Last Christmas I finally broke down and treated myself to a nice digital camera. A Panasonic Lumix, and let me tell you this is one nice camera. Rechargeable battery pack, real honest-to-gosh glass lens by Leica, sensible controls, and fake shutter clicky sounds. Yes, that’s right, sound effects to help ease the transition from film cameras. Very thoughtful.
Well that was just the beginning of a rather involved drama. It’s easy to be a hardcore Linux user when you run servers and do basic desktop stuff. But venturing into the digital media realm gave me a different perspective.
The software bundled with the camera requires Windows, of course, and my multi-function printer does not multi-function on Linux. I keep a few windows boxes on my test network, so I commandeered a Windows XP Pro box to serve as my image storage and editing workstation. That was my first mistake. Y’all hardcore Linux users need to futz with a Windows PC once in awhile just to keep your appreciation of Linux’s stability fresh. Poor ole Windows kept leaking memory and crashing, plus all the auto-notifications about drove me insane. My favorite is the one for the Sun JRE: “Do you want to register now? Remind me in 1 hour, 1 day, 3 days.” No option to eff off forever.
Someone recommended that I try Picasa, the free image cataloguing and editing program by Google. It sure sounds nice- but it requires Internet Explorer with Active X enabled. Hello? Are not the Google brainiacs aware of the hundreds of security bulletins that say DON’T DO ACTIVE X? So, thanks, but no thanks.
Of course there zillions of Windows programs that do what I want. But it finally dawned on me that I was putting an awful lot of time and effort into the “easy” way, and not getting anywhere.
So my mission this week is to see if I can set up my Linux workstation to do everything- download from the camera, scan, and print. The Gimp can’t be beat for image editing, and Image Magick and Album are the best for creating Web photo galleries.
I just discovered TurboPrint, which has excellent drivers for my Canon Pixma, which is a great little photo printer. If I can get the Epson Stylus CX4800 to scan my old photos, I’ll have it all, even if it won’t print on Linux. I can always copy images to a Samba share for Windows printing, if necessary, because even though the Epson is an ink-sucking hog, it sure does print beautifully.
I’ve also been looking at Macs. They look so easy- are they really that good at doing these things? (Kinda funny how hardware vendors supply OSX scanner and printer drivers, but not Linux, when they’re so similar.) But then, Macs are closed software and hardware. But Apple is not as evil as Microsoft. But they would be if they could be, wouldn’t they?
At any rate, it’s time to harness Kubuntu and the Lumix together. Hopefully harmony will result. Watch this spot to see what happens.