10th anniversary, part one

Ardour started life 10 years ago this week. I had received an RME Hammerfall "digi9652" in early December, and spent the first few weeks of the month getting an ALSA driver working. After a wonderful but unusual Christmas, the first since separating from my first wife, I was faced with the realization that there wasn't any software on Linux that could use the 26in+26out hardware I now had working. After Christmas, with my daughter away with her mother's family, I sat down in my basement and started writing the project that has consumed the last 10 years of my life. The initial goal was simply to replicate the functionality of a dedicated hard disk recorder, which turned out to be quite easy to do. Soon after that, Taybin Rutkin showed up, and we decided that it was all pretty useless without the ability to edit. "How hard could it be to write an editor?" ... 10 years later, I'm in a somewhat nicer work space, we have an editor, and Ableton Live, which started at about the same time, is among the most successful audio applications ever. More importantly, though - a community of users has made it possible for me to work on a piece of software that I love as a way to make a (modest) living, and as a result, we are on the verge of the release of alpha versions of Ardour3. (Click on the screenshot to see what Ardour looked like in 2001, roughly a year after the start)

Ardour 2.8 released

I am pleased to announce the release of Ardour 2.8. As has been previously announced, the 2.X series is now in a state of "feature freeze" so that we can try to concentrate on Ardour 3.0, but as a gesture of thanks to the community for the support during February, I wanted to release this mostly-bugfix version that also comes with a couple of significant features. These include much more reliable VST support on Linux, track/bus templates and, with some important qualifications, AudioUnit state and preset handling. There are more details below...

Distributions break Ardour and waste my time

For some time there have been reports on IRC from users of various Linux distributions that some feature of Ardour is broken. It is getting increasingly tiresome that we end up as the frontline support for breakages that are distro-specific and that we cannot control. These problems waste my time. It would be nice if they would go away. Meanwhile, there's more below on what users of Ubuntu and Gentoo can do ...


In February, the shortest month of the year, the Ardour user community provided US$4500 of funding. Because of this, I have temporarily suspended my plans to find other work, and will continue working full time on Ardour other than for a couple of short term contract efforts. I cannot thank everyone who contributed enough, and I only wish there was enough to support the amazing work that Dave Robillard and Hans Baier continue to put into the MIDI side of things, as well as Carl Worth who has been very active recently. We reached another new milestone in February as well - 200 active subscribers! Subscribers provide some continuity to funding, and watching this number rise during last month has been very gratifying. Next week (ending March 7th) I hope to release Ardour 2.8 (as described in a story below this one), and then do some long-awaited work on the website. After that, I will return to working in a very focused way on 3.0 to try and get it ready for an alpha release before the spring equinox. Thanks again to everyone, I only hope that future months can meet or exceed this level of support.

Tempo based time for MIDI regions

Some updates on my recent work on the 3.0 branch, including tempo-based time for MIDI regions and (once again) working MIDI control surfaces.

Tschüss Berlin!

Today is my last day in Berlin. Tomorrow, I board a morning flight back to a sinking economy, a broken dishwasher, and plumbing tasks, but also the rest of my family (who returned to the USA before me). My time as the Edgar Varese Guest Professor at the TU Berlin has been great. The city is wonderful, and I will miss it very much. It is also a hot bed of audio software development, including such powerhouses as Abelton, Native Instruments and Torben Hohn (hi Torben!). My family had a really wonderful experience here too - my daughters had their eyes opened to both the pros and cons and life on the other side of the Atlantic. I'd like to thank Folkmar Hein, Wilm Thoben, Ecki Güther and Florian Goltz for excellent company in (and occasionally out of) the TU Studio, the DAAD for making my visit to Berlin possible, and the students who attended my 2 classes.

Coming up soon

Given the enhanced level of financial support this month, I wanted to give people some insight into what's coming in the near future. Although development efforts have shifted to 3.0, there will be a new release soon in the 2.X series. This will include two significant features: track templates and better, fully open source VST support. Track templates allow you to save the setup of a track or bus and then re-use it again when creating tracks in the same or other sessions. Improvements in VST support come from the work done by Torben Hohn on FST. Many plugins that used to not work or work unreliably will now function correctly. Most significantly, perhaps, Ardour will be able to use the clean-room reverse engineered "Vestige" header that replaces the need for the VST SDK. This will allow binary releases of Ardour with VST support. Work on wrapping the new release up will be delayed a bit by my return to the USA from Berlin, but I hope to get this out within the next 2 weeks.

Talented Audio Programmer Seeks Work

(slight edit for clarification) SAE have informed me that although their plans for Ardour have not changed, their sponsoring of Ardour development will stop at this time. This puts me (Paul, Ardour's lead developer) in the position of being paid solely by the donations and subscriptions made by the Ardour community. This is currently insufficient to support myself, let alone my family, so I am obviously looking for other opportunities to earn a living. Although I intend to try to improve the revenue that Ardour itself generates, this is unlikely to be sufficient for some time to come. I am therefore in a position to serve as consultant/contractor on other projects, and will be happy to handle inquiries about this via email ( I intend to continue doing some work on Ardour to provide support and continuing incentives to those who are already paying for that via donations & subscriptions.

Ardour 2.X enters feature-freeze

Ardour 2.X has now entered "feature-freeze". No new features will be added to this version of Ardour (a few exceptions are noted below), and all development activity will shift to version 3.0. The release of 3.0 (which supports MIDI recording, playback and editing) has been delayed for a long time due to efforts to continue to improve 2.X and in particular to get the OS X native version into reasonable shape. It is now time for Ardour developers (and soon our alpha-testers) to focus on 3.0. Users with feature requests should contine to enter them into our
bug and feature tracking system, but do not expect to see them implemented in a 2.X release. We will continue to fix bugs in 2.X and any trivial features that can be back-ported from 3.0 will also show up in 2.X updates. There is more to read below ...

Ardour 2.7.1 released

Its been a busy two weeks since 2.7 was released. Not only has there finally been a working new release of JACK, but Ardour has also seen several major bug fixes, a useful collection of new features, and many smaller fixes that correct annoying behaviour. As a result, Ardour 2.7.1 has been released. OS X Intel users will find an Intel build and we'll have a PPC one ready as soon as possible. If you tried Ardour 2.7 on OS X and it would not start up for you, please give 2.7.1 a test. Read more below for details on the changes ...