Ardour and Money, 2014 edition

(Fdruec1) #41

Just a comment, probably useless, but:

I presume most linux users who try ardour for the first time will get ardour from their distro’s repos. Based off ubuntu’s popcon stats:

#rank name inst vote old recent no-files (maintainer)
61 ardour 72591 326 72132 107 26 (Debian Multimedia Team)
334 ardour-i686 4948 28 4901 16 3 (Debian Multimedia Team)
576 ardour-altivec 17 0 17 0 0 (Debian Multimedia Team)

326 people regularly use ardour; 72591 have it installed. If you could pickup some more donations from these people, maybe the project would be in better shape financially.

Now, I think everyone gets prompted, the first time they export a file to think about making a donation. But no-one’s going to do that; they are still playing around with the software at that point, and they probably have not yet decided whether it actually constitutes a useful part of their workflow yet.

On the other hand, if you prompt someone for a donation on, say, the 25th or 50th time they export a file, then maybe you’d have better luck. By that time, it’s clear someone is actually seriously using the software, not just testing it out. And at that point, maybe they’d be more willing to think about contributing.

Last thought:

Public Radio has a good funding model for a a completely free-to-access service. About half of the money the local station by me makes is listener donations, most of the other money comes from organizational donations. I don’t know if there’s anything you can take away from how they fund-raise to apply to the ardour project, but maybe there’s something there.

Anyways, I sure hope you can scrape together enough funds to keep the project going in it’s current incarnation. I can contribute a bit myself (I"m one of those people whose annual subscription lapsed), but I know I’m not going to put the project over the edge myself.

Thanks, either way, for all your hard-work!

(Support) #42
I presume most linux users who try ardour for the first time will get ardour from their distro's repos...
And that is at the root of a problem for a project which is part payware, part donationware, and part freeware. As I see it, the "business model" for want of a better phrase, is to offer Ardour as a GPL open source project, which is by its very nature very complex and can be difficult to understand how to compile for non-technical users. But, for a very reasonable fee, Paul will provide the service of compiling it and packaging it as a ready to run application. This should work well to combine the best of both the commercial and 'free' options - but - inherent in the GPL is the fact that anyone can build it and distribute it - and the distributions do, and they are very effective at distributing it - often to a userbase who has no idea how the project is funded, or that its funded at all - your average Ubuntu user who installs ardour probably thinks "Ubuntu" made it - or that there is some deal between and canonical - either way, they don't have to care (or are not aware that they should).

(Segers) #43

I have an idea that may be stupid, but I’m going to throw it out there. There is at least one piece of free software that has this figured out, Blender. They have their own charitable foundation that supports several developers. Right now they are trying to put together a feature length movie. They will need something like Ardour to pull that off. May I suggest approaching Ton and seeing if the Blender foundation will take Ardour under its wing?

(Franvdmerwe) #44

Paul, in a scenario where you do take the job with the company, i guess Harrison, will most of your development be closed source or will there be a good balance towards improving core Ardour, which will be available here, and proprietory DSP related add on’s.

(Support) #45

As the Mixbus site says:

“Mixbus is Open” … “…Like a good piece of vintage hardware, you can open the box and look inside…”

(Seablade) #46
I have an idea that may be stupid, but I'm going to throw it out there. There is at least one piece of free software that has this figured out, Blender. They have their own charitable foundation that supports several developers. Right now they are trying to put together a feature length movie. They will need something like Ardour to pull that off. May I suggest approaching Ton and seeing if the Blender foundation will take Ardour under its wing?

There is a much longer answer to this, but to keep it short for right now, the Blender Foundation is interested in supporting Blender, not really in supporting other pieces of software, as they have their hands full in supporting Blender. They also have a much larger user base than Ardour that helps to support it (And uses it of course). There has been discussions with folks about using Ardour on such projects, and I work with some of the folks involved in the BI project on other projects, but I don’t believe it has gone beyond the discussion phase at this point, and Ardour would likely be responsible for it’s own development, so it would be a partnership, not a supporting development like they do with Blender.

Keep in mind there is a MUCH longer answer I don’t have time or energy to type out at the moment.

Paul, in a scenario where you do take the job with the company, i guess Harrison

Likely incorrect guess, is my guess:)


(Paul Davis) #47

In my experience for every user of an audio-centric application like Ardour, there are 8-10 users of a visual-centric app like Blender. In addition, Blender got a lot of traction by actually being quite early players in their software niche, which meant that when Ton eventually decided to go open source, he (or rather, the Blender Foundation) got a significant influx of cash from both the EU and Apple. Given the existence of many other fine DAWs of various scales and feature-laden-ness, it isn’t clear why anyone would put large resources into Ardour, at least not until it was released for Windows.

(Andreas) #48

This blog entry is mentioned in (Linux Weekly News).

Here is a free link (since the contents is otherwise for subscribers only)

(Paul Davis) #49

That article is not entirely accurate (though I admire the research the author put into it).

(Wolftune) #50

So, I wrote a comment saying that aims to provide money for projects by addressing the fundamental problem that just asking for donations from each individual fails to address fundamental dilemmas of collective action. Every individual feels helpless because they could up their donation from $10 to $50 or whatever and the situation won’t change. You need everyone to contribute together, and just asking for donations doesn’t accomplish that.

And the first reply was completely non-sequitur. It said something implying that something I said was wrong because projects need money. Um, I said that the point is that projects need money, and I was pointing out that (A) just asking for donations doesn’t work well enough and (B) dramatically lowering the user-base by restricting access is counter-productive. How is pointing out that projects need money a counter to my point?

Projects need money. Everything that maximizes the user-base maximizes the potential money. Restricting downloads reduces the user base and probably hurts the project. We’re working to provide a solution to address the collective-action problem with donations and the entire goal is to provide money to projects.

(Paul Davis) #51

wolftune: I think you’re a little wrong with the numbers. The majority of Ardour users do not get Ardour from They get it from their linux distributions’ software repositories. Without cost.

(Aklinbail) #52

Except the mixer EQ code e.t.c… which is the primary reason for using mixbus over ardour…

I use about 80% Mixbus and 20% Ardour.I maintain a subscription with both but was of the understanding that part of the Mixbus subscription goes to Ardour… Is this correct?

From what Paul is saying it would seem that the contribution from Mixbus to Ardour is very small.

(Paul Davis) #53

For various reasons I don’t want to get into actual numbers, but 90% or more of the time, it is pretty small. Mayb e enough for a couple of nice meals out with my wife with drinks. It isn’t a substantive part of how I make a living, although of course every little bit adds up and is important.

(Ben) #54

Hi, I’m the product manager for Mixbus at Harrison.

Part of every Mixbus sale (not just subscribers) goes to Paul, and an additional portion goes to other open-source Ardour devs. But for the last year, we have focused our efforts on growing the user base rather than maximizing income on v2, and that has been reflected in Paul’s percentage. We have many thousands more users than we had when we launched the v2 update. Based on this growth, our expectation is that Mixbus v3 will be hugely successful, and this will of course benefit Paul when it is launched. I hope this makes our situation clear without giving away too many details.

You’ll see development of v3 advancing very rapidly for the next few weeks, while we test and document v3 for a commercial release. It’s been delayed longer than I expected, but v3 is exceeding my wildest expectations. This is going to be killer!

(Paul Davis) #55

I should also stress that I am entirely satisfied with the relationship with Harrison & Mixbus. We are in full agreement on how things should be.

(Aklinbail) #56

That’s excellent to hear from both of you… It’s great when a business relationship works well like that.

One other thought I had was that getting a version of Ardour 3 on OSX may seriously help again with the subscriptions.

The introduction of MIDI, multicore and a bunch of other stuff from A3 into Mixbus 3 will hopefully create a big surge of purchases. I’m hoping that you get positive reviews from places like SOS.

(Fookappel) #57

I think ardour would best be served if it and as easy to instal as possible for all the major distros. Just make it real clear when downloading and even installs and updates that it cost money for you to work on it and donations are needed to function. Get a company to make training videos (I subscribe to Groove3) and promote it on the site. You can also do campaigns for improvements and features like crowd funding. If you raise X amount… ____ will be added or improved in ardour. Then do a campaign to get the word out… or not

(Paul Davis) #58

Who is going to make training videos? Have you seen the ones already at ? Most people have no real clue what software development costs really are, and even developers can’t accurately estimate the time to add features or fix bugs. The current binary downloads from are as simple to install as we can make them without adding a graphical installer. Would the people paying subscriptions prefer me to work on that or to continue fixing bugs and adding features to Ardour? Most Ardour users get Ardour from their distribution anyway, not from How do I make it any more clear than it already is that income is needed? I already have people complaining, and the most common reason for “I’m not paying anything” is “I thought it was free software”.

(Benjamin Scherrer) #59

Paul, isn’t it possible to use the normal bank transfer? Of course that’s only profitable for domestic bank transfers, but maybe you have someone you and the userbase trust in Europe. Within Europa, bank transfers have been standardized and unified with the SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) system, so it’s no problem to transfer money within whole (SEPA-)Europe. One bank transfer per month from the European-Ardour account to your American may be payable and could solve the paypal problem for Europe. There is also something called sofort-überweisung (immediate transfer) to make sure someone paid for her/his ardour package (

This idea just crossed my mind, maybe it’s not worth anything.

(Paul Davis) #60

I’m well aware of the state of bank-to-bank transfers within the Eurozone. It is hard for me to open an account with the EU, but you’re right that someone else could on my behalf. I haven’t gone down this path because it poses risks to both parties, but perhaps I should think about it more seriously.