time the Flickr would fail for no reason. Some time ago I needed to upload a lot of pictures and it started failing again, so I looked for some alternatives.

Apart from other apps I knew already and didn’t particularly like, I found dfo (Desktop Flickr Organizer), a GNOME application. It was nice, and it was easy enough to upload pictures to Flickr with it, but it felt weird. What I would like to have is some application to manage my gallery, with some option to upload certain pictures to Flickr. However, this applications is more like a local Flickr mirror with synchronisation options. I don’t want all my pictures in Flickr, even marked as private. I just don’t care, and I don’t want to wait for all synchronisation between the app and Flickr. Moreover, I feel kind of tied to Flickr using that, and I’d rather work in a more “agnostic” environment. So it was cool using it to upload the pictures I had to upload, but I wasn’t really going to keep using it.

At the same time, one friend suggested using Picasa to upload some pictures, so I gave it a try. I had tried it briefly in the past, and I remember that some things were nice, but for some reason it was never my gallery manager of choice. So, trying it again, and even using the synchronisation options for the Picasa web albums, somehow I got the same feeling again: it’s nice, but there’s something undefined that makes me not use it. I have to admit that the interface is really fancy and easy to use, and it works decently well, but I don’t completely like the way the synchronisation works, not to mention that I don’t want to be stuck with only Picasa web albums. Also, I’m not happy with it being proprietary, not available in the Debian repositories, and with that special, anti-integrated interface. Some things work much better than in digiKam (I’m especially thinking fullscreen/slideshow, which sucks pretty badly in it), but I still prefer digiKam overall.

As I wasn’t too happy with the alternatives, I decided to have a look at the problem with digiKam. It turns out that digiKam just uses the so-called Kipi-plugins for picture exporting and other things, and that there was a new version of it that fixed a couple of issues… one of them being a problem with Flickr upload. The package is not available on Debian unstable because we’re currently in freeze (unfortunately, that means that Lenny will ship without a functional Flickr-uploading Kipi plugin). However, I saw that the new package was actually uploaded to experimental, so I decided to give it a try. Not only it works like a charm, but the new version 1.6 reworks the Flickr export plugin completely, and now it’s much nicer. So I’m happy now, back to digiKam with a working Flickr export o/. To install it yourself, make sure that you have this line in your /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ experimental main non-free contrib

Then, update your available package list and install kipi-plugins from experimental, like this:

sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude -t experimental install kipi-plugins

That should do it.