Lightroom Classic and CC: Allow Catalog to be stored on a networked drive.

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I'd love to make LR more multi-computer friendly. I have no doubt that there's probably database architecture issues and a host of other barriers... But I have to believe that the need for either multi-user or at at lease multi-computer use is widely desired. And yes, I know you can do the catalog import export thing but I find this less than ideal.
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BenD

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Posted 8 years ago

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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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You can also use the 'Store Presets with Catalog' checkbox in preferences to store the presets on the external, and you can install your plug-ins located on the external too.

I do agree though, all of the current options are workarounds, and hardly ideal. Externals are also generally slower, and more risky as they can become detached, corrupting the catalog. It's not a great solution. It needs work, because more and more people are using multiple computers and home networks.
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Dan Zemke

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Please retain a single-user implementation of LR. If you (Adobe) decide to implement a multiuser implementation, make it a separate deliverable.

Most of your customers are unlikely to ever have a need for a multiuser catalog (especially one that supports concurrent update). Please don't foist significantly decreased performance and higher complexity on folks who would receive no benefit from a multiuser implementation.

Dan
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Axiom

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If you don't need it, you don't use it. If you need it you have the option.
There would be no performance impact in "single user mode".

so please don't "foist" your "opinion" about what people may or may not need when plainly you can see people need this as an option - myself and my computers being one of them.

That you may not require such a feature means you have one machine you work on. And that's great for YOU.

Don't knock a practical feature for the rest of us that require multiple access to our data. Especially since "network sharing" is not a "new" concept.

That adobe cheaped out and went with "free" SQLlite is what is causing the issue - they didn't want to use a proper full SQL implementation, and that decision is the "truth" behind their described "database issues" over a network.

So. Their reasoning is poppycock. My filemaker and other sql databases aren't destroyed when a "network" hiccup occurs.
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Rodney L Wright

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Last year, I submitted a feature request that was received by Adobe to implement a multi-user version of Lightroom. In this forum, I discovered that the reason this has not been implemented is that the underlying database is SQLite which does not effectively imlement record-level locking. Also a comment given for not considering the now much more standard MySQL was potential cost...but that was dismissed in a subsequent comment.

I am a (volunteer) database administrator at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) and am coordinator for a major internal database using Microsoft Access. For years, MS Access has had no problem with record level locking and multiuser access. We are converting this database to MySQL and so far have had very good success. Multiuser access in MySQL works well.

If SQLite is the problem, I suggest Adobe seriously evaluate recasting Lightroom to use MySQL.

My personal reason for needing multi-user access is that I maintain a personal database of over 40,000 photos and this is growing very quickly as I add both family and air & space photos (I am also a docent at NASM and share responsibility for training new docents, so a photo database is important in that regard too.)

At home I have Microsoft Home Server and a small 3-client machine network (my machine, my wife's machine, and my laptop.) Currently, we have the Lightroom catalog installed on an USB connected external drive and move it from machine to machine whenever one of us needs to access Lightroom (and that is frequent.) Both my wife and I need concurrent shared access to the same Lightroom database. Record-level locking would prevent use both from working on the same photo at the same time. Being able to install the catalog on the server would greatly simplify life for us (and would help to ensure domestic tranquility by preventing conflicts over whose work is more important or highest priority.)

At NASM, we have an intranet implemented using MS server with Windows clients. We don't currently have Lightroom installed on our machines because it is a single-user application. I certainly would recommend it in a heartbeat if there was a true multiuser version available.

In regard to licensing, I think Adobe should consider a "family license" much like Micorosoft, Norton, McAffee, etc. This would authorize up to say, three concurrent uses of Lightroom using a single license.

Lightroom should also be authorized for organizations by selling licenses for multi-user versions. We certainly would be interested in that for our Education Department.

Please be advised that NASM has NOT authorized me to speak for them or to commit. Since I am a volunteer, any such interpretation of my comments would cause grief to me and to NASM. I appreciate your consideration in considering these suggestions.
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Rodney L Wright

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Well, it now has been nearly 2 years since I formally submitted a long list of suggestions to Adobe about future software. Primary among them was the suggestion to go to a multi-user networked version of Lightroom. Apparently, now that LR 4 is out, we see that Adobe has ignored all of those suggestions.
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Axiom

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That's simply because they don't need to care, these forums are full of our "needs" but they always have a convenient and uneducated reply.

I wonder constantly now why I bother spending thousands every few years on what is increasingly becoming poorer and poorer implementation of what once was an awesome thing.
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Louis Sherwin

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Thanks Dan for clarifying some of the issues involved.

It occurs to me that this topic probably could be split in two separate but related discussions.

1. Multi-user - Two or more people working on a shared catalog and image database. This requires a client-server architecture with the necessary file locking etc. This is not the common use model but would be highly desired by anyone with a small studio and one or more assistances up to an organization managing a large archive.

2. Multi-computer - One person working with one or more catalogs. I think that today this covers a large majority of Lightroom users. Many of us regularly use a lap top computer in the field to start working on the days images and then want to have a say to simply merge this back into or main catalog on the desktop at home.

In either case you should probably treat the previews more like cache than "data". They are being regenerated all the time anyway as you make edits so it make sense to me that my previews would always be localized to my local computer user workspace.

-louie
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Timo S.

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Exactly! I don't need a multi-user-environment but just an easier way of synching my catalogue between desktop and laptop computer. Right now, the only way I can do this is: Before I take my laptop somewhere, I synch my LR catalogue from my desktop to my laptop so it matches it exactly. Then I can work with LR on my laptop. After that, I sync my laptop's catalogue back to my desktop and continue to work there. So, every time I switch computers, I need to sync my catalogue.
It would just be so much easier, if there was a sync feature in Lightroom that would allow to sync and contribute in both directions (let's say, for example by keeping always the most recent edits of both machines).

Cheers,

Timo
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bcdavis75

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Totally agree with that... it's much more about being able to seamlessly switch computers. I've managed this by using synctoy between PC's but that always made me nervous. I'm trying to see if I can get a dropbox based solution to do the trick.

Anyway, a fully integration "move everything to laptop" button would be great.
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Louis Sherwin

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Jay,

Good point to consider for the Multi-user use case. Even then especially when you are edting most of the your work is going to be local to the client system you are on. You really don't want to have the client constantly updating the previews for every edit. That's what I was thinking about.

To your point there should be a way to "release" work back to the server that would also update the server previews so that additional clients would not have to re-render finished work just to browse the image database.
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Patrick Cunningham

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I don't really want to share a catalog, because the laptop won't be attached to the network most of the time. A shared catalog would be OK as long as each computer keeps a copy of the preview files, and changes to develop and metadata are only permitted when the machine is connected to the network. But I do need to be able to reconcile the same image on two computers.

There are ways of doing it without sharing the catalog - basically things to help me instigate a regime of self-discipline. Colour coding of folders in Lightroom (this has already been discussed), and/or the ability to lock/unlock folders would help greatly, so that I can more easily keep track of which images have been 'sent' to the desktop - then I know not to do any more adjustments or metadata on the laptop.

Another requirement is to be able to export a collection (from the laptop) in a way which only exports membership of that collection, instead of overwriting all the metadata in the target catalog (on the desktop), because I sometimes do a selection on the laptop after the images have 'gone' to the desktop - where they may have been added to other collections and may have had more develop work done. I don't want to clutter the catalog with loads of virtual copies either.

Patrick Cunningham
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Greg Hunt

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I think that there is a third case:

- Home NAS with a single user

These things are becoming more and more common. I understand the imperative to keep the system operationally simple, just enabling network access to the database would lead to people who have been trying to use it as multi-user software complaining vociferously that they were innocent victims of Adobe when they corrupted their databases but there should be support for common high-end hardware configurations. Locking need only be done at the file level and imposed by the application not the database, no finer granularity is needed, but from discussions above it looks like the locking APIs are a mess.
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Rodney L Wright

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I was extremely disappointed to note that the beta of LR4 does NOT contain any ability for multi-user, network hosted operations. Do we have to wait until the 22nd century?
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Bob Dole

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Yes, Adobe Lightroom has grown into a professional photographers tool and we all know that as such, they only work for themselves. There is no need to have anyone else access the database. - Adobe Marketing

Lightroom was built on SQL Lite, a relic of a database that does not allow concurrent access. While lots of people buy Lightroom and sales have grown, we are aren't given the funds or the time to execute a database change - it is all about new features, that sells products. - Adobe Development
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Bob Dole

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Actually, this is not a technical problem, it is a management problem. If they wanted to change the DB they could, it is not that hard. In fact, I think they could go to a pointer model where all the picture data is kept in a file next to the picture with an index in every directory. It could work much like a source control system with individual file locks.

This would work much better than keeping everything in a SQL lite db.

The problem here is that Lightroom is built on a decade old technology. They've spent money improving the features, but nothing to improve the architectural structure of the program.
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Joe Ziha

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Allow the Lightroom catalog to usable from a network share.

I can see that this type of request has been floating out here for about 6+ years already.  Ideally I'd like for Lightroom catalog to be simultaneously shared and multi-user, however as a developer I understand the complications of that sort of implementation.

Alternatively, I would just like to be able to store a Lightroom catalog on a network share that allows only one user at a time to access it.  This could be implemented through a locking mechanism that allows only one instance of LR to access the catalog at a time.

This would be a vast improvement over the current implementation and would likely satisfy many, many of the requests for some sort of a shared catalog concept.