How to modify the F-Spot database

On my new Linux installation I wanted to have all my images in one folder. Due to some mishaps F-Spot had stored the images in three different locations. I looked a bit around and then found a forum post which described an easy way to do this.

Find your photos.db database. It’s usually in ./config/f-spot/. Then use sqlite3 to extract the information into a text file:

sqlite3 ~/.config/f-spot/photos.db .dump > f-spot.dump

If you stare wondering at a “bash: sqlite3: command not found”, just install the package “sqlite3-tools”.

Now open this file in your text editor (not word processor…..) of choice. You’ll see a lot of lines, among them images with paths. Just change these paths with search and replace to the new scheme.

INSERT INTO "photos" VALUES(4243,1243489564,'file:///home/rs/Pictures/Photos/2009/05/28/','RLF_9743.JPG','Rolf Steinort',38,1,0);

Take care to only change the paths, don’t delete or change any of the other stuff. It can break everything. ;-)

Now make a backup of your database and import the changed data back into the database.

mv ~/.config/f-spot/photos.db photos.db.backup
sqlite3 ~/.config/f-spot/photos.db < f-spot.dump

This is only working when no database is there, so make the backup! If you run into an error, delete the new database.

Of course you should only start F-Spot again if you are sure that all the files have reached their new destinations safely.

Other news: Shotwell imports F-Spot data and images without problems. And #150 has been recorded the third time and is just in the rendering tool chain. I'll know about the result in some moments.

Quality Printing with GIMP is a printer label supplier in the US who is heavily into using and promoting Open Source. They have a blog too, where they just have published an excellent article by Nathan Willis about printing in GIMP. Nathan did also a good writeup about the state of Photography under Open Source some weeks ago.

It’s no fault to check out the other blog posts and informations too, I found a HowTo about Open Office especially helpful.

(With the pointer to this blog I received also a donation of 30€ from the owner of Worldlabel for helping to cover the costs of Meet the GIMP. There were no conditions to this donation, he didn’t ask for linking to his site or blog.)

Episode 148: A Shot at Shotwell

Download the Video! (23:01, 43.7MB)

With Ubuntu 10.10 coming up there will be a change in the standard photo managing program. It will change from F-Spot to Shotwell. I installed the release candidate of Ubuntu in a virtual machine and gave Shotwell a try.

Not bad, really not bad. :-)

I assume there will be more to Shotwell here soon, this was really my very first impression of the current version. The experience with the version in Ubuntu 10.4 was quite, ehm, underwhelming. But they did a lot for the new one.

I had not much time to do this show, so there are some editing gaffes and no TOC.

The TOC by Kevin

00:25 Welcome from Rolf
00:38 Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meercat
01:29 Welcome to Shotwell – getting images into Shotwell
02:30 Import from Folder
03:40 Sidebar
05:20 Tagging images
07:30 Menus
08:20 Publishing on the web
08:45 Show in file manager – open file location
09:25 Preferences
10:20 Editing an image
12:50 Rating an image
14:25 Rating and filtering in the browser view
15:50 Full screen mode
17:05 Integration with Gimp
19:30 Does Shotwell understand .xcf files?
20:45 Summary
23:01 The end

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Meet the GIMP Video Podcast by Rolf Steinort and Philippe Demartin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Getting the focus distance out of Nikon NEF files

The lensfun tab in UFraw does not read the distance information for Nikon lenses, because the .NEF files do not record a value for SubjectDistance in the EXIF data. But the information is in there – only not in a standard way.

In some circumstances the subject distance is essential for lens corrections. Then you have to enter the value by hand. mac has written a script that can extract the distance information under Linux and perhaps MacOS.

When you run the script by typing FD in a terminal, it asks you for the full path to the folder where your image files are.  It then prints the file names and their focus distances to a file called FocusDistances.txt in the same folder as the images.

As usual, you have to copy the script as root or with “sudo” to /usr/local/bin and make it executable.  It also assumes you have exiftools installed.

And here is the script:

#   This script prints the focus distance for all image files in the specified folder
#   to an output file called 'FocusDistances.txt' in the same folder
echo ""
echo "~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*"
echo "Extract Focus Distance information"
echo "~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*"
echo ""
echo -n "Enter path to directory with the images, and press Enter"
read directoryname
exiftool -p '$filename Focus Distance = $FocusDistance' $directoryname > /$directoryname/FocusDistances.txt
echo ""
echo "~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*"
echo "All done!"
echo ""
echo -n "                Press any key to finish…"
read answer
exit 0
# Save this script as "FD", and, as root, copy it to /usr/local/bin/
# To use it, type "FD", enter the full path to the source directory, press ENTER
# and wait for the script to finish.  Press any key to continue.
#  Last updated 14/7/2010

As you can see by the date this has sat on my mail account for quite a while nd mac had to remind me of posting it. So if I have promised you something, just drop me a line. There was so much to think of here recently that I tend to forget stuff.

State of the Art

There is a nice article about photography and Open Source over at the blog of It covers a lot of programs and I think Nathan Willis missed nothing.

Other news: I am just starting to produce the next episode, the first from Berlin. :-)

Episode Pascal001: Darktable

Images by Pascal de BruijnPascal de Bruijn has made his first Video about Darktable, the free virtual lighttable and darkroom for digital photographers. I gave a short intro here some episodes ago, but didn’t go beyond “Oh – I can click here too!”. Pascal has been actively involved in making Darktable and so I assume he really knows what he is talking about.

Edit: Darktable is available for Linux and other *nixes and Mac (which is a *nix too now…). Sorry, no Windows up to now. Nobody wants to do the work of porting it.

Cutting edge graphics software meets free culture

Developers and users of Free, Libre and Open Source graphics software will meet May 27-30 in Brussels at the fifth annual Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM). The meeting space is truly unique — an historic piano factory, freshly renovated into a lively exhibition and workspace. LGM 2010 gives software developers, artists, designers and other graphics professionals the opportunity to collaborate and learn from each other. LGM emphasizes the sharing of collective creativity, innovation and ideas and is free for everyone to attend.

The above text and the headline are simply stolen from the website of the LGM. These meetings have given a big boost to the development of Open Source graphics software in the past. Up to now face to face conversation in a group of like minded persons has no equivalent in the net.

I will not be able to attend, but I ask you to give some money to them. (I did, BTW ;-) and brought the counter just below the 3000 mark. Seems to work….)

Episode 137: A Trip to Hamburg

Download the Video! (50.9 MB, 26;46)

This time I have made an experiment. You can look over my shoulder while I select the images to keep from a trip to Hamburg. I use F-Spot for this task.

I am not sure if this was a successful approach because I didn’t talk that much while selecting the images. Can you find out what I was looking for? What are your criteria? I found out again that shooting without a goal is fun, but has not that much good results. ;-)

I mention two podcasts worth to follow. Jeff Curto’s “The History of Photography” and The World’s “Technology Podcast“.  And then there is the Haus der Photographie in the Deichtorhallen, which has good exhibitions and a good bookstore. The map in the begin was provided by the Open Street Map Project.


00:20 A trip to Hamburg – Podcast Promo Jeff Curto
02:30 Where I wanted to shoot
03:50 Using F-Spot for grading images
04:30 Setting the date range
04:40 Going through the images
18:30 What were my criteria?
19:40 Discarding a lot
21:00 Second walk through the images
21:15 Fullscreen mode in F-Spot
21:45 Selecting images for more doing work on them
23:00 How to shoot good images – not like me.
24:15 Podcast Promo for the “World Technology Podcast”
25:00 Train ride home

Creative Commons License
Meet the GIMP Video Podcast by Rolf Steinort and Philippe Demartin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Episode 132: Cinelerra in Japan!

Download the Video! (59.0 MB, 31:03)
The Video for Mobile Devices! (57.3 MB, 31:03)
Download the Companion File!

This week there is only a little bit of GIMP, but a lot more about the free video editor Cinelerra. I use it to make a kind of slide show video used to illustrate a short “bumper” for Martin Bailey’s blog and podcast about his (mostly nature) photography. Martin is living in Japan and has a lot to tell about photography and Japan. Highly recommended!

Cinelerra is a full “non linear” video editor for Linux – and so perhaps a bit overkill for making a slide show. Non linear says that the program does not change the video and sound data and that you can access all your media easy and fast because only references are moved around. I forgot to introduce it properly at the start of the video. There are programs around for Windows and MacOS which do the same, I am sure.

Cinelerra comes in a lot of different flavours. I take the version from

The final version of the bumper, the used images and the Cinelerra XML file are in the companion file.

And here are, as promised, my settings. Compare if you have problems, my setup is running, but I am not sure why…. ;-)

Cinelerra Options - Playback

Playback – check for “Stop playback locks up” if you encounter stutter – uncheck “Play every frame” for performance

Cinelerra Options - Recording

Recording – Important is the last point about images

Cinelerra Options -  Performance


Cinelerra Options - Interface

Interface – Check “Show Thumbnails”

Cinelerra Options - About

About – for version information

This week we have a mobile version of the video again. It’s not on the feed, because I don’t know if this version fills your needs. So feedback please!

Sorry, I could not make a TOC this time, too much school stuff around.

Creative Commons License
Meet the GIMP Episode 132 by Rolf Steinort is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Germany License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

The “Frankencamera”

Researchers at Stanford University are developing an Open Source camera platform.

The complete article has more information and another video about this. Thanks to John for the link!