I will also add the underlying reason for this criticism.
DT development seems to me pointing towards adding lots of features to what is an already impressive piece of software as it is, perhaps at the expense of consolidating the existing functionalities and making the whole experience a bit smoother and faster.
I like what is already available in DT, and I can see myself instructing friends that are still in the Mac/Adobe world how to replicate their Lightroom workflow with Darktable. But they would have to be much more patient, because the overall experience will not be as smooth.
Is it my impression that developers neglect this particular aspect, the user experience/interaction, to the advantage of adding more features?
Features like the latest “culling” view in Lighttable that maybe provides an alternative way of editing (in the sense of selecting) photos (but honestly I was already happy with the standard file-manager mode).
Or darkroom modules that can be very complex to use, sometimes providing overlapping functionalities with others (incidentally, I wish there could be a way to make a survey on all DT users and get statistics on each module’s usage to decide what are the most used ones. In this way perhaps the developer could focus their attention on making these modules better/faster).
I’ll go back to my brief experience opening Lightroom again after months; on a much slower computer LR seemed so much more refined and quicker in very simple actions (stuff like scrolling through a series of photos; adding metadata, stars, etc; quickly develop a photo modifiying exposure and tone curves, with changes visualized in real time).
As I said many times already, I have started to get accustomed to “my” workflow in Darktable to do exactly the same things as above; adding metadata and making an edit is a bit more cumbersome because for example I would need to generate previews externally with
darktable-generate-cache, and once I tag or add stars to a series of images I know that it is not super-responsive if I have say 30 photos selected. In darkroom, I can play with simple tuning of basic modules even if I have to be patient.
I mean, I can now do everything I used to do in LR but believe me the experience is not as fluid or fast as it could (or should) be, considering the type of machine I’m working on.
Is this perhaps a reflection of the typical user base of DT? Perhaps more hobbysts than “professional”? More nerdy-photographers than real-life-photographers that enjoy more the technical aspect of getting the absolute best out of a single image rather than building coherent edits without extensive processing?
I hope that the developers and other enthusiasts giving their free time to DT will not take offence at my words; I say these things because I love DT and I just wish it could be even better than what already is. Again, I can see the struggle I would have to convince friends to switch over from LR if I’m not able to show them a basic experience on par with LR; most of them will not care one bit if the denoising algorithm is better or if I can do crazy things in processing; they will just see DT as a slower, more cumbersome way to do photo edits.