PIcasa on Linux, so far

Last week in New York, I shared a cab with a friend who works for Google. He was the guy who, with permission from his company, gave me a scoop that had to stay embargoed until 8pm Pacific time tonight (Thursday, as I write this), while I was out having an anniversary dinner with my wife.

What the hell, scoops are over-rated anyway. News is news. In this case, news that Google has released Picasa, its photo editing and organizing software, on Linux. That's before they release it on Apple (if they ever do). I believe this is a first.

Picasa began as the product of a Pasadena, California company by the same name. That company was founded in October, 2001. Google bought the company in May, 2004.

Migration was done with Wine. (Details here.) While not every feature in the original Windows version is implemented, most are, and more are planned. Among the current features is the ability to detect and interact with an attached camera, which is a cool thing.

I recorded a long conversation earlier today with Chris DiBona, the open source program manager at Google. But it's late and I don't have time to go back over it right now. Suffice to say that Chris says Picasa on Linux is way cool. Judging from responses on Digg and other places, Chris isn't alone.

As of 11:50pm, less than four hours since the news hit, Google Blogsearch finds 2121 posts that mention Picasa and Linux. Technorati finds 1928. Those are just benchmarks. It'll be interesting to see how those numbers grow over the next several days.


Doc Searls is the Editor in Chief of Linux Journal


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I don't think major distros

Mike's picture

I don't think major distros would ever bundle it. It could always be like, download and install from google website. Its (not free) closed source anyways. :|

Picasa is a clone of iPhoto

some guy's picture

That's before they release it on Apple...

why would they bother? Picasa is just the Windows version of iPhoto.

They wouldn't boyher

Bings's picture

They wouldn't boyher about it. About google workers, I'm constantly speaking to one of the spam dept gworkers. Recently, I found that google toolbar is planned to be install on 50% of computers worldwide. Is that Googlenet?

Picasa for Linox NOT 100% completed!

Alex 007's picture

Hi Linox lovers!

Wait so long till I read that Goggle released a Picasa for Linox users, I use the Ubunto 6.06 LTS, & today found that when I use the same Picasa software for my earlier Win XP-pro, was possible to make "A Gift Cd"...now for the Linox; one this extremely feature for me is missing! WHY???

I do like Gooogle's

Jimmy's picture

I do like Gooogle's strategy during last few yrs. I think they've started their algorithm, they planned few yrs ago. And it works. I see different results with the same query on my business laptop, and home laptop. That means, for different users- personal SERP.

It uses Wine

Anonymous's picture

This is a cop out. Google has the power to bring a native Picasa to Linux. They should do so. There are other FOSS tools out there to cover this niche.

Using Wine might be a good thing.

alex polite's picture

I think that Google using Wine might actually be a better way to further Linux on the desktop then writing yet another FLOSS photo app. They probably shared some valuble insights with the Wine team.


RE: Using Wine might be a good thing

Winston's picture

They probably shared some valuble insights with the Wine team.

That's right. If you follow the links in the article (http://code.google.com/wine.html), you'll see that in the process of getting Picasa 2.2 working on linux with Wine, Google got 225 patches committed to the Wine project. 225!! That also includes new features, not just bug fix patches.

Great effort, in wrong place

What Is's picture

Great, so instead of investing effort in developing linux apps, they invested effort into getting other Windows apps working in Linux. I won't go into the wine-is-good vs wine-is-bad debate, but it would be nice to see the same effort being put to use developing native linux software.

Exactly! With all the

Paul Howard's picture

Exactly! With all the resources Google has behind it, why couldn't the create a native version?

It's all well and good explaining that is uses wine on their site, but why not explain why they chose to use wine and not write it for Linux from scratch?

I just want google to

kuyewang's picture

I just want google to develop a version for linux

I second that opinion.

Anonymous's picture

I second that opinion.

PIcasa on Linux, so far

Marc Nadeau's picture

And i third it whit a so what?!

I fourth that. You people

Abbas K's picture

I fourth that. You people need to remember that Progress is Progress and progress was made in wine and linux as a whole. be happy. remember google is a for-profit company & look at all they are doing for the FOSS community (SoC etc).


Anonymous's picture

It installed flawlessly and right now is scanning my drive and getting all the pics on it. Color me impressed. :)

Integration w/ Flickr

flickerfly's picture

Until I hear that picasa supports flickr on Linux, I'll probably not even try it. f-spot serves me very well and I'm happy with how it integrates flickr, plus it is already in the Dapper repositories.


Stuart Langridge's picture

Hm. The link (http://picasa.google.com/linux/) is 404 for me.

me the same :(

Anonymous's picture

me the same :(

Working for me

Anonymous's picture

...and very cool! How long until the major distros just bundle this?

Its closed source..

remo's picture

I don't think major distros would ever bundle it. It could always be like, download and install from google website. Its (not free) closed source anyways. :|

It works nicely

Anonymous's picture

It worked fantasticly here. It recognized all the photos of my disks, and sorted it very well. Nice interface, very kind for the user, also the few effects that it has are good. The unique suggestion mine is to port the whole source code to be linux compilant.

Good work for Google team. Hope they do the same with Google Earth, it's a pain in the ass to emulate it with wine.


Recreate Picasa as a native Linux app

Ben's picture

I certainly agree that having Picasa available on my Linux machine is better than not having it, even if the implementation is buggy and does not support all the Windows version's features, but I think it would be much better if it were remade as a native Linux app. I suggest that the open source program DigiKam would make a great foundation on which to build the Linux version of Picasa. DigiKam is a good photo organizer and is much better than Picasa in some areas such as editing, resizing and adjusting pictures, but it falls short in the ease of organizing your photos. You can not drag and drop pictures within a folder to arrange them to your liking as you can in Picasa. Since Google was willing to work with the Wine group to get the current version working, perhaps they would consider doing the same with the autors of DigiKam. A partnership might well benefit both parties, and would certainly make for a lot of happy Linux users.

Well it's a nice step, but

TheKing's picture

Well it's a nice step, but .. if Google would make it native it would have run on a lot of more platforms that i386..

It would be a blast if it could run 64bit on my AMD64 Linux workstation!!

So I appreciate this step but plz plz consider native code, first step would be open up the source code (don't know if Google did that already ..)