Install the Latest Version of digiKam on Debian

There are plenty of reasons to choose Debian, but having the most recent versions of your favorite applications is not one of them. Software updates trickle down to the stable version of Debian very slowly, which means that packages in the distro’s repositories are likely to be a few versions behind the current releases. digiKam is no exception: the Debian stable repositories contain a version of digiKam which can be considered outdated. However, if you don’t mind the risk of making the Debian system unstable, or even breaking it altogether, you can opt to upgrade the distro to unstable and then install the latest version of digiKam from the experimental repositories. (Note: all commands mentioned below must be executed as root.)

The first step is to upgrade Debian to unstable. To do this, run the nano /etc/apt/sources.list command to open the sources.list file in the nano editor. Disable stable and security repositories as follows:

#deb wheezy main
#deb wheezy/updates main

Add then the unstable repositories:

deb unstable main contrib non-free
deb-src unstable main contrib non-free

Press Ctrl+X to save the changes and close the editor, then run the commands below to update repositories and upgrade the distro:

apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade

Once you’ve done that, open the sources.list file for editing again and add the experimental repository:

deb experimental main contrib non-free

Save the changes and run the apt-get update command. You can then install the latest version of digiKam from the experimental repository using the following command:

apt-get -t experimental install digikam

If everything goes smoothly, you should have the most recent release of digiKam installed on your system.

Tech writer covering Linux and open source software

Tagged with:
Posted in Open Source, Software
15 comments on “Install the Latest Version of digiKam on Debian
  1. RobinH says:

    You don’t need to upgrade to unstable. I’m running the experimental Digikam (and some other unstable or experimental packages) on Jessie/testing and I’m pretty sure it would work on stable too. Never had any breakages.

    • Dmitri Popov says:

      Thank you for your feedback. I run Debian Sid on my test machine, so I assumed that upgrading to unstable was a prerequisite for installing experimental packages.

      • RobinH says:

        Yeah, I don’t have the balls to run Sid on my main computer πŸ˜€ so Jessie is my choice. But you are right that you probably need Sid enabled to install Digikam from experimental because it has some dependencies in there.

  2. Spanky says:

    OK, sid isn’t a geek test. It’s “unstable” (meaning it takes a lot more time; sometimes.) , and (as the first paragraph infers), it’s a VERY bad idea to mix Debian tiers. Don’t do it. Back-port (or compile yourself, its easy), At least, and do not mix! You should understand, this kind of thing, should be done on a test HD, or partition, and AWAY; from your main production system. Such as your main Debian stable; with very select Debian back-ports.

    Of course, the issue here is, Digikam, and being either outdated, or unstable. I must ask, where’s the in between? Is there a back-port of Digikam; where it has most upgrades, yet where it is relatively, very stable, and in the back-ports for Deb stable? (Wheezy Back-ports, at this time) No, not today. Why not?

    Well, it MIGHT be a KDE thing, and it’s parts just do not work with the older KDE libraries, you see.

    The progression of the underlying, and foundational system leaped ahead, and in a way that top level apps must adapt with it. Thus, not (yet) leaving room for Digikam upgrades, on the (all important; I say) stable platform.

    So, why isn’t it already in Wheezy back-ports? Complexity(libraries)? Desire? Percentage of KDE users? No body cares? At heart, it’s a choice of Digikam devs. I’m all for progression; but are we not cleaning up behind ourselves? Maybe, progression shouldn’t leave stable in the dust, altogether. As it is, Digikam current is not a relatively stable program, and that is the bottom line. Not until they, and KDE tend to Wheezy. Stable is, as stable does. Plus, Deb stable is not the completely outdated thing, some impatient folks assume it is. Testing tier is not the answer either. This has everything to do, with what’s going on with KDE, and Digikam management.

    Which begs the question of what’s Digikam for, anyway? I like it; but for the lack of upgraded (to a point) stable version(back-port). It attempts much of what Lightroom does, as a mult-combo-program; but with it’s own, different interface. There’s nothing wrong with that; but can you do better, with individual programs.

    My photographic opinion is, yes we can. I prefer the often summarily, and wrongly called “crude” ufraw. Then Gimp (wrongly, and often called, to much), and then its many awesome Gimp additions. Now, I know this is just my opinion; but I really have tried, and that means, worked deeply; with almost every photo program out there, no matter the OS. Yes, you must go to the relatively “crude” ufraw page; to understand; that most of those adjustments, you do not have to touch, and/or can do better in Gimp, instead. Like NR, and CA fixes, to name just two. (I shoot Raw, pull out JPEG’s, and so only dev from Raw(ufraw), a small percentage); but when I do need/want the Raw (“16bit”) latitude, my ufraw is set per camera(s), to nearly finish the thing, and to it’s best. All, upon just loading the Raw file; into ufraw (just clicking it from the file manager). You need to setup ufraw once, and not try to use it on the fly, like Lightroom, and the like.

    Of course, there’s a component; that gives a Gimp icon in ufraw; that smoothly transitions the developed Raw file from ufraw, and to the Gimp, and for any further edits/treatments; that you can imagine. That can then, be easily exported to a JPEG (with auto compression amounts). From removing pimples, to numerous one-click, plug-in treatments(with more options), the Gimp is very extensive (to say the least). Don’t be overwhelmed by it; because you need only use the parts you prefer. The extensive power is never a bad thing; when you need it. Side note: If the new one screen, Gimp interface(choose under “Windows”), does not fit (scroll bar issues), and on your lower res monitor, set it to small; in the Gimp settings.

    Note: I also install, and setup “dcraw -e”; as a right click option in my file manager, to very instantly pull, a group of JPEG’s, out from a shoot of Raw files. If you get your in cam settings(etc…) right, before your shots, then all of them apply, to the pulled JPEG’s, and you are basically done. However, in an imperfect world, you can always have your Raw originals, with their maximum, fixing latitude. This depends on the camera.

    So anyway. I would like to utilize Digikam organization, and face recognition aspects; but I guess I will pass, until they care enough about back-ports, or what ever is the problem getting back-ports working. I suspect the issue is going to fast, in some things, and assuming everyone is using broken(to often), Debian testing, unstable, or worse. Plus, I like my, automatic Debian stable tier, security upgrades. It’s not just for servers. Deb stable is the best production system, at least for me. it simply require less time maintaining it. Though, you still need to know what you are doing(to a point, and have a positive attitude), to set it up(compared to Mint). However, with my Deb stable install, I’m not missing anything Mint has. Start with Mint/Mate. Work on Deb stable, with select back-ports, as a separate test, until you are comfortable making it you main system. Do testing/unstable on another install!

    Best wishes.

    • RobinH says:

      Hi Spanky. My experience with Linux so far is this:
      I started less than a year ago and tried a few distributions. The first was Ubuntu, which I didn’t like because it was too much like M$ – it didn’t give me many options to customize, it was resource hungry and all that social and search engine integration was making me rather nervous. Next I tried Mint with MATE environment. I loved that, it was light-weight, customizable, minimalistic (at least compared to Ubuntu) and I didn’t have the feeling there was a company behind it which “knows best” what’s best for the end user like M$ or Canonical. But then it REALLY pi**ed me off because it wasn’t possible to upgrade to a new version. Then I found LMDE, a Debian based Mint distro, which seem exactly what I needed – Mint with rolling updates. But then I found that it’s packages are WAAAY outdated, even older than those in Stable Debian. So I switched to Jessie repos to stay somewhere in between Stable and bleeding edge, because I like stability and also am a bit impatient. Sometimes when an interesting piece of software is updated (like Digikam) I become too impatient and install it from sid or experimental. Thank God (and all the great developers and maintainers) I NEVER had a breakage.
      Actually I often read various tips or rather lists of DONTs of Linux like don’t mix Debian tiers, don’t mix Gnome and KDE, don’t use cleaning apps, etc., I found out that I do it all and my system is still working and I’m completely happy with it.

      And if anyone is interested in my RAW workflow, here it is. Most of the work gets done in Darktable, which is really a terrific app on par with Lightroom. Really good pics deserve some local adjustments like dodging, burning and perhaps a bit more retouching. GIMP is excellent for that until a future version of Darktable can handle that too. And for organizing my 20,000+ collection I use Digikam. It really should get rid of its KDE dependencies though, but since it has no rival I cannot be picky πŸ™‚ I love it for searching photos by keywords, by rating, by faces and also for a feature I’d only seen in Picasa which shows you the entire globe with little flags or thumbs in places you’ve been to or (and taken photos of).

      Best regards,

  3. RoseHosting says:

    Upgrading to unstable just to get a newer digiKam doesn’t seem like a good idea.
    Is it better to build from source.

  4. mash says:

    apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade
    should be run with X closed. So you should go to a console outside of X (e.g. CTRL-ALT-F1) log in as root and run ‘init 3’ (without quotes).
    After that it should be safe to run
    apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade
    Read carefully what will be happening (removal of software and drivers may be ahoof…)

  5. dhardy says:

    Another alternative is Tanglu:
    It places itself as “Debian + rolling release model” and is still very young but already usable (you have to install Debian stable/testing first then upgrade).

  6. matthew says:

    Very well heeled and equally well behaved. Very good user support on the forums and as geeky as you want to get, or as white rice as you desire.
    New to this one, but many of the old sidux which became aptosid are there providing their magic and near up to the minute updated packages and patched drivers etc..
    Both can and likely should be first tried from their live dvd downloads.

  7. vamp898 says:

    No offense but this is quite useless.

    There are distributions out there which deliver always the most current Version of a software (Archlinux for example needs less than a day to package the newest digikam version) and are still more stable then Debian stable.

    Why would i want to use a broken Debian with stale software if i can have a most current Stable Archlinux?

    Its like buying a bicycle and modify it until its a bad, broken car instead of buying a car in the first place.

    And the older Debian stable gets (and we know it usally gets _very_ old until a new version comes), the worse it gets.

    But i think people wouldnt use Debian if they would be able to setup a good and stable running Archlinux/Gentoo so my comment is maybe as useless as breaking debian for getting non-rusty software.

  8. Hi there
    I also tried digikam 3.5 from experimental in jessie/testing mostly to avoid the face recognition crash bug in 3.4. However I find it very unstable in the face recognition behavior, even more then 3.4. It even managed to (consistently) crash my box. Other odd behavior is that tag autocompletion in face recognition interface does not wok. It presentes tags list compatible with typed prefix, however, it is inpossible to choose from the list.
    I tested the distributed deb binaries and also deb binaries generated from deb source package.
    Does any of you experienced these problems?

  9. Fran Firman says:

    How about using something like Docker to then provide the latest version of Digikam to be run on what ever distrubtion people are currently running?

Comments are closed.

Recipes for automated and streamlined photographic workflow on Linux

Use digiKam? Get this book!

Practical advice for nighttime photography

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: