On any other operating system, working with raw files and images is a brezze. You can open thousands of raw images in the systems file manager and you can’t even notice thumbnails being generated.
On Ubuntu however that is not the case.
First of all, it doesn’t even come preconfigured to generate thumbnails for raw images. You have to edit
/usr/share/thumbnailers/gdk-pixbuf-thumbnailer.thumbnailer and manually add miemetypes otherwise no thumbnails will be generated. I’d imagine for most ordinary users that would be the end of the road. They would just see that no thumbnails are being generated and leave Ubuntu.
Secondly. After you add the miemetypes and thumbnails are finally being generated, we still have the issue with thumbnail generation being too slow. Depending on how many raw files are you seing in Nautilus, the thumbnail generation can last for over 30min (for a few hundreds of raw images, which is not a lot) on a very high end machine. User basically has to wait for thumbnails to appear, and wait a long time. You can basically stare at the screen and count the seconds between each thumbnail that can take from 2 up to 10 seconds per thumbnail.
When testing the raw thumbnail generation on MacOS and Windows it happens almost instantly. Not almost, but instantly tbh.
With digital images being more and more a part of our daily lives, with most modern phones having the ability to shoot raw and high megapixel raw images, with the introduction of high quality and cheaply available mirrorless cameras in the past 5 years, with GIMP and Darktable being some of the two most downloaded apps on app stores across linux distributions including Ubuntu, I’d like to ask if there is something that Ubuntu and Canonical can do about it? Perhaps develop a state of the art raw thumbnailer for Linux? It would be well worth it.