Tuesday, June 13, 2006

More fun with free Google software

So, last night, while poking around Google labs, I was lured by the siren call of Picassa for Linux. I was already seated at the gulker.com Linux machine, having been booted off the Mac G5 by my spouse who'd brought work home. I'd already downloaded Google Earth for Linux, and figured out the magic incantations to get it installed - only to discover I'd need new drivers for the ATI video card in order to use fast Open GL hardware acceleration, rather than the slower software-only version.

Previously I'd updated Firefox and was now running Google Browser Sync, and had my Firefox session suspended from a Mac at work open on my Linux screen at home. Cool. We were on a roll - 2 Linux installs that worked, in short order, so we decided to push our luck and grab the Picassa binary.

All three apps were packaged differently - an .rpm,a tar file, and a shell script wrapped around some sort of compressed binary (ain't Linux grand?). Picassa, the .rpm, was about the easiest of the three (the home page made mention of using WINE and Mozilla), and I was a bit concerned about the dread dependencies, especially on a 64-bit machine, but Picassa just worked once it was installed.

It's a good idea not to tell Picassa to search your whole hard drive for photos - it found more than 20,000, mostly graphics associated with apps and help files. The good news is that Picassa's tree view of the file system made it easy to turn off the unwanted icons et al.

The picture is a b&w I snapped with my Leica 2 years ago while I was playing with USB import. It was toned and straightened in Picassa, then published to Blogger with a couple of clicks. Nice. And, free. Posted by Picasa

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