29 December 2010

eog versus Shotwell

eog versus shotwell

I do a lot of photography, having a huge collection of pictures and such, but I see no use for photo managers, like F-Spot or Shotwell (I admit of liking Darktable a lot, but its editing capabilities, not for management and still preferring GIMP for said editing). My "photo management" needs are covered by the following:
  • Nautilus file manager with thumbnail view for images (still trying to adapt myself with the browser view after the departure from spatial view)
  • a few self-made ImageMagick scripts for quick batch processing of large amounts of photos (simple operations like resize or watermarking)
  • a fast and powerful image viewer, which until recently used to be Eye of GNOME (eog) (that's the meat of this post)
  • GIMP for all editing needs, even if they are as small as cropping, sharpening or color adjustment
  • when the photos are taken in raw format (not often) the GIMP UFRaw plugin for import
So... one of the many desktop regressions introduced in the Fedora 14 desktop is affecting the basic image viewer, eog, which became almost unusable: the colors are wrong (see the photo above) and the image loading times are unbearable slow. So I decided to try Shotwell, the new default image viewer in Fedora, which I use only as an image viewer, not as a photo manager, it has correct color reproduction, is fast but lacks many essential features and has horrendous user interface.
Let me sum up the main points (ups and downs) for each of those apps:

Eye of GNOME/eog
  • small, simple, GNOMEy, used to be fast
  • many formats supported
  • wrong color reproduction (compared with GIMP, Firefox, Shotwell on the same system)
  • slow loading times
  • good user interface
  • provides easy access to vital features, like file size, resolution, EXIF data
  • no editing functionality is a non-issue, there are better tools for the job
  • good keyboard shortcuts
  • for GNOME 3 redesigned by a clueless wannabe designer that will break all the good UI things
  • apendage of a photo manager, but still small and relatively simple
  • supports only JPEG and PNG, needing another viewer for image formats as SVG or GIF
  • good colors
  • fast
  • horrendous user interface, no toolbar, no drag&drop, no file open in the menu
  • lacking important features: no EXIF display, no image info (file size, resolution)
  • limited editing, that may satisfy a very beginner
  • lacking important keyboard shortcuts
  • the new default in Fedora but not ready yet IMO
With this said, I am looking forward, with very moderate optimism, to the situation in Fedora 15, where so far everything in nebulous and the upcoming GNOME 3 may make me a temporary refugee in the Xfce camp.


  1. Thew default image viewer in an XFCE environment is a small, lightweight app called ristretto.
    It brings along two XFCE-specific dependencies when installed: libxfcegui4 and thunar.
    Give it a try.

  2. I tried Xfce's default a while ago and it was very bare, for example no EXIF display (I believe it was before ristretto). Will try Xfce again after the 4.8 release, which is supposed to bring great improvements (hope it will be out in due time, before GNOME 3)

  3. Apparently something is broken with color profile support in your apps. I never had problem with EOG. It just apply profile set with xicc or gcm-prefs. GIMP and Firefox works after manually supplying .icm file in settings. Don't know about other apps.
    BTW, that photo made me hungry.

  4. GIMP, Firefox, Shotwell work correctly by default, EOG is broken. Did touch only GNOME Color Maanger to set a defautl profile (note: I can witness the issue only with high-quality pictures originating from a dSLR)

  5. Did you try geeqie (was: gqview)?

  6. I see no difference between the colors of EOG and Shotwell.

  7. You know that a new release of shotwell just came out, right? Have you tried it out?


  8. For me, the best image viewer for Gnome is Viewnior. Fast, clean and mean :P
    It does one thing only, but it does it well: viewing pictures. You could give it a try http://xsisqox.github.com/Viewnior/
    Another one that deserves attention is Gthumb (it came a long way)

  9. I see you've put some thought into the Shotwell photo viewer... would you consider opening these items as enhancement tickets in the Yorba database?

  10. @SEJeff: if is not yummable, then is of little use, will have to wait a while.

    @Eric: if the time allows and after I get to update to the latest version

  11. Shotwell is a badly needed program. But it is missing a feature: resize the photo (so that it uses fewer megabytes: very important for emailing). (And, speaking of email, it would be handy for both eog and shotwell to have a button to "email this photo", which would open your mail program, start a new message and add the photo as an attachment.)

    Eog on Ubuntu has a button to edit the image (which opens shotwell)

    When my Mom first got her camera, she wanted to crop and reduce the bytesize of a few pictures (for emailing). It was hard as heck to figure out how to do this on Ubuntu. It took me a few hours. I installed imagemagick for resizing and cropping. That was easy to learn, for someone familiar with the commandline. But "Dear Mom: meet the commandline" -- that's not really feasible.

    Even an experienced computer user would not likely be able to learn GIMP quickly. And it's usually overkill for simple tasks.

  12. You should try geeqie, formerly gqview, if you can. One handy feature of gqview is an easy to manipulate right click menu which can be used to hand off a selection of files to commonly used custom scripts. Drag and drop works with both KDE and Gnome, perhaps even with KDE's sftp kio but it has been a while since I tried. Image quality and dithering can be set to match your standards. Built with C++ and GTK gqview and its child are both fast.

    Gqview seems to be distributed with Fedora and so does geequie. Geequie has replaced gqview in Debian testing but was not ready for Lenny.

    PS @crf - "mom meet the right click menu I set up to resize and email your pictures" works nicely.

  13. @crf, the send to option is available in shotwell 0.8 and eog as a plugin.

    For nicu's problem about exif information, it is displayed on the bottom left of the window. It may not be complete, it's already a good start. Shotwell clearly has an odd ui (progress bars are inconsistent, custom icons and colors, etc) but its development pace is pretty impressive.

    Tasty pizza!

  14. @rodgersan: The photo information is only displayed in full Shotwell mode. If you use "direct" mode, i.e. you double click a JPG file, it opens up a small EOG-like window. Currently, that window doesn't offer photo info, among other features.

  15. For viewing and simple jobs like manual cropping and resizing I'm actually using gthumb (s.o. suggested that already a few comments earlier).

    What I lately found on my travelings into the Deep-Net-Space is a program called fotoxx that not only is a very IrfanView-ish lookalike but also features a huge load of image editing and processing functions (similar to IrfanView), too.

    cu, w0lf.

  16. i also used to use gThumb for small tasks... loved its export to web album and used it often. now it was simplified and made useless.