I have noticed that Shotwell has a pretty capable image viewer but EOG is still used for opening image files, which means Ubuntu's default install has two apps for the same purpose.

I wonder why Shotwell isn't set as the default image viewer and EOG is removed. Are there certain features that EOG has and Shotwell lacks, which are keeping it from being set as default?

3 Answers 3


Note: I work for the Yorba Foundation and am the lead developer of Shotwell. The following are my own opinions and observations.

When Ubuntu first approached us about making Shotwell the default photo manager, we suggested to them that Shotwell not replace EoG as the individual photo viewer. At the time Shotwell's photo viewer lacked many significant features that EoG offered, including pan-and-zoom and a thumbnail strip view of all images in the current directory. EoG's metadata viewer (Image -> Properties) is also more thorough than Shotwell's.

That said, we're constantly looking to improve Shotwell and all these items I've mentioned are slated for inclusion at some point. (Pan-and-zoom has been added since Ubuntu's decision.) If Shotwell had a thumbnail strip view (or even a sidebar listing all files in a directory) I would feel comfortable recommending it as a default photo viewer – but that's a decision for the distro, not me.

  • 3
    Thanks for such a clear answer. I'm glad any things Shotwell is lacking are being worked on, and I hope it's considered for inclusion again when the time is ripe.
    – Bou
    Dec 2, 2010 at 8:46
  • Very clear, and deserving of an upvote. Just curious: Is there a "Random image" function in Shotwell, to match the EoG feature accessed with Ctrl+M? I've grown used to that feature in both EoG and in IrfanView (on Windows).
    – dgw
    Dec 9, 2010 at 23:54
  • " If Shotwell had a thumbnail strip view (or even a sidebar listing all files in a directory)" - yeah, that would be awesome :-) Feb 5, 2020 at 10:06

I guess that Shotwell is more of a complete photo management application than a simple image viewer like EOG.
That's why the official statement from ubuntu talks about it as a replacement to F-Spot.

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    The thing is, Shotwell has two separate modules. One in launched through the menu and is a full-house management application, but the other (which you can see if you right-click an image and select "open with → shotwell") is a simpler image viewer, not unlike EOG.
    – Bou
    Dec 1, 2010 at 12:44

This does not exactly address your question, but you can change the default viewer.

If you right click on the image, select "Open With", then "Other Application...", leaving 'Remember this application for "JPEG Image" files' checked, find 'Shotwell Photo Viewer' and click "Open" it will set Shotwell Photo Viewer as the default viewer.

I find Shotwell Photo Viewer faster to open than EOG--which can be removed using your favorite package management tool.

As far as the difference in features, I can not see a significant difference.

  • That is indeed the reason I supposed would be moving the Ubuntu team, but was expecting some kind of confirmation.
    – Bou
    Dec 1, 2010 at 13:55
  • No need for talking politics.
    – tshepang
    Dec 1, 2010 at 16:03
  • But politics is not a good reason to downvote an useful answer. Anyway I'd prefer that the politic remarks are moved to comments. Dec 9, 2010 at 22:51
  • Thanks Javier. Tshepang, you may note I did not bring up the "political" side of things till the last three sentences. I definitely agree this is not the place for political discussion. However, Bou did ask why and that is a reason I thought of--was not trying to stir up trouble.
    – Mark
    Dec 10, 2010 at 2:23
  • This was in my original answer, but moved it here at Javier's suggestion: "since EOG is the "official" Gnome image viewer Ubuntu might again be attacked for "abandoning" Gnome if they made the change you suggest. Look at all the bits spilled about Unity."
    – Mark
    Dec 10, 2010 at 2:25

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