Debarshi's den

Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

#photos happenings

with 2 comments

Out of a mojito bar in South Beach with a lobotomised plastic picnic spoon and a crew of control freaks.

3.22 is here

We recently released GNOME 3.22. It will be in Fedora Workstation 25. Go look at the video — it’s awesome!

GNOME Photos has again taken significant strides forward – just like we did six months ago in 3.20. One of the big things that we added this time was sharing. This nicely rounds out our existing online acccounts integration, and complements the work we did on editing six months ago.


Sharing is an important step towards a more tightly integrated online account experience in GNOME. We have been interested in a desktop-wide sharing service for some time. With Flatpak portals becoming a reality, I hope that the sharing feature in Photos can be spun off into a portal for GNOME.

Thanks to Umang Jain, our GSoC intern this summer for working on sharing.

We overhauled a lot of hairy architectural issues, which will let us have nicer overview grids in the near future. Alessandro created a Flatpak. This means that going forward, you can easily try out the nightly builds of Photos thanks to the Flatpak support in GNOME Software 3.22.


Thanks to Kalev Lember for the wonderful screenshot.

The future

I think that we are reaching a point where we can recommend Photos to a wider group of users. With editing and sharing in place, we have filled some of the bigger gaps in the user experience that we want to offer. Yes, there are some missing features and rough edges that we are aware of, so we we are going to spend the next six months addressing the ones that are most important. You can look at our roadmap for the full picture, but I am going to highlight a few.

Better overview grids (GNOME #690623)

We have been using GtkIconView to display the grid of thumbnails that we call the overview. GtkIconView has been around for a long while, but it has some issues – both visual and performance. Therefore, we want to replace it with GtkFlowBox so (a) that the application remains responsive while we are populating the grid, and (b) we can have really pretty visuals.

Eventually, we want this:


Import from device (GNOME #751212)

This is one of the biggest missing features, in my opinion. We really need a way to import content from removable devices and cameras that doesn’t involve mucking around with files and directories.

Petr Stetka has already started working on this, but I am sure he will appreciate any help with this.

More sharing (GNOME #766031)

Last but not the least, I definitely like showing off on Facebook and so do you! So I want to add a Facebook share-point and possibly a few more.

Come, join us

If any of this interests you, then feel free to jump right in. We have a curated list of newcomer bugs and a guide for those who are relatively new. If you are an experienced campaigner, you can look at the roadmap for more significant tasks.

For any help, discussions or general chitchat, #photos on GIMPNet is the place to be.

Written by Debarshi Ray

22 September, 2016 at 17:18

GNOME Photos 3.20.0

with 7 comments

Now that we are in the middle of the various freezes in preparation for GNOME 3.20, and eventually Fedora 24, it is a good time to talk about some of the things that happened over the last six months. You might have noticed that a bunch of GNOME applications received significant improvements this cycle. If you haven’t, then go ahead and check out the new hotness in Documents, Maps (it is awesome), Nautilus (or Files), Calendar and News.

It wasn’t any different for Photos.


Non-destructive editing has landed this cycle. It was one of the high level plans that Allan had written about last summer. While Photos will never be a fully featured professional image editor like Darktable or GIMP, I believe this plugs an important gap for those looking for a simpler option.

Internally, it is based on GEGL (which explains the cryptic title of the teaser in November). For those who are not in the know, GEGL is a graph based image processing framework that is going to be new image processing core of GIMP. For us, it means that we benefit from the plethora of operations that are built into GEGL and the many more that are being ported over from GIMP; and we get things like non-destructive editing, higher bit-depths, handling larger than RAM images, multiple pixel formats and many more advanced features for free.

In the spirit of non-destructive editing, we never touch the original images. However, you can export the result of the edits out of the application through.


I expect the export functionality to evolve as we integrate sharing into Photos — uploading to online accounts, attaching to an email or sending to a USB stick. Exporting entire albums or a selection of multiple images is also something that we will be adding in the near future.

When New Heroes Emerge

At this point, I must mention the amazing work done by two new GNOME contributors — Rafael Fonseca and Umang Jain. It does feel good to be reviewing more patches, even if I don’t time to write that many myself.

Thanks to Rafael we now have the usual undo notification for editing. This is typical of GNOME 3 applications — instead of asking for confirmation, we try to make the actions as reversible as possible. He also worked on export and cleaned up our selection toolbar code.


Umang did a lot of work on the crop palette, metadata handling, improvements to undo and gave us this export notification.


Help Overlay

Last, but not the least, along with many other GNOME applications we added a help overlay to show our keyboard shortcuts. You can either access it from the application menu, or press Ctrl+? or Ctrl+F1.


Join Us

There is a lot to do. So come join us in #photos on the GIMPNet IRC network if you want to join the fun.

Written by Debarshi Ray

8 March, 2016 at 12:44

Posted in GNOME, Photos

Content Apps Hackfest 2015: report

with one comment

I spent most of the previous week attending the Content Apps Hackfest in Madrid. The agenda was to work on GNOME’s content applications: Documents, Files, Music, Photos and Videos; to identify missing features and sore points; and raise the standard of the overall content experience in GNOME. Of these, I focused mainly on Documents and Photos.

The first day was spent discussing high-level goals:

  • Previews – should the content applications take over the role played traditionally by Evince and Eye of GNOME?
  • Status and plans about sharing. We are still waiting for a platform-wide sharing framework, but since it is a crucial feature for some of the applications, it has become a case of perfection being the enemy of good.
  • Porting away from GtkIconView to GtkFlowBox. GtkIconView has some very visible problems – it becomes terribly slow when the images are updated; the grid’s content doesn’t re-flow when the size of the widget changes leading to an awkward gutter appearing on the side; cannot pack any GTK+ widget into a GtkCellRenderer.

I set up a live Google Hangouts stream on my laptop to let those who couldn’t attend in person to join us remotely. With Andreas’ help, I fixed the HiDpi breakage in Photos’ cropping tool, Bastien fired some new LibreOffice builds, while the other Bastian revamped Documents’ wiki page.

The second day started with breakfast in Florian’s flat. It was less chatty with people quietly hacking away, presumably, to rest their tired throats. Bastien picked up Pranav’s patches to integrate LOKDocView widget in Documents. I worked a bit on polishing rough edges in Photos’ editing code, and tried to keep up with the endless stream of patches from Alessandro and Umang.

Discussions picked up a bit on the third and final day. Allan spent a lot of time talking to the developers of each application. UX reviews were done, new designs were made, and future plans were sketched out. I spent some time with him working on a roadmap for Photos. We are still cleaning up our rough notes and transferring them to the wiki, but I think it is good enough for others to take a look. Øyvind paid us a surprise visit, and we grabbed the opportunity for some impromptu chat.

Many thanks to Red Hat for letting me attend and sponsoring me, and to Medialab-Prado for being such wonderful hosts.

Written by Debarshi Ray

8 December, 2015 at 11:24

The goats have strayed into GNOME

with 3 comments

Here is a glimpse of what I have been doing lately.



The screenshots feature the photo please wait… by Garrett LeSage available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Written by Debarshi Ray

27 November, 2015 at 20:28

Posted in Blogroll, C, Fedora, GNOME, Photos

Documents and Photos: a content application update

with 4 comments

We have continued our work towards having a nice set of core applications for finding and selecting the user’s content. Documents, which is the eldest, received a round of thorough bug squashing for GNOME 3.12. It is a much more mature and well-behaved application now than it was six months ago, mainly due to the work of our QA teams – both upstream and downstream. Photos received a set of nice new features and is well on its way towards fulfilling the role it was designed for.


Álvaro Peña added support for browsing Facebook photos based on his libgfbgraph library.



This was something that was sorely lacking in the previous releases. With the increase in the number of online sources, the inability to be able to filter the content based on some parameters was badly felt. But not any more.

User help

The documentation team has paid a lot of attention to the end-user help for these two applications. Older pages have been refreshed and newer ones written, and I can easily say that GNOME 3.12 will be one of the best in terms of documentation coverage.


Written by Debarshi Ray

19 March, 2014 at 08:35

Robbed. Camera gone.

with 3 comments

We got robbed in Barcelona the day before yesterday. It happened a little after 23:00 hr on the Passeig de Colom. We could have lost more, but in the end it was just my Canon EOS 60D with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens attached to it.

We filed a report at the police station on Carrer Nou de la Rambla with the serial numbers of the devices. We believe we have identified one of the two robbers — the one who had confronted us from the front. I must say that the police were friendly and helpful, and they had people who spoke good English.

But that is not the point of this blog post.

Thanks to my friend, Arjun, we figured out that the EXIF data has the serial number of the camera and the lens embedded in it; and if, like me, you upload your photos to Flickr, you can easily see all the metadata even if you do not have any fancy photography software at hand. This makes me wonder if it is possible for websites like Flickr or Facebook or Imgur to flag uploads originating from a tainted device. Client-side programs could do this too. I guess, this needs some kind of stolen cameras and lenses database, which could be tricky. Does something like this exist?

Anyway, I will leave the details of my stolen camera and lens here to leave a trail in the sands of the Internet.

  • Serial number: 1881125429
  • Internal serial number: WB0778966
  • Lens serial number: 0000124725

Written by Debarshi Ray

15 December, 2013 at 13:37

GNOME Photos 3.9.x

with 7 comments

After being released as a preview for GNOME 3.8, Photos has seen some progress in the 3.9.x cycle. Some highlights so far:




Pushing to DMRs

Thanks to Intel for sponsoring the work on DLNA support.

Written by Debarshi Ray

9 August, 2013 at 01:35

Posted in GNOME, Photos