Picasa for Linux available!

David Goodenough david.goodenough at btconnect.com
Fri May 26 03:36:10 CDT 2006

Dan Kegel wrote:

> Google has indeed been working on Picasa, and it's finally available for
> download at
>   http://labs.google.com/
I tried this, and the link to the linux version apparently does not exist!

> For the curious, here are a few tidbits about how it came to be.
> When Google wanted to port Picasa to Linux, they faced a
> problem: the Picasa team was busy working on new projects, and
> having them also do a native port would have taken a while.
> As an experiment, Google decided to give Wine a try.
> A quick look showed that much of Picasa already worked,
> but key features were missing: the IWebBrowser API, SSL,
> scanner/camera support, removable media notification (so you can
> insert a flash drive and have Windows notice it right away),
> and change notification (so Windows can notify apps when new
> files are created), among others.   Fortunately, Wine was
> already halfway to having an implementation of IWebBrowser
> thanks to Jacek Caban's Summer of Code 2005 project.  And all
> that other stuff couldn't be *that* hard, right? :-)  So
> Google engaged Codeweavers to add those features and fix any
> other bugs.  This resulted in tons of improvements to Wine (see
> the list at code.google.com/wine.html), all of which are now in
> the public tree at winehq.org.
> Many people assume that when porting a Windows app to Linux
> using Wine, the best thing to do is link Winelib into the
> application to create a native Linux application.  Not so!
> It's just as effective, and a heck of a lot easier, to run
> the same binary on both Windows and Wine.  So that's what the
> Picasa team did.  Picasa for Linux uses slightly different
> text messages, but the .exe file is identical for both Windows
> and Linux.
> Toward the very end, everything was looking great except
> that the initial assumption that most cameras emulate storage
> devices turned out to be wrong.  Fortunately, Marcus Meissner
> just happened to decide to implement libgphoto support; his
> patch appeared at the perfect moment, and now Picasa supports
> both common flavors of cameras.
> Two features left out of the Linux version were CD-ROM
> burning (the driver Picasa uses is hard to support under Wine)
> and movie playback (Wine doesn't have the necessary codecs).
> Both are potentially fixable in a future version, but were
> beyond the scope of this first port.
> One interesting challenge when shipping commercial apps for
> Linux is packaging -- do you choose RPM or Debian packages,
> or do you use a WIndows-style installer?  The Picasa for
> Linux team chose all three, in hopes of pleasing everybody.
> (Let's see how well *that* works :-)  The Windows-style
> installer was implemented using the open-source Loki installer,
> and a few patches were contributed back for that, too.
> The Picasa for Linux team had a blast.  It's not often you
> get to pour resources into a vital open source project to help
> ship a commercial application!  We hope we get to do it again
> sometime soon, and we hope the results are good enough to
> encourage other companies to give Wine a try.
> Thanks to the Wine community for a very capable platform!
> - Dan

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