Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

A certain lack of speed

2nd November 2009

A little while, I encountered a problem with ImageMagick processing DNG files in Ubuntu 9.04. Not realising that I could solve me own problem by editing a file named delegates.xml, I took to getting a Debian VM to do the legwork for me. That’s where you’ll find all the commands used when helper software is used by ImageMagick to help it on its way. On its own, ImageMagick cannot deal with DNG files so the command line variant of UFRaw (itself a front end for DCRaw) is used to create a PNM file that ImageMagick can handle. The problem a few months back was that the command in delegates.xml wasn’t appropriate for a newer version of UFRaw and I got it into my head that things like this were hard-wired into ImageMagick. Now, I know better and admit my error.

With 9.1o, it seems that the command in delegates.xml has been corrected but another issue had raised its head. UFRaw 0.15, it seems, isn’t the speediest when it comes to creating PNM files and, while my raw file processing script works after a spot of modification to deal with changes in output from the identify command used, it takes far too long to run. GIMP also uses UFRaw so I wonder if the same problem has surfaced there too but it has been noticed by the Debian team and they have a package for version 0.16 of the software in their unstable branch that looks as if it has sorted the speed issue. However, I am seeing that 0.15 is in the testing branch so I’d be tempted to stick with Lenny (5.x) if any successor turns out to have slower DNG file handling with ImageMagick and UFRaw. In my estimation, 0.13 does what I need so why go for a newer release if it turns out ot be slower?

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