[Ardour-Users] Hm...

Thomas Vecchione seablaede at gmail.com
Tue Aug 31 07:07:23 PDT 2010

On Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 9:54 AM, David Kastrup <dak at gnu.org> wrote:
> It might be worth mentioning that Ardour does not actually come with a
> manual, nor with any references to it (let alone a version corresponding
> to the installed version) in its Help menu.  That is another usability
> issue.

Then it sounds like not only are the issues with RTFM, but also you
are using a rather old version of Ardour(Several months at least).

> Nothing wrong with a toggle for locking things.  Try to change them, and
> you get a tooltip "xxx is locked" and nothing happens.  But that is not
> what I was talking about.

Um that would not only be annoying, but rather pointless as when I am
clicking it is to change something else clicking on the same area.

>> If I am clicking on a region to modify gain levels, I don't want that
>> region to move when I click and drag.
> Different handles help.  Also changing modes with a local mouse menu
> (3rd button) rather than toolbar icons, since the latter is on a
> different part of the screen and moving from and back takes time.
> You'll likely say that people should rather use keyboard shortcuts, but
> if I have the mouse in hand anyway, that means extra work.  The purpose
> of a mouse interface is not to demonstrate how bad a mouse interface can
> be.

Keyboard shortcuts are your friends.  The toolbar is really there to
give a visual indication of what mouse mode you are in, and for an
easy way for people that don't know the keyboard shortcuts to change.
I would be willing to bet most users that have used Ardour for a
length of time, like most programs, are using the keyboard shortcuts.

> Same here, but if the only documentation you _have_ available is on the
> web, that's bad enough.  Hiding it away completely from within Ardour
> and then telling people "RTFM" is just disingenuous.

Not at all, most of those same people have a second computer set up
exactly for browsing web and doing office tasks.  The audio computer
is a offline computer in those situations but that doesn't mean they
are completely offline.  I even am on dialup and have no problem
getting to the manual.

> So either there is no progress in Ardour2 development, or the manual is
> so incomplete and/or outdated that it would not track this progress?

Ardour2 at the moment is thankfully feature frozen so it would not be
difficult at the moment to keep a manual up to date with it, if the
manual was up to date.  The manual however WAS very out of date, thus
two different pushes in the past year or so to rewrite it, the one
people have been pointing you to is the outcome of one of those and is
geared specifically to the beginner of Ardour and does not cover 75%
of what Ardour CAN do.  The other one is a tech ref that I am working
on coordinating, is over 100 pages already and a complete rewrite of
the old out of date reference, and is nowhere near complete despite
the amazing amount of work already done.  I would place it about 2/3
of the way there.

> I won't write anything I don't understand.  I am fine with the situation
> being suboptimal.  What I am not fine with is pretending that everything
> is fine and everybody not seeing it that way is a moron.
> By pretending everything is fine as it is, one discourages any progress.

By not taking advantage of at least the documentation that is there,
and then complaining you don't understand it, that does not help your
situation much.  The situation is certainly suboptimal on
documentation, noone has argued that at all, but you have ignored what
is there.

> I believe that immediately.  But "hardly simple" is not the same as "not
> worth it" and that is not the same as "unnecessary".

Noone said it was, if it was I wouldn't have done what I did, along
with the help of Nettings and others.  The FLOSS manual wouldn't

> Ardour does not come with a man page.  And its help menu does not point
> to any documentation (at least in my version).  That is over 100 pages
> already written that are not discoverable.

Once again you are obviously using a rather old version of Ardour, the
first problem there.  And secondly a man page would be of extremely
limited worth and do almost nothing for telling how to use the program
once it is started.

> You'll say "do a web search".  I happen to be the maintainer of AUCTeX,
> an Emacs editing mode about 20 years old.  It comes with extensive
> online documentation that is meticulously maintained.  One recurrent
> nuisance is people _not_ reading any of that documentation but instead
> using recipes they dug up on the net from "helpful people" who stopped
> maintaining their websites 15 years ago, or from snapshots of the
> original documentation similarly old.
> That's just aggravating, and you can't stamp out all that outdated
> stuff.  And since people linked to a lot in recent decades (and left
> their links live at well), it crops up at embarrassingly high places in
> web searches.
> So I try doing the authors of software a favor by using the
> documentation coming with their software, or pointed to by their
> software.

And our response to this is that the manual is referenced on the web
page, could be better but at least is pointed to from Ardour.org.
Beyond that tutorials tend to be decent and we will cross the other
bridge when we come to it.  The manual is also in the software itself,
again you are using an old version.

> And the version of Ardour I am using here (current Ubuntu Lucid) draws a
> blank in that respect.

OLD version.  VERY old, and likely has its own bugs due to the package
maintenence IIRC.  I suggest you update to an actual supported

> So the first advice should be to FTFM (Find the Fine Manual), before you
> can even start to RTFM.

Again don't use an old version.  We can't control distribution
packaging sadly, but you will notice that what you are using and what
you can download from Ardour.org are significantly different.


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