Suggestions and Problems - tested on OSX

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bmueller
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Hello everybody, an thanks a lot for everybodys work on this project! Since I´m an audio engineer, I spent a lot of time on daw´s and only know a little bit of c++ programming.
So, I´d like to help this project with suggestions / ideas / problem reports. I tried Ardour on an MacBook today (I used it on Linux before that, but since I don´t get my Audio Hardware supported in an Linux enviroment, I swiched to Mac some weeks ago, and know, after I got used to the knew enviroment, I beginn to like it...).

The first things I noted where the bad system integration. Mac users are used, that all Programms can interact with each other, have similar or the same key combinations, have their menu in the top bar of OS X, ... That makes work for them easier. When they start ardour, they will get an impression which is completely different: An own menu bar, unusual key combinations, a different view of the filesystem, an complete different screen design, fonts which are difficult to read, ....
On Linux that dosent matter that much because everybody is used to it, but on a Mac it "looks and feels" bad. Also this impression was very strong, it´s a typical problem of programms ported to darwin and running under the x-window system. It´s the same for open office for example, but there is a very nice solution, called Neo Office, that integrated openoffice into the native mac window management. Maybe there is a similar posibility for ardour, I think that would make a lot more mac users use it.
The next Mac specific problem is, that you even can´t get everything to work. Macs only have one mouse butten, and at least my keyboard has no key. So I only got some things to work by plugging an windows mouse and keyboard into the usb connection...

The rest is not mac specific, I had similar problems in Debian...
In comarison to other DAWs, for example Samplitude or Sequoia, some functions work realy slow. File Import, or normalize for example. The problem is, that these functions block the whole programm. You can´t do something else while you are normalizing. It´s like "a lack of multitascing" I think. You spend to much time waiting before your computer.
Another problem is, that you don´t see directly wich functions work destructive an which not, and you are never asked, if both possibilitys exist (for example normalize again).
In general, I think there still is much work to do on the optics of the gui. Don´t get me wrong, I like very much, that ardour is build up very clear, without to much design (it reminds me a bit to Pro Tools, which was the DAW i first used, and sometimes I still miss the clear and simple user interface, and the good mixer it had ... but it was not compatible to anything but Digidesign, and technically other DAWs where much better ...), but users coming from Logic, ore Cubase probably won´t like it. I myself worked on Nuendo the last year, wich was a bit to colorful, but still functional. I think for the practical user it is very imortant to find the right mix of form, function, and colors here. For me, it would be important at least, to have fonts that read easier, but hopefully that will change in version 2...

This where my first impressions. I hope I didn´t sound to bad, I like the ardour project very much, because I belive, that the only way to build a good DAW is open source. DAWs don´t sell good enough, that developing companys will employ enough developers. On the other side they are very complex, comared to an office suite...
I hope the best for ardour - and I hope it won´t take to long, until it´s usable for my daily work!

paul
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Answers ..............................

The GUI toolkit we use (GTK) currently does not integrate with "native" OS X toolkits and thus offers no way to control the traditional Mac top menu bar. When the native GTK/Aqua port is done, this *might* be easy to do, but until then there is absolutely nothing we can do about this. We have enough work to do without writing our own toolkit or porting to another one.

You observations on operations like normalize and import are interesting. To be honest, it has never occured to me that these operations should happen "in the background". They have always seemed like steps that need to complete before you take the next step. I will think more about this.

We do have a lot of work to do on workflow issues. I can't wait to get to this, but we have some serious issues in ardour2 to solve before we can think about that.

Bodega
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As a long-time (15 years!) Mac sequencer/DAW user, I've got to agree about the keyboard shortcuts. They've really got to match up with Mac conventions in order for Mac users to go for it.

In my first few minutes of using the program, just messing around to see what could be done, I honestly thought there was no Undo function. The thought that it was just a different key combo, that I'd then have to learn, would never have occurred to me. Then there's the file browser, which is like entering another world as it doesn't use the OSX format.

Other than that, it's quite an exciting bit of software that I can't wait to see evolve.