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View 360 Panorama Photos on Ubuntu with this Image Viewer Plugin

google panorama image viewer ubuntuThe view from the top of Glastonbury Tor is breathtaking. You can see for miles and miles across multiple counties in a stunning 360-degree panorama.

When I visited I (naturally) couldn’t resist trying to capture the impressive view. Wanting something a little more immersive than a standard (and constrained) snap I used the ‘Photo Sphere’ feature on my Nexus 5X’s camera app to take a multi-shot panoramic photo.

On Android I can view, pan and orbit around this image in 3D, spherical way, as I can in the browser when I view it on Google Photos.

But what if I want to view 360 panoramic photos on Ubuntu in the native image viewer? Does it work? Can I?

Well, the short answer is yes. Eye of GNOME supports panoramic and photo sphere photos out of the box. The downside is how it displays such images by default: as a long, linear, horizontal strip:

Sure, I can zoom in and then pan, but it’s still a flat experience for an image that, on other devices, can be viewed in a more intimate way.

Panorama Photo Viewer for Eye of GNOME

Thankfully a developer is working on a plugin solution for Eye of GNOME, the default image viewer on Ubuntu — and about time, too!

The ‘eog panorama’ plugin by Aerilius brings a  360 panorama viewer feature to the image viewer of Ubuntu. The plugin is ideal for anyone that wants to view panoramic photos on a PC or laptop.

These days most of us have a smart phone in our pocket, and this ubiquity has undoubtedly helped the humble panorama become popular as a photo format. In turn, web services and social networks have, accordingly, help standardise XMP-tags so that software knows when and how to display a panorama image correctly.

So it’s only right that the Linux desktop keep pace too.

Eye of GNOME image viewer is able to show panoramic images, just not in an imaginative way. As developer Aerilius puts it: “a spherical projection would be smarter and more comfortable than displaying a panorama photo as a long horizontal strip”.

Viewing my Glastonbury Tor image on Android (or on the web in Google Photos) is super immersive; I feel like I’m surrounded by the that left me speechless every time I look at it.

On Ubuntu, in Eye of GNOME, that experience is… It’s static.

But with Aerilius’ plugin for EOG panoramic photos are automatically detected and displayed using a scannable spherical stage.

Download EOG Panorama Plugin

eog panorama plugin

eog panorama plugin

Now, I have to caution here that this plugin does not work for me. I generally don’t like to write about any app or plugin when this happens, but I will make an exception in this instance.

Firstly because, despite the plugin not working for me, this plugin is working for other people. And secondly, because I know of nothing else like this on the Linux desktop. What Works?

Any correctly tagged Panorama photo should work with the following plugin installed and activated.

To check XMP metadata of an image in EOG:

  1. Image > Image Properties > Details
  2. In the “XMP other” section you should see have GPano:UsePanoramaViewer = True and other GPano metadata.

Photos taken by mobile phones or patched together using third-party software add this metadata automatically.

How To Install

You’ll need to install the following dependency before installing the plugin:

sudo apt install libimage-exiftool-perl python3-magic gir1.2-gexiv2-0.10

Next, download the plugin:

Download EOG Panorama Image Plugin

Once fully downloaded extract the zip full and move the ‘eog_panorama‘ folder inside the extracted directory to ~/.local/share/eog/plugins/. If this folder stack doesn’t exist you will need to create it using the ‘New Folder’ option in Nautilus.

Once the plugin directory is in place you can go ahead and enable it.

  1. Open Eye of GNOME
  2. Go to Edit > Preferences > Plugins
  3. Check the box beside the ‘EOG Panorama‘ plugin

That’s it!

The next time that you open a supported image in the viewer the new plugin should kick in and handle the rendering. Due to limitations of using a WebView be aware that crazy his-res panorama images may cause high CPU and memory use during loading.

Does It Work?

If your lengthy panorama photos don’t look any different with the plugin installed you’re probably hitting the same issue as me: the script failing to kick in to gear in the background. I’ve tried to find the reason it fails on my box (but works on others) and have so far come up with nothing.

If any of you are able to find out the cause, please do report your findings on the plugin’s Github page.