Running (Adobe) Lightroom on Linux

As an active Linux user my use of Lightroom was limited to the snatched minutes at Anna’s computer for a long time. With the amount of pictures we have and take, the tagging and keywording features were good enough to warrant a purchase even if they were the only feature I used.

After testing Vista for a while on my new laptop and using Lightroom on it I was hooked. So much so, that I put off installing Linux until I could figure out a way to run Lightroom on it. Yes, I endured Vista just so I could use Lightroom.

After a while the hardships of running Vista overcame the lure of Lightroom and I started installing Linux on the laptop. What helped my decision was my experience of running VMware with our development environments. Since I found that the player is free and I can create my own image of XP to run under Linux, my problem was solved.

So no, this post will not show you a method of hacking Wine to get Lightroom running with it (I haven’t even tested Lightroom with Wine). What I did was:

  1. Downloaded and installed the latest version of VMplayer.
  2. Created an empy VM with EasyVMX. I used a VMplayer 2 compatible VM so that I can share directories between my machine and the image without the need for Samba.
  3. Install XP (including various applications) in the empty virtual machine.
  4. Tweaked and fiddled with the shared directories.
  5. Ran Lightroom ;)

When I ran Lightroom in Vista, I used it to import the pictures from the memory card when I hooked it up. With the VM setup I don’t give the VM access to the memory card reader (I really don’t know why), so I copy the files manually and use rename to keep them in numeric order and lowercase the letters. My scheme for directories and such is simple: all pictures from a given day are copied into a date folder (e.g. 20071031). Each image is then renamed to represent the (almost) true shot number with the camera and camera specific identifier. (Our 300D’s images are img_ and the 30D’s are Vimg_ .)

The directory in which the pictures are copied is in a folder that I share with Lightroom, so now all I have to do is import them (with the setting that doesn’t move or copy the images) in and I’m all set to go.

One issue that I have noticed with running VMs in either Linux or Windows (XP, at work) is that on laptops it really increases the speed of the VM if it is on a separate drive, e.g. an external USB-drive.

14 thoughts on “Running (Adobe) Lightroom on Linux

  1. I use a similar setup. The only difference is that I use monitor calibration. The annoying point with such a setup is that you have to trust that vmware does not alterate colors.
    It’s really a pity that calibration is not supported natively, through acceleration, by the vmware video driver.

  2. How are you finding the performance of lightroom in vmware? I was honestly hoping to find out if it works under WINE, but EasyVMX+vmplayer looks like a great solution too. Thanks for the pointer!

  3. @damaki: I should set monitor calibration up as well, but haven’t had the time to play around with it yet.

    @Thomas: I’ve been surprised at how good the performance is. In fact, most of the time it feels faster than Vista running natively on the same laptop. I’ve been really satisfied with the whole setup so far.

  4. You can also try Bibble, which is amazingly good and extremely underrated. I rate it almost as high as Lightroom, and when I’m switching over to Linux again I know Bibble will take care of my thousands of photos in a non-destructive way, just like Lightroom, with as much control of WB, tones etc.

    I know this from how it works on WinXP, and no, I’m in no way related or endorsed to Bibble and/or its creators. Just a friendly tip to try it out if you haven’t, seeing as it comes in a version for Linux as well.

  5. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll have to take a look at Bibble at some point. And I’ll report how in stacks up in my opinion.

  6. Could You say anything more about Your shared directories setup? Is it Samba or something different?

  7. I already read it’s not Samba and tried setting up shared folders in VMplayer 2.0.5. The folder shows up in the virtual machine menu, is enabled and doesn’t generate any error messages, but I can’t see it from the guest system. Should it be visible from “network places”?

  8. Found that out. The info is in Control Panel > VMware Tools, it says they are available at “\\.host\Shared Folders\”. Greets :)

  9. My laptop has 2 GB of RAM and I’ve limited the VM to 1 GB and a single core of the dual core processor.

    My biggest problem is hard drive speed when the VM tries to start swapping to disk. A laptop’s slow drive and having the main OS and VM use the same drive is often quite slow. Running the VM on another drive would help a lot in this case.

  10. Mine has 1 gb of ram, I will probably upgrade to 2 gb since this seems to be the only option except dual booting.

    I will tell you how it goes if you want to.

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