Darktable on iMac 2017



Hello everyone,
I am considering buying a iMac 2017 27" to get more real estate for post-processing. I am a darktable newbie, going through the Riley Brandt course and liking it. I currently use a Linux laptop (Asus UX32VD with Nvidia GT 620M) and when I try to use masks or after I apply denoising the editing gets very slow (“waiting…” displayed for 3-4 seconds when I move the image around or when I apply new modules).

My question is: has anyone tried darktable on the iMac 2017? Is it able to use the GPU (on mac OS)?


(David Heintz) #2


I have a fully loaded iMac 2017 and have no problem running the latest Mac version of darktable on it. In fact, I rather enjoyed it.

That said, and at the risk of reaquiring the disdain of management here, I would not encourage you to spend much time with darktable on the Mac. It seems to be only sporadically supported on that platform. I have waited weeks for a Mac .dmg of the latest release; perhaps there will be one this weekend, which is why I have checked back here.

To put it in perspective, and unless I am way off, compiling a .dmg by someone who has done it in the past and is set up to do so, is a fairly trivial task, requiring little time. Yet, weeks pass since introduction on other platforms. Not the kind of commitment to my platform of choice that would justify serious involvement.

It is unfortunate because there is much development with darktable itself, and the folks here are very nice, if not Mac oriented. I check back time to time as a curiosity, but my workflow remains FastRawViewer and Photoshop…

(Christian Kanzian) #3

Just came via mail. parafin made the dmg for you


(David Heintz) #4

Wow! Call me impressed!

I will work with it over the next few days and report back here. Its about time I took the D5 out for some post-snow shooting.

Thanks for the heads up!

(Roman Lebedev) #5

If it is Nikon D5, do note that we are missing the full sample set for that camera.
It would be really great if you could contribute. See Raw Samples Wanted for details, or ask :slight_smile:

(David Heintz) #6

I will check that and contribute. Also for my D850.


I have no issue with people not liking particular aspects of darktable, FLOSS software or whatever, but I particularly do not understand your rant here for several reasons:

  1. The reason for not having a dmg package was clearly and transparently communicated by the developers. Especially, I usually wait a couple of weeks before I replace my productive darktable installation with a new version, testing is always done in a sandbox. I don’t see an issue in having to wait 4 weeks until a package is released for a particular platform, if it is urgent, there’s the source code and documentation available, and the folks on darktable IRC are always friendly and happy to help (my experience).
  2. The only reason for an urgent update I could understand is new camera support. However, how transparent are companies such as adobe about their release timing and new camera support? From my experience they are way more intransparent and much harder to rely on. A non-cloud license lightroom update for the new camera, anyone?
  3. As has been told, and if I understand it correct, compiling a releasable dmg is not that easy and requires at least apple hardware and probably a costly contract with that company to be able to sign the package. Not very FLOSS friendly, so I can understand that support for such a platform is not too high on the priority list of a FLOSS developer community.

Your decision for or against darktable is not important for me, but I dislike the “sound” of your posting that imputes the developers with responsibility that simply is not there. And, this never has and never will be how FLOSS software works.


That’s the right spirit, are you the same David_Heintz or did I misinterpret your post by that degree? Or are people simply more complex than I can imagine? :slight_smile:

(Roman Lebedev) #9

No, for that we have the full set.
For D5, the same (8) count of samples is needed though, according to the PDF usermanual.

(David Heintz) #10

I am he, and you are perhaps misinterpreting me. The OP asked how DT performed on the Mac. I responded, and reiterated my feelings about commitment to the Macintosh platform. Don’t read anything else into it - certainly not a rant.

I wasn’t talking about the urgent need for an update. I own (paid for by me) virtually every piece of raw processing software out there, Mac and PC, but I do most of my work on the Mac. Have been an Adobe beta tester for over 20 years, Phase One for 10 years, etc. Some experience in the flow of software updates.

I was referring to the gap between the other platforms and the Mac version. I fail to appreciate the cost issue for Mac equipment. In the short period of time this issue has emerged, at least two people have volunteered to compile the thing, and I hereby volunteer as well, if someone were to walk me through it. Are we saying there are only three Mac users out there?

I did go over the process, and I certainly do not believe it to be Rocket Science, time consuming, or even that difficult. The setup is involved, and requires messing around with terminal and hidden files, etc. which I don’t like doing if not needed. But, again, not that difficult.

So, my issue has been the gap between Mac and the other platforms in this release. Perhaps this is simply just not a Mac friendly community, or a Mac biased community. If so, and as I so advised the OP, it is something to be aware of before investing time on your Mac platform…

(David Heintz) #11

You will have what you need for the Nikon D5 from me by the end of the coming week. I am going through my annual new year file setup, so can’t get it sooner…

(Roman Lebedev) #12

Sounds great, no rush :slight_smile:
If you do have any questions about what samples are needed, do ask.

(David Heintz) #13

So, what you want are shots taken with the following settings:

small NEF
medium NEF

Just one lens, no particular subject - say, outside shot of my house and our lake in good sunlight at f5.6 and iso 100? Nikon 28mm 1.4E?

If so, I can give you the D3s as well, as I also have that most wonderful camera.

(Roman Lebedev) #14

Yep, sounds wonderful!
Note the bit about about the samples having the same static content, so tripod is highly recommended.

We have no samples at all for D3s, so it would be great :slight_smile:
There, you will only have 6 samples, no small/medium RAW.

(David Heintz) #15

Ok again. Some of these will be large files. Have not read through the instructions, but is this an ftp or can you take large email attachments?

(Roman Lebedev) #16

Just upload them through the official form on https://raw.pixls.us/, it will just work.

(Mica) #17

Volunteering is a great idea. My advise, now that a DMG has been released, would be to try and start building it now. Start by getting the environment and tooling in place, and slowly working though the build process.


Hey David, thanks for the reply! Can you confirm it is using the GPU properly?


(Christian Kanzian) #19

Platform? What platforms? There is not just one Linux out there. You have tons of distributions bundeling packages. I’m using Debian Stretch which is the current stable release of Debian and there is no official darktable 2.4.0 package out there until now. I guess it well arive at some point in the future in the so called backports.

For me there exists a clear distinction between releases of source code and packages, because I’m using Linux distributions since a while. This is for users of other platforms maybe not obivous. Well, I compile darktable myself so I don’t have to wait. This enables me to follow the development like a sheep :sheep: and to blat like it :scream: if there goes something wrong even it is my fault. So at least I try to report bugs :beetle:.

(Roman Lebedev) #20

Yep, some day through backports. Or there is these unofficial release packages, for debian too.