How to install Darktable on Ubuntu 20.04

Darktable is a free and open-source photography workflow application and non-destructive (Editing throughout the complete workflow, your original images are never modified.) raw developer. It’s an virtual lighttable and darkroom for photographers. Darktable is a cross-platform application tailored for most major Linux distributions, Solaris, macOS, and Microsoft Windows. Its available in 26 Languages.

Rather than being a raster graphics editor like GIMP or Adobe Photoshop, it contains a subset of image editing operations specifically aimed at non-destructive raw image post-production. darktable can import a variety of raw, standard, and high dynamic range image formats including JPEG, CR2, NEF, HDR, PFM, RAF, PNG etc.

It’s primarily focused on improving a photographer’s workflow by simplifying the handling of large numbers of images. It manages your digital negatives in a database, lets you view them through a zoomable lighttable and enables you to develop raw images, enhance them and export them to local or remote storage.

Key Features of Darktable

  • Free and open-source
  • Non-destructive editing with the XMP change description entry
  • Cross platform application: darktable runs on Linux, BSD, Mac OS X / macports, Microsoft Windows and Solaris 11 / GNOME.
  • Support for geographical coordinates labels with the display of photos on the map
  • Full implementation of color management
  • More than 30 modules for transformation, color correction, quality improvement and artistic effects
  • Completely modular architecture
  • Work in 32-bit float mode on a color channel in CIE LAB space
  • Organize and search image collections by tags, image rating (stars), color labels and many more, use flexible database queries on all metadata of your images.
  • Translated into 19 languages
  • An integrated mover for executing Lua scripts. Scripts can be linked to hotkeys or specific events, such as when importing new images.
  • Find similar photos
  • Export to Flickr and Facebook
  • Supports RAW, RGBE, JPG, PFM and more
  • Support for shooting directly through the camera

This article explains three methods of installing Darktable on Ubuntu 20.04.

Choose the installation method that is most appropriate for your environment.

Method 1: Installing Darktable as a Snap Package

The easiest way to install Darktable on Ubuntu 20.04 is by using the snap packaging system.

A snap package is a type of universal Linux package that you can enjoy irrespective of the distro. Its an self-contained software packages that include the binary all dependencies needed to run the application.

All you need is the snap service pre-configured, In the case of Ubuntu 20.04, it comes with snap pre-installed.

If snapd package is not already installed then you can install it by running following command.

$ sudo apt install snapd

Note: Snap packages can be installed from either the command-line or via the Ubuntu Software application.

This is actually the Snap version of the Darktable. It can be used on any Linux distribution that has Snap support.

Open your terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and type the following command to install the Darktable package.

$ sudo snap install darktable

At this step, you have successfully installed Darktable on Ubuntu 20.04 system.

If you are not comfortable with the command line, open Ubuntu Software, search for “Darktable” and install the application.

Type the following command to update Darktable package.

$ sudo snap refresh darktable

Method 2: Installing Darktable via PPA Repository

If you want to install the most recent version of Darktable, you can use the PPA repository.

Personal Package Archives (PPA) are software repositories designed for Ubuntu users and are easier to install than other third-party repositories. PPAs are often used to distribute pre-release software so that it can be tested.

Step #1

First of all open the terminal from system application launcher and type the following command to add the Darktable PPA to your system.

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

Step #2

Then, execute the following commands to install Darktable package on your Ubuntu system.

$ sudo apt update && sudo apt install darktable

Once installed, launch it from your system application menu.

Method 3: Installing Darktable via Flatpak

Before installation let’s understand what is Flatpak.

What is Flatpak?

Flatpak is basically a framework for the applications on Linux. With the different distributions preferring their own package management, Flatpak aims at providing a cross-platform solution with other benefits.

It makes the work for developers even easier. A single application build can be used in almost all the Linux distribution (that support Flatpak) without any modification to the bundle.

Ubuntu has Flatpak supported by default. However, you can verify it by trying to install Flatpak again.

$ sudo apt install flatpak

You can also use the official PPA to install Flatpak. Open a terminal and use the commands below.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alexlarsson/flatpak
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install flatpak

Once Flatpak is installed type the following command to install Darktable.

$ flatpak install flathub org.darktable.Darktable

Then execute the below command to run the Darktable application.

$ flatpak run org.darktable.Darktable

Starting Darktable

In the Activities search bar type “Darktable” and click on the icon to launch the application.

Darktable User Interface:

How to Uninstall Darktable from Ubuntu 20.04

For some reason, If you want to uninstall Darktable, refer following methods.

Method #1

If you have installed Darktable via Snap type the following command:

$ sudo snap remove darktable

Method #2

If you have installed the Darktable appication through PPA then uninstall it by following one of the below procedures.

Procedure #1

It’s most likely that you added the PPA using add-apt-repository command. You can use the same command to remove the PPA as well. Just give it --remove option in the command.

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

Note: Use this procedure only if you need to remove the PPA and not the applications installed by it.

Procedure #2

You must have noticed that in the above procedure we only talked about deleting or removing a PPA. What about the applications installed using these PPAs? Will they be removed as a result of removing the PPA? The answer is NO.

So this is when ppa-purge comes in picture. It not only disables the PPA but also uninstalls all the programs installed by the PPA or revert them to original version provided by your distribution.

So type the following command to install the ppa-purge package and uninstall the Darktable package.

$ sudo apt install ppa-purge && sudo ppa-purge ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/darktable

Method #3

If you have installed the application via Flatpak run the below command:

$ flatpak uninstall org.darktable.Darktable


I hope that now you have a good understanding of How to install Darktable on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa.

If anyone does have any questions about what we covered in this guide then feel free to ask in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer those.

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