Last Windows Dependency

For a while now I’ve had to have a Windows Operating system floating around for one reason which always seems to be holding people back making the switch which is Adobe. In my case it was Adobe Lightroom. Adobe Lightroom is a photography catalogue application that allows you to also make edit to RAW image files. Nothing against Lightroom, it’s amazing software and does it’s job perfectly and really any other software out there is just trying to be Lightroom and always misses the mark.

However for my case, my photography workflow is rather simple, I just need a way to manage many images, categorize them and on some of them make ever so slight edits usually to contrast curves, black and white clipping points really simple edits, and I don’t use Photoshop at all so there is no need for lock in.


So the solution that I’ve starting using is actually two separate applications that work together to fill the gap that Lightroom leaves for me on Linux. First is the Library and Photo management application which my choice is DigiKam. It’s rather simple, however allows me to pull images in from various locations, create albums, tags, rate and categorize. The fact that the images don’t have to be on the local file system was a key part of this software and allowed libraries to go offline and return.

Now the editing part of DigiKam is rather underwhelming and this required another solution. However DigiKam allows round trip edits with RawTherapee, which is an application that allows all my RAW editing needs however doesn’t have the ability to manage photo libraries. RawTharapee from my initial investigation seems to do everything that Lightroom can do from an editing perspective so this should fit my needs perfectly.

Know Limitations

So there is a limitation with the above software tools that will take some getting used to, however is not a deal break which is the way that they handle round trip editing. Previously in Lightroom I would make edits to a RAW file and they were updated in a non-destructive way with previews, then version could be created. Currently I can’t see a way to do this with the current solution, so the library ends up having a RAW file with the embedded jpeg preview, while the edits are exported to the library along side the RAW as separate jpegs or tiffs. This will use up more storage and can result in duplications, neither are deal breakers as excessive storage requirements is part of the course of photography already.

Final Thoughts

Only time will tell if this will be the final solution and I’m hoping that I become more knowledgeable on the tools that I’ve chosen to resolve some of the limitations. That being said I’m already rather happy with the outcome and to be rid of Windows being required for a single application. There is also the added benefit that I will no longer have to pay the monthly subscription to Adobe to be able to use Lightroom, but this doesn’t really bother me so much, as the price is reasonable for how good the software functions with the feature set and is actually deserved.

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