Darktable development version as daily driver?

I recently converted from long-time lurker to subscribed forum member, so: hello everyone!

I’ve been using darktable since about version 2.7. Lately I was wondering if I might switch from version 4.4.2 to the current development version, in order to have access to the latest and greatest improvements. As I understand it, the development version is not downwards compatible when it comes to DB schema and XMP sidecars. In other words, reverting back to stable (or sometimes even to a previous commit?) in case of problems would be a pain. Is this correct? Are any of you using the development version exclusively? I would be glad if you would share your experiences: Are you using nightlies or the latest master branch? How often do you upgrade? Is it stable enough for you? Is it worth it for you?

Thanks, and best regards!



Any given commit during development is not even guaranteed to be upwards compatible…


Hi and welcome :slight_smile:

FWIW I’m on Linux (mint) and I’m using the OBS snapshots.
I have been using the master branch for a few years as I recall. I haven’t had any problems that I can remember.


More or less, Yes. But I always keep backups to make sure I can switch back to the last stable version (of course by loosing latest edits).

Self building from source.

Usually every two to three days. And of course when interesting new features were added or nasty bugs were fixed.

Mostly yes.

I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t for this. And a very decisive point: only if as many users as possible test “master”, errors can be detected early.


Welcome to the forum!
I used to do this, on windows, mostly using weekly builds provided my @wpferguson (thanks) back around the dt 4.1 era I think, and did occasionally have an issue. I was mostly able to keep going though by reverting back a build or two, until whatever issue was sorted, then I could get up to date again. Worked fine.

I’m not doing that now though, because although I’d like to provide user testing I’m finding myself a bit short on time to keep track of releases and any issues, and for me the photography comes first… :face_with_diagonal_mouth:

I do occasionally install a recent build though, to try a new feature or whatever, but run it with -configdir, -tempdir and cachedir to keep everything separate from my main system

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Its relatively easy to run a stable release and the latest master at the same time for the purpose of testing…

You can turn off xmp writing for the test version so that your previous edits don’t get corrupted…

Thats another way to work once you test and are happy you can adopt that version.


Looks like a switch seems to be manageable, so I’ll give it a try. Thanks for your input!

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Hi and welcome!

I currently use the nightly (4.5.0).
I upgrade and build it every week from the master branch (I’m on Mac M1).
So for no issues, stable.

Same for another PC with Debian Sid (but sometimes I have crash).

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Since stable version was released with bug in color management, even tho bugfix was already available. I don’t see point to use “stable version” since then.

Which bug/fix are you referring to?