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

Hein Zelle hein at icce.rug.nl
Thu Jan 8 08:19:32 PST 2009

John Emmas wrote:

> Only this morning I found out that Subversion is able to restrict access
> using a password database (rather than 'anonymous' access which is the
> default).  Obviously, something like this must already happen for write
> access but I gather it can be implemented for read access too.  I couldn't
> help wondering if this might offer a solution for Ardour's ongoing financial
> dilemma...?

I'll try to respond to a lot of things that were mentioned in this
thread at once, so I'm not repeating all the old quotes.

Summarizing, I have my doubts with the idea of charging for SVN
access.  I even have my doubts with the whole idea that ardour, being
what it is, should be able to support several developers full-time at
all.  From what I know of a limited amount of succesfull commercial
software packages, mostly small games and graphics processing
software, it's quite hard even in a closed-source environment to earn
enough money for full time development.

If you expect to earn enough money from Ardour, I'd have to agree with
the person who wrote that you'll be depending on bigger donations from
(commercial?) parties who actually make quite some money on ardour, or
otherwise have a commercial interest in Ardour being developers.
Studio's, hardware manufacturers, etcetera.

I am a member of a small band myself.  We've now recorded three songs
using ardour, and I've done a number of tests myself.  I haven't
donated yet, but intend to do so if we record more intensively or
actually start working on a CD.  Do you find that unreasonable?  It's
an open question, I'm not sure what I feel myself.  On the one hand it
might be, as I have used ardour and it is a unique piece of software.
On the other hand it doesn't gain me anything financially, and I could
(and would) have done the same recording using audacity, although
not quite as nicely.  There are other alternatives too, such as rosegarden,
which even support midi.

I imagine many of the suggested 20.000 ardour users are like me - not
earning money from recording, using it at a fairly low level, not
experienced with any other daw software perhaps, and there are some
alternatives that would do the job if needed.  I have my doubt you're
going to get many contributions from those, except perhaps by asking
nicely with enough publicity.  I haven't seen the dialog in 2.7 yet
(not tried so far), but that sounds like something that would work for

My suggestions for a better income-perspective for ardour would be
along these lines:

- keep trying to get small donations by asking and drawing attention.
- I would not make SVN access payed for - it can only backfire by
  killing contributions from the community, in my opinion.
- you could make a bold decision (although I wouldn't be happy about it)
  and make the latest version only accessible as payware.  Open
  source, but only downloadable after paying.  If you have enough
  people that really want it, that might work.  It will cost you lots
  of casual small-time users, but if a somewhat older version is
  freely available that could work.  It may also reduce
  community-contributions to the code.
- consider earning money off of support or specifically requested
  development.  You could ask significantly more money from
  (semi-)professional users, but then you need to offer something.
- investigate what (if anything) is keeping professional users
  from using Ardour.  Address these points and make it clear (including
  licensing) that they must pay for using ardour in a professional
- consider a boxed retail-version to sell in stores, perhaps complete
  with a distribution on a live CD or suitable for booting from a USB

Apologies for the long post.
Keep up the excellent work on Ardour!

Hein Zelle


 Unix is user friendly. It's just very particular about who 
 it's friends are.

 Hein Zelle                     hein at icce.rug.nl

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