We are happy to announce the first alpha release of Ardour 3.0. This is not the final release of 3.0, and its not even a beta release. Please read more below on what to expect from this alpha version.
What's new in Ardour 3.0?
Ardour 3.0 contains a huge set of changes over Ardour 2.X. The most significant is the addition of MIDI recording, playback and editing support, but you really should take a look at that list to see the full scope of the work that has been done.
It should go without saying that since this is an alpha release we expect there to be quite a few bugs left to fix before we reach a beta or final release. The hope right now is that a month or so of continuous, rolling alpha releases will be followed by a couple of beta releases and then a final release of 3.0 in about 2 months from now. Specifically, Ardour 3.0 itself is not yet feature-frozen, and we anticipate several additions before the beta release.
What do you mean by an alpha release?
This alpha release exists for a few specific reasons:
Session file format now stable
The file format for Ardour 3.0 session files is now stable. This means that we (the developers) promise that work created with this and later versions of Ardour 3 will be usable by all later versions of Ardour 3. It doesn't guarantee that we won't tweak the file format a little bit (though this seems unlikely at present), but it means that if we do change it, we'll ensure that Ardour will continue to load any session files from this release onwards.
We need testers, and complainers and ...
We've had a really great group of people testing Ardour 3 as its been under development, but its time to get more testing, more bug reports, and more comments and ideas. We're not sure that we've done MIDI in the best possible way. We don't know what workflows we handle well at present, and which ones need lots more work. So this release is the first round of asking more people into the "testing pool" to give us feedback and let us know what's broken, what's horribly designed and what works well.
New binary distribution model
On Linux for Intel processors, Ardour 3 (and potentially Ardour 2.8.12) is going be distributed in a distribution neutral format - one package for 32 bit, and one for 64 bit, that will run on any distribution of Linux. We've done some preliminary testing of this to make sure that it basically works, but there's a lot of distributions out there to verify this for.
How do I get this alpha release
Ready to Run binaries
It can be downloaded as two separate binary packages:
/wherever/you/put/it/bin/ardour3(replacing /wherever/you/put/it appropriately). There is no install command, and each package is totally independent, so that if you download a future version of Ardour 3, it will not interfere with this one.
These packages should run on any distribution of Linux with nothing else to install or update. Testing these packages is one of the primary goals of this initial alpha release. BTW, the packages are very large at present because the libraries included have not been stripped, to make debugging easier and more useful.
There will be no tarball versions of any alpha version. If you want to build Ardour 3 yourself, you should fetch it from svn.
What about OS X
The rather weak development environment for cross-platform applications on OS X has affected our plans on OS X. There will not be any alpha releases available for OS X. The first OS X releases will start with the first beta release - that is, with a version that we think has withstood the first round of widespread testing and is worth using by a larger community.
We would strongly prefer that distributions did not package any alpha release of Ardour 3. We understand that you may have your own reasons for doing so, and that we can't stop you from doing so. However, we will routinely ignore problems bug reports that come from alpha releases not built by us. We intend to release Ardour 3 final this way also, and are sure that there will be some backlash from at at least some parts of the Linux ecosystem over this decision. However, questions about packaging Ardour 3 final are very different for us than the questions about the alpha release stream, and we do ask for your cooperation in reducing our workload in tracking down bugs and problems caused by your own builds of the alphas.
Bug Reporting, Discussions etc.
The first rule of ardour 3 is don't talk about ardour 3 on the forums. There's no code of silence here - its just that web forums are incredibly inefficient ways for the development team to interact with people. So please use these channels to communicate bugs, workflow problems, design ideas and anything else to us: