How to manage EXIF, XMP metadata on linux gnome kde
Windows Vista is coming, an one thing I like very much is how it manages metadata. It has nothing to do with WinFs or other query/db systems, these datas are stored embedded in the files (in a similar way of mp3 id3tag).
What about the Linux world? I tried several gtk/gnome and qt/kde programs and none of them supports metadatas how I expected.
Most image viewers, photogallery managers permits to add tags and comments to the images but this informations are stored in the program itself (often via a db like SQLite or an xml file), so, even in locale, different programs doesn't share this info, but what appens if you burn an image on a cd or copy it on a remote pc?
All metadatas are lost and you have to categorize your photos again.
I prefere to not trust to any program so I did some tests before choose the right one for what i want to do.
EXIF, XMP, TIFF, are open standards about metadata, the low level tools exists what is confusing is how the gui implements them, because you aren't able to understand if your metadata are written in the file itself or in the db.
Here's what I tried.
A very nice photo manager like f-spot writes embedded comments, but it doesn't import them if you import back the image.
EOG (Eye of gnome) reads user comment if it doesn't have utf8 characters like àèìòù. GQview, GThumb it's the same, because they both use the same backend. Gwenview it's a Qt app that supports read/write of user comment and Albumshaper should support some EXIF but I didn't find these options.
The unique thing isn't stored in the files is the category (like a folder for tags), so if you delete the configuration and load again the files, you just lose the category but the tags will be intact.
On the screenshot, you can see that f-spot reads Exif tags (written by jbrout) but not the comment. Unfortunately if you import the image in f-spot the EXIF tags aren't recognized.
Unfortunately this program has a GUI quite unusable and does strange thing like sharing selected photos via a local webserver. It doesn't show the preview for small images and it manages only jpeg files.
Anyway if you are interested to "standard" metadatas and Linux this is a good point where to start.
I hope Nautilus will support metadata in rw some day or at least a photo manager that will do it seriously. For a command-line tool, jhead is probably the one that does it better and you could use it on the server side to extract this datas, just to not be repetitive and classify your photos 2 times.
UPDATE: IPTC is another usefull standard, another interesting consideration is http://idea.zanestate.edu/archives/2005/11/photo-organizing-in-linux/