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9 Open Source Alternatives To Picasa 86

An anonymous reader writes: After over a decade of ownership of the product, Google announced just a few weeks ago that it will be closing the shutters for good on Picasa, a cross-platform photo viewer and organizer with basic editing capabilities. In the official announcement, Google has set March 15 as the end of support for the desktop client, with changes to the accompanying web-album hosting service set to roll out later in the spring. On, Jason Baker rounded up 9 open source and Linux-compatible alternatives to the popular photo sharing service.
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9 Open Source Alternatives To Picasa

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  • Are any of these alternatives actually any good?

    Shit, they're already broken up into "viewers", "organizers" and "web albums".

    Does that mean that I'll need to use three goddamn different apps just to get something resembling the Picasa experience?!

    Will I need to run my own web server just to get these fucking "web albums"?! Will I need to pay for hosting?!

    This article reminds me of my experience with the Rust programming language. I was told it was an alternative to C++, but when I went and tried Rust for m

    • Alternatives can be worse. The word you're looking for is "replacement".

      Shotwell does a lot of what Picasa did. No alternative is going to match features 1:1, but it does support library organization, editing, photo import, uploading (including to Picasa web albums). Basically all the things I used Picasa for. Picasa had a lot of features, though, so I guess it depends. Shotwell was my go-to photo importing tool until a couple of crippling bugs made it useless for me.

      • Shotwell might do a lot of things right. But it misses one important point: platform/os-support. Linux support was only a sideshow for Picasa. It's main stages were Windows and OSX all of which Shotwell doesn't support. Too bad.

  • Open source Picasa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nycsubway ( 79012 ) on Thursday March 10, 2016 @02:34PM (#51672907) Homepage

    How about if Google open-sourced the Picasa desktop program? Then it could continue rather than being discarded completely. I understand why they would ditch and forever bury a cloud service and all of its code, but the desktop program can continue to be stand alone, separate from any of the proprietary google services. It's great at what it does. It's very intuitive to organize photos and very fast.

    • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Thursday March 10, 2016 @03:09PM (#51673187)

      How about if Google open-sourced the Picasa desktop program? Then it could continue rather than being discarded completely

      Why would they want to do that? They want you to use Google cloud services to do that stuff, not an offline standalone program.

      As far as it being fast, a cloud-based photo editing service will be faster at operating on data that's on Google Drive. You say that your photos aren't on Google Drive? Well then you need to put them all on there. You're not supposed to be storing your personal information on your own local machine, you're supposed to be storing everything in the Cloud.

      It makes perfect sense that Google is killing off Picasa and not making the source code available.

      • by ChrisMaple ( 607946 ) on Thursday March 10, 2016 @03:36PM (#51673417)
        They'd do it to generate good will, which is wearing thin on the Google brand.
        • by KGIII ( 973947 ) <> on Thursday March 10, 2016 @07:13PM (#51674889) Journal

          Apparently not.

          Well, no... The goodwill is wearing thin. Them doing something like that to garner goodwill does not seem to be likely.

          Gotta be frank, I really don't think Google gives a shit any more. They've got what they want and they're now huge. They're no longer nimble. They're no longer worried about a future. They went from having a six month plan to having a fifteen year plan. A few broken eggs along the way, when we humans are such shortsighted fools with attention deficit, means little to them in the grand scheme of things.

          Hopefully, I'm completely wrong.

      • by acroyear ( 5882 ) <> on Thursday March 10, 2016 @04:06PM (#51673641) Homepage Journal

        well, to get us to use the cloud for that, they would need to have their cloud-editing tools not suck.

        They bought picnik and totally ran it into the dirt, where all that is left is a handful of astronomy-named one-shot filters that make me miss instagram, and i've never actually installed instagram for f's sake.

        Otherwise, you can do more editing on your phone/tablet than you can on your desktop, and that is one gigantic bit of what-the-f round two. The idea that mobile should be *better* than desktop is an attitude I will simply never ever understand.

        • well, to get us to use the cloud for that, they would need to have their cloud-editing tools not suck.

          No, they don't. They just have to eliminate the desktop tools. After a while, you'll forget all about how much better the desktop tools were and you'll think the cloud tools are just fine.

          Otherwise, you can do more editing on your phone/tablet than you can on your desktop, and that is one gigantic bit of what-the-f round two. The idea that mobile should be *better* than desktop is an attitude I will simpl

          • by qvatch ( 576224 )
            OTOH, if they want you to use cloud services, they need to have a history of not shutting down said cloud services.
    • Why not open source both sides (Client & Cloud) that way hosting companies and organisations could offer cloud hosting for Picasa clients. Much more sensible but I suppose google won't bother just like with IGoogle.
  • 10 steps to build your own ...
    21 days to learn ...
    15 easy ways to ...
    9 alternative to ...

    Come on!

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      Oddly enough, that's what I thought the article linked to at first. Then I noticed the URL was not that. I actually find that site pretty handy at times.

      There are often little gems that I've never heard about. (I do not, in fact, know everything.) That's a pretty good site for finding interesting alternatives or replacements. I'd think that it might make a good bookmark for people who are considering switching from Windows to Linux. There are countless little projects, with varied stages of success, and tha

      • The problem with script alternatives is that they do so many things that any one script can often replace any other script, depending on the context. I doubt if a "cross-reference list" would have much value.

        Here are some more options:

        Here's a site for open source alternatives: []
        This is for Linux alternatives: []
        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          Nifty, thanks. And yeah, I've not found a script alternative site that does it well. I'm an eternal optimist, sort of, so I'd like to think it can be done. They don't have to be an *exact* match. Maybe I'll take a day or two and see if I can think of a way to knock one out and toss it up for others to maintain.

          Either way, thanks for the links. I knew of Linux App Finder but osalt is new to me.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    is the feature I will miss most. Are there any alternatives?

  • Face tagging? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TREE ( 9562 ) * on Thursday March 10, 2016 @03:01PM (#51673133)

    One of the most unique features of Picasa is the facial recognition system. Are there any other systems out there that have it working to the degree that Picasa does? With training and automatic matching?

    • One of the most unique features of Picasa is the facial recognition system....

      Yes, by now Google recognizes the the face of 20% of the worlds population. I don't know if that is cool or scary. Mission accomplished?

      • by TREE ( 9562 ) *

        This comment is very relevant, because *Picasa* is actually one of the few tools that can do facial recognition *without* uploading the results to "the cloud". I'm sure Google Photos (or whatever is replacing Picasa in Google's eye) will still do facial recognition in the cloud, but like you I don't see that as a good idea. Facebook etc. do this as well, and tie it to users' accounts.

  • I like the idea of it being a backup of my Photos, but there is no official uploader on Linux. (They also pitch it as the opposite, backup from your phone to the cloud. I want to get it to my desktop....)

    I want any organization/metadata added to be present in the photos or folder structure itself. Is that possible to do?

  • Irfanview (Score:4, Informative)

    by malditaenvidia ( 4015209 ) on Thursday March 10, 2016 @03:11PM (#51673199)
    It's not cross platform, but windows users might want to look into irfanview. It's a really powerful image organizer with editing capabilities and photoshop plugin support.
    • Re:Irfanview (Score:4, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday March 10, 2016 @03:15PM (#51673235) Homepage Journal

      I am in awe of both how great Irfanview's functionality is, and how shit the interface is. Seriously, nothing seems to do what I expect.

      • by GrBear ( 63712 )

        +1 Amen Brother

      • I am using IrfanView ever since it became available, many, many moons ago. And everything does just what I expect it to do. It is fast, supports pretty much all living picture formats and is incredibly easy to use....
    • I tried Irfanview. I was quite impressed at how it turned a modern neat imaging viewing experience into something I hadn't seen since ACDSee 2 on a Windows 2k machine. The interface is garbage. Some of the navigation and control choices are bizarre, I never was able to set it up in a way that it made a decent effort of rendering an image when zooming.

      That said it does have some great file support. And it's not the worst out there either. That crown goes to Windows 10 which seems to have broken the image vie

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      I've used XNView on Windows in the past. Their Linux version is shit but their Windows version is kind of awesome.

  • by ziggystarsky ( 3586525 ) on Thursday March 10, 2016 @03:32PM (#51673367)

    Darktable is a primarily a great Raw editor. But over time it has become a decent photo manager, too. Darktable supports lossless edits, so you can store your untouched original files, and all derivations are stored by their edit history in sidecar files.

      I used to use digikam, which has many good features. But digikam simply crashes way too often.

  • I was a long time user of DigiKam, but it's just become too heavy for the amount of photos I have. Load times were going up and removing the cache and letting it recreate it just wasn't helping much to make it faster.

    gThumb is what I use now. Very simple, but fast and easy for the wife to use as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's bad enough that "shuttering" now means "closing", but now we're "closing the shutters"?? WHAT FUCKING SHUTTERS!??

    Just say CLOSING!!!!!!!

  • Having a good and efficient photography workflow is difficult to figure out and set up. I looked up Picassa before it was bought by Google, I liked it but I never liked the idea of having my pictures hosted by someone else. So I have my own workflow: shell script to move and rename the pics from the camera card to the PC, SilkyPix for the RAW edition, PTgui for the panorama edition, Gimp for custom edits, ashell script for archival and backup and Gallery2 for semi-public (friends, family and customers) broa
    • Piwigo. It can import gallery2/gallery3. My ISP supports it via automatic install. At home installing via the .zip/web installer was fine. If you have way too many files you may need to tweak some php params for the import to work. Took me a weekend afternoon to move everything over. The author of Gallery's GreyDragon theme recommends it, moved over his stuff, and recreated his theme, though I actually now use modus instead.

  • Is this really the year of Desktop Linux?

    Picasa ran on Windows so these, for the most part, aren't alternatives at all.

    • Picasa had a linux version for a long time too.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Picasa had a linux version for a long time too.

        Yes it did!

        It was shit canned just prior to the Windows version gaining a new feature of making videos. Obviously this would be difficult to replicate on Linux, so the Linux version was discontinued. Now maybe it was discontinued because of this or maybe for some other reason, but I believe this is what stopped it from continuing.

        At the end of the day, though, I had to ask myself, "Is it really worth using a proprietary application on Linux?"

  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Thursday March 10, 2016 @05:53PM (#51674439) Homepage Journal

    What is a photo organizer for?

    "For organizing your photos, you dullard."

    Yeah, but what's it for ?

    Seriously, I don't get it. I have a pile of a few thousand (gack!) photos sitting in well-known directories. Except for the ones from a very old phone, they all still have their original filenames and datestamps. Every so often, I let one of these "photo organizers" loose on the lot, and the only evident result is a gallery of thumbnails. Great; now I have double the number of image files to manage (original plus thumbnails).

    "Well, you can organize them by category." Okay, how is the initial categorization done? Or do I have to invent (and remember) my own taxonomy of tags, and apply them to each photo in turn? Assuming I go to that trouble, is this metadata portable in the event I decide to change to another organizer?

    "Well, you can create custom slideshows by selecting photos by category or individually." Uh, all right, vaguely useful. But given how incredibly rarely I do that, I could accomplish the same thing by launching Geeqie [] on a directory full of softlinks.

    "Well, you can also edit your photos as you review them in the organizer..." Uh, no. Now you're no longer a photo organizer, but an image editor with an index. No thanks; I don't load images into an editor unless I plan on actually editing them. Fewer accidents happen that way.

    I guess what I'm really asking is: What sorts of things do you do with your photos that makes a photo organizer an indispensable tool? How do you use the organizer to make your work easier?

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )


      Most "organizers" just get in the way. They destroy whatever organization you managed to have in the first place. iPhoto was especially bad about this. Picasa was nice in that it was an all-in-one-sink app that did not completely destroy your own organizational scheme. It was very unusual in that respect.

    • by pbhj ( 607776 ) on Thursday March 10, 2016 @06:44PM (#51674727) Homepage Journal

      I use Digikam.

      + It manages meta-data and tags (yes my own taxonomy) that I apply to allow me to easily find images and to give space to write some text.

      + It has an editor that's good for colour correction cropping and similar functions (I use GIMP for more complex changes).

      + It has a print manager to help arrange images on sheets of photo paper, add titles and such.

      + It also has face recognition and tagging, so I can access a folder of images and choose nice pictures based on who is in them, or if I want a picture with a certain group of people in then I can find them all.

      + Search by keywords, or by drawing a rudimentary image and doing image matching.

      + What else, oh, when it's somewhere new I usually add some geo coordinates so that if in the future if we want to remember where we were, or my kids want to find the place we visited, or somesuch then they can

      + Uploading images to Facebook (and in the past to other places like Flickr and a private Gallery2 site) and keeping track of which images were uploaded (by using tags).

      That's about all I use, there's lots more in there including things like date sorting (which ignores the folder structure and lets you view virtual folders by date) and colour searching.

      Tags and such are applied in well-known meta-data regions that can be ported to other applications. In fact one problem I had was that I downloaded a load of image files that were already tagged and the tags were automatically imported.

    • For me, the big advantage of Picasa was the face recognition. Tag someone a few times, and it becomes extremely easy to find pictures of specific friends and relatives.

      • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

        While that is a highly useful feature, we found that in our family no matter how hard we tried it would confuse people. That is it seems for example quite determined to randomly classify my brothers eldest daughter as my sister and vice versa. It also thinks that my sisters eldest is my brother and vice versa. Mind you those two combinations listed above do indeed look alike, so much so that my nephew thought the old photo of my brother was of him but was confused at it was not his jumper (sweater for you

    • All my photos are sorted by /yyyy-mm-dd-1st day at kindy/yyyy-mm-dd-IMGxxx.jpg So all my photos are sorted easily. I currently have 115,000 photos dating back to 2004. Every photo is piped through a piece of software that reads the exif data and renames the files to suit as it comes off the device.

      I don't use the tag system that picasa has. What Picasa has done though is allow me to find all the photos with my face in, or my wifes, or one of my kids or any other person we have spent the time training it

    • Picasa doesn't interfere with your existing photo organisation; it complements it. You can drag and drop your photo files all you want, and Picasa automatically and transparently follows suit. And editing a file in Picasa never affects the original photo either unless you explicitly tell Picasa to save the changes to the original photo. All original photos are kept too so there's never a fear of an accident. It's clear you haven't actually used Picasa because you don't have a clue about the basics of how it

  • I've mostly never bothered going beyond just stuffing things in folders, sometimes by date sometimes by subject.

    That's because while I've tried various options in the past (including DigiKam when I was keeping a Linux box running all the time at home), what I'd really like is something that can do the equivalent of ID3 tagging within my picture files. I'd like to be able to set all this assorted metadata about subjects, locations, etc. and have it travel with the picture. Having it in an index file in the s
  • Still the Microsoft Office Picture Manager. No good for Linux, but free as part of Sharepoint Designer 2010.

    I still don't know why MS stopped including it in Office. It's absolutely ideal for what my users need - fast, easy batch correction/resizing/rotation of photos for upload to real estate multiple listing sites.

How long does it take a DEC field service engineer to change a lightbulb? It depends on how many bad ones he brought with him.