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Is Ardour top of the charts?

The Ardour project is an open source digital audio workstation. To many in the recording studio business, digital audio workstation is written DAW. Unwritten is widely held belief that recording studio platforms come in two varieties: proprietary native platforms like Mac OSX and Microsoft Windows, and DigiDesign's HD system (which is a proprietary hardware add-on). Ardour demonstrates that there is a new game in town, and that new game is open source.
Ardour is simply amazing in a number of ways. It leverages native hardware which means that those who want to use their computers for making music benefit from the inexorable progress of Moore's Law as delivered by commodity economics. To put this value into perspective: my home computer has increased in performance by a factor of 12 since 2002 (as predicted by Moore's Law), whereas the performance of proprietary hardware like ProTools has remained unchanged during that same time. It interfaces with ALSA and its LADSPA plugins. Why is this a big deal? Because when one updates a proprietary OS that supports proprietary plugins, it is expected that one will lose several if not dozens of plugins in the process. Could you imagine taking your car to be inspected and learning that your rear seat is not only longer functional, but has been removed? By contrast, open source plugins can be maintained and updated without getting irretrievably lost. The mathematics of its algorithms are subject to inspection. This leads to the development of algorithms based on scientific understanding and integrity, not sheer marketing claims. Ardour can run on versions of real-time Linux that out-perform typical proprietary native systems by having 1/4th the latency-very important when the recorded subjects must all play in time together. Finally, I was thrilled to see that Ardour has been adopted by a major-league professional recording console vendor, for their digital console systems, and also has development support from and SAE Institute (which in turn own AMS-Neve). It is wonderful to see the benefits of open source extending into applications and industries that even a few years ago, most would have bet would never have adopted anything but proprietary solutions. Hat's off to the Ardour team!

Comments

People who attempt to download Ardour--unless they give a credit card number and a minimum payment to the code developers see the following message: "Hi, I'm Paul Davis, Ardour's lead developer. I see that you chose to pay nothing to download Ardour. In the last seven days, of the 500 people who downloaded Ardour, only 125 paid anything for the program (an average of $8 each). This isn't a sustainable model for a sophisticated, evolving complex piece of software. Unfortunately, this means that for the rest of this month there are no cost-free downloads of pre-built versions of Ardour. Source code is always freely available, but is much more work to use than most people want to deal with (which is why we offer pre-built versions). You can choose to pay some non-zero amount below. Otherwise, you'll need to wait till next month. Programmers have to eat too, just like musicians and plumbers." It's obvious that people do have to eat, and that Paul is a person, but what's not so clear is why Ardour is being called "open source," when clearly the only way to access it is to pay a minimum fee.

What he does is perfectly okay. The source code is available on the web site and under an open source license. You can download it freely, modify it, distribute it, etc. What he does is to charge for precompiled binaries and that's allowed. But you can also simply obtain binaries from elsewhere (e.g. all Linux distros include binaries of ardour).

All term paper that I read explain why open software would never be better that full-installed programs. Is it so hard to by good media program and never ever have some problems with it?

Were these Microsoft funded term papers? Open source is in nearly every piece of software and hardware you buy. Most of the backbone of the Internet runs on Open Source Software. Linux servers go years without a reboot. Few avid media lovers do not have vlc on their desktop. Most people have discovered that Internet Explorer isn't really that great of a browser and use either chromium or firefox (or some browser BASED on them). I highly suggest you do MORE research on open source software.