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Picasa 2.7 still highly flawed

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on January 09, 2008 04:19 PM
Picasa is kind of like an Apple PC. It's very nice as long as you use it exactly as Google intends, and don't want to use any other photo apps or need any other functionality. If so, there are major frustrations.

Most of my issue is with the whole 'import to database' model. You can't just add a photo to a directory and then browse to that directory. You have to either manually add that directory to Picasa's scan list or just allow it to scan your entire hard drive. If you change a photo in Gimp, for instance, and save it to the same name, you will not see those changes in the copy of the photo that Picasa makes. (You have to save it as a new file name and make sure Picasa is always scanning that directory.) It's just as bad in the opposite direction. If you 'edit' a file using Picasa's very nice image adjustments and then open that file in another browser or in Gimp, none of the changes will be present. You have to manually save a copy of that file with the Picasa changes, and then pick the original file and strip out all the edits to see the actual original file as it exists on disc. This is what Picasa calls 'non' destructive editing, which has it's advantages, but the way they implement it very much less than transparent.

Any 'albums' you make or 'captions' or other comments, similarly, are not saved with the actual file in your directory. They are only present in the Picasa database and not available to other file browsers or external image editors.

Another problem with this is that Picasa maintains a parallel database of all the photos you have in it's collection. This can take up an enormous amount of disk space and it's just not necessary.

DigiKam is much the same in this regard, using a similar 'import to database' model. Yet there are other very good photo browsers that don't find it necessary to use this database rigamarole. ACDSee is probably the most capable photo browser there is and it's never used such a model. You can simply browse your existing directory structure and see whatever images exist, as they exist, anywhere on your disk or external drives or photo cards or network etc.

There are other frustrations with Picasa Linux. I really like a Slideshow function with a nice crossfade effect. There is basically no Linux photo app that can do this correctly! Either the fade is jerky or the slideshow image is grainy. Picasa has a beautiful slideshow on windows, but in Linux it won't show the photo in full screen. And the new Beta hasn't cured this problem. They just keep adding new features without fixing the glaring bug. Don't get it.

Finally - WINE? There are thousands of Open Source projects large and small that are able to write a program and do native builds for Linux, Windows, and Mac. But Google with all of their vast resources and huge use of Linux within their own business, can't seem to figure that out and repackages Windows apps in Wine? (Earth, Sketchup, and Picasa.) Now Wine is extremely cool, but that's still kind of pathetic.


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