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.
My photography workflow is based on two key tools: the digiKam photo management application and a B3 personal Linux-based server. While I use digiKam for processing and managing photos, Bubba Two takes care of storing my image files and backs them up in the cloud. But that’s only one of Bubba Two’s many talents. This little server also comes with its own photo album software which lets you instantly share photos on the Web. It’s not a Flickr killer, but it can come in rather handy if you want to turn your photos into a photo album and share it with a selected group of people in the entire world with a minimum of fuss.
“By why not use one of many photo sharing services instead?” you may ask. For a number of reasons. Say, I want to share photos from my last trip with a few friends and family. Using Flickr or any other service for that would mean uploading a few gigabytes of photos, which takes time and can be rather impractical if I have to remove them afterwards. Also, some of the people I want to show my photos to are not registered with Flickr, so I either have to make my photos public or persuade them to join Flickr. But why bother, if I can just create a photo album and a viewer account on my B3, and send people the link to it along with the login info?
Using B3, to turn a folder with photos into an album is as easy as pie. In B3’s Web interface, click on the Photos icon. Press the Create album button in the main toolbar, give your album a name, enter an optional description, and press Next. Configure the available the access options, press Next, pick the photos you want to add to the album, and hit Create Album. That’s all there is to it.
Photo galleries generated by B3 allow visitors to browse the shared photos either one by one or as a slideshow as well as download original images. All in all, while the photo sharing functionality of B3 is rather bare-bones, it can be useful when you want to quickly share the photos stored on your server.
Disclamer: I work for Excito as an evangelist and community manager, but I was using Bubba Two long before my gig with the company.