Ubuntu 10.10 biggest mistake: shotwell

This is meant to replace f-spot.

It just isn’t ready.

I do not have what I would consider a large photo collection. It’s about 77GB on disk, maybe 30,000 images.

Importing from f-spot is horrendously slow for what is essentially a few INSERT..SELECT statements. It does not copy your photos anywhere, yet takes about that long.

It eats memory for breakfast. No, really. I bought a digital camera around New Year 2003. In just importing the photos from 2003… It’s now using 800MB of memory… sorry, 900MB now. At final count, at the end of 2003, it’s up to 1.6GB of memory used and an additional 300MB of disk space in ~/.shotwell/thumbs. How on earth is it going to cope when it gets to where I really start shooting? Now, the Shotwell website does state that there was a memory leaking bug that is now fixed in trunk. Note where it isn’t fixed – in Ubuntu.

Ubuntu 10.10 currently ships with an unusable photo manager.

f-spot is nowhere near perfect. Relegating it to universe instead of main (i.e. it’s now “not maintained by Canonical”) is just stupid.

Meanwhile, I still love darktable – it’s simply wonderful.

13 thoughts on “Ubuntu 10.10 biggest mistake: shotwell

  1. I think the main problem is that shotwell was not really tested by people using a big photo collection.
    When you only import a few pictures (like 20 or so) it works fine and even faster then f-spot.

  2. F-Spot sucks. It trashes EXIF metadata and it has been this way for years. Use DigiKam which is part of KDE, but works fine in GNOME.

  3. I’ve found it not to eat things (I don’t have the “save tags in file” on though).

    As I said, far from perfect… but shotwell is even further.

    Last time I checked out digikam it didn’t quite seem up to it for me either… perhaps I should check it out though.

  4. My digital camera produces videos as well as stills. Shotwell does not display them. It seems it doesn’t import them from the camera either. So I cant use it to import them wipe the card. Too dangerous.

  5. I second the Digikam suggestion, with kipi-plugins if you don’t get them automatically. Couldn’t be much worse, right? ;-)


  6. @LinuxCanuck: That metadata thing has been fixed for ages, get a newer version of f-spot!

  7. I’m the founder of Yorba, the group that develops Shotwell. Thanks for all the interest in Shotwell here.

    Stewart: Shotwell 0.7 does have a memory leak when importing large numbers of photos as you observed. We’ve fixed this in the trunk and the fix will be present in Shotwell 0.8, which will appear in December. We also plan to issue a minor release 0.7.3 with this fix soon.

    Ian: We’ve now implemented video support in the Shotwell trunk. This feature will also be present in the upcoming Shotwell 0.8.

    If any of you have more questions about Shotwell, feel free to join the Shotwell mailing list or to contact us at [shotwell at yorba.org]. Thanks!

  8. Hi Adam!

    I do look forward to there being two decent photo management apps on the Linux desktop that can import from each other (so digikam is straight out.. I’m not retagging everything).

    I’d love to see the disk usage fixed too – it doesn’t need its own thumbnails (for those of us with large photo libraries, on a different disk to ~, it’s a lot of extra disk).

    It’d be neat if there was good integration with darktable too – it is probably *the* most exciting app for me at the moment – and it’s a little bit annoying running it and f-spot together.

  9. Hi all! I enthusiastically installed Shotwell from within Synaptic and noticed my system hang when trying to import all my photos (around 40K of them). So I downloaded, configured, and compiled the trunk via SVN, and (guess what?) I’m *still* noticing some major memory consumption.

    I initiated a sizable import, and the shotwell window has gone grayscale (looks unresponsive), and its memory usage has climbed over 1GB now.

    I *did* notice that the trunk version is grabbing my videos, though, which is a neat addition!

  10. 2013:
    Shotwell is still terribly slow and hangs more than not. It’s pretty worthless, which is unfortunate, as I like the interface.

  11. Hi, just saw this after an AWFUL experience with Shotwell. I’m a surf photographer in Santa Cruz, CA and I have … i don’t know… a couple terabytes of RAW images. I had to dump Linux Mint (sorry their update mechanism is nonsense) and went with Shotwell as my DAM. It brings my system to it’s f’in _knees_. I have loathed Ubuntu since they started using Unity, and now I’m seriously thinking of how to do a better Mint system :(

  12. Shotwell has gotten better, and f-spot has stayed remarkably static (actually, gotten worse). I’m kind of stuck.. I don’t have TB of photos… but it’s >100GB of developed JPEGs. I’ve been *LOVING* darktable though… and I’m kind of tempted to use folders and darktable for the majority of photo management but I’m not *entirely* happy with that solution either….

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