digiKam databases

Well, this is nifty. According to the documentation, digiKam supports using MySQL/MariaDB as a backend as an alternative to local SQLite files. Plus it documents the constraints relevant for using digiKam across multiple computers with respect to databases and collections.

On the whole, I’ve found the documentation pretty good and comprehensive. Sometimes the English feels a little off once in a blue moon. But the docs are pretty solid. I guess between 17 years of active development and growing professional grade feature sets, I should have expected the docs to be worth more than five minutes.

Good on you, digiKam contributors!

Thoughts on photo management

Along with taking the day for mental health and generally trying to be sane. I’ve been thinking about the future of how my photos are managed and how that needs to evolve.

The present system is pretty much this:

  1. Photos are cached to preferred cloud storage (+2 copies).
    • One is cleared periodically ‘en mass’ after draining.
    • One is cleared periodically during ‘archiving’.
  2. Photos are archived to my file server (+3 copies).
    • Master copies under my Plex media library.
    • Periodically backed up to another local location.
    • Entire file server is backed up locally.
  3. Photos are archived unfiltered to cloud storage (+1 copy).

Now, there’s a few problems with this scheme. Aside from getting off my butt closer to quarterly or yearly than monthly to drain cached images into the master. Over the years the definition of 3 has changed a bit. Another problem has been the evolution of format: I’ve generally migrated from classic JPEG to HEIC, as I’m seeing on the order of 50% disk savings. But of course Plex doesn’t speak HEIC, and therefore viewing outside of mounting the network drive hasn’t worked in years!

I don’t think there’s a good solution to how often I process photos through this pipeline, relative to any other habitual behavior.

There’s also the fact that whether I am draining the cache or actively looking for images, such as building my ‘Remembering Corky’ or ‘Photo Frame’ albums, that doing this at OS level kind of sucks. Explorer and Finder have actually gotten pretty good at dealing with photos since circa 2000, but aren’t exactly fun. More than once I’ve wished for something like Geeqie that my previous Unix machines had. In suffering the native tools, I found that building my Photo Frame album was really damn painful in finder’s gallery view, until I decided to just copy everything to a memory card and go through a process of deleting whatever I don’t want to move.

Actually, the general work flow and process has sucked enough that I’ve considered writing a bit of software to help compensate, or transitioning my master copy into something more cloudy and photo centric. Something that can offer better navigation / movement than a file-centric manager and a little bit more database goodness than my Photos/${YEAR}/${COLLECTION}/ approach to on disk storage.

Then in putzing around Steam Deck, taking its desktop mode for a test drive made me remember an old KDE application called digiKam. It has features for basically everything but pulling free disk storage out its digital back oriface.

In the old days, I never messed around with digiKam. Partly because it and KDE, were kind of heavy weight on my laptop back when I was a KDE user. Partly because by the time digital cameras and smartphones were part of my life, I had no KDE systems and an increasingly heterogeneous computing environment.

I’m thinking that digiKam may be a good solution to the solvable problems. It certainly should be able to handle my photos archive, which is over 40G and 14,000 image and video files. Actually, when the heck did this get so large? It feels like just a lustruum ago, I could fit everything on one Blu-ray layer πŸ˜†. Actually, maybe I should run WinDirStat or Grand Perspective over that. On the flip side, digiKam will probably offer much of the goodness I remember Google+ Photos having back when I used that. For me personally, being both cross platform and open source are huge pluses. It’s also helpful that it is one of the more cross platform KDE applications, as KDE off Linux/*BSD has become a thing.

As far as I can tell, there’s two problems to this plan.

Problem one is the file wrangling. My photos will remain on my file server with its redundant 8 TB of storage, and the SQLite databases of digiKam are best kept locally. This means that it will need its own backup management. A simple path is using my Mac and its Time Machine destination for that. How well sharing digiKam’s database files across different systems, I’m not sure, but in any case the trend has been for me to prefer one set of muscle-memory.

Problem two is transient image management. See, most of what I do with images fall under two categories: either my master repo, or some pipeline stage denoted above; or ‘a directory full of stuff I want to peruse’. I’m not sure that digiKam really handles that perusal factor. One of the things that I liked about running Debian and FreeBSD on my laptops, was being able to throw geeqie at that problem. Although, it might be viable to just create a staging area and export things.

In any case, it’s looking like digiKam is probably the best non-proprietary solution for the photo management hoopla that doesn’t involve me writing code to scratch itches.

Hmm, it seems that updating Xfce4 has borked the installβ€”in so much as none of the panel plugins work. Xfce4 itself seems to be O.K. but I can’t even get the Xfce Menu to appear in the panel, after using the option to migrate my panel settings almost nothing works o/. Guess whoever it was on the Zenwalk mailing list was right about the new Xfce not being ready for the lime light.

Giving KDE 4.5.4 a clean shot, results in an almost two minute wait to load, before it finally crashes back out to my XDM screen. To be fair on a second run (after rm -rf ~/.kde && sudo reboot) it is closer to 1 minute >_>.

Next up, using GNOME. Less than 30 seconds for the *first* run and I had a usable desktop. At least, something in this world works. After rebooting, going from log in to a usable desktop was approximately the same time frame. That’s cool.

I have never been a big fan of the old GNOME but I will usually be the first to admit, it gets the fuck out of your way and lets you get shit done. But Xfce4 is faster!!!

So I guess for right now, the old GNOME is my defacto-standard desktop :-/. Hey, if it works. Hell, all I really use the “Desktop” for amounts to a system tray, wall paper, and a way to switch between windows. 90% of what I do, is done in an X Terminal anyway.

The thing that I do care about, is that It Just Works and Doesn’t Annoy Me Constantly.

Since for (network) testing purposes I’ve rigged a spare partition on my desktop as a virtual duplicate of my laptop, but obviously s/ati/nv/ and Linux is smart enough to take care of the rest. To make the most of it, I also swapped a few things around to the latest packages. For dependency reasons Gnome is installed; like wise KDE for old times sake and Xfce for completeness. I decided that since I needed a desktop session to test the ‘common’ web browsers, that I may as well take KDE for a spin.

So far, I’ve tried about four or five versions of KDE since 4 went public, all but one of them was a release version. Taking a count from the moment the KDM wall paper is replaced by my blanked Xfce one, my meagre laptop loads Xfce into a usable state by “The count of three”, and has Dropbox and some applets loaded by five seconds. By contrast, on my waaay more powerful desktop, not only did I give up counting at the second mark of the startup splash screen: I dropped my water bottle and had to fish around in the dark to retrieve it from under the table. By then, KDE still had not gotten half way through it’s start up splash srcreen 8=). I like KDE, I’ve even used some versions of 3.4 on a piddly 500Mhz system once upon a time. But KDE 4 is just slow, freaking slow!

However, I must admit that KDE offers a very pleasant and polished visual appearance. Its like looking at a sleek sports car, only better. Their new desktop metaphor as it were, is likely a grand improvement over the traditional desktop. Compared to wrapping ones noodle around Deskmate or living with the UI that has plagued Windows for the last 15, if not 25 years, it is also argubly easier to use. No doubt about it, a first load of KDE is a hell of a lot more straight forward than a straight load of modern (or classic) Windows.

While it’s all so well done now, and as much as I remember enjoying KDE(3), if KDE(4) is the way the future desktop will be, me thinks that I will be continuing to use a keyboard and terminal emulator more often than a mouse, keyboard, and GUI applications!

It’s nice stuff, but hell, if it’s going to be that slow, why even use more than an xterm?

My first date with KDE 4.2.2

Being someone who knows a few things, I decided that in order to be fair: I would generally hold off deciding whether KDE 4 is an improvement over KDE 3, until after KDE 4.2 was released. Well, as life has it, I’ve spent most of two days compiling KDE 4.2.2, and things went very smoothly (not that I liked compiling ocaml among the dependencies :-/). This is on my core workstation, running FreeBSD RELENG_7 (i.e. 7-STABLE).

My very first impression was… is this thing working??? All that first time setup takes a while to do, and without much sign of anything happening in the background. On the second boot up, after logging in through the X Display Manager (XDM), I counted 17 seconds until there was a usable desktop; but user interaction was clean all the way, no doubt about that this system was coming online. If you count the time it takes for korganizer and the other system tray icons to load, about ~45 seconds to get a full desktop — but it’s not far to count background programs like systray icons lol (especially the kind you’ll likely remove later).

Although I think the startup time shouldn’t be to bad for most people, I’ve forgotten how long it took to get a full KDE session going up, but I would say 17 sec is pretty good on my hardware hehe. With just a Sempron 3300+, even Blackbox and FVWM2 could start faster for my tastes, so no problem.

I find the new style K-Menu quite useful, takes a little getting used to – learning what adapts a focus follows mouse approach (the nav-icons on the bottom) and what requires a clickly click to work (most everything else). It is beyond me why it defaults to that behaviour (developer preference maybe?), but easy enough to make it a bit more consistent: right clicking the big K and going into the application launcher settings put the desired option right under my noise :-).

Obviously, the first thing I looked for was Konsole, the theme stuff on it is just awesome. Second thing was to dig up the run command dialog to get my urxvt+screen going. Further attempts to use the run dialog, proved that it was mostly a piece of krap. (Eye candy, but shitty to use; guess that is why there are terminal emulators.)

Closing the desktop folder viewer widget-thing was the third major action. Because I’m a person that hates having a desktop cluttered with icons (I prefer terminals :-), I like the idea very much, but since I have no immediate use for it, no need to have it taking screen realestate.

One thing that irked me, bringing up the help and control center entries on the applicaiton launcher (K-Menu?) loaded the ones from KDE 3.5.10, joy 8=). Oh wellk, it’s quite easy to remove or change them via the menu editor. In the case of khelpcenter, it seems it just finds the wrong documentation ^_^. Killing off the old thing and setting /usr/local/kde4/bin in PATH at the top of my ~/.xsession file, fixed access to the Control Panel. I must admit, I rather dislike KDE3 cruft in the menu – however you slice it

For years, I have wondered why some systems never turned on the NUMPAD by default, considering that I now do so much off a laptop; I can understand why, it’s a pain in the ass if when its unexpectedly on xD.

I generally feel that the whole Plasma and widget crazed stuff is a good element of KDE 4, but in all honestly, FVWM and Blackbox have just spoiled me something terrible.

It would appear, that KDE 4.2.2 is more or less ready for general usage, and unlike 4.0RC*, can actually be customized quite a lot to taste :-). For a little while, I was worried that Gnome might take the lead, and keep it… but I think by the time Gnome 3 hits, KDE 4 will be queen and king of the desktop environments, hehe. For those who desire eye candy, and have a machine capable of it; if you liked AERO, you ain’t seen nothing yet laddy. I think anyone who is still holding onto KDE 3 at home, should start migrating while the getting is good; and employ programming talent for bringing along any missing “Must haves” to the new desktop. I am not sure if it is really an improvement beyond the concepts, but hey, at least there is Okular!

The technologies that interest me most, are only Phonon and Kross — although I’m not likely to use either programming wise, beyond their stake in Qt (Qt has some form of Phonon, and has had a JavaScript’ish thing avail for awhile; and I wonder if kross will make it’s way in before Qt5, hehe)

As for me personally, well I’ve gone back to the Famous Virtual Window Manager version 2.5.27, old habits die hard πŸ˜‰

Further testing of KDE 4.2.2 and later, will probably be through the Windows builds, rather then assaulting my poor stable laptop hehe.

Dixie reborn

and a return to KDE, version 3.5.8 while I’m at it

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

I find the lipstick style that PC-BSD uses by default a little yucky to stare at all day so I set it to my favorite (Keramik). I have installed a ton of colour schemes off kde-look.org but hate most of them….. One that I found was essentially an emulation of Ubuntu’s “Human” setup, which I do like very much or else I wouldn’t be using a modified form of it.

The colour scheme and GTK+ widgets is actually the only good thing I can say about Ubuntu 6.06 when I tested it last year. At first I thought I might try a custom colour scheme with a red title bar, give KDE a nice little FreeBSD flair πŸ˜‰ But I couldn’t get a shade of red that I could live with, like using, and not be distracted by in the same colour. PC-BSDs default window decor, ‘Crystal’ didn’t match well with the human colour scheme so I changed it repeatidly trying to find one that did match well and I could live with. I couldn’t find one I liked, so as usual I wound up with Keramik haha. No matter what I do I always find that window decore attractive 0.o. I also installed the Human_KDE icon set to match the human colour scheme.

I copied over the KMenu and Konqueror icons from PC-BSDs default theme into a copy of Human_KDE and I made a clone of the Human colour scheme. Then changed the desired portion of the title bar to use PC-BSDs default colours for it instead, adding some contrast. I loved the match up and it is much more appeasing to my eyes πŸ™‚

A bit of both muahuaha !

As far as the screen shot, the background is my ‘choice picture of the day’, rxvt-unicode is running and displays a listing of my home directory and the system versioning. Normally my desktop is some what dominated by a terminal emulator and a web browser with a few IM windows for icing on the cake. Below urxvt is linux-flock open to a live journal page. Lower left hand corner is XMMS blasting music while the lower right hand corner is a ‘KasBar’ which provides a replacement for the usual taskbar. While still giving me some thing similar to how Window Maker solves the problem hehe. There are no icons on the desktop only the panel.

I placed the main panel on top because with a laptop + touch pad I find it easier to use and more comfortable on my eyes with the widescreen display. From left to right on the top panel there is the K-Menu button, System [folders] Menu, Settings Menu, Web Browser (flock), Terminal (~/sh/urxvt big), Network Folders, the system tray applet which shows PC-BSDs battery monitor, Klipper the clibboard app I wish Windows XP had, KMix (volume/mixer control), PC-BSDs update manager, KOrganizer (which may be getting the ax soon), Pidgin (AIM/MSN/YIM/ICQ/XMPP chat), and Konversation (IRC). Over to the righter’ side is a desktop pager, lock/logout buttons, and a clocklet.

I feel the system has a bit of a Gnome / Ubuntu look and feel to it but I’m finding it quite comfortable. Because I like the pleasant feel of it plus it matches my work flow while still being KDE3 and FreeBSD powered instead xD.

KDE4 goes gold !


This is awesome !!! I can’t wait to give it a go without LiveCD πŸ™‚

The new Okular document viewer and Phonon multimedia framework are big interests for me. Oh baby is it gonna be a sweet road to KDE5 πŸ˜‰

Sneaking a peak at KDE4

I downloaded The Kubuntu-KDE4-RC2 live CD tonight, was only about 422MB of ISO.

I am sorry to say that although I think KDE4 will be a fenominal success (as long as most KDE3 users stick to it) but I am rather disappointed by KDE4 RC2 =/

I do not care much for the Oxygen look and feel as used by default in the Live CD and I especially dislike how there is little distinction between the window and it’s title bar / decore thing. That top bar with the mini/maxi mize buttons and close, e.t.c. or what ever you call it. I did like however the up/down looking buttons for minimize and maximize rather then some of the other things I have seen. As long as Keramik is still available (it was on the live cd as a window decore) I’ll probably be happy.

Konsole seems little changed other then settings->configure konsole it is replaced by editing ones profiles; This will probably cause a small level of new-user confusion but it is worth the clean up to the actual configuration dialog.

I don’t know if it is the way konqueror is done in KDE4RC2 or the way Kubuntu has it set up on the disk but loading any webpage seems to cause a massive flood of download boxes as it loads every page (probably image files). I suspect the problem is Kubuntu’s configuration but didn’t take the time to poke around, got other things to attend to tonight. I was also happy to see that Konquerors configuration system is still very abundant but a lot better organized now in regard to using it as a File Manager, Web Browser, or Both πŸ˜‰

Kontact id almost the same as I remember it only looking better. Kwrite worked well, did not see Kopete or KOffice apps so I can only guess it is Kubuntu, I’ve often heard that Kubuntu is often pretty bare bones compared to Ubuntu when listing in #kde; which is why I would probably use Ubuntu and apt-get KDE if I swung that way πŸ˜‰

The panel applets seem to be smoothly and very nicey integrated into the system, I plan to look further at them when I have more time to ‘play’. I fear that KDE4 RC2 seems to show less configuration options to the user then the KDE 3.4.3 through KDE 3.5.7 that I am used to…. However the Control Center has a make over that makes it a lot easier to find what you are looking for, much appreciated in my case but I don’t think it blends in with other or past KDE apps very well. It actually reminds me of the classic style Windows control panel but done in a more integrated way.

The K-Menu is drastically different, not sure if it is an improvement or not… I like the tabbed thing but dislike the focus-follows mouse usage there; it also remembers what ‘sub’ elements you were in when you reopen it, a matter of taste if you like or hate it. But it is rather nice to see a new idea! Or at least, as new as I’ve never seen it before, I used to collect Window Managers for a brief time, along with Terminal Emulators and Shells before settling on my current styles.

I like how the task manager thing in the panel had an icon and a label, I did not try to run a lot of applications to see how it collapses but it is nice the way they show it.

The only thing that really annoys me about the K-Menu is the ability to configure it by a quick right-click didn’t seem available… I don’t think that I will like KDE4 as much as KDE3.. Yet when we get to KDE 4.2 or KDE 4.3 it might be more to my style.

I got to try dolphin the new file manager…. From screen shots that I had seen of its KDE4 port I thought I would love it but after trying it on KDE4RC2 I am very un-amused. It presents a very nice user interface, I always found Konqueror a bit cluttered without stooping to custom profiles for file management and web browsing — A very damn nice feature of konqueror!!! The big killer for dolphin for me, was seeing a large lack of configuration options compared to konqueror or most major KDE applications. Which I could probably stand since it looks like a great program for being able to use effectively for it’s task (file management). The lack of a traditional type the file path address bar was a big let down; I will have to dig deeper into it to see if I can enable that. The alternative method I found in Kubuntu’s setup is a great setup compared to Windows Explorer, which I guess defaults to none… Looking at my moms user settings =/

For me, it is critical to be able to type /path/to/directory/ and go there in any file manager because it is what, like 1,000 times faster then clicking your way through? At least for me — I type at around 70 WPM on typing tests I’ve tried and when composing my self, I can type as fast as I can think; and some times faster as my speeellling show cases often enough on Forums. The primary reason use the Command Line Interface (CLI) for 99% of file management tasks on *nix systems is because the CLI is so much more useful then command.com/cmd.exe that it blows even konqueror away for file management: Most times I do things with file management I would really much rather type it out and use tab-completion then click 20 thousand times to do things. Dolphin and Konqueror however are *very good* file managers as far as GUI File Managers go and I have never found one that I like more then Konqueror (with a custom profile xD) unless I do actually drop to a shell prompt.

I’ll probably end up using KDE4 when it becomes the norm but I think so far, I’d rather have KDE3 as my Desktop with KDE4 applications around it if I could…. Amarok on Windows would probably be worth the concession since the only decent media players I have used are Amarok, MPlayer, Kaffeine, and VLC (which crashes a lot on me in Windows XP).

KDE is one of the projects that I would really like to help in the future, like FreeBSD and Ruby. The main reason I have never tried to get involved with KDE is that I hate C++ and doubt if I could be much use without touching any of it. For KDE I could almost stand working with C++ because I really love KDE. I don’t think I am looking forward to using KDE4 =/ I do however hope that it is the biggest greatest thing to hit the Unix based Desktop since OpenBSD in 1996, Vim (text editor) and the Linux kernel in 1991. Which are the best things I’ve ever bumped into hehe.

Gnome, is not my style and is contrary to my way of doing things. Although Ubuntu 6.06 had a very attractive look/feel with it hehe. I am a KDE User and most of my favorite graphical programs are KDE based or merely front ends to other ones or both in KMPlayers and KPlayers cases xD.

I think for a world of people KDE 4 will revolutionize the desktop when it matures but I am not to sure if it can beat out the matured KDE 3 in my books πŸ™‚

open default browser

for KDE:

$> kfmclient exec

this will open the file with the default binding if at all it exists…i.e. any app that associates itself with .swf MIME type.

for GNOME:


^ open file in proper program.

Been toying qith QTRuby and Korundum (QT3/KDE3 bindings for Ruby).

So far I think I rather like it hehe.

Got QTRuby installed fine, Korundums being a bit picky by libtool way. Hope to have a PBI with both in it by next week.

Some likes I need to bookmark in my master-bookmarks-file and want to post on PC-BSD forums.

Terry@Dixie$ rf ~/tmp/notes 5:20
–with-qt-dir=DIR where the root of Qt is installed
–with-qt-includes=DIR where the Qt includes are.
–with-qt-libraries=DIR where the Qt library is installed.
–with-smoke[=qt|kde] Smoke: build Smoke for qt+kde or qt only [default:qt]
–without-gl disable 3D GL modes

configured as:
./configure –prefix=/Programs/QT-KDE-Ruby-Runtime1.0 –with-qt-dir=/usr/X11R6/include –with-qt-includes=/usr/X11R6/include –with-qt-libraries=/usr/X11R6/lib/





arning: you chose to install this package in /Programs/QT-KDE-Ruby-Runtime1.0,
but KDE was found in /usr/local.
For this to work, you will need to tell KDE about the new prefix, by ensuring
that KDEDIRS contains it, e.g. export KDEDIRS=/Programs/QT-KDE-Ruby-Runtime1.0:/usr/local
Then restart KDE.


Terry@Dixie$ 5:20