GIMP - The GNU Image Manipulation Program
GIMP is certainly the most popular program for editing photos on Linux. It offers almost all the same features as Photoshop and is very user friendly. Making the transition from Photoshop to GIMP is a very easy process. GIMP provides all the standard photo editing options such as cropping, color enhancements, exposure and contrast corrections.
GIMP also provides some advanced features such as a perspective distortion fix and lens barrel distortion and vignetting can be fixed using the GIMP filters. GIMP makes it easier to backup and share photos as it has built in a virtual file system which allows you to save files to remote locations via FTP, SMB and SSH. GIMP comes equipped with powerful image compression to help you save on valuable storage space. Visit http://www.gimp.org/ to download.
GIMPShopGIMPShop is essentially the same as GIMP but it has been modified to be more like Photoshop. If you really do not want to learn something new then GIMPShop is for you. The menu structure has been changed so that the tools are in the same places as in Photoshop. If you are unsure about trying GIMP then try GIMPShop first. You can download Gimpshop here: http://www.gimpshop.com/download.shtml
DarktableDarktable describes itself as a photography workflow application: a virtual lighttable and darkroom for photographers.
It processes RAW files and allows you to edit and export images. It is fully non-destructive, which means that they RAW files will not be altered in the processing, instead it just allows the edits to be held in cache before being exported into a new image format such as jpeg.
It deals with overexposed images very well and provides a channel mixer, color contrast, color correction and white balance adjustments. Overall it is a great image editor. To make photo editing easier it offers a fullscreen option. It also allows for exports to a range of image sharing sites such as Picasaweb and Flickr as well as simple file storage or email. The software also allows you to create simple web albums to share online. Learn more and download from http://darktable.sourceforge.net/ .
KritaKrita is a great image editor which really focuses on images creation rather than photo editing. It provides various artistic tools such as the ability to stretch an image and to paint. It offers many blending and editing modes and the files are compatible with GIMP. You can learn more and download it here: http://krita.org/
Picasa 3 for LinuxPicasa 3 is currently in beta but proves to be a great free tool for photo editing in Linux. One of the best things about using Picasa is that you can automatically sync your edits to your Picasaweb album online. This provides an excellent backup of your photos. Download it here: http://picasa.google.com/linux/
Cautionary Tale: LightZone for LinuxOne word of caution. It is important to choose your image editor carefully. One of the main advantages of open source is that they only commitment you have to make is time. Sometimes smaller companies abandon software leaving customers with nothing. LightZone is a classic example of this on Linux.
LightZone was a professional image editor for Linux by Light Crafts that retailed at around $150. It was more advanced than GIMP or Photoshop while still using some of the same principles such as layers for photo editing work. It came with a range of filters that offer one-click styles that allow you to quickly review and process images. LightZone could process RAW files too. However, they were forced to abandon the project and this left many users without support. So be a little wary about investing money into any Linux based software. The same principal really applies to any software. Small companies can be volatile.
Web editorsIn addition to these programs there are now several web based tools which are great for making simple edits. Websites such as Picnik.com provide a great service. Also Photoshop Express available on http://www.photoshop.com/tools/expresseditor provides an excellent online editor which is capable of processing all basic photo edits.
GIMP is still the best alternative to Photoshop on Linux for many. It has the best support from a large and loyal community and the most features.
Gary Dean is a photographer and writer working on a number of online projects. His interest in Linux and the open source movement in general comes from his love of freebies. His is currently working on a project that combines his love of a bargain with his love of photography: FreePhotoPrinting, a service he is currently collaborating on to help people find cheap and free photo processing deals from top photo print processors.This post continues The Week of Guest Posts.