4.1 Pre-Release Announcement

Dear photographers, hobbyists and package maintainers,

Soon we will be releasing RawTherapee version 4.1-stable. This is a big deal. Everyone should read this.

Much has changed since version 3.0 of RawTherapee was released back in July 2011. There are many new tools, the way existing tools work has been improved, calculations are more precise, everything is faster, the user interface had a complete make-over, everything is documented in RawPedia, and there are hundreds of other improvements which make up the bulk of our work. As such, it was impossible to avoid breaking backwards-compatibility of certain things.

Users should be aware of changes in behavior between old and new versions of some tools. For instance, the effects of the Auto Levels tool have changed (for the better), so if your old processing profiles had it enabled, the results in 4.1 will be a little different and may require tuning your old profiles. We tried to preserve backwards-compatibility where possible, but it was not possible to do that everywhere. This should not be a problem, because should you require an identical result you can simply keep using the old version of RawTherapee and use the new one for future work, and, more importantly, your skills and taste have evolved over time, so why would you want the exact same results you had years ago when you can do better now?

Package maintainers are please asked to make their builds use a new, empty cache and config folder with a “4.1” suffix by setting the following cmake option:


The reasons for this are as follows:

  • Some users have not checked Preferences in a long time, and their program is tuned for what worked best long ago, not for what works best now. Our defaults are good ones, we keep them up to date to make RawTherapee look and function well out-of-the-box, so having 4.1 start with fresh defaults is a good thing, and it will motivate users to look into Preferences again.
  • Some users have never looked inside Preferences and are not aware of some of the features that can be unlocked there. As above, fresh defaults will activate these things.
  • Some old cache and config files can cause RawTherapee to crash. While we have patched the specific cases made known to us, it is safe to assume there are still cases unknown to us which will still cause instability. Starting with clean cache and config folders mitigates this problem.

If possible, inform users where they can find the old cache and config folders. Your installation script should not remove these old folders without asking for the user’s informed and explicit consent.

Stay tuned, RawTherapee-4.1 is almost done baking and will be out of the oven very soon!