Hi @dellaaa, as one of the people actively contributing to RT (not much through code, but through support and GitHub ‘triage’), I think I am qualified to comment.
@Jade_NL hits most nails on the head. I see RT developers as a rag-tag bunch of enthusiasts. We operate mostly independently without a clear organizational structure and without clear aims for the future. There is really no plan (that I know of), there are only unwritten rules of conduct on GitHub, our primary platform for development and discussion. There is some sort of democracy when it comes to what is and isn’t added to RT, but, unless I am stepping on toes now, there is no one really ‘in charge’ except for maybe @Morgan_Hardwood who owns the repo, who has so far called the shots for new releases, and who is probably the maintainer of the official website (I’m not even sure!) and surely does some other stuff.
There is only a handful of other active developers and contributors. It’s Ingo @heckflosse and Jacques @jdc who are responsible for the vast majority of commits in the recent year. Ingo focusses mostly on improvements (codebase, performance), but throws in a new feature once in a while. The Local adjustments toolbox and other algorithmically heavy tools are the brain child of Jacques. He has had a lot of help from @Pandagrapher and @Wayne_Sutton along the way.
Then there’s @Floessie who applies their excellent knowledge of modern C++ for critical reviews. And there’s me, concerned with little things such as camera support, triaging issues on GitHub and trying to manage expectations, keeping the userbase happy and informed. Finally we have incidental (or potentially upcoming regular!) contributions of people like @rom9 (film negative module), @Lawrence37 (perspective correction) and an excellent bunch of other contributors who may not be interested to fully commit to the cause (whatever that may mean…), but still like to add something of their own.
Where does that lead us? I have no clue. Do I care? Well, certainly. If I could, I would not hesitate and spend more time on development, fleshing out the good into something even better. I would not be afraid to try and pick up a more ‘project management’ role to see where that gets us. But real life gets in the way, as is the case for many of us; active, continuous involvement in such a project is hard.
You might argue that RawTherapee is starting to get out of touch with its competitors, that it might be getting dated, that development has stalled. I would probably agree with you. Then again, as a project without clear goals and without any real concern for market share, what is there to lose? The project is what people bring to it. Could it be something else? Certainly. Can I change it? No, not at the moment. Can anybody else change it? Sure, come on board and we’ll have talk. Collaboration remains key.