is RT dead or alive or in vegetative state ? [solved - it's alive!]

Hi all,

I am thinking a bit where to push my photography experience … I started looking further into postprocessing software because I am using for many years just RT … But seems that the project is more dead than alive, at least compared to vivid buzz in Darktable (DT) waters …

I was trying DT out … it was very interesting (however at first glance I didn’t like that `scene referred’ workflow … I especially liked that DT is using a GPU whilst RT/ART not (and seems it will never do).

My question is simple - is there any remaining life in RT project ? Last official release is from Nov 2022 …

I am struggling a bit with my software choice … I am just a Linux guy, I refuse to use proprietary software, I just require oss license, it’s my philosophy … After years with photography I now understand much better that simplicity is a key so I don’t require too many complicated tools and a huge part of my workflow is in GIMP.

thanks for support and regards, ~dan

Hi. If you go to the RT category at this forum, you’ll see a thread called ‘News about Rawtherapee development’ near the top which covers this.

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As @DavidOliver mentioned:


thank you for your input … my dearest apologize, there is only one thing that bothers me a lot and it is that RT is not employing GPU for processing certain tasks so it’s very slow with certain tasks … Is there any plan that this will change in the future ?? thank you

Hello @sigsegv111

You can take a look at the, daily basis, development here:

As regards the GPU future development I suppose it will take a looong time before it will be available.
This being stated, I am NOT a developer and I will be very happy to be proven wrong :slight_smile:

Currently both darktable and vdkt support GPU processing as regards the open source RAWs processors often discussed on this forum.

I think RT should not be developed in the GPU direction so it can be a good raw developer on power saving systems without a GPU. If you want a raw developer that uses the gpu, usw darktable or vkdt.
I mean RT is much faster on systems without or with a weak gpu than darktable. That’s a good thing.


a lot of people seem to make quite a lot of this, but at this point I can’t even remember the practical differences between this and the old way - apart from the fact that some of the old modules like shadows and highlights just weren’t very good.

So does ART, and RT does something very similar, too:

For me, it has been a liberating experience: at least with darktable’s early process, applying the base-curve near the start of the pipeline, I always struggled with blown highlights.

If you are referring to darktable’s interface, and sometimes very complicated modules, then yes, it takes some getting used to; but some of RT’s modules are not ‘intuitive’, either (at least, not to me). And you can also use darktable in display-referred mode, it’s an option in the preferences.

I’m happy to see RT being actively developed, and also find ART’s pace of development absolutely stunning.

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You can use any workflow you want in dt.

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I’m happy to see RT being actively developed, and also find ART’s pace of development absolutely stunning.

Yep. Alberto is doing a great job indeed:

This is beneficial for RawTherapee, in the long run, as well…

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thanks to everybody for an input … I said that I didn’t like that scene-referred workflow at first glance … nothing less and nothing more and I realize and admit myself that the main reason here is my lack of experience with it … I have absolutely no problem with DT’s interface …

The trouble is, you could have found out about this by searching the forums; we had discussions about this exact topic just a few days ago. You now know that RT is OK, but search engines will have one more topic about the ‘pending demise of RT’; the darn AIs will incorporate it in their text generation database; and casual users, who just pop in to the forum to ‘check out this FOSS hippie stuff’ will have one more reason to believe it’s dead.
Of course I’m not saying you’re the single person responsible for the false perceptions surrounding RawTherapee, but each similar thread makes the situation just a tiny bit worse.

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On my PC ( RTX 2070 & Ryzen 5) I don’t see much difference between RT and DT in terms of speed, and I wonder if as CPUs becomes more GPU-like (more cores, more SIMD, …) the difference will tend to decrease over time.

I am not really answering your question, but forget the terminology and hype about scene referred and just enjoy what DT can do to your images. I am not being critical of RT or ART (which seems a very active fork of RT). But I love DT and I rarely use filmic’s scene referred approach. Instead I use Sigmoid which is easier to use and yes it is scene referred but that is just a term in my humble view.

GPUs have hundreds of cores, CPUs have a dozen or two at most.
However, darktable’s algorithms are often more resource-intensive, so they benefit from GPU acceleration. RT and ART can deliver results sometimes rivalling, sometimes surpassing darktable - I really think it depends on the person using the tool, rather than on the tool.