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Linux users rejoice!

Eugene Scherba , Jul 20, 2006; 05:03 p.m.

It is now possible to fully calibrate a monitor for Linux!

The catch is that you still need Windows to run the hardware calibrator. I am writing this in the light of the recent thread here which was concerned with monitor calibration on UNIX. Don E there suggested (thanks Don!) that I run Gretag Macbeth's EyeOne Match on Windows, and then load the resulting profile on Linux with xcalib. Today I did just that, and it worked magnificently! Xcalib is "postcardware," so I am just about to send a postcard to Stefan Doehla who wrote the program.

Current versions of Xcalib may not work with all ATI card/driver combinations (I used an NVIDIA card and everything went fine). But even if Xcalib does not work on your machine, it is still useful to run the monitor through the hardware calibration procedure, because it will ensure your monitor is set to the desired temperature, has the desired gamma, and has more or less proper gray tone reproduction. Also, Cinepaint and some other programs (Bibble, UFRaw, and Scribus come to mind) which support color management on Linux will be able to use the produced profile.

With my Philips aperture-grill CRT, I almost didn't need a profile at all after the EyeOne calibration, as can be seen from the upper data sheet below. With LCDs things are a bit more tricky. On the bottom, for a comparison, is a Dell 1703FP (Samsung PVA panel) data sheet. Notice how the color reproduction curves diverge on the bottom (LCD) data sheet -- if I fiddled even more with the on-screen buttons I probably could have have gotten the curves a bit closer together, but I'm too lazy for that. With the CRT I didn't need to adjust the color controls at all, and just used a "Photoretouching" preset (~5800K, although described as 5500K).

Philips CRT (top -- currently on Linux) and Dell LCD (bottom) data sheets from EyeOne Match profiler.


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Chad Bender , Jul 20, 2006; 05:16 p.m.

Excellent news! Forgive me because I am a bit out of touch with the current state of the Gimp: can it deal with color managed files and 16-bit? I seem to remember that at least not so long ago it couldn't do either of those, which makes it a deal breaker for me (even though I'd much rather do my image processing on Linux).

Trent Whaley , Jul 20, 2006; 05:37 p.m.

Gimp still can't handle colour management or 16 bit files, but CinePaint can.

Eugene Scherba , Jul 20, 2006; 05:49 p.m.

Chad, not as of yet. There is a lot of talk on GIMP development forums about color management, and there is a plugin that can apply ICC profiles, but no 16-bit yet. I take it GIMP was never intended to be a high-end photo-editing program.

I wish Cinepaint's development was as active as the GIMP's, then one would have a real alternative to PS.

Don E , Jul 20, 2006; 05:51 p.m.

AFAIK gimp developers are clueless regarding color management and 16bit depth, thereby rendering the application irrelevant for any professional use. They are, however, hot on the trail of JPEG 2000 support for all two people who want it. The lack of initiative and imagination of the Gimp developers is truely breathtaking. JPEG 2000 support? Sheesh.

Cinepaint remains buggy, at least in any distribution I've installed. When it works, it works well, though. Faint praise, I know.

Eugene, good work. Congrats.


Don E

Eugene Scherba , Jul 20, 2006; 05:51 p.m.

The problem with Cinepaint is that their development is very slow, and instead of fixing up the bugs in their existing program, they decided to transition to a whole new model called Glasgow, which will arrive when the pigs grow wings.

Alistair Windsor , Jul 20, 2006; 06:27 p.m.


Your upper data sheet shows a luminance of 72 vs a target of 100. How old is your CRT monitor ?

Eugene Scherba , Jul 20, 2006; 06:49 p.m.

Alistair, the monitor was not at its full brightness. This is because, after I ran the "Set Brightness" part of EyeOne Match, it told me to set the brightness to 69% which is what it's at right now. Because I asked EyeOne Match initially to give me 100cd/m2, I though (naturally) that 69% gives 100cd/m2. However, after the calibration had completed, it told me I have 72cd/m2. What's wrong?

Don E , Jul 20, 2006; 07:04 p.m.


I believe Google has released a linux version of Picasa (probably incorporating WINE or requiring it separately) for i386. Isn't Picasa color-aware? I run AMD64, so I'd have to set up a dchroot to run it. If you're on i386 , you might give it a try and let us know.


Don E

Chad Bender , Jul 20, 2006; 07:12 p.m.

Eugene - I have the same luminance problem with my Samsung 997 CRT. The EyeOne has me set the brightness at about 35%, but the luminance always ends up at ~90 instead of the requested 100. I've never really worried about it (the monitor is plenty bright), but it's interesting to hear that I'm not the only one experiencing this glitch.

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