Google Sends Picasa To Linux

    May 26, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The call for Google to port its software applications to Linux got off to a good start with the company’s photo sharing and editing software Picasa making the jump.

Google’s Picasa for Linux utilizes Wine and Mozilla’s Gecko engine to operate on Linux systems. The 24MB download brings most of Picasa’s functionality from Windows to Linux, though there are a few exceptions.

The software has minimal hardware requirements. Google said Picasa will run on 386-compatible processor machines with glibc 2.3 or greater, and a working X11 display system. Google listed some optional system requirements that would support other Picasa functions:

XVideo extension on your display driver (to view things full screen); having a newer kernel (>= 2.6.13) to get notified of file changes; having a new kernel and HAL to automatically detect new media insertion. Note: There are other variations — for example, setting screensavers and desktop backgrounds only works on certain Linux windowing environments.

Desktop Integration features require a current version of Gnome or KDE.

Camera detection and integration requires kernel >= 2.6.13, hal >= 0.56, and gnome-volume-manager or equivalent.

To make Picasa work with Linux, Google made some changes to Wine. Those changes have been contributed back to the Wine project.

Google noted that some of the changes it made to Wine were specifically for Picasa. “They probably won’t be of use to other applications, and may not be needed in future versions of Picasa, either,” Google wrote of the changes.

Linux distributions that support Picasa include versions of Debian, Fedora, Linspire, Mandriva, Red Hat, Ubuntu, and SuSE. Google cautioned that SELinux features in Fedora Core will likely cause problems with Picasa, and advised in its FAQ that users may wish to invoke the setenforce 0 command on those systems.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.