Friday, January 04, 2013

digiKam installation and configuration - Part 3

In the post About picture correction and work optimization we have made a decision to use digiKam to correct thousands of scanned pictures as effectively as possible. But before we can start using digiKam, we need to install it and configure some settings. Since we have quite some work to do I have split it into several parts:
  • In Part 1 we talk about digiKam installation, then we install VMware Player and Ubuntu Linux on Windows and configure Ubuntu regional settings.
  • In Part 2 we install digiKam and talk some more about VMware Player and Ubuntu Linux.
  • In this post we copy pictures from Windows to Ubuntu VM and exercise some Ubuntu desktop tweaking.
  • In Part 4 we configure some of digiKam's settings and picture editor keyboard shortcuts.

How to copy pictures from Windows to Ubuntu VM

OK, now we have a working Ubuntu VM with digiKam, but the pictures are still on Windows’ disk not where we need them on VM’s disk. Don’t worry we will get them where we need them soon.

First open your Home Folder (second icon in the Launcher) and open subfolder Pictures. You will see there are already two digiKam’s files there. I suggest creating another subfolder here. Right click on empty space, choose Create New Folder and give it a meaningful name like work. Now right click on this folder and choose Sharing Options. Mark options Share this folder and Allow others to create and delete files in this folder and click button Create Share. Probably another window will appear asking if you allow Nautilus to add some permissions; allow it by clicking Add the permissions automatically.

Now we must allow Windows users to access the share we have created. There is no GUI way to do it (Linux gurus correct me in comments if I am wrong) so we must type the required command. Open Dash Home, type "term" in the search field and click on Terminal icon which should appear in a second. Now we are in a Linux equivalent of Windows Command Prompt. You see your username followed by "@", VM’s computer name and some additional strange characters (in my case it is mirc@ubuntu:~$) and finally a cursor sign, where you can type. If you press keyboard key Enter several times you get several more equal lines. Type (or copy/paste) the command

sudo smbpasswd -a <username>

replacing <username> with your own (I had to type sudo smbpasswd –a mirc) and press key Enter. Now you must blindly type your password three times always submitting it by key Enter. If you get an error message try again, if not close the terminal. This is all that must be done on Ubuntu VM.

Now go to Windows and open Windows Explorer. If menus are hidden press the Alt key to display them then open ToolsMap network drive. Choose an unoccupied "Drive:" (maybe U: as Ubuntu), in field “Folder:” type \\ubuntu\work (or whatever you have used above as meaningful name instead of work), place a mark to select both Reconnect at logon and Connect using different credentials and click button Finish. A window will appear where you must enter username and password used in Ubuntu VM. I also suggest placing a mark to select Remember my credentials (unless you prefer to enter them each time you map the VM’s drive).

If you typed everything without mistakes a new window should open showing empty drive U: which is mapped to folder /Home/Pictures/work on Ubuntu VM’s disk. Use normal Windows copy/paste or mouse drag to copy some pictures (jpg files) to drive U: (you should know how to copy files and folders in Windows). Then go to Ubuntu VM and check subfolder work, copied pictures should be there.

screen by screen guide how to copy pictures from Windows to Ubuntu VM

Some Ubuntu desktop tweaking

My own first reaction to Unity was extremely negative, but I followed my own advice and gave it a fair try. After some time I am getting used to it, except for two things: the "global menus" (the top bar displays the menu for current program when mouse is over it) and "overlay scrollbars" (hidden vertical scrollbars that only show when mouse is over it). Both are easy to change to behave normally. Just open the Terminal and type (or copy/paste) following two commands

sudo apt-get remove appmenu-gtk appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-qt indicator-appmenu

sudo apt-get remove overlay-scrollbar liboverlay-scrollbar-0.2-0 liboverlay-scrollbar3-0.2-0

You must Log Out and Login to have the changes applied.

But maybe you have decided to join the "Unity sucks" community. OK your choice, but this can’t be an excuse to give up using digiKam on Linux. It is easy to replace Unity with a different desktop. In fact there are several possibilities, but I suggest trying LXDE, which is supposed to be faster than Unity and looks almost like Windows. Open Ubuntu Software Center, search for "LXDE" and install it, you already know the procedure. Then Log Out.
As a side note, IMHO this is a better way to install Ubuntu Linux with LXDE desktop than to create the VM from Lubuntu iso; if using VMware Player anyway. The final result looks the same, but VMware Tools are installed automatically (they are not, if installing VM from Lubuntu iso) and VM window resizing works correctly, that means automatically adjusting the resolution (it does not, if installing VM from Lubuntu iso).
After login screen appears first click the icon at the right of you login name and select LXDE (BTW, if you select Ubuntu you get Unity) type your password and login. Does it looks familiar and almost like Windows? OK, the Start Menu icon in the lower left corner looks different and the button to begin ShutdownLogout and other similar actions is in the lower right corner. But right next to the Start Menu there are shortcut icons for File Manager and Web Browser. If you open File Manager (it is also available in Accessories menu) everything seems to be in the expected place. You can start digiKam from the Graphics menu and since you will probably start is every time, I suggest adding its shortcut next to File Manager. Right click on File Manager icon and choose Application Launch Bar Settings . On the right side windows expand Graphics, click on digiKam to select it and use button Add.

screen by screen guide to some Ubuntu desktop tweaking

But that is enough talking about Linux, let us continue with digiKam.

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