Installing digiKam in Ubuntu without installing every KDE dependency

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Installing digiKam

digiKam can easily be installed on Ubuntu via APT or from the Ubuntu Software Center. Unfortunately, the Ubuntu main repository doesn’t contain an up-to-date version of digiKam (version 4.3 compared to the latest release 4.12). While the photo management functions in digiKam work fine in the older versions, many of the bundled plug-ins to upload photos to 3rd party sites are broken (because these sites have changed their APIs since that release of digiKam).

digiKam via apt

Installing digiKam via the command line is as simple as:

sudo apt-get install digikam

This will install the most recent version of digiKam available in the repositories that you have added. However, by default this will just be the repositories that come with Ubuntu and contain the old version of digiKam. To get the most recent version, we need to add a new source for software that contains this version.

digiKam from private ppa

Fortunately several people maintain private repositories (PPAs) with up-to-date digiKam installations. The most widely used is by Philip Johnsson. To add it type into the terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:philip5/extra

Then we need to update our software list, and can install digiKam as before (but this time APT will use the most recent version supplied by Philip):

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install digiKam

But wait: installing digiKam on Ubuntu requires also installing a huge list of dependencies (>100 packages on my computer totalling >300MB). This is because it is designed for Linux systems using the KDE environment rather than Ubuntu, and so it installs all the packages which are found in KDE but not Ubuntu. However, we can minimize this.

digiKam minimal install

We can make our install much smaller by using the following APT install command:

sudo apt-get --no-install-recommends install digikam

Now we don’t get a bunch of unnecessary KDE packages, such as a file manager and internet browser.

Alright, it’s still fairly large, but on your photo editing computer you probably have a big hard drive to cope.

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