Ardour and Money, 2014 edition

(Support) #61
PayPal might just reverse them anyway, all by itself...

@Paul: They do, someone was once “kind” enough to attempt to purchase something from my site using what Paypal deemed a fraudulent credit card. In that instance, they reversed the payment, as they should do, in order to protect the (genuine) card holder and the merchant (from being implicated) but they also charged me in excess of £25.00 for the transaction / reversal - which is comparable to the price of the product - and beyond what I have alreadty said, would provide no other information as to why the transaction had been reversed, which would make it very difficult to contest the charges. Thankfully this kind of thing is rare.

For paid Ardour downloads, it might make sense to investigate some of the online store providers - especially as it seems the EU tax regulations for selling digital products across EU borders are about to get a lot more complex. I’m not sure how or if this affects Ardour, but for many small ( EU ) based businesses selling digital content, the indications are that it is about to get a lot more, and possibly prohibitively, expensive - either for the customer or the business or possibly both as a result.

(Malcolm Smith) #62

My subscription lapsed a while back and I also don’t recall getting an email reminder (yes, I am resubscribed now). I agree that subs should “run until cancelled” and not just be annual. When I signed up, I joined for life! Heck, Ardour is the thing that brought me back to computing (and Linux) in 2001 after giving up in the 90’s under the MS jackboot (facepalm). So we can’t have mere economics making your life difficult. Wish I was richer so I could employ you “for the public good” :slight_smile:

+1 for what Benjamin Scherrer said. I’m in the UK, and just checked my bank, and they charge £10 to send money overseas electronically. Wow, is it such an effort for them to email some bank in another country! I thought we were 6 million years into the future (node 8317), not still stuck in the Victorian Age :frowning: Most of my clients (all in UK) pay me by direct bank transfer, which is free. Is this the case across the whole USA? I know it won’t help for micropayments, but it’s ideal for donations.

I’d gladly help in any way I can, if you need a UK bank account setting up. I’m not sure how it could work - how to get people to trust that I’d not spend the money on phasers, and how to best deliver it to you? But since I’m just a mere (l)user who doesn’t know Jack ****, it might be better if any UK/EU-based Ardour devs held the account(s) instead; I mean, I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say that we’d gladly give the devs our money, and then you could share it out amongst yourselves as you see fit. So that might solve the trust issue.

Also, I think $10pcm is too cheap, and I don’t earn much. If the number of subscribers is going drastically down, then tell us (ah, you just did :slight_smile: and I bet many of us will double our subscription or ping extra donations when we can. Maybe if your income is low, just raise baseline prices (or even just suggested amounts). This often creates a surge in demand as people still equate cost with quality, well, maybe except for those of us enlightened folks who truly understand what Free means…

(Zettberlin) #63

I sent another 40 USD as a donation.
Why not subscribe?
Because PayPal wont let me. I still need a Credit Card registered with PayPal beforehand and I do not have one. And I wont get one because as a freelancer I do not have a permanent monthly income. Of course I could get a pre-paid card but anyway: would that be good enough for PayPal? I doubt that…
Still I dearly hope, that this very important project will survive the drought. I’ll continue do my best to spread the word also…

(Franvdmerwe) #64

It’s the 28th and the donation count stands at 70%. I think the writing is on the wall for Ardour development as it currently stands and who can really blame Paul for pursuing a more stable financial situation. I am not sure how much code contribution at the potential employer will be proprietary but if there is a healthy balance i think Paul pursuing that route might be in the best interest of Paul, Ardour and its community.

(Info) #65


Just a comment, regardless of the available payment methods and ease of them, for much of the western world in the Northern hemisphere (ie North America, Europe etc.) it is summer, kids are home from school, vacations, RV’s, cottages, boats, motorcycles, concerts, festivals etc etc are all clamoring for your time, attention and dolla-bills. Before this recent cash flow crunch it would not be surprising to make an educated guess that the summer months are always a bit leaner than the rest of the year for Paul/Ardour (which is also a strong selling point for monthly subscriptions). Even looking around at things like web user forums (including my own) posting is far less frequent, software releases are less frequent and general activity is way down because people are elsewhere both mentally and physically. Of course the end result to Ardour is the same…less income however I see it as a more general reflection of the seasonal realities than necessarily a declining interest in supporting Ardour when looking at the income over the last couple of months anyway…

(Princevalleum) #66

From reading the back and forth over how to ethically raise money for the project it seems everyone has an opinion. I would just like to say to everyone that Paul would probably not have to step on anyone toes regarding open source if he was making enough money to get by. Let’s give him a break.

(Support) #67
Before this recent cash flow crunch it would not be surprising to make an educated guess that the summer months are always a bit leaner than the rest of the year...
@GMaq - I think you're completely right, it is seasonal, and my own experience - over several years - bears this out.

(Mikael Hartzell) #68

Hi :slight_smile:

In my opinion the biggest part of the problem are people that use Ardour installed from their distros repo. Most of them don’t know that the project needs funding to go on.

So may I suggest a benign way to encourage these people to also contribute to the project. I’ve seen this method used in a couple of projects before, and I think it works, at least it has an effect on me :slight_smile:

At the first Ardour start add a “nag” screen that informs the user that this project continues only if users continue to support it. Allow the user to just click ok, to close the screen.

Then for the next 30 Ardour launches don’t nag the user, but at the 30th time show a screen saying “It’s obvious you find the product useful, please consider donating to the project so that development can go on. Please click here to donate, even small donations count :)”. Inform the user that Ardour is a massive undertaking and needs full time commitment to make the project advance in a timely manner. Allow the user to close this window by clicking “OK” or “I already donated”. If the user clicks OK, then show the nag screen with every 10th Ardour launch. If user clicked “I already donated” then don’t nag him anymore.

This scheme works by playing with the users guilt and at the same time it is not too intrusive. Of course it is easy to bypass this scheme. But every time the user installs a new distro and starts up Ardour, he is reminded with the fact that the project needs money.

This would be very easy to implement and would address the problem that most users running Ardour installed from the distro repo are not aware of the financial problems the project faces. In my opinion this method would help to bring the number of subscribes up.

People are willing to donate if it is possible to donate small enough sums, like 5, 7 , 10 dollars a month. Netflix costs about 8 euros a month (in Finland) and this price is so low that people don’t think twice before subscribing. This is the main mechanism behind Netflix’s success. If prices go too high, then people will start to evaluate competing products ( Reaper). If people pay a large sum, they expect every feature to be complete and work flawlessly.

(Paul Davis) #69

Ardour already has a nag screen which appears after exporting a session, which I consider to be the only appropriate time to “nag”.

(Erick) #70

Maybe this has already been brought up, but have you looked into a kickstarter (or some other type of crowd funding) campaign? I don’t know what the rules are to putting your product on there, but it seems to me like an awesome DAW application should be more deserving than that guy wanting to make potato salad.

(Anahata) #71

It’s been mentioned before. Crowdfunding kickstarter-style is a great way to raise capital for a one-off event (like recording an album or writing a book) but it’s not a good way to generate a continuous, steady and predictable income for continued software development, which is what Paul needs.

(Simon Wiesmann) #72

I’m surprised nobody has mentioned (or did I miss it?). It’s like kickstarter but subscription style. Supporters also get access to a special area on the site for specials/info/contact with the supported people. Seems to work good for YouTubers and I don’t see why it shouldn’t work for Ardour.

Another interesting (albeit different) concept is BitHub ( A project gets a Bitcoin pool and everyone who wants to participate as a developer gets bitcoins for git commits. While people who want to support the project but can’t or don’t want to code simply supply bitcoins to the pool… So this may not be the right tool to fund Paul… But seriously… Check out patreon - I’ve heard good things! One example:

(Temporalcoldwar24) #73

Paul, appreciate you taking the time to stay ethical with fund raising like your placing of nag screen and, as you said, originally making subscriptions for only a year. But maybe you are being a little too ethical ? If pulling back on slightly more aggressive funding strategies leads to problems for Ardour (which I think is a huge service to the music world) then ultimately there might not be anything to be ethical over (of course that’s a worst case scenario, and there are other strategies like setting up a foundation). But I think most people can understand why they might have to pay or be “pestered” by an annoying nag screen (yes even at application first start). Even upping the minimum payments might be a good idea … and needing proof for unwaged/benefits/developing payments rather than just going on trust with that. For such a high quality piece of software it would be a shame to see Ardour undersell itself. Why not match the price to the quality and demand payment - that is your right - and leave the code as free access ?

(Support) #74
...and leave the code as free access ?
This issue here is the GPL - it permits anyone to redistribute / build the code, for free, as they wish - so if the code is available the distributions will build it and distribute it without requiring to pass any support back to the project - the only service the ardour developers can "sell" is a ready to run build of the code, but that is directly undermined by the GPL and the distributions (providing the same service, in theory...) for free. If Ardour is commercial, then adopt a license which is more restrictive (the code could still be available, with some caveats) or, accept that the GPL does not provide a model where a developer can actually monetize their product / service. It simply "allows" developers to provide their work with no compensation, to (commercial) distributions which then take it and (indirectly) profit from it.

(Martin Erdtmann) #75

I just figured out that my Paypal subscription ended in 2014. I reactivated my subscription. Thank you for this reminder.

(Temporalcoldwar24) #76

Makes sense :slight_smile: Keep the license so that single users can still build it themselves, but not for distribution. Maybe allow some way of letting some kind of demo version into the distro repositories.

(James Brierley) #77

@linuxdsp I think this is the elephant in the room. The GPL might have done an effective job of balancing developers’ commercial interests with the common good in an age that combined a generally more technical computer-inclined population with generally less pervasive Internet acceess, but probably less so now. Were I to meet anyone who would tell Paul that it was ‘unethical’ for him to bar unauthorized commercial use of the Ardour code (for the sake of him being able to afford to continue working on said code for the good of all of us musicians) I would get angry. That said, it’s not my place to be righteously indignant on Paul’s behalf, and as previous commenters have said, his pursuit of a sustainable self-financing open source project is commendable. I just hope things improve, and I’ve bumped up my monthly contribution and throw a few more quid in when I can spare it to do something towards that.

Incidentally, I’ve been tempted to suggest something such as a paid-for downloadable compilation of music produced with Ardour where the community agree to donate their royalties to the project. However, this seems such an obvious idea that I’m sure it’s been suggested before and found unfeasible, and to be honest I doubt anything like that would be very effective anyway. Oh well, if any of my material ever goes quadruple platinum I’ll be sure to share the royalties with Paul and the Ardour project :slight_smile:

(Support) #78

On a slight tangent, I’ve always felt it was slightly at odds with the spirit of the GPL (if not the letter of it - and I’m certainly no legal expert) that a commercial project based on Ardour - such as Mixbus - or possibly others - can exist, without having to be GPL?
My thinking goes that whereas e.g. a plugin is a non-essential, optional addition to the (GPL) host application, and therefore, can exist as a binary and be used with the application without constituting an essential part of it - or something on which the application depends in order to function - by contrast - if the very thing which defines a commercial incarnation of Ardour as that specific product (e.g. without it, that product wouldn’t function) is proprietary and closed, wouldn’t it be more in keeping with the spirit of the GPL if that part (e.g. the Mixbus or other DSP) had to be GPL too? (especially if such a product is actually marketed as ‘open’ - at least in part).
To my knowledge I can’t download a copy of MIxbus and modify / build a fully working, unrestricted version? Perhaps someone could clarify (and would not the same also be true of GPL code used in modified plug-ins e.g. is it possible to download / modify / build the commercial Gverb+ or other paid plugins, if they are based on original GPL code? and if not, how does that work in the context of the GPL?)
As it stands at the moment, it seems there is nothing to stop any commercial developer, if they so choose, taking the Ardour code and producing and selling their own product, without necessarily having to pay anything back at all.

(Seablade) #79


You are really getting into the territory where the lawyers battle it out there.

My understanding in this case, based off several conversations i have had over the years, is that legally in as far as Mixbus etc. are concerned they fulfill the requirements of the GPL on a technical level, and the goals of Ardour on a moral/ethical level. Yes if you want to discuss the ‘spirit’ of the GPL in this context you are probably correct, but my question then becomes, if it fulfills the spirit of the software project using it in question, and the technical requirements of the license, is it really a problem? Meaning Ardour could certainly create another license that says essentially the exact same thing and maintains compatibility with the GPL, but why would it when such a license already exists and is being used?

One of the conversations I have had(Well more than one) indicated that Ardour could become a platform specifically for people to base other DAWs off of. This create a world with open DAW sessions that others can open and modify as they wish without needing to ‘convert’ from one proprietary format to another. Where the work of multiple commercial developers can support the stability and base features of many DAWs and what separates them really is the additional ‘options’ rather than, can we just edit audio in it. And of course Ardour continues in it’s role as a DAW itself as well, that could edit any of the above ideally. To me this is a good path to follow for that.

Now of course I could be blowing smoke for all of the above as well, Ill wait to be corrected if I am:)


(Matthewjohnrussell) #80

@linuxdsp, @seablade

How does the Ardour/Mixbus situation compare to that of the Android kernel in which phone manufacturers are forced to release any modifications to the Linux kernel they have made as a result of it being GPL licensed? (At least this is how I understand it - correct me if I’m wrong!) Does Mixbus somehow manage to be built on top of Ardour without modifying any GPL code?