Linux and Photos – Hi Performance Low Cost

Linux and Your Photos

Fed up with the need to frequently upgrade your Windows PC or laptop? Stretching the budget to move to an Apple system? Worried about the cost of Photoshop / Lightroom, etc? Give some though to a Linux system.

For a while now I have been acquiring the odd older laptop and installing Linux. It is not hard, and often a damaged hard drive, which has trashed Windows, but is not totally destroyed, is recovered by the installation. Now my computer has to achieve a few things:

  1. My photography – storage, management and processing of photos;
  2. Music – storage and CD writing;
  3. Internet access – pretty standard;
  4. Work – documents and access to VPN systems.

In other words, pretty much what most people want their home computer to do. With possibly a bit more emphasis on the photographic processing.

In its earlier days, implementing Linux required a bit of “techie” understanding of your computer hardware. Nowadays you have the choice of taking a slightly more complex installation route, which does require some basic understanding of your system, or taking the basic “plug in and go” approach. Many computer users would be easily able to install it on their PC, especially if it is an older machine.

Advantages of using Linux

  • It extends the life of the PC. Because it performs more efficiently than Windows older, smaller PCs will often perform well. I recently loaded Mint Linux 16 (latest version) on to a 2 MB ex Windows Vista system. It performs like new!
  • It is FREE. Simply choose the Linux version you want to use, download and install;
  • Current flavours of Linux support highly effective packages equivalent to similar Windows packages. Browsers, Office, Photography, Music – they’re all there.
  • Most application packages are FREE!

Disadvantages of Linux

  • Linux does not, as a rule, run Windows software. To date I have not found a Windows package which does not have an equivalent, highly effective, Linux / Open Source alternative.
  • Installation of “dual boot” (Windows and Linux co-existing on the same machine) often requires a bit of “techie” knowledge. I don’t run any machines like this, so installations are easy, taking about an hour.
  • Apple does not support the Linux environment, so if you are an Apple user. There are ways, but they are tricky. So if you are into iTunes, you will need Apple or Windows at some point.
  • Some TV services, such as Netflix, are not supported. The “front end” of these services is managed via Microsoft DRM (Digital Rights Management) which has not been made available to Linux developers. That said, I have little problem in the UK running the Freeview catch-up services and live streaming.

From a budget photography perspective Linux offers a solid alternative to the Windows / Apple / Adobe option. Well worth thinking about if you, like me, would prefer to spend your hard earned dollars on lenses than on computers.

My current preference of Linux flavours is Mint Linux – simple, easy to use interface with a good software manager.

What’s that got to do with butterflies? Absolutely nothing. The Linux logo is normally Tux, the Linux penguin below, but I didn’t have a picture of my own, so I used the butterfly, which, by the way, was processed in Luminance HDR and GIMP on a Mint Linux system.

Some Relevant Reading

Amazon offers a broad selection of books about the linux operating system, as well as a selection of books about photo processing with Gimp, the favourite Linux photo editing tool.

Buy Blue and Black butterfly prints from Jeremy Hayden Photography

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