[Digikam-users] Re: Compiling Issues (still no joy)

Peter Shute pshute at nuw.org.au
Tue Dec 21 23:11:45 GMT 2010

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mark Greenwood [mailto:captain_bodge at yahoo.co.uk] 
> Sent: Tuesday, 21 December 2010 9:54 PM
> To: digiKam - Home Manage your photographs as a professional 
> with the power of open source
> Subject: [Digikam-users] Re: Compiling Issues (still no joy)

> > > So, the reason a simple deb with all the necessary stuff 
> > > isn't available is (a) because, probably, nobody has reported 
> > > it, and (b) because nobody has felt it worthwhile to spend 
> > > *their own spare time* doing it. As you've found out, it's 
> > > not simple and it's not fun. 
> > 
> > This is all very well, but it isn't made clear to users 
> before they install and commit to software. 
> With respect, it's abundantly clear to anybody who does some 
> research before comitting to a platform to work on. In this 
> specific case, a quick Google of 'Digikam Nikon D90 Ubuntu' 
> brought up plenty of references to the speed problem. Even 
> the most knowledge-less newbie could have drawn some 
> conclusions from that - like maybe not to bother trying Ubuntu.
> > One can spend many hundreds of hours using something like digiKam, 
> Yes, so you surely test and research it well before comitting 
> to it? Would you commit to using some commercial software 
> that costs hundreds without spending a week or two testing a 
> demo version to see if it fitted your needs?
> > only to have it all go wrong one day. 
> Only if you've upgraded blindly and without testing to see if 
> it breaks anything, or backing up so you can roll back if it 
> does. This is basic stuff, something anybody using any OS 
> should be aware of.

In my case, which is perhaps a bad example because I was using the Windows version, I gave it what I thought was a fairly systematic and thorough testing. But it turned out that I had started using it just after that version became available with that install package. As the months went by and I discovered little problems, I was being told to upgrade, but no upgrade package was available. I would have loved to have kept using it, and to help the project by submitting bug reports, etc, but one can't do that effectively when one is stuck many versions behind the latest. I had made the mistake of assuming that I would be able to get hold of new releases. 

I compiled it myself a couple of times, with a lot of help, but couldn't keep up, so I migrated to Lightroom.

I was very pleased that I was able to find ways of doing that without losing any ratings or tags, etc. I didn't actually become unproductive at any stage, or lose any work, but I could tell it was time to get out. I don't see how I could have predicted that outcome any earlier with any amount of testing.

I have used enough open source stuff to know to be cautious about trusting it. People are put off trying a lot of open source programs for the sheer difficulty of finding out what they actually do, let alone how to use them, but digiKam is a little unusual in that there is a lot of very good documentation for it. Therefore, I suspect, it attracts a few more users than normal who don't have the skills required to compile it, etc.

It is an excellent program, but distribution of new releases seem to be one of its weak points. It probably goes against the grain, but perhaps these undeniable difficulties should be pointed out on the FAQ or download page of the website. If these difficulties apply more to some distributions than others, I'm sure many people would appreciate knowing that.

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