by digiKam Team
After three months of active maintenance and another bug triage, the digiKam team is proud to present version 7.7.0 of its open source digital photo manager. See below the list of most important features coming with this release.
Bundles packaging improvements
Qt 5.15 LTS used in Windows and macOS bundle
With this release we take care about upgrading the Qt framework with a LTS version. Since Qt 5.15.2, the framework is only published privately to the registered clients from the Qt Company. By chance, the KDE project deals with the Qt company to provide a rolling release of the whole Qt framework including all the most important patches. This is the Qt collection patch used from now by the digiKam AppImage bundle. This allows digiKam to benefit from important fixes as to support the most recent version of Mysql and Mar iadb database in the QtSql plugin. Even if Qt 5.15.5 is just released as open-source, more than one year later 5.15.2, we will continue to use the Qt Collecti on Patch, as the last customer Qt5 release is 5.15.8. So there exists again a serious gap between the open-source and the customer versions of Qt.
Update of KDE framework and Libraw
KDE framework has been updated to the latest 5.95 release including plenty of bug fixes. Internal RAW processors based on Libraw source code have been updated to the latest snapshot 2022-06-17. More than 1180 different RAW cameras are now supported with this release. The new Olympus OM-1 camera is now supported in this release.
Maintenance and Improvements
This new version arrives with 84 files triaged and closed in bugzilla.
With this release, the modern AVIF and JPEG-XL image containers support was improved in all bundles. We also remove the older internal copy of libheif and libde265 codecs in favor of more recent system libraries for a better support of the HEIF image container used by iPhone cameras.
Other improvements are crash fixes in specific conditions, fixes for regression use cases, more stability with the remote Mysql database. The application internationalization has also been updated.
We will continue to maintain the Qt5 version of digiKam in a dedicated branch of gitlab repository. Only bug-fixes Will be applied to this code.
In parallel, the git master branch is now finally ported to the new Qt6 framework. It use the partial port done by a student during summer 2021 and makes this code compatible also with Qt5.
Not all regression tests are yet done as plenty of changes have been introduced but we are near to release the first 8.0.0- beta1 while this summer. All new features will also be hosted to this code for a future 8.0.0 release probably published at the end of this year.
We also advance to provide bundles signed for the macOS and Windows stores using the KDE Craft infrastructure. These tasks are so far to be completed as the Craft framework used to build KDE applications do not use last and all dependencies provided by our handmaid and well tuned bundles, but we share hard working hours on these topics to be ready for 8.0.0 release.
Finally, this summer, two students have been retained and will join the game to complete the Image Quality analyzer using neural network, and to write a new plugin to perform OCR over images using Tesseract.
Thanks to all users for your support and donations, and to all contributors, students, testers who allowed us to improve this release.