Linux has many image viewers; here are some I’ve found worthy of note.
Some people stretch the term image viewer to the breaking point, applying it to applications better described as image editors, collection managers, camera import tools, visual search tools, or album generators. So to clarify, by image viewer I mean just what it says on the tin: a lightweight application that lets you quickly view images and then gets out of your way.
What is the point of a quick previewer if it’s so bogged down by feature bling that it’s no longer quick? For that reason you won’t find hundred-bladed Swiss army knives like F-Spot or gThumb on this list. By all means, use such tools if you find them useful, but don’t think they take the place of a lightweight viewer.
More specifically, an image viewer should:
- open without delay image files of all common formats (that includes The Gimp’s .xcf)
- browse directories and open files directly without having to import anything
- not leave your hard disk littered with hidden thumbnails or metadata scattered about
- easily pass an image to another application or to a console command for editing or processing
The last point is of particular importance to me. I like to browse my image collection with a lightweight image viewer, and use it to (for example) open an image in The Gimp for editing, or have jhead change the file’s timestamp to match the EXIF timestamp. If an image viewer can do this, it doesn’t need to do anything else.
So, on to the viewers:
Eye of Gnome (eog): GTK. Part of the Gnome project. It silently litters your hard disk with .mediaartlocal/ directories full of “thumbnails” that are often no smaller than the original files. Cannot view .xcf files. Can pass an image to any application associated with images in Nautilus, but cannot be configured to pass an image to a console command for processing.
ephoto: Part of the Enlightenment project; if you don’t use Enlightenment it will drag in a lot of dependencies.
feh: Console-based; no GUI.
geeqie: GTK. Modern fork of gqview. Can pass images to another program. Directory controls are operated with a single click and not the standard double click, which takes some getting used to. Can view EXIF data.
GImageView: Abandoned since 2004.
GPicView: Part of the LXDE project. Can only view one image at a time; no directory thumbnail view. Cannot view .xcf files. Cannot pass images to another program.
GQview: Abandoned in 2006, later forked as geeqie.
Mirage: GTK. Clean, highly usable interface. Can be configured to pass images to another program. Cannot view .xcf files or EXIF data.
Ristretto: Part of the Xfce project. Can pass an image to any application associated with images in Thunar, but cannot be configured to pass an image to a console command for processing. Can view .xcf files. Can view EXIF data.
xv: Not open source.
Image Viewers at Linux App Finder