darktable user survey

I totally agree with all here saying that Apple has lost its touch. I have used many years Apple (computer, smartphone and tablet) and Apple has probably died with the lost of Steve Jobs. Probably 2 or 3 years after, some of the best things were always there but year after year Apple had choosed another path and progressively lost what’s had made Apple. I have changed to LInux in 2018 autumn and will not come back. Yes, sometimes, Linux has some things that doesn’t work (it also depends on the hardware and driver support) but have less problems with Linux than Mac or Windows. And think that Apple is now a really closed system. Apple create it’s own proprietary solutions now, most of the times just compatible with Apple ecosystem. That’s was not the case before (under Steve Jobs). The main example we use on darktable is OpenCL. Apple has decided in 2018 to progressively give up OpenCL, replaced by their proprietary solution Metal. And now, most of the softwares on their systems (computer, smartphone, tablet) need to be developed on their proprietary solution : Swift (I talk here for native softwares of course).

Adding on that, their prices are just now awesome. They were always quite expansive but since few years prices are each year more expensive. Just an example : I bought my actual Macbook Pro (where I use now Linux) 1450€ (should about 1400$ for non european people) in 2014 spring, so just about 6 years. To have an equivalent new Macbook pro now (so with just the lowest CPU but same amount of RAM and same disk, capacity and technology), it will now be about 500€ more. In just six years, about 1/3 more expensive.

The Apple Golden years are definitely ended. Only the quality of their materials seem to remains good. When I understand that Apple has really changed is when they make their first pubs for the new iPhone X some years ago (with first facial recognizition technology). The pubs talks about their new “amazing” feature : Animoji (so the possibility to move your head and have 3D animals faces that move like you). Just pathetic !

1 Like

Nobody thinks of Firefox as being at or with the top - it’s got next to no market share. It’s used by a vanishingly tiny number of users. Mainly developers. I use it on mobile as you can’t block ads on mobile with Chrome but like most other internet users I used Chrome elsewhere.
Some of this discussion here is about whether people can trust FOSS but outside of developers nobody knows or cares what that means. There are billions of Android users and I’d be surprised if more than 0.001% of them use it because it’s based on Linux. Likewise Apple users and FreeBSD. Only developers care, and a few people in the industry. Developers also seem to know nothing about marketing and advertising and think people use products and services based on merit alone. The best ones will rise to the top through some invisible hand. I don’t know why they think this as it’s practically never the case, but they do. darktable is probably loads better than the alternatives but I’m sure the latter have loads of people promoting them, advertising, discounting, finding influencers, developing contacts in magazines/sites/related industries etc. So darktable is never going to overtake that by work of mouth alone or being best. We should either be happy with that, or decide how much money and effort it would take to challenge it. But why? Seems like a waste of time. darktable is a tool which works well - why worry what other people are using?

That made me look:

I agree that quality alone will not greatly enlarge the dt user base.

The picture has only got worse for Firefox since those figures were released:

I wish it weren’t the case, but it is. Unlike darktable, a browser needs constant work to keep up with threats and standards, otherwise it just gets too risky to use or stops working with popular sites as no-one tests it (I’ve already found this with Firefox - Chrome seems to be becoming the new IE6 in that sense).

Agree with this…but the risk is dt is functioning (I believe, could be wrong) on the interest/good will of a few developers, and users supporting them through donations. If the goal is to have dt advance and keep up with the latest in post processing, longer term stability would be ideal. That means a development and financial plan. It seems the latest dt improvements and move to linear RGB work flow came primarily from Aurelien. It seems just as likely another person could have jumped in and taken it down a different path that may not be so successful. The more users that use the program, the more attention it gets and the higher likelihood that program development planning and financial resources can be more stable.


Not at all. If the core developer decides to stop working on darktable the installed applications keeps beeing useable and the code is remaining available and others can take over development activities …
Commercial software is a different thing: if the revenue isn’t paying the bill for development, sales and maintenance this software won’t be available any longer. There’re several examples for this. if you’re dependent on a license server: bad luck.

1 Like

Yes, sorry, I’ll clarify because I agree with what you are saying. My point was if a core developer leaves you either live with the working program you have, or if another developer comes along will that person continue to go in the right direction with the program? So for the program to advance, it needs both good developers engaged plus agreement on the direction/work to be done.

I do see lots of ideas on Github on suggestions to the program - and not all are good ones and could be problematic if implemented according to our current developers. Having a well laid out development strategy or road map can help in attracting both good code writers and new users.

I sorta agree :slight_smile: Now tell me what suggestions do you see as problematic and which are less problematic :slight_smile:

Having some experience in business, I also think that “cost-less = cheap” for many people. I have witnessed sales going up after increasing prices. People providing adult education will tell you the same : the same training program, when given “for free” (that is, paid by public subventions) or paid in full by a company or the trainees themselves, always gets a worse feedback when people don’t directly pay for it or are made aware of its full price.

The thing is, an intimidating and expensive software (Dassault Catia comes to mind) is an advanced work tool, while an intimidating and free software is an over-engineered piece of junk for amateur nerds. So if the perceived value is low, as a prejudice, then the whole UX might be just confirmation bias.

Not sure it that applies. Nobody uses OpenOffice as a hobby, it’s really not the same purpose as dt. I would rather look at Blender, for example.

Yeah, I totally agree with that. But to be a good designer, I need to understand who I am designing for, and what their problems are, while also avoiding the survivor bias (only considering the people still using it and not the one who gave it up).

Now we are talking, thanks for the tips.

To be completely honest, I don’t want to enlarge dt’s user base. Actually, more users only means more trouble. Opening dt to Windows was, if you ask me, a mistake that has been long delayed (the reason being we are really under-staffed on the Win front, no developer in his right mind wants to touch that OS, so the bugs trackers are filled with Win-centric peculiar issues).

darktable is not meant for anyone, and that’s fine. I just want to be sure that we are not driving users away for wrong reasons (that would be any reason not related to image processing, like lack of computer skills).


This is one of the crucial points - both program developers, and program users, needs to know…who are the clients? I came to dt feeling the program was trying to expand quite rigorously, and since dt had just moved to 2.6 and there was a Win&mac version, I assumed the program/developers wanted Win/mac users. That attracted me to the program. If then getting developers is too difficult, then the options are to figure out how to attract developers for those OSs, or say “we’re sorry, we just can’t support Win/OS…come back if you move to linux” and just focus on linux development.

I think dt rivals and beats many commercial products, and I think its potential to be a major player as a viable alternative is huge. So I’m interested in the potential problem how how to attract more developers/coders for Win/Mac OS…and hence the question of how to the more successful FOSS programs with active and developed Win/Mac OS support do it.

1 Like

darktable is a raw processing application for photographers who appreciate the mechanics of their craft.

It got ported because someone did the work. People have to keep doing the work.

1 Like

:grin: :+1: That would be a nice motto for advertising darktable!


I know that you know, but on this thread I want to make sure that this fact is not forgot: darktable is a digital asset management solution for images as well. There may be people for whom this part is more important than the editing. I personally am at the 50/50 edge.

1 Like

…and people who don’t want to use it as a DAM at all. Fortunately, it straddles that divide very well!

But my point being, as Aurelien stated, he may not want the user base to grow and may think porting to Win was a mistake…so should dt be a raw processing application for all photographers or for linux based photographers?

I’m just reading into this all that dt ported to Win was kind of based on luck, may or may not have been a good idea, creates all kinds of problems. I’m just raising this as I think its an important question to answer to help determine what dt should be in the future.

1 Like

But his opinion is only his opinion. He’s doing a lot of great work, but there are other who are currently working on darktable currently, and many more who have worked on darktable in the past. Aurelien’s opinion alone doesn’t lead us in any particular direction. If there are more windows developers that wan to help, welcome aboard! Same go for macOS.


I’m not sure you understood Aureliens comment in the right way. It’s not the user base darktable should focus on, its the quality of the processing thats in the centre of development.
Unfortunately widening the user base results in users expecting a service like a commercial vendor but witout needing to pay for it. Also they often request a focus on their individual needs - mostly make darktable work like their former favorite tool works (mostly lightroom because they want to have lightroom without paying for it - mostly windows users because lightroom is not that common on linux ;).
And “then you would be attractive for more users” seems to be the main argument for them.
But thats not how FOSS works …

1 Like

Managing expectations is at the core of commercial photography. Active communication can deal with all these expectations.

I see this as a problem too.

A feature list hierarchy of ‘what’s implemented next’ could help. Every Idea suggested by a user (feature request, usability, whatever) is put on the bottom of the list. The top of the list is populated by the things the devs are going to implement next. There could be an upvoting downvoting process…
At the moment it is not clear to me what is a coming feature and what is being prioritised, whether I am alone with my requests, or if many think alike.

This could help to manage expectations. And direct focus and energy to important tasks (whatever is deemed important by the system installed).

If you see a list of twenty features to be implemented before yours, you don’t feel unheard at least. Devs need to know ‘who’ they are developing ‘what’ for. This list could be a condensate of all the peoples whishes taking part in the process. Of course this will have survivor bias. Seeing an influx of windows users as a mistake also will have a survivor bias.


this is something I don’t get. Why don’t windows users wanting a gratis Lightroom just use Adobe Bridge? isn’t the raw developer the same? or are the DAM and other parts of Lightroom the more important ones for such users?

That’s the case for many people I know that are using lightroom. Having a tagged library with > 100000 images makes switching hard I guess.