Renewing subscriptions and other thoughts
I recently renewed my subscription to Ardour, and I thought I'd share some thoughts about the process. Namely, that it was surprisingly difficult to do.
I hadn't realized my subscription was done until Ardour.org sent me an e-mail saying that my subscription would be ending in 10 days. Some time later, I went to the PayPal site and discovered that the subscription had in fact ended the month previous. I spent an admittedly brief amount of time trying to figure out how to renew via PayPal, and failed.
I eventually went to Ardour.org to see if I could renew there, and it turns out I could. However, Ardour.org still thought that I was currently subscribed (it had been more than ten days since the alert), so it was replacing the 'subscription' link in the Ardour Financial Support row of my account information with 'already subscribed'. I inferred from the Drupal naming conventions what the link would be (in this case https://ardour.org/lm_paypal/subscribe/1), went there and renewed my subscription without any more problems.
I'm sure there's a more appropriate way to go about this, but the main point is that I did not know a better method and it was not quickly apparent to me what I should do. Could something be done to make the renewing process as stupidly easy as possible? In this case, just being able to get to the subscription page without needing to guess the link would be fine. I'm not sure how the website is set-up, but it seems that after that first alert was sent, my account was never recognized as no longer being subscribed, even after the 10 days were up. No other alerts were sent out. Could it be changed so that the site does downgrade an account after the subscription is up, and then sends an alert saying "Your subscription is over! Renew here!", or something similar?
Also, I read Paul's post that he linked to on the front page a few weeks ago concerning funding. In that post, it was mentioned that a lot of Linux users will never visit the Ardour website because they will get the program through a package manager. I was thinking about this, and I had a suggestion. Right now the only nag screen in Ardour, as far as I know, pops up the first time a user exports their session. Would it be worthwhile to create a 'Welcome' screen that shows up when you open Ardour? You've all seen these things before in other programs: something that says "Welcome to Ardour! If you're new, here's a what you can do!" And then there would be buttons for "Starting a Session", "Opening a Session", " Getting Support" (which could direct users to the website) and "Supporting Ardour" (which could direct people to part of the site that explain how to support Ardour either financially by participating in development). And, of course, there would be a check-button that says "Don't Show This Window Again". Really, it wouldn't be much different from what shows up already when starting Ardour, just with a few more options and words of explanation. But I think it might help in getting more users directed to the website.
By the way, I write this as I take a break from mixing my first serious, full band recording session on Ardour, and the program continues to prove that it is a dream to use. Thanks for all your work, Paul and the Ardour devs. (Also, thanks to LinuxDSP, whose wonderful LV2 plug-ins I am using quite a bit on these sessions).