The problem with no releases....

While perusing photo forums, I often see the question “which raw converter should I use?” I always want to recommend RawTherapee, as it’s FOSS, but there hasn’t been a release for over two years. That means there’s no support for newer cameras unless you want to build it. I can’t even recommend a nightly build because the links in the documentation are all broken.

2 Likes

What do you propose? Something concrete please. Thanks.

Let’s start with this. Please share the offending links.

Indeed, a release is long overdue, this is known. But as the number of developers and (release) maintainers is practically zero, what is there to do?

However, RawPedia should generally work. Please report any broken pages and links. Either on GitHub, or you may DM me.

3 Likes

Which is the consequence of zero progress. Who wants to contribute if the work is never released? Kind of vicious circle…

One cannot basically retire as the owner of the GitHub repository without passing on the responsibility and giving full access to the one (Roel) stepping forward. That’s how you put the project to sleep.

6 Likes

I think clarifying the situation with people involved could help. According to the github issue there’s work being done on the release. If for some reason the persons involved don’t have the time or motivation to do it after all they should say it clearly so that other people can take-over. There’s also several people that are willing to help, so any kind of concrete instructions about what needs to be done would be helpful.

3 Likes

I agree with @Thanatomanic and although I’m not a developer I certainly see the logic in what @floessie says.

At the moment it is even worse then before, to be honest. We used to have a rolling release (sort of), but as of December 2021 there’s basically a freeze going on because work started (again) to get a new release out. Problem is that nothing seems to be happening at all atm. I’m a bit at a loss why that is the case.

Just to clarify: A rolling release isn’t ideal at all, but developers being able to fix stuff, and work on new/better functionality with the knowledge that it can be merged into the development tree is a lot better than a complete stand still.

5 Likes

As a user of RT I have such admiration for what the developers have done to date, and I am still firmly of the opinion that, all things considered, RT is the single best raw editor in existence currently. So to all the devs, past and present, a ‘thank you’ doesn’t really even begin to cover it, especially when you take into account they all work at the job for free.

How many RT users, and would-be users, would do that? Not many, and I know I certainly wouldn’t, even if I was both capable and had a million pounds in the bank - my mentality would not allow me to accommodate the FREE concept!

However, I too am beginning to get really frustrated over this overdue public release, but at the same time I fully understand why this delay exists.

As with any product release bottle-neck, the problem is, to a great degree, one of manpower (please forgive my old and befuddled brain is the term sounds sexist or politically incorrect).
Not enough hours in the day?
Where do I start?
Who is doing what?
Is anyone doing anything?
Seriously, I can really see some problems for what’s left of the dev team, and it certainly begs the question in my mind “why is the dev team currently so small?”
Please, some one tell me where they’ve gone - ART? Darktable? Afterall, the latter seems to have no problem with dev team members which I find highly frustrating because Darktable is REALLY hard to get your head around - I’ve tried and failed countless times; even watching Uncle Bruce’s videos hasn’t helped at all!

I want Raw Therapee to continue to grow, and I can tell you that there are A LOT of people around the world who comment on my YouTube RT videos who feel exactly the same as me.

So to that end, and considering the unenviable workload that exists for what’s left of the dev team, I think it might be a good idea for now to create TWO STICKY POSTS at the top of the forum page:

  1. Contains clickable links to direct downloads - not some list on GitHub - of current dev builds for the various platforms. This would be a massive help to all users.

  2. Devs - “a problem shared is a problem halved”! Use plain English, as best you can, to explain each and every problem that you lovely folk have - you might be surprised at how helpful this could turn out to be - it’s got to be worth a try.

And before anyone says anything like “we do that on GitHub already” let me tell you something. I get messages and emails ever other day from users and would-be users from all around the world who basically can NOT, or at least find it difficult to understand, GitHub! And the frustrating thing for me is that I’m in the same boat as them!

This RT forum on the other hand is so simple and straight forward even a pleb like me can find their way around :crazy_face:

I am not the only one who wants to help here, in any small way I can, so maybe, if we all try and ‘club together’ we can make 5.9 public release happen.

Those are my immediate thoughts - I hope they make a little bit of sense at least.

17 Likes

I would like to echo Andy’s thoughts here. RT is hands down the best RAW file editor that I’ve used. Version 5.8 works great for my purposes, even with a camera released afterward. I hate to think about it becoming unusable d/t unresolved compatibility issues in the future, though. After that, I suppose I’ll have to pick up DT, but only after kicking and screaming and throwing a fit over it. Speaking of which, is this a function of the market not being able to bear the load of two high-power FOSS RAW editors at the same time? Maybe there’s just not enough dev power to go around?

So, I’m not a developer, but let me know what I can do to support those who do the heavy lifting on this project. Beyond the proselytizing that I’m already doing, of course.

4 Likes

Alberto made some nice contributions before forking into ART, but I believe that was his intention all along. I don’t think he has taken any other devs with him, its basically a one man show for ART.

I don’t think any devs have jumped ship from RT to darktable. At least one person here has done the opposite, gone from darktable to RT.

I think the issue is that @Morgan_Hardwood has the keys to the kingdom, so to speak, and he has been focusing on other things. It would be nice to get those “keys” to others that are still here, such as @Thanatomanic and @heckflosse, if they were willing to accept such things.

11 Likes

I broached the subject in the last 2-3 live meetings. In my opinion, even though people can access dev and so forth, as @Andy_Astbury1 says, it affects normal people and I would add the greater community when regular (i.e., doesn’t have to be frequent, just predictable) releases aren’t being made.

Stagnation would definitely turn away those who are raw processor curious and visiting the website for the downloads or information. At some point, everyone from the F/LOSS community started from that vantage point. It would be disappointing to deter would-be F/LOSSers.

1 Like

A sticky post would be great yes, when I want to recommend RT to someone I always struggle to find the dev build links.

2 Likes

@jonathanBieler / @Andy_Astbury1


Direct links to development installer/appimage:

Link to site providing the above direct links:


The first 2, Linux and Windows, are generic names linked to the latest development version, so those are always up-to-date. The 2 macOS links are to a specific developer versions (3065 in this case). I’m not at all familiar with macOS, so I do not know why there’s one for 10 and one for 11…

Maybe bookmark this post so it is easy to find later on…

4 Likes

As one of the remaining developers, I think I have something to say about this too :slight_smile: Sorry for the long post in advance…

About the overdue release and current state of affairs: it is a difficult matter, but imho it’s all about (lack of) transparent communication and having single points of failure.

The following is in a similar vein as @floessie’s earlier comment.

Beep6581/Morgan showed he was a dedicated and active developer/maintainer up to the release of 5.8 in February 2020. Regardless of the reason (not COVID), his contributions became significantly lower shortly after that. At some point it became apparent that it was mostly talk and no action. Team members were not given a reason for the sudden change in activity. Neither was there any form of knowledge transfer to ensure the continuity of the project. I fail to understand why he didn’t, I certainly don’t like that he didn’t, because it effectively put the project in its current limbo state.

Other members of the team simply have no experience with certain tasks, for example preparing a release (I still don’t know exactly what it means that the default translation file needs to be ‘revised’). And unfortunately, I still don’t have enough time to invest to figure things out (e.g. I have no clue how package distribution works for Linux), and I am simply afraid of botching things up. So, we’re stuck here until somebody with enough knowledge, skill and time saves us. :pray: :man_shrugging:

A few specific comments:

To my understanding, the development team of RT has never been really big anyway. 4 or 5 people at most. We did lose some very active developers three-four years ago, but the team has also seen new people contributing code (@rom9, @Lawrence37, @Pandagrapher for example).
What I will say about this, is that I think it is difficult to get familiar with the code, making it quite a challenge to start contributing quickly. There is a lot of… let’s call it “unpleasant” code and dated coding practices. The only way to improve this, is by a lot of refactoring, which is not most people’s favorite job.

I have heard you say this before, but do you have an idea where the idea comes from that common users need to understand GitHub? Sure, we track our issues there and it does save me a lot of time if somebody submits their issues there directly, but I am equally happy to copy reports over from here if that’s more convenient for them. I mean, this is our official support forum after all…
And if it’s about downloading nightly builds, I would say this page is now pretty clear Release Automated Builds · Beep6581/RawTherapee · GitHub Perhaps I would even go so far to argue that anyone who cannot figure out which file they need, shouldn’t be wanting to play with a nightly build anyway…

Really? I didn’t know… who are you talking about?

Until recently it was more difficult, but now it’s not hard at all:

  1. Go to our official website www.rawtherapee.com
  2. Click the ‘Downloads’ button in the header
  3. Read the text " For instructions how to build from source or how to obtain nightly builds, check RawPedia’s Download page." and click the link.
  4. This article on our wiki has up to date links to nightly builds.

Or just link the RawPedia article directly of course :wink:

I see the merit of direct links and at the moment this would even be feasible, because the naming scheme of the nightly builds has changed. They are generic names without a date or build number or anything. But there are downsides to that and we may change it again at some point. However, if we do, we would need to manually update the links in the forum thread every day. That’s just extremely impractical…

7 Likes

@Entropy512

Yup. I admit, I haven’t contributed that much, partly because for the most part, RT does meet my needs as-is. But I do have some stuff on my list of things that I really feel should be tweaked and I do plan on revisiting them. I know when I made some scrolling fixes, I promised to do a more thorough dig-in/cleanup “soon” - well that was something like three years ago. In my case, COVID has, in general, led to me being pretty demotivated in all things photography. One of the big things I’ve always used my camera for is live music events, and that kinda died or was very toned down for a while. That reminds me, I still need to take a tungsten ColorChecker shot so that a DCP profile can be generated for the A7M4. I have literally procrastinated for two months on that one…

For me, while I never directly was impacted by COVID (I have some evidence that makes me think I had an asymptomatic exposure pre-vaccination, and a possible breakthrough around New Years, but nothing severe), seeing society’s reaction to it in my country has led to a great loss of faith in humanity and I’ve been really demotivated the past year. Hopefully as things calm down again I’ll have more motivation in the future to resume contribution. :slight_smile: I suspect that for others, even if COVID was never a primary reason, it was probably a contributing factor in some way. (In the case of Mr. Hardwood, I would expect that COVID’s supply chain impacts would be problematic for a house remodel, despite the May 2020 claim that COVID was not a factor, that was nearly two years ago…). On top of all that, some staffing changes at work led to me picking up a lot of slack for people that NOPEd out last fall, and it’s finally starting to calm down again. In theory… We’re now cancelling a bunch of staffing reqs because we can’t produce enough product to keep up with demand thanks to supply chain problems. The COVID gift keeps on giving, even indirectly!

I also suspect that while COVID may not be a primary factor for many of the absences, it may be a secondary aggrivating factor. As mentioned above - if one does a lot of travel or concert photography, the reduction in travel and concerts leads to less use of your postprocessing tools!

@Morgan_Hardwood has mentioned home remodel as a contributing factor ( see Roadmap for v5.9 · Issue #5632 · Beep6581/RawTherapee · GitHub and Roadmap for v5.9 · Issue #5632 · Beep6581/RawTherapee · GitHub ), but having some sort of status update on that including giving others (like @Thanatomanic or @heckflosse ) permission to take the reins for a release would be nice.

I do plan to continue contributing in the future though.

1 Like

That looks great yeah, I think making a sticky post with this would help a lot. It’s already buried in the comments.

I’ll create a new topic with the above mentioned info and ask @paperdigits if he can sticky that one for the time being.

EDIT: Done

4 Likes

Hello to all

I have already expressed myself on this subject about a year ago…but nothing is changing, it’s more than desperate.

I’m getting older (I’m going to 75) and my health is very degraded (that’s an understatement). I hope of course that my health will improve and that RT which is a very nice product will find the place it deserves.

Comparisons have been made with Darktable, the results are at least as good, with (often?) simpler solutions, and without making false cognitive inferences (especially on Lab when used with real ones)

As I’ve already said several times I’m not a computer scientist at all, so for me, Github, the compilation guidelines are a bit Chinese, and I work like a monkey - copying what works elsewhere

Thanks to @floessie @Thanatomanic @heckflosse @Pandagrapher @Lawrence37 who give me advice and correct my mistakes,

Thanks to @Wayne_Sutton @Jade_NL @XavAL, thanks also to @Andy_Astbury1 and sometimes ago to @sguyader, and all the people I forget who helped to make this beautiful product

This situation is dramatic, we are in the mercy of someone who seems to ignore the issues, the people in the team, the users, the reputation of RT, etc.

But if I can contribute something, I will.

Thank you again

Jacques

22 Likes

I’ll use RT as long as I’m able to do so. If active development slows down, though, it might be that updates won’t be able to keep up with compatibility issues that will inevitably pop up as time goes on. In the mean time, I should probably keep up with DarkTable releases and be prepared to use that at some point in the future. I really prefer the layout and features of RT, though. It just works for me.

Hello Rick, have a look at Art as well, the interface looks a lot like RawTherapee.

1 Like