[ardour-dev] the development process

Luke Yelavich luke at audioslack.com
Fri Jan 7 05:12:57 PST 2005

On Fri, Jan 07, 2005 at 11:05:44PM EST, Paul Davis wrote:
> porting ardour to GTK2 is more or less completely orthogonal to all
> the bug fixing that has been going on recently. we have to do this
> port because the visual appearance of ardour is important, and because
> GTK2 has important improvements in both visual appearance and
> usability (both for the programmer and user). there are things we want
> to provide for the user that are either impossible or way to hard to
> do with GTK1.

One of these is accessibility thanks to the GTK and GNOME accessibility 
framework. It would be nice to go one up on other proprietary 
multi-track recording packages by offering accessibility somewhat out of 
the box. However, this is certainly no easy task, as explained below.


> The port to GTK2 is something that is hard to predict the duration
> of. In theory, it shouldn't take very long - a moderately sized GTK1
> project free of new C-level widgets can probably be ported in a
> day. But we have a relatively large project here (in terms of lines of
> GUI code), and we have several custom C-level widgets. We also have
> the canvas, which we'd like to use a newer version of along with a C++
> wrapper. I am optimistic that it can done in a month, less if more
> people help out. This is a totally divide-and-conquer task. People can
> volunteer to get a single source file working (as in "compiles"). The
> only really hard parts are getting our custom C-level widgets to work,
> and using C++ for the canvas, and i will be starting with those
> myself. If we had 10 extra code-monkey volunteers, I imagine we could
> get this done 3-5 times faster. Hint.

I am not sure how well integrating calls to the GNOME accessibility 
framework would work in C++, but then I don't know very much about C++ 
either, and I unfortunately don't think my knowledge of C or C++ is up 
to the task of helping with the accessibility implementation at the same 
time the port is going ahead, but if anybody is willing to take it on, I 
am certainly happy to direct them to the proper accessibility API docs, 
and do extensive testing where necessary.

Yes, there is ksi, but as you yourself have said on IRC Paul, it is only 
useful for recording and live mixing at this stage. If an accessible 
GTK2 port is not possible, perhaps at the same time some of us could 
improve ksi ardour to provide close to, if not the same experience one 
gets from the GUI version.

I know a lot of people who would love to be able to use Ardour, because 
of what it is capable of. They also want the ability to work as quick 
and efficiently as they can with their Windows software and add-on screen 
readers. I believe Ardour is the software that could fulfill the task.

> I need to remind everyone that at this point in time, Ardour continues
> to a volunteer, unpaid project to implement the functionality of some
> of the most complex software ever written. The donations are wonderful
> and highly appreciated, but this is a project that exists only because
> the developers and contributors to it design want to work on it to
> whatever extent they can. I'd love to know that Ardour was ready to
> stand in for any commercial DAW, and I believe that one day it will
> be. The fact that serious issues remain should not act as an obstacle
> to us getting on with one of the most important tasks related to
> getting it closer to that goal.

I am sure, given enough discussion and planning, some better 
accessibility can be worked out, even external to the core Ardour 
development, and I am sure many would be willing to 
donate to see improvement.

If people wish to comment, please do so. I am only outlining what I, as 
a vision impaired Linux audio user, would like to see my collegues have 
access to. I am lucky enough to have enough sight to use the powerful 
software that is Ardour, but many do not.
Luke Yelavich
luke at audioslack.com
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