I have a file server in the closet. It runs Ubuntu, and exports my photo library as NFS4 and SMB. I have children and a wife who all also want access to these photos. Right now, the archive has the structure "bunch of folders, mostly named by date-dumped-from-camera." (More than one camera get dumped into here, too.)
I'm looking for an easier interface into these photos. Ideally, this would be something that supports multiple users, and puts metadata in a separate database on the same disk as the photos live, but doesn't move the photos around -- and, most importantly, doesn't try to copy the photos to the local machine it's running on. These are all requirements (except I can perhaps back down on "multiple users" to mean they don't have to be supported at the same time.)
If I had a choice of only one OS that this runs on, it would be Windows 8. However, we also use Linux desktops, Chromebooks, and Android phones in the family; additional support for any or all of those would be a bonus.
Now, I can build an app that supports the requirements above pretty easily. The reason I don't do that is that I want the ability to: - scan the photo files in this archive, into a database of metadata and file references - allow comments and tagging to be added to the metadata in that database - ideally do face and/or geolocation and/or guided location recognition to auto-tag photos - use this same database metadata from more than one client computer -- if it only works with one at a time, that's acceptable but not ideal - if a file is renamed or deleted in the database, the on-disk copy is not renamed or deleted All of those features on top represent a significant additional amount of development.
What is the right software for this? From what I can tell, all the built-in and shovelware photo managers typically want to copy the photos to a local drive, and even if they don't, the metadata all lives on the local machine that runs the software. But I'm sure I'm missing something, because I can't be the only person with a family that's all more or less technically literate.