Sunday, May 16, 2010

Picasa 3 OS X and a shared image database

At home I use Macs and for viewing photos I use Picasa. It is the best tool I have found for the task as; it is happy to let you choose where to put the images and if I make corrections it doesn't change the originals.

Central library

One annoyance though is that each computer has it's own library locally, so when I add new pictures both libraries have to scan the watched folders.  So I spent an hour hacking around to see if I can move the local database to a share on my home server.


Picasa 3 keeps the image database in:

I found the path after looking in the Preferences -> Network page.  Now I moved in to a terminal window to;
  • Create a PicasaDb on my home server
  • Copy the local database to the folder on the share
  • Rename my original database
  • Create a symlink to the database now living on the server share

With all this in place I fired up Picasa and it still worked, first hurdle over.  I then edited an image and still no problems. I check the timestamps on the database files on the server and they had been updated plus, Picasa had not created a new database locally.

Next time I will attempt the same on the other computer to find out if Picasa will happily share a database.


Gavin said...

Thanks a lot for this - exactly what I was looking for. I have a few macs linked together and want to share quite a large Picasa database.
But instead of moving the database to a separate server, I just created the symlink on computer B to the Picasa database on computer A.

But it seems you can't use picasa on both computers at the same time.

Need to work that part out.

Jason said...

Wonderful tip - I had to do things a bit differently as my wife's iMac is our 'server' and paths to the files would be different from her machine to mine. The files reside on the iMac (server) under /Users/her_account/shared/photos/ and the drive mounts to my MBP (client) under /Volumes/shared/photos/. Steps:
1) Follow the steps above on the Server, relocating the db to a share. I had to su and chmod 777 the files as well.
2) Create a symbolic link on the client installation of picasa to point the db3 on the share.
3) Create on the client the same directory structure /Users/her_account/Documents and then a symbolic link to "shared: which points to the /Volumes/shared on the client. My guess is the picasa db on the server (where the inital picasa db was created) looks for the files in /Users/her_account/Documents/.... and so that structure has to be emulated on the client. It worked for me anyway.
I can run picasa on either machine, and everything crosses over. It's even quite fast (802.11n)

ben wu said...

wonderful tips. I have both Mac and Windows. It looks like the Windows version and Mac version have different database format. Don't know if anyone know how to make Windows & Mac share the same picasa database?

josef lahmer said...

hey! i'm also interested in an mac and windows solution - any comments?

Nuno said...

looking forward for a windows and mac solution also