My dream photo host exists except for that part where it doesn’t.

Remember awhile back when I asked the Internet for a photo host that doesn’t suck? I think I’ve found one. Meet OpenPhoto, the photo host that doesn’t suck. You might call not existing a barrier to not sucking, but nonexistence to the general public aside, this photo host has almost everything I want in one:

* An installable version and a hosted version. The installable version is in your own cloud account, which is what I’ll most likely use. This means I can host as many photos as I want. Self-hosting would give me the flexibility to do whatever I want to my photos, which brings me to the next point.

* Freedom to move your photos where you please. This is one reason I grew dissatisfied with Flickr and every other hosted photo site out there. Your photos are held hostage, and getting them out is really difficult. Let’s say your Flickr Pro account expires, as mine has. Then you lose all your sets and collections beyond what’s allowed for the free account, and you can view only your 200 most recent photos. The others are there, just held hostage by Flickr. OpenPhoto would give me complete control with the knowledge that I’m not turning my photos over to a company that could shut down one day.

* It’s all in the cloud. This isn’t just about backing up photos. The photos, tags, and comments go together, and this is extremely important to me. Anyone who has looked through my Delicious account, especially the earliest days you can access (4,000 or so back), will notice that I’m not the most organized tagger. The cloud storage keeps everything together so I don’t have to retag everything again should I start over one day.

* Sharing photos via Twitter. This was a huge requirement for me. It would also have taken a lot of code-wrangling for every other self-hosted option out there, and OpenPhoto is making that happen. Thank you for saving me a lot of work and effort, especially given that I’d have to learn a lot of the languages first.

* The installable version will be free and open source. That’s right, free as in food and libre. I completely approve of this.

There are a couple of things that haven’t been mentioned at all that I’d like to see. One of them is the ability to protect a photo from the public. Perhaps the URL would be the passcode for people to access the picture, like on Flickr. This way I could host photos on my site and still do so somewhat privately without having to do so on Facebook. I’d also like to see sets and collections, though tags could take care of this if I’m meticulous enough. Batch uploading hasn’t been mentioned at all, but come on, this project’s brand new. It’ll probably happen eventually, as will a user-friendly navigation. If this iteration of OpenPhoto is indicative of the result, the URLs are definitely of a reasonable length. No, the site isn’t pretty, but what do you expect for something that’s not finished yet?

The only real con is that this photo host doesn’t exist yet. That’s why I threw a few bucks Jaisen’s way in the form of his Kickstarter project. One day I can tell those kids who keep trouncing on my lawn that I helped pioneer nonsucky photo sharing. Also: beta access, baby.

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