Contacting the GIMP Webmasters says: “The best way to get support is to post your questions and comments to one of the mailing lists “ and: “GIMP has 2 official forums, hosted by separate projects: is, by a considerable margin, the most effective and informative forum I have been fortunate enough to connect with, so I’m giving it a go on this frustrating issue with GIMP and raw image processors in a Linux/Ubuntu/Mint environment.

Having been trying, seriously, over the past few years, at least, to get various versions of GIMP to invoke a raw image processor (typically either RT or dt) on a raw image, in my operating system/distribution environment (stated above), without a single success, so it’s clear I need help.

My request, therefore, is: where do I find detailed instructions which tell me how to configure GIMP (now 2.10.36) to invoke RT and dt in an Ubuntu 22.04/Mint 21 environment, in language which a low-intermediate Linux user will understand?

Note some specifics about the request: “where”, “detailed (documentation by implication)”, “Linux” and “understand”. Note also that I’m not talking about invoking GIMP from a dt lua script or invoking GIMP as an external editor in RawTherapee.

I add these specifics because I’m not requesting somebody to do this for me – I want to understand for my self. I have been unable to find such instructions. I didn’t find an entry on Pixls on this topic. I have read/watched literally 10’s of articles/YouTube videos on the subject claiming that such raw processor invocation is possible with GIMP, but none of those ever feature a Linux environment. Over the years I have challenged some of the more prolific You Tube creators of GIMP tutorials to demonstrate to me that they have achieved this result. Nobody has done so.

GIMP itself strongly implies it can be done: To illustrate the difficulty I then have in exploiting this functionality, looking in the GIMP preferences, I see information under ‘Image Import and Export’ ‘Raw Image Importer’ ‘Plug-In’ which displays this (uneditable) text string: {gimp_plug_in_dir}/plug-ins/file-rawtherapee-placeholder/file-rawtherapee-placeholder.

I can find nowhere which defines {gimp_plug_in_dir} but by trial and error I guess it to mean /usr/lib/gimp/2.0. From there I can find “plug-ins” and further assume that “file-rawtherapee-placeholder” means the directory “file-rawtherapee”, but I have no idea what to make of the final “file-rawtherapee-placeholder” text string; this location is empty. Nothing I have tried placing here or in the containing directories above it has resulted in rawtherapee being invoked. And this doesn’t mention darktable at all.

Any volunteers to point me to effective documentation?

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Edit > Preferences > Folders > Plugins lists two directories (but you can add more). One is in your files under your /home, one is on the system (/usr). Use the first one(*).

Also, see GIMP - Your GIMP Profile and You

(*) For two reasons:

  1. You won’t be damaging the official install
  2. If you use Snapchat/Flaspak/AppImage, the /usr seen by Gimp is probably a virtual file system and not your real /usr.

yep, tried them (both in ~/.config and in /usr/lib…). No success.

One of my requirements is ‘details’. So, what goes in the plug-ins folder? An executable? A symlink? Some sort of additional gimprc file? Just what is a RawTherapee 'plug-in? a dt plug-in?

Bearing in mind that RawTherapee, as built using the either method described in RawPedia, ends up in ~/programs/rawtherapee, which darktable most certainly doesn’t, how much of the build of RT and dt is to be copied (moved ?) into this plug-ins folder from wherever they have been built (or installed)?

Ah, but that’s asking you to do the job for me, isn’t it ?

So, what goes in the plug-ins folder?

An executable or a link to it (and on Linux, this should of course have the “executable” bit set).

Now, what part of RawTherapee (or other) you put there is a question to ask to the RT people, not the Gimp people. They are the one who wrote the bit of their code that works as a Gimp plugin.

I used to know, because I had RT set up that way. But it didn’t last long. because eventually I found this to be pointless. If I process a “raw” picture, I’m going to spend a significant time in the demosaicing app. I will try a few things, save several outcomes, before deciding which one I continue working on with Gimp (assuming I need to). With that workflow using the app as a glorified input loader for Gimp is more a hindrance than a help.

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Hmm, a very insightful observation, which my psyche had been suggesting I consider for some time. It also explains why so many people recommend to me to use gimp and a raw processor in the reverse flow - i…e invoke Gimp from one’s chosen raw processor after all the deeply functional image adjustment work is done in a specialised engine before invoking a generalist application like gimp, with its extra functions, like layers.

Came here to suggest this … I no longer use any raw file import into GIMP because I use Digikam as my image manager. It provides a “view” of all raw files (from my several Nikon cameras) and if I want to edit one, I can select GIMP as the editor and the raw conversion happens then. So my workflow is:

  • Copy/Rename to my image repository using a script I developed with net help
  • Triage the images in Digikam
  • Open a raw image in GIMP from within Digikam and not from within GIMP

This said, I confirm that on my MXLinux v23 system with darktable and rawtherapee installed, GIMP successfully opens raw images in Darktable when I select a NIKON raw file using File > Open. I did not have to do anything to make this work (other than install GIMP, darktable, and rawtherapee from the MXLinux package repositories). I did some digging and amazingly it does NOT appear as if either darktable or rawtherapee put anything in any GIMP directory that I can discover. There are no files that reference either application in any GIMP plug-ins folder that are not installed by GIMP itselt. Tthere ARE two such files in /usr/lib/GIMP/2.0/plug-ins that are installed by GIMP (if the package manager synaptic’s “Installed Files” option can be trusted) a ./file-rawtherapee and a ./file-darktable in each of which has a similarly named executable in them. Both of these are referenced in GIMP’s pluginrc file. I looked in both the darktable and rawtherapee /usr/share locations and could find nothing referencing GIMP or gimp.

How GIMP connects these files with the darktable or rawtherapee executable I cannot discover. Wish I could give you the detail you’ve asked for. I understand how frustrating it can be.

Thank for taking the time. I too have this distro installed - but on a 15-year old Thinkpad where it runs quite happily doing simple stuff. I might not have enough resources to accept an install of Gimp. darktable and RawTherappe, but I’ll give it a go, as that will encourage me to believe that one can do this with Gimp. Right now, even after so many suggestions from others, the GIMP message “There is no RAW loader installed…” has been displayed so many times that I’m glad I no longer use a CRT…

An update: after some minor changes (see my post in the RawTherapee ‘channel’) my installed GIMP now invokes RawTherapee (but not dt). Only taken since November 2019 to get here… Still have no idea what object is to be placed in the plug-ins location.

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I have just tried this using MX23 on my old laptop. Exactly the same result as you. The whole process took about 5 minutes, yielding a far easier result than I got on my up-to-date, huge and powerful latest generation desktop running Mint 21.2, after more than 4 years of trying.

Embarrassing to say the least. Fortunately the cat I do not have didn’t get kicked.


Glad it’s gotten sorted … I feel your frustration as I’ve had a few of my own recently with sound issues.


As already mentioned in several other threads you opened on this topic, it’s an issue based in darktables indentifiction which needs to be fixed there - and this fix is in progress… btw: the darktable developers are in discussion with gimp developers on the most appropriate way to do this.
Things won’t increase speed if the same already answered question is placed at several further places around …