Open source photo management is a snap

You’ve finally returned home from your festive season break loaded with good memories and even more photographs. It’s now a week later and you’ve been putting off organising your photos because, frankly, it is such a chore. It’s fun taking thousands of photos on the spur of the moment but not nearly as much fun to have to sort them all out.

Perhaps it’s time you considered a new tool to make the task a little more pleasant? Here are a few open source options for getting all your picture memories into line as well as editing them and creating slideshows.


Hugin is not really a photo management tool. It is instead a tool that makes it easier to stitch together images to create a panorama. So, for all those shots of the sunset over the beach you took, now you can easily combine them into a panorama shot that includes all of the detail. Hugin automatically matches the pictures and stitches them together. For most home users this is likely to be all they need. But for professional photographers, or serious enthusiasts, Hugin can also stitch together full 360 degree images as well as work with a 3D tool to create 3D panoramas. Naturally you’re not limited to only putting together landscape images and with Hugin all manner of effects can be achieved, as the Hugin site gallery shows. Hugin can be run on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.


Shotwell is specific to Linux but is among the best tools for managing an ever-growing collection of photos. Shotwell is now the default photo editor on Linux releases such as Ubuntu, a testament to its popularity. Although Shotwell is designed for managing photos it also includes a growing range of editing tools from reducing red-eye to altering saturation levels. Although originally designed to manage photographs Shotwell is quickly evolving to be a lot more than that. The most recent release includes support for most popular video formats, including the ability to upload these to online services such as YouTube and the like. Shotwell is designed to run under the Gnome desktop on Linux.


Gallery is a web-based photo manager. Gallery’s advantage over many other tools is that it is designed to be run online so that others can view photos and, depending on permissions, contribute their own photos. Because it is web-based, Gallery needs to be installed on a web server but once running it can be used to arrange photos into albums as well as including a small collection of image editing tools. Gallery also has a remote Java-based application available that can be run almost anywhere to upload new photos to the server.


DigiKam is a super versatile tool for managing and editing your growing collection of photographs. Not only that but you can share photos with online services, create slideshows and more. If you’re running Linux then DigiKam is a great alternative to most other photo managers. Officially DigiKam is also available for Windows and Mac OS X but the installation process will be easier if you’re already running Linux.


Picasa is Google’s photo management tool. Picasa is naturally free and can be used to both organise your photo collection as well as tag them, edit them and share with friends through the PicasaWeb site. Picasa is very versatile and as well as organising photos it can create slideshows and movies out of your favourite holiday snaps. Picasa is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

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Open source photo management is a snap