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Linux.SYS-CON.com Editorial: The Digital Photo Cornucopia

The Digital Photo Cornucopia

My aunt and I were having an e-mail discussion about which is the easiest to use: a real photo album with pictures or a computer photo album, as on a CD-ROM. I suggested that we put all the family photos into an album rather than having them strewn all over the place in photo folders. She suggested scanning them into the computer and building a photo album that way. I tend to agree with her, as a digital photo album is easier to preserve and present than the more traditional photo album.

If you're like me, chances are your family has hundreds (if not thousands) of photographs scattered about the house. Most are probably bundled together rather haphazardly in cardboard photo packets. While this certainly serves a purpose, stacking dozens of photo packets in a drawer isn't the best way to make a photo album.

Once again, Linux comes to the rescue of our photo cornucopia. By making your photographs digital, you'll be encountering far fewer headaches when it comes time to show off your photo album at social gatherings. There are multiple ways to get your photographs onto the computer, but the two main ways have always been scanning them into the computer or uploading them via a digital camera or compact flash card.

Linux makes this a snap with GPhoto2 (www.gphoto.org). GPhoto2 is an impressive, easy-to-use set of digital camera programs that allows users to upload from their digital camera, edit photographs, and resize pictures with ease. The software also supports well over 600 different cameras, many of them state-of-the-art.

At the heart of GPhoto2 lies the portable library libgphoto2, supporting a wide array of different digital cameras and settings. The list of supported cameras is already impressive - from Achiever Digital to Canon, Epson, and UMAX, the number of cameras is both comprehensive and diverse.

GPhoto2 also includes a nifty command-line interface (also named gphoto2). It allows the use of digital cameras from a script shell or terminal, giving functionality to virtually every conceivable camera operation available.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the robustness of GPhoto2 and highly recommend it for everyday digital camera operations. It is highly unlikely that a better digital photo system exists, which makes the open source nature of GPhoto2 all the more appealing.

If you have a digital camera, give GPhoto2 a spin. Soon your regular photos will be living comfortable lives inside your computer, safe from the dust and fingerprints common to regular photographs everywhere.

More Stories By Paul Panks

Paul Panks is the author of "HLA Adventure," an adventure game written in Randall Hyde's HLA (High Level Assembly) language. His ultimate intention was for others to eventually contribute to this project, so in May 2003 he released it into public domain, including the source
code, so others could add to the game over time. Paul is a native of Phoenix, Arizona, an avid fan of pro football and creative writing, and became
interested in Linux programming through Red Hat Linux and Fedora Core.

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