Storing your photos on a server or network disk? Want to manage them from several Linux-based machines using digiKam? Here is how to do that.
First of all, you need to mount the directory on the server containing the photos on your machine. Assuming your server is running Linux and you can connect to it via SSH, you can mount the remote directory using sshfs. To do this, you need to install the sshfs package first. On Ubuntu and Debian-based Linux distributions, you can do this by executing the apt-get install sshfs command as root. Next, run the id command and note the uid and gid values for your account (e.g., uid=1000 gid=1000). Use then the following command to mount a server directory on your machine:
sshfs user@host:/path/to/dir /mountpoint -o idmap=user -o uid=1000 -o gid=1000
Replace user with the name of the existing user on the server and host with the IP address of the server. Replace /path/to/dir with the path to the directory on the server and /mountpoint with the directory on your machine that will be used as a mount point. Once the directory has been mounted, you can use the files in it as they were on your own machine. To unmount the directory, use the fusermount command as follows:
fusermount -u /mountpoint
Next, you have to configure digiKam to use a MySQL database as its back-end. This would require, of course, a MySQL installation running either on your own server or on another remote machine. The Use digiKam with MySQL article provides detailed instructions on how to make digiKam work with MySQL.
The rest is easy. In digiKam, choose Settings » Configure digiKam and switch to the Collections section. Press the Add Collection button next to the Local Collections entry, then add the folder that contains the photos from the mounted remote directory as a new album.
In a similar manner, you can configure digiKam on any other machine you want to use to manage photos stored on the server.