Welcome!

Linux Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Liz Dickinson, Trevor Parsons, Anne Buff

Related Topics: Linux

Linux: Article

Managing Digital Pictures with Linux

Create your own photo op

In August, as the proverbial dog days of summer were upon us, I found that news in the Linux world slowed as many people went on vacation with their families. Consequently, these Linux users spent a considerable amount of time snapping large numbers of pictures, capturing memories of landmarks, friends, and family.

I too had the privilege of spending almost two weeks with my family on a trip through the Canadian Rockies where I amassed hundreds of pictures on my digital camera. Because storage is cheap and there's little incremental cost in taking digital pictures, I found myself in the situation where I had so many pictures I couldn't begin to organize them effectively without help. So I started to investigate options for organizing these pictures using Linux desktop software.

Extracting Images from Your Digital Camera

There was a time when extracting images from your digital camera to Linux was somewhat cumbersome. Those days have since passed since there are a number of Linux applications designed for use with your digital camera. Transferring pictures from your camera and various types of digital multimedia storage can be accomplished in a variety of ways. The following are the results of my research on how to acquire and manage these pictures on your Linux desktop and a firsthand account of my research.

gtkam

(www.gphoto.org)
gtkam is a popular application for extracting images from your digital camera, and it's very easy to use. Simply connect the camera cable and turn on the camera, then under the Camera menu choose Add Camera (see Figure 1). You should be able to navigate in a file explorer interface to the files stored on your camera. As with any third-party piece of software you may find that new cameras may not be immediately supported, but by and large the most popular digital cameras are supported well under gtkam.

Media Readers

When I travel I have more than enough chargers and cables so I don't synch my camera via cable. Instead I use a PCMCIA media card reader to take pictures off the flash card that I use in my digital camera and transfer them to my hard drive. I do this by using Konqueror to drag and drop pictures from my flash card to directories on my hard drive. I like this option because it allows me to also copy data including documents and presentations from one PC to another. The nice thing about this method is if you change your camera to one that is not well supported under Linux, you can still use your same tried and true method for transferring pictures. You can also use a USB flash reader that reads your flash card.

I like this option once again because it's not dependent on camera compatibilities. Also, if you have multiple flash cards like me you can download images off one card while the other card is in the camera. See the sidebar on how to mount your digital media via USB.

Linux Photo Album Software

Until recently I knew very little about the image browsers and photo album software available on any platform, let alone Linux, so I decided to try out all that I could find. At the onset my agenda was to simply find something easy to use. With a little research I realized that what I wanted was the ability to organize, crop, and fix "bad" pictures, whether that meant darkening those taken in full sun or cropping out the head of an onlooker who spoiled my shot of a notable landmark.

Konqueror

(http://konqueror.kde.org)
You may be familiar with the Konqueror file browser included as an integral part of the KDE desktop or you may have even used Konqueror to browse the Web. This program is a virtual Swiss army knife of tools integrated into one program. For digital picture buffs you can use Konqueror to view a directory of images as thumbnails, and with its integrated image viewer capabilities you can view the images at their actual size (see Figure 2). You can also export the images to an HTML image gallery that you can view locally or upload to the Web. You can also choose which size thumbnails to use in your gallery, which can also serve double duty as a batch-resizing tool (providing you are okay with the 1,000 pixel-wide limitation). Overall, Konqueror is not the most robust tool for viewing and manipulating pictures but it's a well-integrated and easy to use one for viewing images.

kalbum

(www.paldandy.com/kalbum/)
kalbum is an image browser that was included with my KDE desktop. The kalbum image browser allows you to add data to images such as comments and to rotate them when necessary (see Figure 3). In addition, kalbum allows you to create a rudimentary photo album. If your primary goal is to efficiently view the images, kalbum is a fine choice; if your needs are a little more advanced, you should probably keep looking.

digiKam

(http://digikam.sourceforge.net/)
After looking at a number of photo manipulation packages I found that the application that worked best for me was digiKam. It provided a balance of organizational features, presentation formats, and photo editing. Not only can you view images in an album format, but you can manipulate them or even create an HTML photo album that you can upload to a Web site.

Viewing and Managing Photos

One of the most important things for me with my newly acquired scores of digital pictures was the ability to browse through them and organize them so I could find what I wanted quickly. digiKam does a decent job of this. From an image management standpoint I like the way digiKam creates albums that can be designated by "collections" that you modify. These collections or categories then allow you to view by collection or album. In addition, you can right-click on the thumbnails within an album to rename them or add comments. Plus you may want to create slideshows when you share your pictures. Once again this little open source firecracker offers a number of interesting transition effects when viewing a slideshow.

The only thing that I dislike about the digiKam interface is the inability to view pictures in a three-frame interface. Each picture that I want to edit comes up in a separate window, but that can end up causing me to have a bunch of open windows. Rather than just complaining about it, I went to the KDE Web site and entered bug 9007 as a feature request. Maybe this functionality will show up in a future version. Either way it's good practice to try to provide feedback to the open source development community.

Editing Photos

If you're a photography novice as I am, there's nothing you would like better than a second chance. However, that's not all that likely when you have that once-in-a-lifetime shot ruined by a thumb or maybe the wrong exposure. Not to worry. digiKam offers the ability to improve upon our mistakes. The first set of features doesn't alter the content of the picture so much as it removes or reorients the image. The cropping, rotating, and resizing of pictures are all pretty straightforward. You can double-click on a picture from the album view, which spawns the image in a screen where you can directly edit it; a right-click gives you a menu with numerous options. To trim a picture just drag a selection box (clicking and holding the left-mouse button) and then right-click to choose crop and the back of someone's head is instantly removed from a shot.

In addition to the ability to manipulate the size and shape of the picture, digiKam can also alter the content, including adjusting the brightness and contrast or correcting the gamma. (Gamma correction is important for viewing pictures on a computer screen, so if you want to share your images through a Web site, this may be of greater importance than if you just want to print them out.)

Plug-ins

Also available for the digiKam package are a number of plug-ins that extend the functionality of the program. At the time of my research there were nine documented plug-ins that would try to help improve your picture for printing (e.g., adjust levels, noise reduction), as well as special effects plug-ins like an oil painting plug-in and a raindrops special effect. I would guess that more plug-ins are in the works.

Advanced Photo Editing with the GIMP

(www.GIMP.org)
Something would be amiss if I mentioned photo editing and didn't mention one of the most popular and powerful image editing tools available for Linux and other platforms as well. This package is known as the GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). The GIMP is a powerful multiplatform photo manipulation tool. If you are familiar with the popular Adobe Photoshop program (www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/main.html), you'll probably find the GIMP somewhat familiar.

You can use GIMP to create vignettes, add text, or alter the pictures in a variety of ways (see Figure 4). You can even create alterations using the extensive filters to distort or add special effects to an image. Plus, the GIMP does have the ability to acquire images right from your camera. I can't begin to do justice to all the features in this powerful image-manipulation package but, whether you are a Linux user or a user of another operating system, the GIMP is well worth checking out.

Summary

Hopefully you now have all the information you need to manipulate and view digital pictures on your Linux desktop. Also, it's interesting to note that all the software highlighted in this article falls under a free license so the acquisition cost of this software is pretty much limited to your time and your bandwidth. Also, if you are so inclined, you can even improve upon the work by authoring an improvement or helping with the product to meet your needs and probably that of someone else.

SIDEBAR

USB Media Readers and Linux

When it comes to extracting pictures from your digital camera, you can either read from the camera or read the media. If you lose your camera cable (as I have done many times), it may be easier just to read the media from your camera directly whether it be flash RAM, SmartCard, or some other format. I have both a PCMCIA flash card reader that, as far as Linux is concerned, looks like a hard drive and a USB flash card reader. Since the latter is most likely the situation you'll be in, I'll share the following steps to mount your card and copy your files from the portable medium to your PC.

Step 1: Locate Your USB Drive

As you may already know, Linux devices are listed in the /dev directory. This is also the place to find your USB devices. My guess is that once you have plugged in your USB reader with the storage card, your card will be /dev/sda1. There are a number of ways to try to discern what device name is assigned to your hardware, but my experience has shown the fastest way is to just try to mount the device, and if you get errors try the next one. For example, try to mount /dev/sda1. If that doesn't work, try sda2, sda3, etc. Then you can try the same procedure with /dev/sdb1...you get the picture. However, if you want to try to be more scientific, try to identify the USB controller that's mapped to an SCSI device on your system using sg_map. As the root user you can run sg_map -i to find out which is your compact flash drive. Here's an example of my results from my laptop with a USB flash reader:

mrhinkle@linux:~> su
Password:
linux:/home/mrhinkle # sg_map -i
/dev/sg0 /dev/sda Generic STORAGE DEVICE 1.01
linux:/home/mrhinkle #

Note that my storage device is at /dev/sda# where in this case the number is 1.

Step 2: Mount the Device

Mounting a file system simply means attaching a hardware device to the Linux file system somewhere in the hierarchy. In my case I have a /mnt directory, so to mount my flash drive I do the following:

linux:/mnt # mkdir flash
linux:/mnt # mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/flash
linux:/mnt # cd /mnt/flash
linux:/mnt/flash # ls
. .. bootex.log dcim found.000 found.001 misc system .Trash-mrhinkle

The first step was to make a directory or mount point (mkdir /mnt/flash) at the point where I wanted to access the card. The second part is to execute the mount command, which requires you to be root or superuser. The anatomy of the command is as follows:

  • mount: The command to attach a file system
  • -t: The flag for type
  • vfat: The argument indicating the file system type (which is a DOS format)
  • /dev/sda1: The device hosting the file system I want to access
  • /mnt/flash: The directory where I want to mount the file system
This may be overly simplified for those experienced users, but it was complicated for me the first time so I thought I would spell it out in greater detail.

Step 3: Copying Files

Once you have your digital medium mounted at the directory point, you can copy the files by navigating back and forth through your favorite graphical file manager (Konqueror for KDE users, Nautilus for Gnome users), or simply dragging and dropping files from one window to another.

More Stories By Mark R. Hinkle

Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Soure Solutions at Citrix. He also is along-time open source expert and advocate. He is a co-founder of both the Open Source Management Consortium and the Desktop Linux Consortium. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxWorld Magazine and Enterprise Open Source Magazine. Hinkle is also the author of the book, "Windows to Linux Business Desktop Migration" (Thomson, 2006). His blog on open source, technology, and new media can be found at http://www.socializedsoftware.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accelerate their digital channels with APIs, drive partner adoption, monetize their assets, and achieve a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
SYS-CON Events announced today that AgilePoint, the leading provider of Microsoft-centric Business Process Management software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 2nd International @ThingsExpo which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. AgilePoint is the leading provider of Microsoft-based Business Process Management (BPM) software products, has 1,300+ on-premise and cloud deployments in 25+ countries and provides the same advanced BPM feature set as J2EE vendors like IBM and Appian for the Microsoft .NET native environment. AgilePoint customer...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He will discuss opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and tec...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customizable platform to easily integrate into existing software solutions, embed business logic and build s...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, will describe an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people’s real needs and desires.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TeleStax, the main sponsor of Mobicents, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TeleStax provides Open Source Communications software and services that facilitate the shift from legacy SS7 based IN networks to IP based LTE and IMS networks hosted on private (on-premise), hybrid or public clouds. TeleStax products include Restcomm, JSLEE, SMSC Gateway, USSD Gateway, SS7 Resource Adaptors, SIP Servlets, Rich Multimedia Services, Presence Services/RCS, Diame...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: Samsung recognizes that true, accelerated innovation cannot be driven from one source, but requires a...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, has spent 16 years as a marketing, product management, and busin...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
SYS-CON Events announces a new pavilion on the Cloud Expo floor where WebRTC converges with the Internet of Things. Pavilion will showcase WebRTC and the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices--computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems Group, will discuss how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, senso...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics...
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.