Picasa 3.9 + F-spot together on Ubuntu

Some people want to use F-Spot and Picasa together – F-spot to import and tag photos; and Picasa to do minor editing ready for printing. Here’s their desired workflow:

  1. attach camera
  2. import into F-Spot
  3. do editing in Picasa
  4. want any changes to also be the same in F-spot.

This should be manageable given that Picasa can work on existing files, without having to separately import them to a different place on the file system. So the photo files are where F-Spot put them, and, irrespective of how Picasa organises them in its own “virtual” folders, changes made to the photo in Picasa alter the original photo in its F-spot location. So far, so good.

But there is one issue. If you install the last version of Picasa made for Linux, it is significantly out-of-date. It works as described with Picasa, but it is old. And if you install the latest version of Picasa (3.9) under WINE (instructions), a problem occurs when bringing all the photos into Picasa. Instead of merely pointing to the file locations for the photos, Picasa actually separately makes copies of them. Which means that when you edit them, the original in F-spot is unaltered.

Fortunately, there is a workaround and it involves changing the way Picasa watches folders. It requires some simple edits to the watchedfolders.txt file in: /home/username/.wine/dosdevices/c:/users/username/Local Settings/Application Data/Google/Picasa2Albums

Note: even though you might be using Picasa 3.9, the path is Picasa2Albums.

Make the following alterations as appropriate, depending on which folders you have photos in:

C:\users\username\My Pictures\ –>



C:\users\username\My Documents\ –>



C:\users\username\Desktop –>



Note that both versions seem to be needed (see also How can I get Picasa to view my second HDD?).


Here are some extra issues I encountered:

  • One huge gotcha – Picasa cropping must be Saved to change the file on disk. Clicking on “Apply Change” is not enough to change the file on disk even though the change persists within Picasa. If it isn’t saved, the change is only visible when looking at the image in Picasa – it won’t show up when looking at the file otherwise (e.g. using ImageViewer) and that includes F-Spot. Can’t really blame F-spot for that.
  • F-Spot doesn’t automatically know about files put into its folder structure e.g. if you manually insert an image into /home/username/Photos/2014/03/03 f-spot won’t display it.
  • Picasa only grabs images from the watched folders if they have an image extension e.g. .jpg. Otherwise it ignores them.

The net result is that if you want a simple workflow where you view and tag photos in F-Spot and modify images using Picasa you should follow these instructions:


  • Only put images into F-Spot using import. Don’t manually put images into the standard folders F-Spot uses e.g. “Photos/2014/03/03/”.

    A simple workflow is to have a standard folder under Photos e.g. “Photos/0 Upload These” where you put copies of photos whether you get them from a camera or from another source e.g. as email attachments. You can give these human-readable names such as me_at_beach.jpg rather than IMG9805.JPG etc before importing them. Once imported into F-Spot (and thus copies put into the date-driven folder locations), empty the “Photos/0 Upload These” folder.

  • Save changes in Picasa – don’t just Apply Changes.
  • If you want multiple versions of an image, make them in F-Spot so F-Spot knows about them, then edit the extra versions in Picasa.

    To create new versions in F-Spot File, select a photo, then Photo>Create New Version in the menu.

Ubuntu, new programs, and opening files with them

First an observation – it should NOT be this hard to associate applications with file types in Ubuntu – there has to be a better way. And eventually these rough edges will be removed I expect. But in the meantime: Ubuntu Fix: Add Program to List of Applications in “Open With” When Right-Clicking Files in Nautilus and How do I set the default file association in Ubuntu 13.10 Nautilus/Files with Unity to something that is not listed in the Open With tab?. Re: the latter, you’ll find programs in /usr/bin/ but don’t forget to let the display load all the applications in the folder – it takes a while.

Eclipse + PyDev problems on Ubuntu 13.10

I wanted the latest eclipse + the latest PyDev. The problem was that PyDev wouldn’t install properly or show up. And no amount of using the Install New Software GUI path helped ;-). The solution was to manually unpack PyDev and put it in the appropriate folder. Should have blogged on this at the time (a week ago) because now I can’t remember all the details. But the following helped: PyDev not showing up in Eclipse

Occurrence Highlighting in Eclipse and PyDev

Eclipse is very useful but configuring it can sometimes be a pain. One change I always make is to change the colour used to highlight occurrences. Occurrence highlighting occurs when you put the cursor in a variable – all occurrences of that variable are highlighted. Unfortunately, the default colour can be hard to see on the side bar so I like to change it from very pale yellow to bright green. To do this: Window > Preferences > General > Editors > Text Editors > Annotations (which is pretty easy to forget). Then change the colour for Occurrences (PyDev). Easy when you know where the configuration is hidden :-).

Firefox old-style refresh-stop and new tab buttons

I like to have separate Refresh/Stop and New Tab buttons in Firefox. I also use Tree-style Tabs. Here’s how to do it:

[Edit – note from May 1 2014 in context of FF29 – how to split refresh as a movable button again – https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/classicthemerestorer/]

1) Open the customise toolbars dialog:

Firefox customise buttons

2) Look to the far right of your existing toolbars to see if you can find the two icons to drag over to new positions. The desired end result looks like:

New Tab and Refresh Buttons

Note – the New Tab button may look different in the customise toolbars dialog e.g. a green plus, but it displays as depicted – at least in current versions of Firefox (25 at present and counting ;-)).

IDLE py File Association Annoyance Fixed

I use eclipse + pydev for my Python development but I still like to use IDLE for simple tests, quickly banging out a simple script etc. So I want to be able to right click on a .py file and simply open it with IDLE. On Ubuntu this has not always been easy to achieve. Here is what worked on Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy):

gksudo gedit /usr/share/applications/idle.desktop

Add a %f to the end of the line, and then save it. It should look like:

Exec=/usr/bin/idle -n %f

Then do the usual to associate .py files with IDLE so they automatically open when you double click them – namely, right click on any .py file, select Properties, then Open With, select IDLE and click on Set as default. Also see How do I set IDLE as the default editor for Python scripts?