Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Version meta alpha - Reason to like Flickrfs

For those who love flickrfs, this is a 'must have'.
For those who dun like flickrfs, rethink!!!

Why? Here are the reasons:
  • Direct access to Metadata! Right from the comfort of command line. Just fire up your favourite editor and you can modify the photo title, description, tags, and license.

  • Direct access to your photostream! Just create a directory 'stream' at your mountpoint root, and your whole photostream (upto 500 photos) will be accessible.

  • Don't like the permissions of your photos? Do a 'chmod' and voila! the perms are changed!

  • No longer need to be root to mount/access/unmount flickrfs. Enjoy normal user account luxury.

Well, how it all works? Just visit


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Downloading media from webpage?

"just use Firefox to accomplish this. "Tools -> Page Info -> Media" shows you a list of all the media (audio, stills, video, Flash, etc) in the page. Just scroll through until you find the Flash and either hit Save or copy the URL..."
Hence says Cory Doctorow

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Flickrfs version 1.1 out

Flickrfs is popular and in business, so here is the new release, with the following changes:

* fixed bugs (if photo title=='', then flickrfs crashes)
* Including API Key and Shared Secret. (Why? Keep following)
* Support for spaces in tags while uploading
* Permissions support while Uploading (mode=abc - a=7(always), b=(friends=5 | family=6 | none=4), c=(5=public | 4=private)

The API Key distribution in open source code is a debate. Here are the excerpts:
1. The API Key issued is actually per application instead of per user.
2. The main idea is just to track the usage of Flickr API.
3. Though, it is retrieved in the developer's name, Yahoo has intelligent methods to determine its bad usage.

Second comes, the much awaited support for permissions. While uploading, you can specify if you wish to make your photos public or private, and in private, friends, family or both.
Here is a quite tut:
755 - public
754 - friends (only)
764 - family (only)
774 - both friends and family (not public)

So, just change the permissions of photos, and upload them. And yope! Here are your private 'bikini' photos ;).

As the popularity of flickrfs is increasing, so are the problems encountered. I have started a mailing list to keep track of these problems/bugs along with usage tips etc. Please do subscribe to the list here.
Also, do include '/var/log/flickrfs' when you are reporting abt some problem. This will help me reproduce/diagnose it easily.

People surely are trying it out at different platforms. It will be great if you can create an account of how to install, and what has been ur experience, it will surely help other users. Let me know, and I will include it in the docs page, just like this one

All in all, do let everyone know abt ur experiences, struggles, your success, and joy when it worked (if at all ;). The means may be your blog, my gmail account, or best of all, the users mailing list :). Thanks to all!


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Announcing Flickrfs!

Always wanted to create a virtual filesystem for Gmail in Linux. However, someone stole me of that privilege. Now that festival holidays were coming near giving me some time to do some hacking, I decided to go for the most popular online photo sharing service, Flickr. What other way can it be when you want a prototype up and running rapidly; hence, Python.

Flickrfs is a virtual filesystem based upon FUSE for Linux. It can be mounted on your computer and then can be accessed using the standard commands. But, here are the twists. The filesystem uses threads, and hence, improves usability and speed. When you mount the filesystem, it will create 2 directories automatically: 'tags' and 'sets'. 'sets' will automatically retrieve your photos (only metadata information, hence fast) and will show you all the photos available in your sets. You can then easily copy images to your hdd. And here comes the nicer part, If you want to add some more photos to these sets, just copy them to the folder, and they will be uploaded to the respective set.

'tags' directory allows for searching functionality. It contains 2 directories, 'personal', and 'public'. To search for any tag, just create a directory inside, with separating the tags with ':'
# pwd
# mkdir linux:ubuntu

This will start searching for photos available in public domain matching these 2 tags, and will provide a list of all these photos. And all this will happen in background, with the help of threads, so dun have to sit and watch while results come.

Now, if you want to upload your photo with tags 'opensource', 'party', 'sfd', then just do this. In either tags/personal, or tags/public, create a directory
#mkdir "opensource:party:sfd"

and then just copy over the images to this directory, they will automatically be uploaded with these tags. And ya! An additional tag 'flickrfs' ;).

For those who will be wondering how long is it going to take to search and 'download' the files over to local disk; Dun worry! Flickrfs doesn't download anything till you either open the photo for viewing, or copy them to some other location. Its a purely virtual filesystem, even the files and directories that are visible to you don't exist on your hdd.

And here comes a trick:
If you searched for say photos with 'linux' tag, and like a particular photo, want to post it online on flickr; just do this
# cd /tmp/flickrfs/tags/public/linux
# cp Penguins\ Austin ./Penguin_Austin

And whoa! The photo is straightaway uploaded to flickr with tags 'linux' (and 'flickrfs' :D).

With Flickrfs, you don't have to worry if you have the photo or not, just upload from where you find it. And those who are mad about '' (like me), what other way to copy over all those *beautiful* photos to you hdd. Flickrfs is made to provide maximum functionality possible using the general linux commands. If time permits, I will probably be adding a 'gmail' folder, which will allow uploading of photos/files to gmail as well.

The project is hosted at sourceforge: Check out the Installation instructions at the home page: To the fans of Flickr out there, Do try it out! :)

I would surely like to thank the Open Source Community for allowing the creation of such a FS. Used flickr api by beej. Though debugged and modified it to allow for uploading through proxy as well. Richard's (the someone) Gmailfs code came in handy as well, to create all those virtual inodes. And especially thanks to my prime inspiration for flickr Deepak's pyflickruploader.