Steps to Install Darktable on Ubuntu [4 Methods]


Written by - Deepak Prasad

In this tutorial, we'll guide you through step by step instructions to install Darktable on Ubuntu, a powerful photo editing tool. We'll cover different methods including APT, PPA, and Flatpak, launching the program, and some basic tips for new users.

Darktable is a free and open-source software that stands as a compelling alternative to Adobe Lightroom, especially for those working with RAW images. It offers a comprehensive suite of photo editing tools geared towards non-destructive editing of RAW photo files. Darktable's capabilities extend from basic adjustments like exposure and contrast to advanced color correction, retouching, and batch processing. Its user-friendly interface and wide range of functionalities make it a popular choice among photographers and digital artists who prefer a cost-effective yet powerful solution for their photo editing needs. This tool is particularly lauded for its robust handling of RAW files, giving users precise control over the editing process from start to finish.

 

1. Installing Darktable via Ubuntu's APT Package Manager

Installing Darktable via Ubuntu's APT Package Manager involves a few simple steps. Here's a detailed guide to help you through the process:

 

1.1 Update your system

Before installing new software, it's a good practice to update your system’s package list to ensure you get the latest available versions. Open your terminal and execute the following command:

sudo apt update

 

1.2 Install Darktable

Now, install Darktable using the APT package manager by executing the following command:

sudo apt install darktable

This command will download and install Darktable along with any required dependencies.

 

1.3 Verify Installation

After the installation is complete, you can verify it by checking the installed version of Darktable. Type the following command in the terminal:

darktable --version

This command will display the version of Darktable that has been installed on your system.

Steps to Install Darktable on Ubuntu [4 Methods]

 

1.4 Launch Darktable

You can start Darktable in several ways:

  • From the Terminal: Simply type darktable and press Enter.
  • Using the GUI: Look for Darktable in your applications menu and click on it to launch.
Steps to Install Darktable on Ubuntu [4 Methods]

 

1.5 Uninstall Darktable (Optional)

Now to remove the darktable we have installed using the apt package manager we can use the command:

sudo apt purge --autoremove -y darktable
  • purge: This option removes the package along with its configuration files.
  • --autoremove: This option automatically removes any package dependencies that were installed with the package and are no longer needed by other packages.

 

2. Installing Darktable via PPA (Personal Package Archive):

Installing Darktable on Ubuntu using a PPA (Personal Package Archive) allows you to get the latest version that might not be available in the official Ubuntu repositories. Here’s a step-by-step guide to doing this:

 

2.1 Add the PPA

First, you need to add the PPA to your system. This PPA is maintained by the Ubuntu Handbook team and typically has the latest version of Darktable.

Open your terminal and run:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/darktable

This command adds the PPA to your system's software sources.

 

2.2 Update Package List

After adding the PPA, update your package list to include the new software sources:

sudo apt update

This command updates the local package database with the latest changes made in the repositories.

 

2.3 Install Darktable

Now you can install Darktable using the following command:

sudo apt install darktable

This will install the latest version of Darktable available in the PPA.

 

2.4 Verify Installation

To confirm that Darktable has been installed correctly, you can check its version:

darktable --version
Steps to Install Darktable on Ubuntu [4 Methods]

 

2.5 Launch Darktable

You can start Darktable either from the terminal:

darktable

Or by finding it in your system's application menu and clicking on its icon.

 

2.6 Uninstall Darktable (Optional)

If you wish to uninstall Darktable installed via this PPA, you can use:

sudo apt remove darktable

To remove the PPA from your software sources, use:

sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/darktable

After removing the package, you might want to remove unused dependencies that were installed with the package but are no longer required by any other installed packages. Use:

sudo apt autoremove

 

3. Installing Darktable using Flatpak and Flathub Repository

Installing Darktable using Flatpak and the Flathub repository is an alternative method that offers cross-distribution compatibility and sandboxed applications. Here's a detailed step-by-step guide to install Darktable via Flatpak:

 

3.1 Install Flatpak

If Flatpak is not already installed on your Ubuntu system, you need to install it first. Open your terminal and run the following command:

sudo apt install flatpak -y

This command installs Flatpak on your system.

 

3.2 Enable the Flathub Repository

Flathub is a major repository for Flatpak applications. To add the Flathub repository, use this command:

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

This command configures Flatpak to use the Flathub repository.

 

3.3 Install Darktable via Flatpak

Now, you can install Darktable from Flathub using Flatpak. Execute the following command:

sudo flatpak install flathub org.darktable.Darktable

This will download and install Darktable from Flathub.

Steps to Install Darktable on Ubuntu [4 Methods]
NOTE:
To update Darktable installed via Flatpak, run flatpak update.

 

3.4 Run Darktable

After the installation is complete, you can run Darktable using Flatpak. The command is:

flatpak run org.darktable.Darktable

Alternatively, you can find Darktable in your system's application menu and launch it from there.

Steps to Install Darktable on Ubuntu [4 Methods]

 

3.5 Uninstall Darktable (Optional)

If you need to uninstall Darktable installed through Flatpak, use the command

sudo flatpak uninstall org.darktable.Darktable
Steps to Install Darktable on Ubuntu [4 Methods]

 

4. Installing Darktable using Snap

Installing Darktable using Snap is a straightforward process on Ubuntu, as Snap is natively supported.

 

4.1 Update your system

Ubuntu comes with Snap pre-installed. If it's not available for any reason, you can install it using the following command:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install snapd

 

4.2 Install Darktable

To install Darktable via Snap, run the following command:

sudo snap install darktable

 

4.3 Update PATH variable

It is possible darktable is installed at a location which is not in your PATH variable, in such case you may get -bash: /usr/bin/darktable: No such file or directory. To get the new path of darktable we can use which command:

$ which darktable
/snap/bin/darktable

So to be able to use darktable, we have to add /snap/bin to PATH variable:

export PATH=$PATH:/snap/bin

But this will update PATH variable only for current session, to make this persistent we need to update the PATH in profile files. Where to set environment variables in Linux?

We will update PATH variable inside ~/.bashrc:

export PATH="$PATH:/snap/bin" >> ~/.bashrc

Next source the file to update the changes

source ~/.bashrc

 

4.4 Verify Installation

After the installation is complete, you can verify it by checking the installed version of Darktable. Type the following command in the terminal:

darktable --version
Steps to Install Darktable on Ubuntu [4 Methods]

 

4.5 Launch Darktable

You can start Darktable either from the terminal:

darktable

Or by finding it in your system's application menu and clicking on its icon.

 

4.6 Uninstall Darktable (Optional)

If needed, remove Darktable from your system using the `snap` package management system.

sudo snap remove darktable

 

5. Exploring Darktable Functionalities

Darktable is a powerful, open-source photography workflow application and raw developer, providing a suite of tools for processing and editing digital photos. Here are some of its key features along with brief instructions on how to use them:

  1. Non-Destructive Editing:
    • All edits in Darktable are non-destructive, meaning the original images are not altered.
    • Any changes you make are stored as instructions that are applied in real-time.
  2. RAW File Processing:
    • Darktable specializes in RAW file processing, which allows for greater control over photo adjustments.
    • To edit a RAW file, simply import it into Darktable, and it will be ready for processing in the Darkroom module.
  3. Lighttable Module:
    • This module is where you manage your digital negatives (photos).
    • You can import, categorize, sort, and tag your images here.
    • To use, navigate to the Lighttable view, import your images, and organize them as needed.
  4. Darkroom Module:
    • This module is used for processing and editing your images.
    • It offers a wide range of tools like exposure, contrast, color correction, and more.
    • To edit an image, double-click on it in the Lighttable view, and it will open in the Darkroom.
  5. Tethering Support:
    • Darktable supports tethered shooting, allowing you to control your camera and capture images directly from the software.
    • Connect your camera, navigate to the Tethering view, and start shooting.
  6. Exporting Images:
    • After editing, you can export images in various formats like JPEG, PNG, TIFF, etc.
    • In the Lighttable module, select the image(s) you want to export, choose the output format, file destination, and click export.
  7. Map View:
    • If your images have geolocation data, Darktable can display them on a map.
    • Navigate to the Map view to see the geographic location where your photos were taken.
  8. Multiple Editing Modules:
    • Darktable offers a range of editing modules, each specializing in different aspects like sharpening, noise reduction, color balance, etc.
    • Access these modules in the Darkroom view, where they are listed on the right-hand side panel.
  9. Styles and Presets:
    • You can create and apply styles (presets) to quickly apply a set of adjustments to your images.
    • Create a style by adjusting an image and then saving these adjustments as a new style.
  10. Color Management:
    • Darktable is fully color-managed, supporting various color profiles for display and output.
  11. Customizable Interface:
    • You can customize the interface to suit your workflow preferences.

 

6. Summary

This comprehensive guide offers a detailed exploration of Darktable, a free, open-source photo editing tool for RAW images. It covers installation on Ubuntu using various methods like APT, PPA, Snap, and Flatpak, ensuring users can access the latest versions conveniently. The article delves into Darktable's key features, including non-destructive editing, RAW file processing, and a range of editing modules. For more extensive understanding and tutorials, official resources such as Darktable's website and user manual provide invaluable information.

 

Deepak Prasad

He is the founder of GoLinuxCloud and brings over a decade of expertise in Linux, Python, Go, Laravel, DevOps, Kubernetes, Git, Shell scripting, OpenShift, AWS, Networking, and Security. With extensive experience, he excels in various domains, from development to DevOps, Networking, and Security, ensuring robust and efficient solutions for diverse projects. You can reach out to him on his LinkedIn profile or join on Facebook page.

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