Sunday, September 19, 2010

The wonders of Digikam

Originally started by photographers who wanted to "view, manage, edit, enhance, organize, tag, and share photographs under Linux systems", the Digikam project has come a long way. The Digikam application is currently an advanced digital photo manager for Linux, Windows, and Mac-OSX.


The current live version of Digikam is already quite powerful, undoubtedly my favorite photograph manager under KDE, and arguably in Linux. In fact, now that big distros like Ubuntu and Fedora (GNOME) have decided to drop F-Spot in favor of Shotwell (still not as mature and feature rich), Digikam may become more popular.

Click on image to enlarge.

The screenshots published along with this article come from my PCLinuxOS 2010 machine, which includes Digikam as the default photograph manager and Gwenview, another fabulous application as the default picture viewer. As I have already discussed on some past PCLinuxOS reviews, the project developers made a strong effort to tightly integrate all applications. One of the elements that is most evident in that integration is the splash screens that appear when applications start up. As we can see from the screenshot above, Digikam is no exception.


As soon as I plug my Nikon S210 in, PCLinuxOS recognizes the device as a photograph source and offers Digikam as the default manager to start the download. Once the application loads, it reads the picture collection available on the camera and provides a nice interface to select which images to download.

Click on image to enlarge.

With the picture selection taken care of, Digikam asks for a location to download those pictures to. We can choose the default that was created the first time the application ran or create a new one.

Click on image to enlarge.

The pictures are downloaded into the desired location successfully and then presented on screen. The user may then decide to view them separately, as a slideshow, etc.

Click on image to enlarge.


As I am sure you can tell, this is simply a very high level introduction to Digikam. I consider it an impressive application with loads of features and very much encourage that you give it a try. Having said so, there is already news about the soon to come Digikam 2.0, the next production version of this high quality photograph manager.

At the moment, I don't have lots of information about exactly which features will make it into version 2.0, but some very interesting hints appear in this KDE blog ENTRY. The highlights include face detection and recognition by Aditya Bhatt, geotagging features by Gabriel Voicu and non-destructive image editing and versioning by Martin Klapetek.

I don't know about you, but I consider those very interesting and exciting additions which I am eager to try as soon as a fresh Digikam 2.0 release goes public. In the meantime, once again make sure you give Digikam 1.4.0 a go.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Digikam is a fantastic piece of software but the biggest problem for Linux right now is a quiet "fight" between Gnome and KDE.

  2. I wish there would be a Digikam edition for the gnome desktop. I have been avoiding the use of KDE despite the reported improvements because it's a resource hog. Shotwell just isn't good enough yet.

  3. @Barista Uno

    Digikam works perfect on Gnome!!

  4. @SAB: I agree that does not feel right, but Linux is about freedom after all.

    @Barista Uno: Like frank392 said, Digikam may be installed on GNOME and it will work perfectly. The only "downside" is that a large number of KDE libraries need to be installed, but that should not be such a big deal unless you are a "purist".

    As for KDE being a resource eater, I honestly believe that should no longer be a concern. KDE 4.4 series were an amazing step forward, and 4.5 are improving even further.

    I used to be a GNOME fan but I hardly ever use it now in comparison. I have to say that PCLinuxOS is also partially guilty of that, it is an amazing KDE integration work.

    Thanks for your comments!

  5. Your desktop is really cool, the clock blends phenomenally with the sky backround. Where can I download the wallpaper?

  6. I love the calendar with the butterfly. where can I get that?

  7. Great Post, I use digikam on gnome, Ubuntu 10.04 64bit, works good. I also have taken Darktable for a test drive! (Like Lightroom from Adobe) Its shaping up quite well!...And Yes I love to see awesome desktop setups! I haven't used KDE much, but wish I could make it look like your setup! Kudos!

  8. . I have been avoiding the use of KDE despite the reported improvements because it's a resource hog.

    Yes, my mom's 6-7 year old Celeron laptop running PCLinuxOS sure is crawling.

    And my Dell Mini 9 netbook running KDE4.5?
    unusable it seems you are telling me....

    Needles to say the CoreDuos are barely moving under the weight of the DE.

    But hey, if THATs the story you need to tell yourself why you are not using something, feel free to0 share it.
    I on the other hand will tell you to stand in the shallow water and not let the water splash you in the wading pool.

  9. PCLinuxOS 2010 KDE on my Pentium-M 1.8GHz single core and 1.5 GB RAM runs quite fast, responsiveness is good. A few seconds to open larger applications, overall I'm pleased. The lighter DEs are instantaneous everthing ofcourse. Anyway, I really want to use DigiKam but it always has issues with scanning my drives for photos, I'll have to work on this since Picasa no longer supports Linux directly.

  10. When I installed digikam on gnome it didn't appear in the menu bar or in the open with context menus....

  11. can somebody tell me what libraries I need to install to get Digikam to run on a Gnome desktop?

  12. Nathan, which distro are you using?

    Most distros (GNOME included) will offer Digikam already packaged for you, plus their package managers will deal with dependencies on its own as required.

    Any reason why you are thinking of doing it manually?