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Linux Ubuntu with Oly m4:3 system?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Pennington, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. Pennington

    Pennington Mu-43 Regular

    I keep coming back to look at Ubuntu as a replacement OS for both my laptop and netbook and really like what I see. The only thing that holds me back is my photo work - if it weren't for that, I'd have switched already.

    I'm not a huge fan of Windows, all the limitations and hassle to keep it working smoothly. (And I don't think Mac is any better, to stop that conversation right now :smile:)  Plus, Windows 8 looks like a coming disaster. Likewise, I'm tired of Adobe's money-grubbing ways and being locked into an expensive upgrade cycle with them.

    So here's my real question: is anyone here using Ubuntu with their Oly m4:3 system? I've used GIMP on the side for several years and am pretty good with it, and I've looked at Darktable (which also looks pretty good).

    I know the Olympus firmware updater becomes an issue on Linux, but do the RAW files still work okay? Is there anything else I should know about this idea? Pros or cons?

    (I work in IT in my day job, so I'm computer savvy, although this would be my first deep foray into Linux.)
  2. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Everybody is entitled to their views, however I wouldn't really call $80 every 18 months 'money-grubbing.'

    The basic problem with image-processing on Linux and image-processing in general is that it takes fairly sophisticated engineering to turn a linear demosaicked file into something you'd want to look at - color, sharpening and noise-reduction are fairly complicated problems. Speed is also an issue.

    Of the options, I think RawTherapee or Aftershot Pro (formerly Bibble) are the best. Both do require a fair amount of work tweaking to come up with reasonable defaults though, and even then neither IMO measures up to the quality and ease of C1 or LR.

  3. WolfBane

    WolfBane Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2012

    I use linux mint 12 (a close cousin of ubuntu) and RawTherapee and GIMP and am happy with them, no problems really. I shoot RAW+jpeg, as the default browser and photo viewer don't allow me to view ORF files. Of course, I can see ORF files in RawTherapee .
  4. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012
    That's exactly how Linux is, you spend a lot of time to just make it work smoothly. :)  I've tried switching to Linux for my main desktop at least 2 times and always came back to Windows. And I'm very "computer savvy". My home server has been running on Linux (Debian) for years, I've tried FreeBSD (using ZFS for my main RAID array, and it's a "native" filesystem in BSD plus I liked PF more than iptables) but had to switch back to Debian, needed to run one application that only works in Windows and Linux, so BSD had to go. These Unix-like systems are good for servers as long as you run established tested software, I don't remember the last time I rebooted my server, it's been running 24/7 for months without a reboot with lots of active services like samba, openssh, apache/php/mysql, ftp, openvpn, etc, acting both as a wired and wireless router for the home network.

    But in order to efficiently use Linux on a desktop machine you really have to know the system very well. I mean, like "a developer" well. And since you're considering Ubuntu, it's likely that at the moment you don't have this sort of knowledge. Ubuntu works mostly fine as long as you install only the popular packages from official repositories. But as soon as you need to install something not that popular — it all starts falling apart. If apt (aptitude/synaptic) can't help you with dependencies (as often the case with many "third-party" applications) you'll start to build a lot of stuff from the source, configuring all these packages, downloading some funky libraries, and googling for hours trying to make this all work. And if you don't completely understand what all those packages are and how to properly configure them, after some time your system becomes a mess, even some mainstream packages installed with apt may stop working, and here you go again, spending hours googling what the hell could go wrong.

    Linux has NO advantages at all for desktop usage, except price. You'll only get pain and amateurish (desktop) software with it (I also learned GIMP and Inkscape pretty well and quite heavily used them a couple of years ago—they're nowhere close to Adobe's PS and AI). Windows XP had some quirks when you run it for a long time, it gets sluggish and some problems start to appear. But I've been running the same installation of Win7 for at least 36 months and the system is as responsive and stable as it was when I first installed it.

    So while it is possible to use Linux for (not professional) photo editing, there are some decent raw converters (like mentioned above Bible) and GIMP has tons of features (probably more than most people will ever need), I'd strongly suggest you to stick to Windows. Linux is just not worth it for desktops, maybe it'll catch up in 10-20 years, but for now it's no good.

    By the way, why don't you try running Linux in a virtual machine for now? Either VirtualBox or VMware Player will work fine, it's not like you really need any hardware acceleration, vm will give you pretty much the same experience as the real thing yet you won't have to demolish your original Windows setup. The other option is to install Linux as the 2nd system, either on a separate drive or even on the same one your Windows is installed on, in which case GRUB will become your boot manager and it is pretty stable.
  5. Pennington

    Pennington Mu-43 Regular

    $80 every 18 months? One of us is missing something, because as I see it from Adobe's site, CS5 to CS6 is $199, and my understanding is that after this point, you have to buy each upgrade in order to get the upgrade price, otherwise you have to pay full price.

    Or you can opt for their Creative Cloud for $49.99 each month, which gives you access to everything, but is even more expensive.

    That's what I meant by "money-grubbing." It's no longer affordable - or economical - to keep up with Photoshop upgrades, if you have to buy each one. At least IMO.
  6. Pennington

    Pennington Mu-43 Regular

    Thank you all for your input! I really appreciate it, even if it is the answer I expected, but didn't want to get :smile:

    If I was only doing photography as a hobby, I'd make the switch - but since I do professional work, I guess I really can't. As much as I'd love an alternative to MS & Adobe, who I find to be a PITA, there doesn't seem to be one (yet).
  7. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012
    If you don't like the pricing of Adobe (I don't!) you can install free software like GIMP on a Windows machine, there are no worthwhile "creative" software packages that are Linux-only.
    It all depends on what exactly you do and in what volumes. GIMP is really a pretty powerful application and you can do with it like ~80% of what you can with Photoshop. But a lot of stuff in PS is just way more convenient (like adjustment layers, for example) and at some point it'll save you so much time that it'll justify the price.

    The other thing about Adobe apps, maybe even the most important one, is the level of integration between different applications: you work with a photo in Lightroom/Camera Raw, then you open it in Photoshop as a smart object, at the same time you edit vector art in Illustrator, and then you put it all together in InDesign from where you can always easily go back directly to PS or AI and even back to your RAW-conversion stage, edit those pieces some more and your ID document automatically updates. It's the same with Premiere and After Effects. So for those who need all those apps it's just very convenient to work with Adobe programs (which also all have similar interfaces).

    But if you don't care about this integration and never work in ID or AI, and the amount of images you edit isn't very high — GIMP might work for you. It's easy to find out, just install GIMP on your Windows machines and try to use it.
  8. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    If you're doing professional work, your customers should be paying for your software, hardware, office time, etc. I paint for a living and if my customers aren't paying for materials, equipment, gas, office supplies and every other cost in addition to my "profit" I don't make money.

  9. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    troll's summary of using Linux on the desktop is largely correct from my experience, if a little on the negative side (but perhaps deservingly so) :smile: For several years I ran Linux full time on my laptop, work desktop, and any servers I maintained. It was what I wanted at the time and I loved it for the incredible flexibility and power.

    However, it requires a lot of willingness to dive in and tinker when something goes wrong, and certain simple tasks can result in incredibly frustrating issues. Back when I was using Linux on my laptop, it was things like wireless network card drivers (I solved this by buying hardware known to work well with Linux open source drivers), audio, and of course the many Windows-only applications out there. I got around all of these issues, and I was a happy Linux user for the most part. But it took work, and at the time I wasn't doing anything with photo editing or other areas where Linux was specifically known to lag behind Windows or Mac for available software & capabilities.

    In your described scenario I would not recommend it as a full time Desktop, and definitely not if your main motivation is saving money. Something like Linux is only "free" if your time is worthless. It may work fantastically out of the box for you but sooner or later you're likely to encounter issues that will require you to do some deep dive troubleshooting. Also, if you're dependent on some specialized software like Photoshop, I wouldn't want to be depending on open source psuedo-equivalents for professional work.

    Note that I don't mean to discourage you from trying Linux, but I think you'll be better off using it as a virtual machine for a while (you could easily install it in VirutalBox for free, for example) or as a dual-boot system with your Windows machine. That way you can get a good feel for what it's like running it on a day to day basis and determine if it's feasible for you to switch full time.
  10. Pennington

    Pennington Mu-43 Regular

    I probably should have said that I do some professional work - I'm not a full-time pro yet. And I get what you're saying about having the costs of everything built into your pricing, but at the same time it seems that if you can negate some of those costs, then there's more left to go around.
  11. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    I hear you. Just try not to lowball your prices because of doing without an expense. It's hard to raise your pricing down the road. Stay close to market value even if you don't currently have all the expenses.

    • Like Like x 1
  12. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I'm speaking of Adobe Lightroom. I see no reason why people who are not graphics arts professionals should either need or want Photoshop.

    For the handful of photography-oriented tasks that Photoshop accomplishes that LR cannot, there are certainly more than enough low-priced alternatives (including older versions of Photoshop itself).

  13. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dual boot is a pretty painless way to play before making a full switchover - as has been mentioned.

    I still can't get my wireless to work and I've been at it for WAY too long. In windows I can expose the driver settings easily but hours and hours of googling don't reveal how to do that with ubuntu or even get the wireless drivers working.
  14. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I prefer virtual machines by far, but without lots of memory and fast drives to work with, VMs tend to end in disaster. My machines are 8-16 GB of RAM and quality 7200 RPM drives, which support Linux installations fairly well. Thinking about buying a VelociRaptor though; SSD prices have dropped but not far enough for multimedia work, not yet.

    As for the wireless drivers, the best thing to do is to collect all the hardware details (from the syslog? Maybe from /udev?) and go check the Ubuntu forums.
  15. sLorenzi

    sLorenzi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 15, 2010
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