Sharing a Darktable Library Between Desktop & Laptop

I cracked the screen on the old iPad I use for browsing web, pixls, etc. Not worth the cost of replacing screen and I’ve wanted to ditch tablets so I don’t spend so much time looking at screens… Thought about replacing with laptop so it’s less instant access and wondered idly about having something also capable of editing with Darktable. I currently use Ubuntu on my desktop. Is it possible to share a single DT library on both machines or is that a recipe for chaotic syncing issues?

Any suggestions for laptops with decently calibrated screens also welcome, though I realize that’s a ridiculously broad question.


This should do:

You could also use an nfs share to share your photo folder with your laptop, of course no data on the go unless you setup a home vpn. But syncthing is really good in my opinion, it should do the job well :slight_smile:


Thanks. I have a networked NAS that I can access away from home (though haven’t for a long while). It doesn’t have enough space to adequately hold my photo library currently but have been thinking (forever) about sorting that out.

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If the paths are not the same, you won’t be able to share library.db.

Darktable has local copies:


Thanks. This makes sense

If you

  1. already have a desktop set up for that purpose,
  2. set up syncing,

I would just take the laptop with me for first-pass culling and maybe exposure/rotation/cropping, and do the color adjustments on the selected photos when I get to the desktop. IMO laptops with screens for photo editing are somewhat expensive and even after shelling out a lot of money, not a good option because the screens are much smaller than the desktop.

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Good point. Culling would be useful on trips. I might just get something cheap I can use as a tablet replacement around the house and for basic viewing and culling for holiday pics.

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An example of how to deal with this. I use a laptop when traveling - to keep up performance I store files on a SSD during my travel. Back home I transfer photos ad xmps to stationary PC and import the folders to DT.
If the stationary was accessible from outside, then syncing continuously would provide a backup, which always is good to have.

I would not like to make my laptop dependent on the storage at home, because some times I end up in places with no or poor connection. So prefer to have 2 independent configurations - however copying the config files will be beneficial when securing same setup.

NFS is a possible way to work with files between 2 machines, but I have found that sshfs runs more smoothly. User rights are simpler to maintain, network performance is better and data communication is encrypted.


git-annex is a good, yet geeky, solution to this. Turn on “look for updated xmps at startup” in darktable and you can sync your raw files and xmps. Raw files go into the annex and sidecar files in regular git. There is even a lua extension for git-annex. You can have it auto sync or just use it like regular git. Who doesn’t love git?

Thanks. What I think when someone calls something geeky on this website:

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If you can use git, then you can use git annex.