Linux computer for processing photos

Hello there …

I am with Linux almost 25 years and with SUSE almost 20 years but I was never using (at least in past 10+ years) other gpu than intel. My questions are rather generic:

I wanted to upgrade my photography workflow and computer and elevate it into the “space level” :stuck_out_tongue: … Currently I am using a business class Dell laptop (with i7, 16GBs of memory, m2.ssd and intel gpu) and relatively good external display (Dell U2415) … My plan is to:

  • upgrade my home laptop (I don’t like “normal non-laptop” computers, I had last one past back in 90s) to have some with dedicated graphic card - obviously Nvidia RTX 30x0 or 40x0, laptops with Radeon cards ain’t many …
  • new display … I am aiming at Benq SW270C (supports HW calibration)
  • Printer - will be Canon PRO-300

Now my questions are:

  1. how do work nvidia drivers these days with Linux + current generation of graphics cards RTX 3xxx or 4xxx ? I suppose that I will have to use proprietary driver ? Pff, I don’t like that idea but photography requires sacrifice …

  2. Is colors rendition also related to OS ? Well, if I will have 1000 eurs professional display will it work same as with other operating systems ? What about that hardware calibration, I know that display is pre-calibrated pretty well but if will calibrate it with other device (I can connect it to other computer - my wife uses Apple computers, we have multiple Macs home - if required because of calibration software), will the calibration persist among different computers ?

  3. By a chance any experience with printing on Canon PRO-300 from Linux? Plan B is to use for printing some other computer (Mac with OS X) so this doesn’t bother me much …

thank you very much for your input …

cheers, ~dan

ps. I am using openSUSE distribution but does it matter ?

pps. I am using RawTherapee (or Darktable) for Raw processing, GIMP for raster editing and Hugin for special purposes and do not have any real issue with them …


If you can make a choice between darktable and rawtherapee, that would be helpful. RawTherapee can not use a GPU, while darktable can.

nVidia with the proprietary driver is the only way to go if you want reliability and performance.

If you don’t have a hardware calibration device, you should use the money to buy one before you spend money on a monitor. You should use displaycal with the calibration device. Displaycal is cross platform.

No, but the driver is generally very important. Check if turboprint supports it, otherwise plan on printing from macOS.


My last Windows computer ran Windows 2000, since then it was all FreeBSD and Linux. I tried many distros and eventually settled on Fedora since it had fresh packages and was the most reliable. I don’t like laptops because I prefer to build my own computers from components I can select. A few months ago I replaced NVidia card with Radeon RX 6600. What a difference! NVidia’s closed driver did not make it especially easy to install and maintain on Linux. Radeon is open source and worked like a charm. Darktable now flies on these computers (I upgraded both of my workstations).


Hi, thanks much for your input … very appreciated …

ad.calibration: from what I learned on internet (googled out) the calibration is kinda marketing because the display is so good pre-calibrated out of the box that 99.9% of people won’t notice any difference even after calibrating that again with device - anyway, calibration device can be rented … but the point here is, if the calibration device and the calibration is not particularly bound with computer … eg if different computers with different hardware will not render colours differently - but as far as I understand how it is supposed to work, this should not be the issue, isn’t it ?? Computer just tells to screen to display color by a color code so it doesn’t matter if I use built in intel gpu in Linux or high-end nvidia gfx card in windows, isn’t it ?

thanks much … this is actually very valuable input … my apologize for stupid question but are you really using an oss driver for your gfx chip or some proprietary ? I would go with Radeon but as I said, I prefer laptops only … It’s the matter of tastes …

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No. Just no. Calibration is not about what the user precieves or thinks looks good or if they can tell.the difference or not, its about knowing there is measurable fidelity in your display system.

Sure you can rent a calibration device, but if you’re trying to be “serious” or “up your game” as you say, then you should calibrate once every three months.

If you’re going to blow $1000 on a monitor for photography, you should have a calibration device or the monitor should have one built in. Anything else is a complete waste of money.

What? The profile generated by running is absolutely tied to the hardware that the calibration is run on.

This is a gross over simplification. The calibration process corrects hardware deficiencies with the monitor.


ok, but above you said

how should I understand to that point ? … If I will calibrate the display with my wife’s mac book pro because a particula calibration device has a software for mac (actually I have no idea how calibration works but I assume that it just somehow interacts with computer and with some “calibration device software” in it …) then the display will be “calibrated” or it will be “calibrated with particular computer” ?

Let’s just put aside if I will buy a calibration device (?probe) or rent it … It’s implicit that I will want to use it time by time because I am buying a display that supports a hardware calibration … In here it is just “indicating” that some “calibration software” is required and that I can even use a third party software … But as I said above I just have a zero real-life experience with this and especially when I use Linux … that’s why I ask … I would not bother asking (or to have any concern in general) if I’d be using Windows or Mac but I am just using Linux and this is the key element in here and reason why I created thread here …

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You can run displaycal on windows, Mac, or Linux.

I think you should understand calibration and what you’ll need to do before you spend $1000 on a monitor. What software you’ll need to run will depend on the monitor’s built in calibration routines.

If you don’t care to understand, you can spend a lot less than $1000.

For my Radeon RX 6600 card the main video driver is OSS and comes with Fedora automatically. To enable OpenCL I installed this OSS driver:

sudo dnf install rocm-opencl

and after enabling CL in DT it became much faster.


Maybe that depends on the distro: on my Ubuntu box I just have to install a package that’s maintained by the OS developers.

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omg, if I didn’t care I wouldn’t ask here … :wink:

yep, I’ve heard a lot of praise about Radeon and opensource driver … if I could and have a choice I would prefer Radeon but unfortunately laptops with Radeon graphics are like endangered species …

Yes, Fedora is notorious this way, Ubuntu is more user friendly for NVidia users.

Really? No issues on my end F39. Howto/NVIDIA - RPM Fusion

There are plenty of Laptops with embedded Radeon GPUs, but possibly depends where you live.

Personally, I have nothing but praise for AMD. I work both in Linux and W11 and it’s stellar everywhere. I have AMD CPU & AMD GPU 6650XT.

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Not on linux. The hw calibration sw is only for mac/windows.

yes, I am asking from the beginning how hardware calibration works, if I can use my mac computer to calibrate the display and then use it with different computer …

Checkout the YouTube channel artisright… lots of good content on calibration

I was reading a lot about calibration … as far as I understand the only output from calibration is an .icc profile stored in the file that you can use with specific applications (image processing apps for example) or globally if your operating system supports that … there is debate if calibrating a display from Linux using virtualbox and usb passthrough will work or if just calibrating a display using windows on same computer (dualboot or just a disk switcheroo) and then using Linux will work …

There is one certainty - hardware vendors don’t support Linux so obviously the calibrating software is available typically only for Windows and Mac …

my point is - I am not going to start using other operating system just because of this … I insist on using Linux and opensource … The worst scenario is that I will just not buy display with hw calibration support … I’ve read elsewhere that perhaps some other vendors support “unofficially” Linux … I have no problem to just use windows in vbox if it will work, or just use windows on my hardware (I always remove untouched original disk with oem windows from laptop and insert my own m2.ssd before installing Linux) and calibrate the display … but the point is that I will always require to use my Linux for a regular desktop from where I will be processing my photographs …


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