A Head-to-Head Comparison:  Windows vs. Linux

The previous page compared the results of zone system calibration of three different cameras using Adobe Camera Raw and RawTherapee.  As usual, the operating system was Windows 7.  However, RawTherapee is also available for Linux.  Is is possible to perform this kind of system calibration in Linux alone?

wine configuration

Yes and no; the workflow that I used includes a few applications that require Wine, the Windows compatibility layer.  First comes Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr), then Fedora 20 (Heisenbug).

Update 1/27/2015:  If you are interested, here is a complete color-managed Linux workflow.


The workflow begins with an accurate camera color profile.  The Adobe DNG Converter and ColorChecker Passport software can be made to work in Ubuntu, along with the image editor PhotoLine, using Wine 1.6 and the proper configuration settings.  First, install Wine 1.6 using these commands (or the software center, if the Wine version is 1.6):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install wine1.6

Then, after installing the Windows programs above, open the Wine configuration application (winecfg).  The default Windows compatibility version is Windows XP.  Neither ColorChecker Passport nor Photoline will run in Ubuntu 14.04 with this configuration (they do in Ubuntu 13.10, Saucy Salamander, for some reason).  I also had some trouble with Wine 1.7 so am sticking with 1.6.  Change the default settings to Windows 7, as illustrated in the screenshot to the left.  Then add the Adobe DNG Converter and ColorChecker Passport (they are both 32-bit applications, found in Program Files (x86) of the virtual C:/ drive), and change their version back to Windows XP.  Everything should now run fine, with the exception of ColorChecker Passport, which can be a little cranky.  If it crashes on loading the image (you have to use File–Add Image as there is no drag and drop), try again.  And if, after loading the image, the Create Profile button is grayed out, adjust the corners of the selection mask a little, even if they don’t look like they need it.

The cameras’ raw images must first be converted to DNGs for use in ColorChecker Passport.  A native Linux application, digiKam, is also able to convert some raw formats to DNG.  Hats off to digiKam for working on this; but unfortunately it does not yet work for all formats.  It seems to convert Nikon’s .NEF and Canon’s .CR2 files o.k.; the embedded .jpg preview looks different, but the RAW images are identical when viewed in RawTherapee using the same settings.  And profiles made using Adobe DNG Converter and digiKam produce identical results.  But digiKam does not open Sigma’s .X3F files, and it opens but does not convert Fuji’s .RAF files.

I installed RawTherapee using the Ubuntu Software Center (version 4.0.12, vs. 4.1.1 that I used in Windows).  It’s an easy install; but then the color profile directory must be manually set in the color management preferences to a folder with public access, if you want to use a standard profile such as ProPhoto as the output profile.  ImageJ is similarly available through the software center, but the folder permissions are a nightmare; I gave up and downloaded it from rsb.info.nih.gov/ij/download.html.

The resulting workflow:

• Convert the ColorChecker target image to DNG with either the Adobe DNG Converter in Wine, or digiKam.
• Create the camera profile with ColorChecker passport in Wine.
• Convert the zone series images to DNG as above if needed for RawTherapee (such as Sigma’s .X3Fs).
• Calibrate the zone series with RawTherapee and the appropriate camera profile.
• Analyze the zone series with ImageJ.

I had hoped to crop and resize the images with PhotoLine, but unfortunately its color management does not yet work in Wine.  So I used the GIMP.  Nothing against it, you understand . . . .  (There is a potential fix here on the PhotoLine forum, but it seems to go “against the grain.”  mscms.dll is now included in Wine 1.6 and 1.7; just waiting for icm32.dll.)

Update 10/17/2015:  The color management of PhotoLine version 19 now works in Wine!  There is also an option to use either the operating system’s color management system, or the bundled application Little CMS.  (I learned from Google Translate that verwenden means “use,” and tiefenkompensierung means “black point compensation.”)

Here are the results.  The Windows 7 images on the left are the same as those on the previous page; the Ubuntu images on the right were made using the workflow above.

  Windows 7 Ubuntu 14.04
Sigma SD15 sigma sigma
Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR fuji fuji
Nikon D800E nikon nikon

Update 1/27/2015:  Using the following commands, I was able to update to RawTherapee 4.2 in Linux Mint 17:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:dhor/myway
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install rawtherapee

This method may not update to version 4.2 in all distros.  Per the RawTherapee forums:

In Synaptic Package Manager:
• Uninstall rawtherapee and rawtherapee-data
• Reload
• Select rawtherapee
• Package - Force Version...
• Choose the desired version
• Mark for installation
• Skip rawtherapee-data if unable to select the same version
• Apply


Here is nearly the same thing, done in Fedora 20.  This time, Wine 1.7 is the only version in the repositories, and everything seems to work o.k.  I processed the images below with the RawTherapee 4.1 test package from fedoraproject.org,

sudo yum install /home/russell/Downloads/rawtherapee-4.1-1.fc20.x86_64.rpm

and cropped and resized the images in RT.

Update 1/3/2015:  RT version 4.2 for Fedora is now readily available from

cd /etc/yum.repos.d/
sudo wget http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:rawtherapee/Fedora_20/home:rawtherapee.repo
sudo yum install rawtherapee

Fedora may not ship with wget; use sudo yum install wget if necessary.

  Windows 7 Fedora 20
Sigma SD15 sigma sigma
Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR fuji fuji
Nikon D800E nikon nikon

Update 1/3/2015:  The commands for installing RT in Fedora above also work in Korora 20.

I also tried Linux Mint, Debian Edition, 201403.  Debian lags a little behind Fedora; the Wine version in the repositories is 1.4, and ColorChecker Passport does not start.  Also, it seems to be limited to 32-bit; the 64-bit version of PhotoLine does not install.  The RawTherapee version is still 4.0.11.



My favorite distro right now is Korora, MATE desktop.  It is quite a bit more user-friendly than Fedora, of which it is a remix.  Ubuntu MATE is also a contender; not surprisingly, it has more of an Ubuntu feel to it than Linux Mint, which is quite a bit sleeker.

I would not voluntarily choose to use the Unity desktop, but had wanted to experiment with the Gnome Color Manager, and had little choice.  Bottom line on color management, having given monitor and printer profile generation in Linux a whirl:  I am glad that GCM and dispcalGUI are being developed; but for now, it is far easier to dual-boot with Windows or Mac and do your profiling there.

Update 1/27/2015:  If you are interested, here is a complete color-managed Linux workflow using ArgyllCMS from the command line.

In the meantime, xcalib is the simplest way to set the monitor profile.  Installation for Ubuntu/Mint and Fedora/Korora:

sudo apt-get install xcalib
sudo apt-get update

sudo yum install xcalib
sudo yum update

Then set the profile (use the path to your profile):

sudo xcalib /usr/share/color/icc/monitor.icm

Curious?  Here is how to clear and invert the profile:

sudo xcalib -c

sudo xcalib -i /usr/share/color/icc/monitor.icm

If the profile is in a location with public access, you can create a startup application entry to run xcalib automatically:

xcalib /home/russell/.local/share/color/icc/monitor.icm

Warning:  DO NOT try to run i1Profiler in Wine!  Unless you know something that I don’t.  When I tried to run it in Kubuntu, the system completely crashed, and all the icons in the application menu disappeared, never to be seen again, even after reboot.  Plus, the device manager would not install, so there was no real point to this anyway.

RawTherapee also ran very poorly for me in Wine.  There is little need to try this.