I recently spent 3 days going through back photos, culling and organizing, in an attempt to tidy up my file structure and generally feel more caught up. After all that, I felt like the job was somewhat incomplete, since folders arranged by date, location, and sometimes subject don’t really amount to much in the way of findability.
What I need is tagging and search functionality in a fast package. I’m not big into posting photos online, even on more professional services like smugmug. It takes too long to upload and the proportion of photos I want to share is very low. Because all of this stuff is on my server’s RAID5, and my server runs kde 3.5 on gentoo, there’s basically only one legitimate choice, digikam. It tags, it searches, and it’s fast. It handles RAW files (definitely don’t want to upload those). It can even embed the tags in the comments in the JPEG files (though not by default). All metadata is stored in a sqlite database that it keeps in sync with the files.
It does make a copy of whatever pictures you point it at though. But, the filestructure is preserved and everything looks just like it used to, so I can’t think of a reason to keep the untracked files around.
It’s served me and my 20GB or so of pictures well. There’s a screenshot attached.
Addendum: I’ll be upgrading from digikam 0.9 to 0.10 when I upgrade from kde 3.5 to 4.1 when it’s released (later this month I think). KDE 4.1 uses qt4, which is gonna be dandy for amarok 2.0. I’ll probably post about that, toowoowoowoo.