R&Darktable - options and path forward and user point of view.

Just watched the rant video …

Removing the video as it contains very strong language. Thank you @paperdigits

I can see @anon41087856 is extremely passionate about the software.
While I had to selectively adjust my hearing at times (I am sorry - the language was a bit too strong for me at certain points - and I do understand the passion behind) I think there are a lot of good points in the video.

Specifically that a tool does not need to be complicated in order to be good and that with increased complexity the chances of mistakes increase (despite the good intentions)

If I am understanding correctly (please clarify if I am missing the point)

  • pixel pipe stays uniform (user can jump back and forth between projects)
  • old images can be processed (even if the module is deprecated).

I am hoping the two projects would be able to utilize the same DB.

My concern as a user

  • I am hoping this jump between the 2 projects would be preserved as much as possible. Even if they evolve in a parallel way.
  • Backward compatibility (re exporting older image) would be preserved.

For a few of us - Darktable is not only the processing tool but also a central place from organizational point of view.

At the end - the user base will make choices going in one direction or another. While the choice will be quite easy for some - others will likely test both until they figure out what works best for them.

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Even if the claim is database compatibility, I’d still use a separate or a copy of the database. Or else have excellent backups.


At this point unless you find the way that AP’s fork works within the Lightable far superior there is really no reason other than to follow the development of the project…for now the pipeline is the same and even AP’s says its not much faster…

If it truly starts to add new features not present in DT that may be another thing…for now at this early stage I don’t think its worth the bother other than checking in now and again to see what is up…

I posted a comment on FB to be prepared it is 18+ :slight_smile:

It harsh and I think it could all be articulated without such venom and still get the point across…

I wonder when AP sleep’s frankly and perhaps its one of those things where they say if you are going to send the msg or email that is heated …hit pause wait a bit and then do it… or maybe he just spent hundreds of hours on code and videos etc etc and then happened to read stuff like this…

Screenshot 2022-06-27 235957

So maybe it was harsh… won’t likely be the last time…

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There’s a reason why I left that group. Most people there don’t read the manual, and don’t search: they just ask. So, instead of getting answers immediately, they get them later, while also burning others’ time. Not mine, not for years now.


Not sure exactly what group you have in mind … sadly I’ve messed quite a bit not reading the manual (or missing parts of it is more accurate) :frowning: but at the same time I always appreciate the help…

For now I hope I have them :slight_smile: but surely I am not looking forward to need them. I guess it is going to be a bit of a learning experience in the future.

We seem to see that a lot unfortunately… “Think of the photographers”, “Think of the people who take a lot of pictures”, as if they are incapable of reading the manual, reading the blog posts, or watching the videos the developers have put out. If they want the experience of not having to do any of that, just use C1, LR or whatever else is out there. It keeps happening over and over again to an exhausting amount. The funniest thing is that in its current state, the workflow requires almost no knowledge what so ever, only 3 or 4 modules + diffuse or sharpen with the presets if you need it.


The Darktable (Unofficial) facebook group I assume.


I’m still in that group, but I tend to scroll past posts where the individual hasn’t put any effort into solving the problem (e.g. someone posting for the umpteenth time “How do I install darktable in Linux Mint”)

With regards to Darktable & R&Darktable, it’ll be interesting to see, long term, what happens with both these projects. Hopefully it’s not going to result in both failing to be developed.

Maybe it’s time for me to explore other linux photo editing tools…


I hope the focus shifts on vkdt. For the longest time I keep going back to Lightroom because of the paint brush masking even tho I love Darktable. I gave up using DT professionally for now. But to be honest I’ve became lazy, for most jobs lately I find myself just going to Lightroom and clicking the AUTO button and do some minor manual adjustments which usually involve brush masking.

I hope one day vkdt could once again ignite the passion for editing and grading in me. For now I mostly enjoy it in video with DaVinci Resolve.

The main thing I took from the video was that Aurelien seems extremely frustrated and burned out.

To some extent I can understand his frustrations, I have been in a similar situation myself, and have reacted in a similar way. In retrospect, however, my emotions and reactions were merely my soul screaming for me to take a break, and give it a rest. It did not feel that way at the time.

In the aftermath of that time, I also realized that I prefer to be a backend kind of guy. I like tinkering on the inner workings of things, the algorithms and the data structures. But I should leave UI work to others, as I lack the empathy to identify with other people’s workflows. I like to define things with technical arguments instead of emotions, but it’s sometimes hard to separate the two. It seems to me that Aurelien is caught in a similar conundrum.

My students are always flabbergasted when they see the pared-down non-color-highlighted Emacs I use for software development. I would not wish to inflict this idiomatic contraption on anyone else but it works for me. My Darktable is similarly customized to my particular way of working, and probably inscrutable to others.

That’s what I see in R&Darktable as well; a customized version of Darktable for Aurelien’s particular workflows. So long as it stays that way, we can all profit from it. His technical work has always been inspiring, and I hope he can keep it up without burning out completely. But I also hope that he can find the strength to take a break, and cool down a little. All the expletives and vitriol in his latest posts and videos do not speak of a mind at ease. I wish him the best.


Aside from his passion, to me the frustration stems from feeling like he has to do everything himself. Already not enough time in the day to get through a long to do list, and now he has to remove 25,000+ lines of code and maintain a fork on top of it.

In my opinion, the new gui changes for 4.0 are certainly prettier than before, and with multiple criteria selected is visually easier to understand than ‘collections’. But it is bad design to have 2 or 3 variations of the same thing in different places, with similar names, whilst at the same time losing the easy one click ‘recent collections.’ Not to mention multiple tooltips displaying for one tool. I like Aurelien’s ‘less is best’ approach.


Or that there’s frustration over a lack of an overall design approach where too many changes are accepted. I’ve always wondered how group FOSS are organized… who decides what features are ultimately accepted into a build and who operates as the gatekeeper to ensure design consistency and guard against bloat. I don’t mean that as a criticism to the team of developers, I’m just curious how the process works compared with the formal system engineering projects that I was associated with.


That certainly understandable. I think to a large extent that’s part of today’s culture where we expect everything to be self explanatory. Plus, a lot of companies aren’t putting a lot of effort into manuals and rely on user based forums to answer questions as part of their support strategy. But yes, its also because some people are lazy, too.


Some one needs to deal with and filter out the “just because we can, should we?” type stuff. In that human nature will kick in and I think the very nature of this and all projects is that they must eventually fracture or branch out to progress. You can agree to disagree here and there but at some point there always comes a time where the only path forward is a separate path. As long as it is done openly and with no malice I think its part of the process.

Half the companies out there are the result of someone needing to branch off to carry forward their idea or vision. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing in fact it can lead to new and better things.

I guess time will tell…


This is so true. Its install, open and start pushing buttons…this is the app mentality. My daughter is teaching in high school and they won’t use excel…they are so locked in to their phones this is the way you have to teach them with ipads/phones and apps… I guess you can argue is this a step forward or back. If it allows you to focus on the concepts/task rather than having to learn a whole software program to begin to implement the task and explore using it then maybe it is but I am old school, I think foundational learning and understanding things from the ground up is useful and important but it takes more time and “patience” :slight_smile: I think patience is extinct right??


Is this the kind of content we want to promote here? If Aurelian has posted this himself, would it be OK?


AP is of course keen on having a tool that supports his way of working as good as possible (- like the rest of us are), but I don’t read this to be the main mover for the rant and and his expletives.

He rightly addresses some fundamental aspects for all kind of development and design work, (also outside the technical realm):

  1. define the real problem, before starting to solve it – in particular before choosing or designing any tool,

  2. keep things as simple as possible.

Regarding 2., (which for me trigger memories from nearly 40 years ago of our professor’s gravest warnings in first hour of Programming 101 …) and according to “constancy of complexity principle”, this may sometimes mean that to make it simple for the user, we need some complex code behind the UI. But I understand that AP’s motivation for removing code, (although he apparently also complains about the quality of the code), is primarily that it makes the UI unnecessarily complex for the user - and I don’t think he is wrong in this respect.

As for 1., I recognize his deep frustration of being part of or receiving the result of processes where one has “jumped to the tool”. From experience i know it feels exhausting to know that we spend lots of resources on something that is likely to be suboptimal at best, very often unnecessary, and at worst even degrading the situation, when it could easily have been avoided.

As a new user of dt, I’m in much gratitude of all the work developers have done with dt over the years. My vote would have no weight in deciding dt’s further development. I can mainly only vote with my legs and decide where my donations shall go. For me it’s clear that if AP’s focusing on simplicity also extends to a simple way to get R&D installed on my Mint based computer, AP’s vision for further development will get my time and money.


I think this is why the Gnome “dictatorship” approach to their DE + libadwaita is something that sometimes is a necessary evil, even if I don’t fully agree with it. Sometimes a piece of software needs a single vision(Both for UX and for the initial architecture) be it a person or a team, behind it. Of course this is not to be unappreciative of the developers that took their time to improve(in their eyes) the UI of darktable, but when we have so many people each doing their own thing, it can end up like it did. In FOSS I think this is something that’s easier to apply in the backend due to being able to have a fixed architecture than in the frontend.