This has all changed recently with Ubuntu, a Linux system that is easy to install and run, and with the availability of free, top-notch applications like Open Office for documents, spreadsheets, presentations, Firefox for web browsing and, Thunderbird for email, all of which run on Linux systems (as well as Windows and Mac).
Despite my continuing use of Windows XP at home, I use as much open-source and free software as possible. However, I have always used purchased, Windows-based applications for photography. Whenever I have searched for Linux-based photography apps, I have been disappointed with the quality and functionality of what was available.
For the past year or so, I have been using Ubuntu at work, and we have also converted one of our home laptops to Ubuntu to prolong it's useful life. Even though Windows XP is a reasonably stable platform, the thought of having Vista in my future is frightening. I thought it was time again to see what photo software was available, either as freeware, or for purchase to run on Linux, and on Ubuntu in particular.
I use a number of different applications for photography on Windows:
- a raw converter, Capture One
- a photo editor, Paint Shop Pro
- a photograph display and management tool, ThumbsPlus
- a generic scanner driver, Vuescan
- a digital noise filter, Noise Ninja
- a panorama image sticher, Panaview Image Assembler
- a program to create and manage my website, FrontPage (no longer in production).
- monitor calibration software (and hardware).
I will have to replace all of these functions in order to switch my desktop to Ubuntu. In the next few posts, I will look at each application area in turn, and see how Linux apps stack up. The end result is not yet known -- however, I have been very pleasantly surprised in my research so far.
. . . Rob Williams