Release Plans for Ardour 3.0

A decision has finally been made regarding the release of Ardour 3.0. First, some general stuff.

The open source world typically offers two models for integrating development and release of a piece of software. One is the so-called "rolling release" model, which features frequent new releases which typically do not contain substantial changes to the functionality of the program, although if the program is still being developed these changes must appear from time to time. The other one is more similar to what happens with proprietary software, and features less frequent new releases with each new release containing substantial new functionality and/or bug fixes. There are extreme versions of each of these approaches, and less extreme versions which blend different mixtures of the two.

Audio software users are notorious for their use of out of date versions of their favorite software, generally defended on the grounds that "I know it works (and what is broken)". Although this depressing as a software developer, its a fact of life that we have to deal with - people are reluctant to move on from something they think they know and understand to something that may break their existing workflows or do things in ways that they do not understand or appreciate.

When a project uses the "major release only" model, it becomes important that development work as a new release gets close should not break existing functionality. Nobody wants to fix a bug and in the process cause 3 new ones. This is why Ardour has frequently gone in to "feature freeze" mode as a new release draws near - its a way to increase the likelihood that things continue to improve (or at least, remain as they are) in anticipation of a release.

The problem with this approach for developers is that it can cause relatively long periods of stagnation in which novel, cool work is not supposed to be taking place. It is true that with modern software development techniques, this can be avoided to some extent by using "branches" for the development of new features. Even so, if the feature freeze continues for too long, and the intent is to just fix bugs, development can slow down to a trickle. This is particularly true of a project like Ardour which really does not have the human resources available for development that a proprietary project might have. It is my assessment that Ardour 3 has reached this point - development has stagnated because all new work is "on hold" pending the release of 3.0.

So, with all this in mind, there is a conundrum: in order to keep development active and new (useful) features flowing through the development platform, not to mention fixes for bugs that require deep architectural changes, it is desirable to use a rolling release model. But in order to give our users some sense of stability and to increase the likelihood that when they upgrade they will not discover some new issues, periodic major releases are better.

This problem has not been solved. But in lieu of solving it, I have decided that Ardour 3.0 will be released in the following way:

  • There are two outstanding "bugs" that will be fixed:
    1. Automation curves end up with incorrect shapes under common conditions
    2. Import of Ardour 2.X sessions is not sufficiently functional
  • Once these two are adequately addressed, Ardour 3.0 will be released for Linux.
  • An OS X beta will be made available. An official release will not occur on OS X for at least a month after the Linux release. The only reason for this is the lack of testing on OS X. I simply do not have the confidence at this time that we do not have basic issues still to address on that platform. Once we have adequate feedback on 3.0 on OS X, it will be released for that platform too.
  • Once Ardour 3.0 has been released, work will begin immediately on features slated for 3.1 (and beyond) which notably will include Robin Gareus' video timeline.
  • After the release of 3.1, Ardour 3 will use a release approach closer to "rolling release" than "major releases", potentially bringing out new versions twice a month (though that remains a case-by-case decision)

Ardour 3.0 has been in better shape for audio than Ardour 2.X for some time, although some people use a workflow that seems less stable in Ardour 3.0. Ardour 3.0's handling of MIDI is far from the condition I was hoping it would be at release, but nothing is being gained by delaying release any further.

"markedly different in Mixbus

"markedly different in Mixbus than in Ardour2"

Right, this is some of what I mean. I have been using the Beta 5 in AVLinux6 and have found most of the new stuff, including the link for creating the "smart tool" in Ardour, I was just curious if how it was "smoothly" implemented in Mixbus2.2 would transfer over to A3.

Keep up the great work folks, I for one REALLY appreciate it!!!!

Thanks a lot for such a good

Thanks a lot for such a good software! I'm using svn version and I can say that it's totally more stable than first betas' and also much more functional. Waiting for release :)

Really looking forward to

Really looking forward to using 3.0 on my Linux DAW.

Great Job so far !!!

About the release: I think that the Debian way of having a stable and a testing release serves both, the developer who wants to implement cool features and the user who really only wants a working system. Maybe alternating versions (odd and even).

Keep ist going.

Ardour users must have a lot

Ardour users must have a lot of patience
waiting for more than 3 years for 1 version !!
Want more donations maybe it's smart to make a release schedule?

@antonvdh: maybe just a

@antonvdh: maybe just a little more than users of ableton live, who have been waiting how long for Live 9 without any release schedule (though it is now released)?

I hope Paul is going give a

I hope Paul is going give a year end keynote.
I always like reading that.

I think it's no comparison

I think it's no comparison Paul but you get it yourself Live 9 will be released first quarter of 2013 .
Ardour won't even tell which year it will be released.
Takes Years.

@antondvh: until about 6

@antondvh: until about 6 weeks ago, there was no release date for Live 9. That followed a period of years without a release date. So I think that the comparison is entirely valid.

Ardour 3 will also be released first quarter of 2013.

@ antonvdh have you really

@ antonvdh have you really donated all these millions of dollars to ardour that you re now so embarrassed about the release schedule? your complaining i.m.o. does not make any constructive sense.

I am not complaining just

I am not complaining just want to see an open schedule.
Until now, no specific date announced.
please do not make the comparison with ableton or any other program

I think this is a good start:
Ardour 3 will also be released first quarter of 2013

Harrison mixbus new version also depends on the release of Ardour 3.

Positive of Ardour is that it has existed for years and is still being developed.

Thanks for the answer and the great work

greetings and happy new year

When's the next Ardour3

When's the next Ardour3 (beta6??) release coming out? Do I need to put something in my synaptic repositories to get it?

there will no more betas. the

there will no more betas. the next release will be an "rc" (release candidate) made available to subscribers.

hi paul, I just subscribed,

hi paul, I just subscribed, is the "rc" already available somewhere for subscribers?

Are there some news on when

Are there some news on when Ardour 3.0 final will be released? Thanks in advance.

i will release what i believe

i will release what i believe is the final packaging of 3.0 to subscribers first.

the GTK bug i was waiting to be fixed is now fixed, meaning that the remaining obstacle in releasing 3.0 is getting the new website finished. hopefully a matter of a few days.

Great News! Can't wait for

Great News! Can't wait for 3.0.

I'm okay with having this new

I'm okay with having this new model, but I don't see how this will happen in practice. I mean, will we have to download something every once in a while and install it? Will the updates be prompted to us within Ardour? I'm sorry if this was already discussed in another thread.

I've just downloaded the A3 beta to give it a try and... although small, design changes will definitely improve my experience and menus seem a lot more intuitive to me. Can't wait to test it further!

each release will be a new

each release will be a new version that you can parallel install with whatever existing versions you have. if you are happy with 3.89 and 3.90 comes out, you can have both installed and use both for as long as you want to. i would just like to see people embrace the idea that they will be upgrading continually over time - way too many audio engineers that i've seen get stuck on a particular version of their preferred software, long after the most irritating bugs (for them) have been fixed in current releases.

While true Paul, on the other

While true Paul, on the other hand there is a feeling of 'if it iain't broke don't fix it', and this applies strongly in our field, even more so in live sound, but even in the studio. A lot of this comes down to updates may break something subtly in how your particualr workflow is and you don't want to change it. Not saying it is good or bad, but I am saying it can be an intentional choice not to upgrade as well, particularly if 99.999% of those bugs don't affect the user in question:)


Thanks for the response,

Thanks for the response, Paul. I'll certainly embrace this idea. One last question on this then. When I was installing A3, I noticed that it asked me whether I wanted to uninstall the old 2.8.X version. So if I want to keep with the last version of Ardour every update, I'd have to ask it to remove the other one?