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Photo management

I'm a bit at a loss as far as photo management is concerned. Some

* I want my original image files to be stored intact. I don't want them
rotated, or their headers modified, or anything like that. If I really
have to, I can live with headers being edited, but I'd rather not have

* I need to handle both JPEGs and RAW images (Canon's, currently).

* I want flexibility as to where the image files are stored. At 10-15
megabytes each, requiring me to have them on, say, a particular
computer's home directory is not good. It's enough if I can point the
photo management software to a directory of my own choosing, though.

I strongly prefer GNOME over KDE or other desktop alternatives. The
first software to try has thus been F-Spot, and that has many good
features. It's not to my liking, though. It seems to insist on ~/Photos
as the location, which is a highly inconvenient location for me. It's
also not happy about sharing the database between computers. It has
historically liked to modify my image files, though I don't know if that
still happens. I am sometimes confused by the interface: it shows one
list of photos after importing, and then a full list at some point, but
I'm not sure when it changes and why.

The alternative I've been pondering is just keeping all photos on disk,
in folders named by date, with maybe a text file per folder to add
description. I've done this before, and it was somewhat tedious, but at
least it is low-tech enough to not otherwise be troublesome, and the
data has longevity, unlike binary database blobs.

Any thoughts?

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