Focus On: F-Spot

by Stephen Fluin 2009.05.13

After transitioning to Linux, there are a lot of questions about photo management. Almost everyone I know uses the simple functionality provided by Windows Explorer to manage their photos; they use folder names, filenames, and thumbnails to manage, browse, and organize their photo collection.

On linux there are a few highly popular alternatives for photo management. The most popular are Digikam and F-Spot. Digikam uses KDE libraries, while F-Spot uses Gnome's libraries. Digikam has a lot of very unique features not found in any other software on the market, such as it's fuzzy search which allows you to search for a photo by drawing a picture. This article is about F-Spot because I have found it easier to use for managing a collection of photos over time, as well as easier to manage tagged photos.

F-Spot can be installed using any package manager, and the package is called f-spot.

Improvement Potential / Desires

  • Even though the F-Spot timeline mangement is wonderful, it could be improved. Currently F-Spot doesn't update the timeline based on the set of photos currently being browsed. It is also not currently possible to change the scale of the timeline.
  • The way that F-Spot stores photo tags within an image appears to use a non-standard format, leaving other applications unable to read the meta data stored in the files. It would be nice if users of F-Spot could take a photo collection managed with the application, and then publish it to an online gallery that is capable of reading and using the tags.
  • F-Spot has conquered photo management, but video is becoming a more and more critical part of an individual's portfolio of files and memories. It would be nice if there was a way to browse, organize, and tag a video collection using a tool that is similar to or the same as F-Spot.
  • Sequential viewing of files using the next and previous can be a little slow if you have large photos. Most other photo management tools cache images they believe you will view next, meaning this could, and should, be an instant process.