Linux users: more advice required.

kyteflyer

~@¿@~
Location
Newcastle, Australia
Real Name
Sue
I havent switched yet, but I have sacrificed an external portable to Mint 19, which runs beautifully on my 2010 Macbook White, and have imported all my photos to Shotwell and have been playing with that + Rawtherapee... What are the rest of you doing? I’ve only looked at whats in the software repository, not outside it, because I have completely forgotten what to do with software that can’t just be installed from an executable of some kind. (I’ll give the memory a kickin later today). What else is out there for photographers using Linux?
 

phigmov

Probably Not Walter Kernow
Location
Aotearoa
I switched from my old MacBook a few years back - been using Ubuntu on an HP Elitebook since. I miss some of the Mac niceties (I still do my processing on a Mac Mini but even there I haven't upgraded because I still need Aperture) but as a couch-surfing machine that I occassionally use Shotwell on for the odd capture its been superb.

Most of the top laptop vendors have a corporate line of laptops (with HP its Elitebook, with Dell its typically the Latitude line) which are built tough yet upgradeable and feature-packed (used to be corporate laptops still shipped with VGA & Serial Ports because travellers occasionally still needed them and didn't want to mess with dongles). Best thing about these machines is corporates cycle vast quantities back onto the refurb market at budget prices every few years. I couldn't afford them new (neither could I afford a new Mac) but you get a lot of bang for your buck on an older model + a lot more features/horse-power than a Mac. I use a 9480 which wierdly has a standard 2.5" SSD slot and tiny SSD M2 slot - two drives - awesome for drive mirroring.

Ubuntu has been good. Not as stable as my old Mac - I once had an uptime of 365+ days between reboots on OS X. I don't get that on my HP but I'm fine with that. There are also a few nuisances - sometimes upgrades can hose settings or result in odd behaviour (I switched from LTS - the long-term-stable branch to the more cutting edge update branch) but now I live in Firefox so mostly the operating system exists solely for me to fire up a browser or to play the occasional game from Steam.

The other thing is most stuff just works but some things don't - you have to weigh the value of your time versus tinkering with a computer. If your time is valuable, just get a Mac. For example I spent a few hours dicking-around with the UEFI boot-loader which seems to have been deliberately designed to make it hard to install & boot a non Microsoft OS - thats frustrating but also means there can be a high-bar to entry to solve something as simple as "my laptop won't boot into the new OS".

I work in IT and for a long time, when I got home, the last thing I wanted to do was fight with a computer - so I got a Mac and it just worked. Now, I switched to Linux because it mostly just-works and philosophically I'm trying to wean myself off Apple & Microsoft - they don't need my money and they're both relatively staid companies that just aren't doing anything particularly interesting anymore - to them, the operating system is a storefront to sell apps & services rather than a general purpose tool which I can use for whatever I want to do.

I would probably struggle if this was my only machine - I still use iTunes and have an old iMac as a media-centre machine. But for browsing, occasional OpenOffice spreadsheet work, the odd photo-retouching its been fine.

Pro-tip - discovering the Firefox browser-agent switcher plugin has been a life-saver - all those internet-of-things devices around the house that complain about specific browser versions or compatibilities can be fooled by switching the browser & OS type using the agent switcher. I know D-Links web-cams complain if you use anything other than some ancient version of Internet Explorer or Safari (on a Mac) - now I can just pretend to be one of those and do whatever config I need.

Also, the idea of stepping off the Apple upgrade treadmill is quite appealing - I can get the latest features without replacing hardware and switch Linux distros relatively easily if I had to.
 
Last edited:
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
Due to work requirements, I'm mostly back on Windows 10, but Ubuntu (and Mint) are fine to use on a daily basis if you're not obliged to use certain apps; both distributions run reliably on frugal machines, which suits me fine. I use Ubuntu MATE because I also like minimal desktops and GNOME tools.

For photo editing and DAM, I work with darktable and XnView as a DAM on all systems; RawTherapee is very capable, too, but I like the fact that I can put together a collection of my most used tools in darktable (called "Favourites") and thus work way quicker than with RawTherapee. If you have more extensive corrections and edits to make, RawTherapee has better facilities and is more versatile - but I rarely do that, so darktable fits my needs better in most cases. I also like the fact that Polarr, another favourite of mine, is available on GNU/Linux as well, even though it's not Free Software (as in speech, not beer).

I think it's worth mentioning here that darktable on GNU/Linux offers very good printing features that are missing on the Windows version.

I also enjoy a couple of other GNU/Linux goodies - like simple scripted backups (with shell scripts). And if you want the latest and greatest software, there are several ways - especially with Mint (and mostly, Ubuntu), I found PPAs a valid (if somewhat random) way of getting up-to-date applications.

M.
 

phigmov

Probably Not Walter Kernow
Location
Aotearoa
Do you attribute that to the OS or the hardware? 🤔

Its a tricky one. My MacBook was a c2d I'd owned since new and Apple went through a phase of super-stable OS releases + at some point Apple dropped the hardware from its support list so there were no new OS's to install or patches requiring reboots. At one stage I got 30 days out of my Duo 230 and Mac System 7.5 which was pretty stable too back in the 90's.

The HP was an ex corporate refurb so I don't know the history + Linux is a bit more aggressive on updates - which I could ignore as the likelihood of nasties targetting Linux is likely less than OS X (yes, I'm totally aware the exploit count is higher than Windows & OS X now but they tend to target server-functions rather than user-functions, like the kind of trojans/mallware/spyware/adware masquerading as legit software on Windows)
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
365 days uptime on a Mac seems big. I thought Apple forces at least some kernel/system lib updates on users and then forces them to restart in the middle of important work (that's how it used to be with Windows). Perhaps they can hotplug the kernel? I don't know.

My linux machine stays up some 80-90 days, possibly more, but then there's usually accumulation of updates and stuff that I want to make sure is running and the best way to ensure that is to reboot from fresh. 180 days isn't impossible but my nvidia card and its proprietary nonfree drivers usually mess something up once or twice a year and they force a hard reboot.
 

phigmov

Probably Not Walter Kernow
Location
Aotearoa
365 days uptime on a Mac seems big. I thought Apple forces at least some kernel/system lib updates on users and then forces them to restart in the middle of important work (that's how it used to be with Windows). Perhaps they can hotplug the kernel? I don't know.

Eh, the old Macbook Unibody had supported OS X variants from 2009 to 2017 depending on spec. So for a year or two in 2016-2018 I ran without updating anything. Just sleep, no reboots and anything that didn't work I just left or kick-started via the console to avoid a reboot. After the first 100 days you just try and eke out as much life as you can to get through the year. I only looked for a replacement after a bunch of power-supplies died and I figured it was time to move on. Looking at the replacement hardware options I could get way more power for less money than a Mac - I didn't want Windows (which I have on a work-laptop) and every few years I'd install Linux in a VM to see if it was at the point of being a daily-driver - sure enough most distros from 2015 onwards were looking pretty slick. Certainly compared to fiddling with Slackware or Redhat back in 1997.
 

jyc860923

Top Veteran
Location
Shenyang, China
Real Name
贾一川
Photogimp, if you haven't heard of it, it's basically an interface/shortcut profile to make your Gimp work a bit like Photoshop. It won't make Gimp become PS but I just think it's better to have something familiar.

You can find the download and instructions from github. Honestly even though I use Linux a lot for other things, for photo editing I still haven't found a PS/LR equivalent so far.
 

tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
I use Ubuntu. Mostly I work with jpg images, using GIMP, although I sometimes run them through one of the Nik modules first if I'm after a certain look. For those times I do use the RAW files, I use RawTherapee. I've often found the jpg images I get from RT aren't any better than those directly from the camera.
 

kyteflyer

~@¿@~
Location
Newcastle, Australia
Real Name
Sue
Ubuntu is a nightmare on a small screen. The UI is too demanding. I've found that UFRaw is OK, and its much lighter and quicker than Rawtherapee, but at the same time, fairly featureless by comparison.

This morning I managed to completely stuff up the install, so I'm giving it a miss for a bit. I'll be keeping a close eye on Mint, though, and perhaps some other distributions.

DistroWatch.com: Put the fun back into computing. Use Linux, BSD. is the place to see all distros currently available. For those who want to know.
 

jyc860923

Top Veteran
Location
Shenyang, China
Real Name
贾一川
Ubuntu is a nightmare on a small screen. The UI is too demanding. I've found that UFRaw is OK, and its much lighter and quicker than Rawtherapee, but at the same time, fairly featureless by comparison.

This morning I managed to completely stuff up the install, so I'm giving it a miss for a bit. I'll be keeping a close eye on Mint, though, and perhaps some other distributions.

DistroWatch.com: Put the fun back into computing. Use Linux, BSD. is the place to see all distros currently available. For those who want to know.

Hi Sue, I'd suggest you try Kubuntu if you haven't, it's much lighter, customisable, and you can simply install it with "apt install kubuntu-desktop" on top of your current system and choose it from the login screen.
 

kyteflyer

~@¿@~
Location
Newcastle, Australia
Real Name
Sue
Hi Sue, I'd suggest you try Kubuntu if you haven't, it's much lighter, customisable, and you can simply install it with "apt install kubuntu-desktop" on top of your current system and choose it from the login screen.

Yeah I have tried kubuntu, and xubuntu as well, Mint cinnamon, mate and the last one that I stuffed up was XFCE which is actually pretty decent and lightweight.
 

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