Lightroom: Open system and multi platform

by Johann Gudbjargarson

It's a big decision when you decide on an application and platform to manage your pictures. In a few years time, your picture library might reach thousands upon thousands of images, and if the pictures are all tagged with keywords and collections, you will have invested a substantial amount of time in your photo library.

There's also the possibility that the application you use to manage your pictures might be discontinued, or maybe you just want to make a change, but discover a problem if the new program is not based on open standards. To organize your collection from scratch is hardly an option and if the application is not based on XMP/IPTC standards, nor has some advanced export functions, you are in a difficult situation. Most advanced DAM applications write information about the picture (Keywords, rating, collections) into XMP, and if using DNG, into the file itself. This is helpful for enabling different applications to work together in a workflow or switch from one DAM application to another.

Selecting a DAM application that isn't dependant on one platform is important in my opinion. I have used applications like IMatch and IDimager (both very powerful DAM applications) in the past and both are Windows only applications. Aperture is only for Mac. Lightroom and IView are for both platforms.

Until recently I haven't thought much about this multi platform compatibility because I have been Windows user for the last 15 years, and the Mac platform hasn't really been something I've been interested in, and therefore almost never thought about. I work as a software engineer, and the platform I develop for is Windows, so Mac has never been an option for me. When Apple converted to Intel processors things changed because now people can use both Windows and Mac on the same machine. This is a masterstroke by Apple. I have been reading a lot about Mac OS, and trying out the machines. I'm totally hooked on Mac and the Mac community now. I have decided to stop using Windows outside work and get on the Mac bandwagon. Vista doesn't interest me at all. Mac OS X is superior in my opinion, and I also really like the design of the Apple machines. I haven't been this excited about computers for 10-15 years - I almost feel liberated :-)

Soon I will move my image gallery over to the Mac, and thankfully all my pictures are in Lightroom and IView, which are both available for Apple. So it shouldn't be that much of a problem. It wouldn't be as easy moving the other direction for people using Mac and Aperture - but that's probably not much of an issue...


Tamas Komaromi
2007-02-27 01:11:38
I think Lightroom's XMP doesn't contain any information about the Collections. It contains keywords, color labels, ratings... but not Collection information. And this is a really sad thing :(
2007-02-27 06:15:34
Actually, it wouldn't be an issue for someone moving from Aperture either, because it can also export to an external open library, and it can export complient XMP sidecars just like lightroom.
Daveed V.
2007-02-27 19:09:35
Colin: Aperture's XMP files don't contain image adjustment settings (only IPTC info and other metadata). Even if it did (as Lightroom does) it would be useless unless Apple also opened up their image adjustment engine (including the RAW processing algorithms).
Daveed V.
2007-02-27 19:23:10
Here is an interesting experiment to may herald another future aspect of Lightroom's openess. I think the experiment may only work on a Mac at the moment and it may void your warranty or do other bad things to your data, hardware, family life, etc. So I don't really recommend it :-P

Quit Lightroom and navigate in the Finder to the app's location (probably the /Applications folder). Select "Show Package Contents" for the Adobe Lightroom icon and navigate to Contents/StratupScripts. It should have one file called ScriptsMenu.lua: Copy it to ScriptsMenu2.lua (you'll need to authenticate for that). Edit the copy and comment out the line that reads

if RELEASE_BUILD then return end

by replacing it with
-- [[ if RELEASE_BUILD then return end ]]

Now restart Lightroom and check the menubar's last item on the right.

Quitting Lightroom and removing the file you created will probably restore the normal menubar.

Randal L. Schwartz
2007-03-04 08:51:42
You used "DAM" which is a relatively new acronym, but never spell it out. MIght have been nice to say what you meant the first time.