I have been steadily taking photos at a slow trickle. A few gigs every month really adds up over time. Right now I easily have 90+ GB of RAW files. However, using Aperture to manage this on my first-generation intel iMac has been... painful. Exporting photos takes forever is one major problem. I can't really afford a 45 minute photo export just for 200 photos. It becomes difficult to imagine exporting 4000 photos at that point.
So I (legally) obtained a copy of Lightroom just recently. I've heard it has better RAW algorithms, both in the quality and speed department. Combined with Adobe's more-open approach towards managing metadata, this might be the choice for me. Not to mention, Lightroom is significantly faster so far.
Aperture kind of plays along - it will allow you to export Master files with XMP sidecar files that contain metadata. That way I shouldn't lose the ratings and keywords. Only problem with that approach is I have to export masters that I've already relocated out of the Aperture library. The Lightbox XMP export plug-in has this annoying crashing ability.
One last thing about Lightroom - it has a distressingly simple view of copyright - you are either copyrighted or in the public domain. Alas I really want to tag some of my photos with CC licenses, and have that exported in to JPEG and picked up by Flickr. Does anyone know how to do this?
EDIT: I already figured out my own problem. The problem is the mini-metadata dropdown is not the only copyright related metadata. By selecting a large number of photos and clicking on 'Sync Metadata' a dialog with additional copyright fields appears. I was using the Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license, so I entered:
IPTC Copyright checked off
Copyright: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
Copyright Status: Copyrighted (thats the 3 optioned selection list)
Rights Usage Terms: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
Copyright Info URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
And when I hit synchronize Lightroom helpfully asked if I wanted to save these as a new preset. That way when I import new photos I can apply all these 4 metadata fields trivially.
PS: Thanks (to whomever you were) for the Bic retractable fountain pen. Alas it is available in Europe only, but, if someone wanted to make me a happy holiday person... I think you know what to do.