The Best Free And Open Source Photo Managers For Linux – Review And Comparison

Introduction

Cheap smartphones and digital cameras – the principal factor of digital revolution. Every man can create a personal collection with gigabytes or even terabytes of multimedia content, and online services like the Google Photos or Flickr can help to save them. Clouds are good, but sometimes the local work with multimedia is more speedy and effective. Photo manager can organize your chaos and highlight the best or the worst material with tags and rating; some software also have some photo editing features: red eyes, contrast and defects correction, colors and shadows level. If you are working with RAW formats, the photo manager can make your life easier with image processing and converting to popular formats; some photo managers have also video support. In this review I want to tell about the best software that can be run on Linux and other operating system.

DigiKam

License: GNU GPL

Official web site: https://www.digikam.org/

Rate: 5/5

DigiKam – one of the best and most powerful application in KDE and Linux: support the most popular image formats, including ~200(!) RAW formats, extended MySQL database, editing, defect correction, external services and many more. Well, I think all this post will be not enough for features and tech details. DigiKam is impressively good for direct work with digital cameras: red-eyes removal, preview, filters and special effects can make your life easier.

After the first start DigiKam ask about an order and can sort photos automatically. Sorting by title, location, label, rate work better than traditional sorting by directory and help to find needed images faster. DigiKam can also work with video and play many popular formats like AVI, MPG, 3GP, MKV. Many external tools and plugins are available (search KIPI plugins package) and also ask about in after the first start.

The interface can be non-intuitive for beginners, some tools hide in numerous menus; documentation is good and really can help. No official forum is available, but you can discuss on official mail list.

Shotwell

License: GNU LGPL v2.1

Official web site: https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Shotwell/

Rate: 4/5

Shotwell – default image organizer in GNOME Desktop and written by Yorba Foundation, since 2015 support by the open source community. This photo manager written absolutely in GNOME style and we can’t see the big interfaces with many menus and complex instruments – Shotwell have an easy and user-friendly interface and can work with digital cameras, support the basic image editing: crop, eliminate, rotate, red-eyes fix, adjust (exposure, saturation , temperature, shadows and others), enhance. Shotwell also supports sorting by tags, date and rating. Personal title and description can be added to each image and used in extended search pattern.

Shotwell uses the GStreamer multimedia framework and works with popular images & video formats , but doesn’t support a .gif format – in my opinion, the one of biggest failing. Support of RAW formats is very limited and you can have problems with some digital cameras. Shotwell works fast with big collection (based on my real experience with ~1000 4K pictures) and support very nicely feature – wallpaper slideshow from the image collections.

Fotoxx

License: GNU GPLv3

Official web site: http://kornelix.net/

Rate: 3.5/5

Fotoxx – application for photo management and editing in minimalism style. Fotoxx also help you to sort your collection by date, tags, rating, comments. This application has the hard coded tags and I think isn’t a good idea. Application are supported search my metadata, file and folder names, red-eyes fix, image filters, very good instruments for region selection on image, can change the color temperature and create the HDR, panoramic picture and slideshow. The batch processing mode and color level editing are also supported. Minimal RAW format support is included. Fotoxx doesn’t support any video formats, plugins and external tools.

Most negative moment is the old-school interface from the begin of the 2000’s with small menus and minimize toolbars. New design and optimized instruments to work with big collections is necessary things for this application.

KPhotoAlbum

License: GNU GPLv2

Official web site: http://www.kphotoalbum.org/

Rate: 3/5

KPhotoAlbum – tool for photo management and editing in KDE style with ultra-minimalism and easy to use philosophy. It also supports tags, annotation (categories) and extended search by filename, data or People option (you can edit the special tags with real names). KPhotoAlbum support the most popular image formats include RAW from most devices (and work very fast with this format). No other third-party plugins or external tools are supported. Nothing extraordinary was found in instruments and filters – rotate, crop, many filters as histogram equalization or monochrome.

Resume

DigiKam is the best in the functional aspect – many tools and filters for professionals or beginners, most popular formats are supported and this is number one in our review. This applications is the one and only in open source software that provide working face detection. In other side, many peoples doesn’t need powerful and professional instruments for their everyday work and in my opinion the Shotwell is the best in this category ’cause provide nice design and good tools for basic work. Fotoxx, KPhotoAlbum, Gwenview is also not bad for minimalism lovers, but have several problems in design.

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