[Ardour-Dev] Trouble with imported files

Fons Adriaensen fons at kokkinizita.net
Sun Mar 8 18:03:35 PDT 2009

Hello all,

We are having a nasty problem here related to the
way Ardour treats external audio files.

When the audio files are on a different mount point
than the ardour session Ardour just puts a reference
to them in the .ardour file.

When they are on the same mount point Ardour makes
a hard link in the session directory and puts the
local path into the .ardour file.

The latter behavior is creating havoc.

We have here a number of computers that have
to exchange ardour sessions. These sessions
almost always use external audio files.
The files are usually very big, there are
many of them used in each session, and they
are shared between different sessions, so we
don't want copies of them all over the place.
The computers are in different physical 
locations, so sharing a NFS mount is not
an option. Data is transferred using USB

The directory structures on all the computers
involved are identical, so even when external
files are used it should be possible to move
the session without editing the .ardour file.

But when a session and the audio files it
depends on are copied we end up with two
copies of each audio file. And it is not
possible to remove either of them.

Removing the one in the ardour session
means things don't work anymore, since
the .ardour file refers to these files
by the local path.

Removing the files in the shared files dir
makes the system inconsistent - the files
are no longer shareable.

So what was intended to be shared by many
sessions get assimilated, Borg style, by
each of then when that session is moved.
Resistance seems to be futile. 

The only solution is to manually remove
the copies in the Ardour session and 
replace them again by hard links. This
is even worse than having to edit the
.ardour file.
IOHI, this trick of making hard links to make
it appear as if the session is using local
files is bad idea. It leads to inconsistent
results depending on something the user is
usually not even aware of. Things would be
much simpler if Ardour would just always
treat an external file as external and not
try to subvert the user's intentions. 



Laboratorio di Acustica ed Elettroacustica
Parma, Italia

Be quiet, Master Land; and you, Professor,
will you be so good as to listen to me ?

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