Drew Griscom Roos


Installing Picasa Photo Viewer on Ubuntu 12.04

The image viewer bundled with Picasa is unparalleled in quality. It’s fast and fluid. It uses a full-screen lightbox for display. It can handle absolutely huge images. The stock image viewers in Ubuntu don’t even compare.

But luckily, the Picasa image viewer runs well under WINE and can be set up on Ubuntu rather easily!

Step 1: download Picasa

You’ll be informed Picasa is “not available for your operating system”, but View Source on that page and you’ll find the download link for the Windows version.

Step 2: install Picasa via WINE

wine ~/Downloads/picasa39-setup.exe

Step 3: create a launcher script

wine "C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Google\\Picasa3\\PicasaPhotoViewer.exe" "$1" 2> /dev/null

Save this script as /usr/local/bin/picasa-view. (remember to make it executable)

You can now use the Picasa image viewer via command line as picasa-view.

Step 4: create a desktop launcher

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Picasa Image Viewer
MimeType=image/png; image/jpeg; image/tiff
Exec=picasa-view %f

Place in ~/.local/share/applications/picasa-viewer.desktop

Step 5: set as the default handler for images

You can do this by going to the Properties dialog on one file of each relevant image type and then mucking with the Open with tab. But this is cumbersome, and there’s a bug in Ubuntu 12.04 which makes this dialog crash entirely on TIF files.

Here’s an easier method: edit ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list to add:


under the [Default Applications] header.

You’re done! The Picasa viewer should now be your desktop environment’s default image viewer (for the above image types).

Parting thoughts

  • Note that Picasa viewer doesn’t support animated GIFs, so stick with a different viewer for those.

  • Picasa viewer can browse through directories of images, but it can get confused on ordering. Run:

    touch *

    inside the image directory to fix it.

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