Linux and photography

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
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afterburn Senior Member • Posts: 1,580
Linux and photography

Let me start by saying I do not think there is anything wrong with Windows 10 or Windows 11 for that matter, despite some of the stories out there at the moment. I am on the Windows Insider program and have had very little issues.

That said, there is more than just Windows and Mac. You could also use Linux. It's free. It's reliable. Looks great and can be set up entirely to your own preference. It can also be a total pain in the rear to setup if you have esoteric hardware with bad or no support. And even well known brands like Nvidia can have issues.

My personal preference is a Debian or Ubuntu based distribution, though generally not Debian or Ubuntu itself. Debian stable is generally way to far behind for my liking on the desktop (great for servers though!) and I do not like the fact that Ubuntu is going all in with Snap. Snaps are slower to start (its a contained environment) and take up much more space, so I don't like it. My current desktop is POP!_os 21.10 beta , nicely customized but it could be any, really.

For photography, there are lots of options. Some are great, some good, some ok, some suck. Just like on Windows. The choices do seem to be a bit less and you are not going to find Adobe products on Linux. You are also not going to find a 1:1 Adobe replacement. So if you are a Adobe user, invested lots of time to master the Adobe suit, unless you want to learn new stuff, stick with Windows or Mac. You are not going to be satisfied if you want the Adobe experience.

With that out of the way, what is there on Linux?

GIMP . Probably best known. Can be thought of as a Photoshop alternative. It's not the same, cannot do the exact same things, but it is comparable in what it can do.

Darktable . Raw converter/editor/DAM. Looks a bit like Lightroom and has comparable functionality.

DigiKam . Primarily a DAM, but also editor functionality

UFRaw . Kinda like CameraRAW standalone.

RawTherapee . Known to most, also raw converter/editor

Aftershot Pro . Commercial package also for Linux

Shotwell . DAM, organizer

Krita . Bitmap editor, alternative for Photoshop in that regard.

DisplayCAL . Probably well known to most, but needed for display calibration.

LightZone . Yet another RAW editor with a slightly different take on how to do that.

Rapid Photo Downloader . Tool to quickly ingress your cards to your computer for processing.

Inkscape . Vector graphics program

Pixelitor . Raster graphics editor with layers, masks, etc.

There are lots more and it would be undoable to create an all encompassing list of softwarez for Linux. A lot of the software above can also be downloaded for Windows btw, so if installing Linux seems a bit too daunting, but you want to try out some of the free alternatives to pricey software, you can. It's not that hard to do though (installing Linux). Just stay away from hardcore distributions like Arch and you'll be fine. Anyone can install Pop, or Ubuntu, or Linux Mint, or Fedora or Manjaro, or Zorin, well you get my drift.

Hope this helps someone, or makes someone curious and wanting to experiment.

My (customized) POP!_os desktop

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Gijs from The Netherlands
Nikon D800/Fuji X-T1

 afterburn's gear list:afterburn's gear list
Nikon D800 Fujifilm X-T1 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +5 more
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