[Ardour-Users] subscription support down, your ideas sought
Ross.Johnson at homemail.com.au
Sat May 17 21:17:19 PDT 2008
John Rigg wrote:
> On Thu, May 15, 2008 at 06:01:47PM +0200, Ralf Mardorf wrote:
>> that sounds fine but I don't think anything will change for you without
>> becoming proprietary. I'm working for free, too and I need state benefit
>> for survival. I'm 41 and my experience tells me the only solution seems
>> to become proprietary. Sometimes we have to make hard decisions.
> Unfortunately working just for fun doesn't pay the rent or food bills.
> I do sound engineering because it's fun. I charge money for it because
> I need to eat. I see no problem at all with free software developers
> accepting money for their work - how can they devote enough time to
> develop a serious project if they have to do something else to pay the
That's the point of the open source model - to spread the work across as
many hands and minds as possible so that each can contribute a little
without having to earn a living from it. The problem then is to attract
enough hands and minds.
> Taking your argument to its logical conclusion, much of the
> Linux kernel would be proprietary because there are developers being
> paid to work on it.
Those companies paying developers to work on the Linux kernel are
earning income from related products and services and recognising that
cooperation in the development of the kernel itself is better than
competition. The difficulty for Ardour is that it isn't commodity
software like Linux is - it's an end-product rather than a platform or
catalyst for things that people are willing to pay for.
AFAICS the problem for the Ardour project is how to attract more hands
and minds to a project that has a fairly narrow user-base (and even
smaller potential developer base).
Based on my view of the problem I have a couple of [possibly quite
fanciful] ideas to add, that aren't light work but might be useful to
think about longer term:-
1) Would it be feasible to create an online journal dedicated to Ardour
developers, as distinct from Ardour users? It could provide a focus to
clearly explain the internals of Ardour, Jack, plugins, file formats,
standards, specifications, exposure of future features, etc. in
technical language. If it was done well it may help to encourage
corporate sponsors to support Ardour, especially vendors of audio devices.
For anyone first getting into Ardour development, writing a technical
article is often a good way to reinforce the discovery process and,
provided the articles are reviewed, corrected and edited by more
seasoned developers, would be publishable while giving great feedback
In my own experience with large projects, anything that makes it easier
to start contributing code and ideas to the project would help. I can
program in several different languages but I find that it requires a
very large investment in time and effort up front before I start to make
even small inroads into understanding the framework and APIs, etc. in
any large project. That is most likely because I'm getting a little old
but it is a barrier - I have an interest in using Ardour, Linux, and can
program, but I haven't been able to contribute even though I'd very much
I should also explain that my motivation for looking at the code is in
solving problems that I experience directly, which I would then be more
than happy to feed back for other users to benefit from. This is quite
different to wanting to code for fun.
Should I just subscribe? First of all, that doesn't solve the problem
that I want to fix now (to get my real job done), and secondly, I'd
prefer to see the FOSS model working the way it's supposed to, rather
than pay money and see the contributor pool shrink to just a few
developers paid by subscriptions or remunerated in other ways, such as
social benefits etc. Since the subscription model was introduced I just
haven't been convinced that it's sustainable, and I'm very relieved to
hear that Paul doesn't need the money on a personal level.
2) Paul has told us that there has been corporate interest in the past,
but I assume they all wanted some kind of exclusivity. Perhaps Ardour
could be split into a general purpose DAW platform framework plus user
Jack already provides a very low level general framework and Ardour
provides a user-level application on top of that technology, but I think
that splitting the stack into additional clearly-defined layers may
provide more opportunities and encourage corporate involvement to value
add, integrate, and possibly even provide a vehicle for new start-ups.
Deconstructing the Linux success, the trick may be to provide a common
technology base that they all have an interest in supporting while still
enabling differentiation or competition at the value add or service level.
Other projects that this model appears to work for are Apache, Eclipse
and OpenOffice, etc.
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