Some news that caught my attention earlier this month concern an open source project that could definitely bring some fresh air and, hopefully, new exciting possibilities both to casual and dedicated photographers. OpenPhoto — this is the name of the project — will be an open source equivalent of many photo sharing services we are already acquainted with, like the various Flickr, Smugmug, Picasa, Photobucket and so on.
Do we need another photo sharing service?
The answer to this question depends, of course, on what kind of photo sharing we are talking about. The principle inspiring OpenPhoto is, at its core, very simple: you shouldn’t be forced to commit yourself to a company when all you want to do is simply enjoying the sharing of your own photos. The difference between OpenPhoto and other services is that you will be given the freedom to use your photos as you like and the photos will remain yours and yours alone. No more dealing with cryptic terms of service that, ultimately, go to the advantage of the service provider; no more situations in which somebody has a final say on what you can do and what you cannot do with your own creations.
OpenPhoto will provide a sharing service that will rely on users’ cloud storage accounts like those on Dropbox, Rackspace and Amazon S3, to host not only photos, but also tags and comments.
In the words of Jaisen Mathai, former software engineer for Yahoo! and project founder, OpenPhoto is the “digital equivalent of shoe-boxes filled with photos”, only safer and more convenient: take your photos with you always, use them as you wish, post them on other services like Twitter and Facebook. The project’s funding on Kickstarter was successful and updates are expected in the forthcoming months.
As for the question that probably interests many of you: will a mobile (iPhone, Android) version be available? The project founder clearly stated that it’s in his intention to bring OpenPhoto to mobile platforms. However, both iPhone and Android applications are not the top priority for the present moment. This means it’s very likely OpenPhoto will eventually arrive to your mobile device, but it’s not possible at the moment to predict when or how this will happen.