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

Patrick Shirkey pshirkey at boosthardware.com
Thu Jan 8 21:55:56 PST 2009

Thomas Vecchione wrote:
> You forgot one option in your list, gets support from public grants.  
> In fact one of your previous posts reminded me of something I had been 
> thinking of that may be worth looking into for Ardour, and that is 
> applying for such grants, like from the National Endowment for the 
> Arts.  There are a few categories there that we could fall under.  
> Similar grant organizations may also be possibilities, it is just the 
> NEA poped up first in my head.  At least ona  temporary basis that 
> could help some.  That being said...
> On Thu, Jan 8, 2009 at 11:12 PM, Dewey Smolka <dsmolka at gmail.com 
> <mailto:dsmolka at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     But the point is that there are alternatives. Ardour seems to be
>     following the Wikipedia model, and based on the existence of this
>     thread doing it rather badly.
> Not doing it badly to be honest, doing better than most open source 
> projects, just not doing it enough to support the developers.
>     I would argue that 4) and 5) are non-starters. I don't think there's
>     any real hope of generating revenue for even one developer through web
>     ads, and the discussion itself suggests that there are (correct me if
>     I'm wrong) only about 500 subscribers out of an estimated 10,000 to
>     20,000 users.
> While I agree that no revenue stream worth enough to pay someone would 
> come from it, and am not advocating the idea, some revenue might come 
> of web ads.  It depends on how many of the users actually visit the 
> ads themselves, and how many gets the software from other sources like 
> directly from SAE.
> Likewise option 4 is what we are currently on, as you have noticed, 
> and while it is not bringing in enough, it is bringing in some, and 
> some is better than none, even if only slightly.
I agree with Thomas that you have presented a very good overview. It's 
certainly not negative. Ardour falls mostly into category 4.

Currently Ardour receives some funding from SAE. In the past Harrison 
consoles has also funded. I'm not sure but there may be one or two other 
companies that are also sponsoring dev atm. There are  user 
subscriptions which are around 150 people @ $10/month.

We also have the bounty system which is failing miserably. In a recent 
discussion it was found that the highest anyone has offered for a new 
feature on Mantis is around $80. Nearly all of the features require 
significant effort to make them happen.

I feel that we are missing the boat by not getting more contributions 
from the relatively large user community. Clearly the majority of them 
are not active on this list or the forum although may be lurking and 
occasionally checking in.

I think there is a big opportunity to get the lurkers and absentees 
involved by being more direct about the requirement or at least 
expectation of contributions from people using the tools.

It's fairly simple to add a window which can show subscription/donation 
info and Mantis bounties directly in the software. It could just be an 
embedded html view using an existing browser dispalying the ardour 
website. It's not much effort to add a news feed so people are kept upto 
date without having to lift a finger. It's a little more effort to make 
the window into a central point for community involvement. By ensuring 
the interface is self updating and relevant it will give users incentive 
to participate. Most users don't want to and can't be bothered keeping 
track of the website to find out what is happening. If it was easily 
accessible to them and the info was relevant then more people would make 
some time to contribute.

It's not nagging, it's not intrusive, it's not ruining the experience or 
selling out. It's simply giving the majority of users an easier way to 
get involved with the side effect of creating a more active user community.

Humans want to be involved in communities. We are social creatures. 
Maybe not all the people on this list but for better or worse the people 
on this list have become the minority user base now.

Patrick Shirkey
Boost Hardware Ltd.

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