My long term observation about GNOME and KDE is that GNOME is stronger in desktop, while KDE is stronger in applications. One of the excellent KDE applications is digiKam.
The most popular free image processing tool, GIMP, hasn’t succeeded to become a tool for serious work. Its lack of important features (such as 16-bit color support) and poor user interface make it suitable just for occasional use and perhaps for web designers. Lack of free usable photo processing and management tools has motivated me to develop my own photo processing program as a part of my Springtail Lisp tools. But due to lack of time and zero support from McCLIM developers Springtail didn’t provide completely satisfying results.
About a year ago I discovered digiKam. After trying it I’ve abandoned the Springtail photo application development immediately. Not that digiKam offered all the features present in Springtail and everything I needed, but it provided interesting features, good user interface and was well maintained. It was clear to me that this may be the right tool and it made no sense to invest my effort into development of my own tool instead of helping a promising project.
I can say that digiKam fulfills my expectations and I recommend it to photo enthusiasts who look for a good photo editing and management tool. It can’t do everything and there are many features that could be improved, but this is up to us – we can file bug reports, vote for bugs and make patches. I believe this project is well maintained and it’s worth to help it.