[Ardour-Users] Could this solve Ardour's financial headache?

Dewey Smolka dsmolka at gmail.com
Thu Jan 8 06:34:12 PST 2009

On Wed, Jan 7, 2009 at 10:36 PM, Patrick Shirkey
<pshirkey at boosthardware.com> wrote:
> The issue is that Ardour development is not being funded at the rate that
> makes it viable for the developers to focus as much time as possible on the
> various outstanding feature requests from the non financially contributing
> members of the community.

Alright, fair enough. But I'm not sure the cart isn't being placed in
front of the horse here.

If you're talking about four full-time developers, that's a
substantial operating budget and administrative structure.

But I didn't see anything on the site right now that describes
Ardour's current budget, organizational structure, tax status, and so
on. Not even an annual report. If you want people to contribute in
significant amounts and numbers, you need quite a great deal of

If I'm going to contribute to something I have to know what I'm
supporting, who's doing the work, whether I can apply for a matching
gift from my company, and whether I can deduct the gift from my taxes.

Another thing is that donors don't tend to like projects where
operational expenses, including salaries, constitute a huge share of
overall spending. They want to see their money going to projects, not
staplers (it is assumed that all employees do nothing but staple
things all day).

The fact is that Ardour is and always will be a niche product --
there's just not that large a percentage of people who will ever need
a DAW, and those that do have many choices.

The goal shouldn't be to get 20,000 users to all send you $50. That's
not going to happen. Rather the bulk of your revenue should be coming
from a small number of sources, through corporate gifts, grants, major
donors, etc.

If users are forced, or even too strongly pushed, to pay for Ardour,
then buying ProTools doesn't seem like such a bad idea.

There's also the possibility for some type of direct corporate support
or partnership. I don't know who'd be looking, but with mixers,
interfaces, and computer hardware all getting cheaper, one could put
together a nice set of packages with Ardour for a very competitive
price. You are allowed to sell free software.

Believe me, I sympathize with the developers who'd like a bit more
tangible appreciation. But we's all hustlin' and times is hard.

If you want Ardour to be financially sustainable, that's going to come
from a small number of large contributions. It doesn't mean that users
shouldn't be gently reminded of the need for ongoing support, but it
does require a degree of transparency and administrative structure.

Where is Ardour.org physically located? Do you have 501(c)3 status?

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