Dehazing photos: the challenges in free software

posted in: Programming | 0

I posted a few weeks ago about a clever method for dehazing photos, that is probably similar to the method used by Adobe in Lightroom.

It would be great to see something like this in darktable and RawTherapee, especially since these programs include other features that are still relatively new in a research sense (such as wavelets).

Unfortunately, the algorithm in the paper that I described was patented prior to publication.

This should not be too surprising, as the method’s inventors are researchers at Microsoft, and dehazing has huge commercial potential (for example, think how useful it would be to a self-driving car on a foggy day).

What does that mean for open source photo editors? I am not a lawyer, and I know very little about software patent law, except that it is complicated. However, it seems unlikely that a similar method could be used in software such as darktable or RawTherapee.

Interestingly, however, there are a number of other related patents for dehazing which suggests that there may be more than one way to skin a cat where dehazing is concerned.

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