[Ardour-Users] a few thoughts

Paul Davis paul at linuxaudiosystems.com
Tue Dec 4 07:28:13 PST 2012

On Tue, Dec 4, 2012 at 10:03 AM, Adriano Petrosillo
<ampetrosillo at gmail.com>wrote:

> I have a feeling that it is very difficult to depart from the boxy,
>>> unappealing look of Ardour because it looks like it uses standard GTK
>>> elements,
>> false, at least as an absolute rule.
> Oh, OK, as I said, it was just a "feeling", seeing that most GTK based
> apps tend to share the same look and feel.

the look and feel of a typical GTK app is driven by the "engine" used for
the drawing, not by GTK itself. in ardour's case, we have many custom
widgets that do all of their own rendering, and there will be a lot more of
this in the future.

>> Mixbus is based on Ardour 2, so no MIDI, but anyway, I find Mixbus
>>> limited and limiting, I don't know about regular channel-strips, but there
>>> are only 4 group buses,
>> mixbus2 has 8 mix busses.
> It is still potentially "limiting", it's more of a theorical aspect rather
> than a practical one: you still have to conform to Harrison's idea of a
> console.

its not harrison's idea of a console. its a workflow that has worked for
hundreds or thousands of highly skilled audio engineers for years, and you
display an incredible level of arrogance in casually dismissing it. in
fact, it is the same level of arrogance that i did when i started working
on ardour and thought "oh, all that silly mixer design ... its all just h/w
limitations and we should just ignore it". It took me a decade to fully
understand WHY mixers have the design that they do, how this design is NOT
just a result of "hardware limitations" and how the best consoles actually
represent what people *want to accomplish* rather than being some limiting
factor in their work.

now of course, not everybody agrees that the harrison approach with mixbus
is right or that their particular compressor is the best sounding one, etc.
this is one of the main reasons why ardour does NOT attempt close
integration with "specific plugins" because opinions vary as to what to
use, and as soon as a different specific plugin is used, the level of
integration becomes hard to maintain (because the plugin may have different
controls or the same controls but with different sematnics.

 and I don't really get the reason to "port" the limitations of hardware
>>> mixers in the digital domain, as there is no real "need" and it's most
>>> probably a deliberate desire to limit the application's functionality (for
>>> marketing purposes, maybe?).
>> one person's limitation is another person's rapid workflow, based on 30
>> years of actual experience of how to mix many different styles of music.
> Tough, it still equates to forcing "another person's rapid workflow" on
> the user,

its not forcing anything. you don't have to buy mixbus. but everything
about mixbus is centered on integration and workflow. if you don't like
what they've done, don't use it and figure out a way to get someone else
(or yourself) to invest the amount of hours that they (and I) put in to
getting it to where it is today, but with your design decisions. the source
is all available.

> THIS kind of limitations. One thing is "standard number of mix busses at
> boot-up", another is "up to 8 mix busses", it smells of "Lite Edition"
> software.

 this is an unfounded suspicion. stop being so cynical.

> I'm not talking about track templates which adapt to ANY plugin of a
> certain type, I'm talking about track templates which use SPECIFIC plugins
> (which then goes well together with having a range of bundled plugins in
> the DAW).

and if someone disagrees with your (or my) choices about which specific
plugins? just like your example of the vintage warmer above. and yes, track
templates currently already define specific plugins if the user made that

> You said that all I want is just a bit more "chrome"... well, even if I
> DID want more chrome, what's really wrong with it? And I personally don't
> even WANT chrome, but many people I told about Ardour thought that "it
> looked cheap" or "unrefined" or whatever compared to the other brand-name
> DAWs they used.

then they don't need to use it. this isn't a beauty competition. if there
is one thing i've learned over the years of working on this program it is
that there is NO appearance, or workflow, or basic program conception that
will make all users happy (or even excited or even just interested).
pursuing this as though there is one single design that will somehow
convince everyone to use a given DAW is absurd. its why there is space in
the marketplace for ProTools and Abelton Live and Garageband and Pyramix
and Sonar and Reaper etc. etc.. well, for some definition of "space"

>Why keep them out, when you do "survive" on donations alone? In the long
run, caving in on "chrome" may allow you to earn enough money from
subscriptions to hire a full-time >developer or two to help you with the
things that matter the most to you and actually benefiting the project.

because i don't see any evidence of this claim at all. the idea that there
is some vast pool of revenue waiting to flow into the project "if only <X>
happened" is an illusion i don't pay attention to anymore. there are things
that will hopefully produce incremental increases in revenue, but this is
an insanely competitive niche that has seen many attempts to break into it
either fail or barely hang on.

>Really, I'd be delighted to contribute in first person to Ardour, it's not
something I can already do (I'm studying electronics engineering - at 24, I
took the plunge and went back to >studying, hoping I did the right choice -
and I'll study quite a big deal of programming too, but I'm still far from
being even vaguely literate about it), I might in the future, but seeing
>that development for Ardour 3 has been a bit slow (in your own words!),
maybe you should start considering investing in making the project more
popular with the majority of users >(without alienating the old ones).

oh really? its so unpopular that its probably the most financially
successful GPL niche software so far? the development has been slow because
there are very few developers with the ability and/or desire (and it takes
both) to contribute to the project. money doesn't fix that, certainly not
by itself.

meanwhile take a look at http://ardour.org/development/post3.0 ... that is
the list of what is slated for work post-3.0. if you really think that more
chrome matters more than any of those items, then you should figure out how
to get developer resources applied to the "more chrome" project, because i
don't (which is not to say that when i find ways to make ardour "prettier"
along the way i won't work on them).

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