Connecting my camera to a Linux box is no issue — it’s this pesky Camera RAW file format that I’ve been worrying about. But once again, Linux has you covered.
There are at least two highly-regarded apps for handling RAW files, Rawstudio and UFraw.
Here’s Rawstudio running on my Linux Mint 8-powered rig. I prefer it over UFraw because it has support for batch-converting RAW files to JPG (or whatever) built-in. Rawstudio seems to have been designed with workflow in mind — while there aren’t so many options to tweak individual photos there are three separate presets which you can conform your digital negatives to. And critically, editing any particular photo in the GIMP is just a click away.
The exposure settings and other tweaks are saved by Rawstudio in a hidden folder inside your image directory.
Here’s UFraw running on my Eee PC (!) It also supports batch-processing RAW files, albeit in a slightly different way. UFraw now comes bundled with an image viewer called Geeqie — or Geeqie comes bundled with UFraw… Anyway, you load up an image directory in Geeqie and from there you can batch-convert to JPG using UFraw. Note that this is only an available option in the latest Ubuntu repositories; for Mint 8 I could only find the original (and since abandoned) GQView.
Instead of storing the colour settings and such for individual photos separately, UFraw saves another copy of the image altogether in the .PPM file format. This is another reason why I prefer Rawstudio, as it’s what I’m used to from years of using Photoshop on proprietary OSes. But backing up a hidden folder might represent an extra step that UFraw users wouldn’t care for, so the choice is yours.
The important thing is that Camera RAW files are fully supported by Linux. For really high-level tweaking you’ll probably want to calibrate your monitor — but that’s a discussion for another day…