Shotwell Replaces F-Spot in Ubuntu and Trashes your Collection

by Stephen Fluin 2010.06.15

It was allegedly announced that a new photo management tool called Shotwell will be replacing F-Spot in future Ubuntu releases. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen, as the only evidence I have found comes from a slashdot article which refers to various tech blogs.

If it is the case that Shotwell is taking over for F-Spot as the photo management tool, I'm extremely disappointed. I just installed Shotwell to try it out on my computer and was shocked by what I found. After opening Shotwell, I discovered that in traditional Gnome fashion, there are NO OPTIONS, which means you can't configure how the import works, or where you store your collection.

The inability to do any configuration is a huge deal for me because although I store my photos in ~/Pictures, I currently manage them with F-Spot. This means that after I tried out an import with Shotwell, my F-Spot folders were being filled with unmanaged (by F-Spot) pictures. Fortunately Shotwell makes copies of images, rather than moving them, so I was able simply to trash all of the photos in Shotwell to restore my computer to the earlier state. Because there are no configuration options, there is absolutely no way for me to try out Shotwell, or to properly migrate my collection from what I have presently.

The other problem with Shotwell is that it seems very far from complete. To add tags, you have to right click or use the menu to manually "Add Tags" which then allows you to manually type each of the tags you want associated with a photo or a set of photos. This type of interface is clunky and takes users away from the ease of use and visual capabilities that F-Spot has.

Shotwell Recommendation

Perhaps things will get better in the future, but for now, stay very far away from Shotwell, or install it in a virtual machine.