A digital camera combined with your personal computer is a powerful tool to create, store, edit, print, and share images. You can take your pictures, store them initially on the camera's disk or memory card, and then transfer them to your PC with the camera's USB cable. View or edit the file with your favorite image editor, then email photos to friends and family, post them on your photo blog, or preserve the images on a recordable CD. No fuss, no muss, no film.
Do not despair, however. SUSE Linux offers many tools to organize and share your photos, and because the digital imaging industry is organized around very common standards, Linux can handle most any task involving your camera.
To begin with, you should have no trouble connecting your camera to your Linux system. Just connect the camera with its Universal Serial Bus (USB) cable to your PC. SUSE Linux should recognize the camera instantly and install the proper drivers. If you have any doubt that your camera is connected, run the following shell command:
After you have the camera connected, use any file manager to see the image files on your camera. They should be located in /dev/sda1, the first SCSI data device, unless you have a SCSI hard drive installed, in which case the images will be on /dev/sda2.
GNOME has a camera-support tool called gtkam. This is a GTK+ front end to the command-line gphoto software. To run it, go to the Graphics menu and click Digital Camera Tool. The first time, it will ask you to identify your camera model from the list of 500+ cameras it supports. After you have your camera configured, gtkam will help you download your images from the camera to your PC. Just click the thumbnail to select.
KDE fans can use the digiKam tool to handle similar tasks. It also is a KDE-based front end to gphoto, but includes an image editor as well. DigiKam will attempt to autodetect your camera, or you can add it manually. You can create photo albums for specific events.
When your images are on your computer, feel free to run them through The GIMP to enhance them. The GIMP can reduce red-eye problems, crop your photos, change colors, brightness, and contrast, and otherwise doctor up your pictures. See the next section for more fun with The GIMP.
Webcams are typically small low-resolution cameras connected to your computer via a parallel or USB port. The camera can act in two modes: streaming (for a series of images or a moving object) and grabbing (for a single still image). The most common use for webcams includes videoconferencing and the widespread phenomenon of looking in on what's happening on a street corner where a local news organization has set up a camera. Webcams can be used to send almost-live images of assorted people, places, and things to an online correspondent. Perhaps even you've sent off a quick image of yourself—because you can!
You can use any of the video applications that can access a video4linux device to view webcam or still-camera images in SUSE Linux. You can also use GnomeMeeting (discussed in Chapter 16, "Collaborating with Others") as a webcam viewer.
Not all webcams are supported in Linux, and the drivers are based on the chipset used, rather than on the model or manufacturer. Some of the kernel source documentation files in
/usr/src/linux-2.6/Documentation/usb contain information about USB webcams and drivers supported in SUSE Linux, including
A good place to start with your webcam is, as always, the Linux Documentation Project. The Webcam HOWTO is located at http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Webcam-HOWTO .
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Although we usually tend to think of the digital camera as the best thing since sliced bread, there are both pros and cons with its use. Nothing is available on the market that does not have both a good and a bad side, but the key is to weigh the good against the bad in order to come up with the best of both worlds.