Ardour on BSD

Hi all,

!! first post… so please forgive me if i am posting this in the wrong section, i suppose i could have posted this in the Linux section as both are based on Unix…but wasnt sure. !!

has anyone (devs) gotten a chance to muck around in BSD? either of the distros? …freeBSD,OpenBSD,PC-BSD,NetBSD etc. would ardour run smoothly? is there any chance in the future of ardour being able to run on BSD? or would a brave soul be willing to attempt coding a back-end for Ardour to make this possible?.

thanks for ur time.

I just took a look and ardour 2.4.1 is available from the ports on FreeBSD. But it’s many years since I last used FreeBSD and back then ardour and jack weren’t there, so I can’t tell how well it might work at all.

But except the lack of realtime support I can imagine that soundcard support is by far a bigger problem on BSD than it is on Linux.

JACK definitely runs on BSD, and I believe Ardour does too. BSD does not offer much in the way of realtime or low latency support, so its an inferior platform in the ways that matter most, but there are quite a lot of audio related work you can do without these properties (as Windows demonstrated for years :slight_smile:

Thank you Paul and C.L.A for both of your replys,

To Paul,

You mentioned BSD lacking real-time and low-latency support… now is this due to just support or is it something concerning the OS itself? a Berkeley oops? im sure with enough motivation…(on BSD users part)…could change this for the better no?
I do run Fedora but have looked into PC-BSD as a dual boot system possibly triple under GAG.

To C.L.A,

definitely understand your reply as i do Pauls…and although is exponentially better…sound card support is still fairly problematic on Linux for obvious reasons granted much better than BSD but Linux has had quite a bit more time in dev than BSD for the masses. I think i was looking under PC-BSD ports and had over looked FreeBSDs as they are interchangable for the most part.

Thank you both again for the time…regardless of OS Ardour is definitely one DAW thats gonna get alil more time on my 'puter most likely under Fedora Core.

Just found this not too long…thought you both might be interested in a quick peek.

they are trying to catch up Paul :slight_smile:

hah, victor is at it again, still trying to get a foot in the door :slight_smile:

Hi all.

Should i add my own experience ?
Box : FreeBSD-6.3 // OSS-4.0-build1008

  1. Trouble encountered on jackd w/ OSS
    jackd try to fix memory buffer, and OSS driver don’t support it, like ioctl blocking mode too. For jackd to work, these parameters are fine (you can change frequencies or buffer size as your convenience) :
    % jackd -R -doss -b -r 44100 -p 2048 -n 4

It seem the problem mentioned above don’t appear on FreeBSD-7.0 flavor. But i guess this is not due to FreeBSD release, but to OSS release which is different. I haven’t verify, but i’m pretty sure. Somebody to confirm ?

  1. Realtime issue on FreeBSD-6.3
    I’ve read some mistake on FreeBSD realtime scheduling process - FreeBSD is able to do realtime. rtprio do it for you. In our case, i tried to setup jackd with a rtprio of -5, and ardour2 with the same minus one. It work well. Just be carefull, if Ardour2 take your CPU, Xorg or anything else wouldn’t be able to run.
    FreeBSD-7 would be more efficient for our case, implementing a new SMP scheduler. If you get a multicore CPU, i advice to use FreeBSD-7 with a proper customized kernel.

I hope this help,


Hi all,

should i add my own experience ?
So, i’m using Ardour-2496 with jackd-0.103.0 on OSS-4.0-build1008 / FreeBSD-6.3

  • Jackd on OSS-4.0 for FreeBSD-6.3 * :

Parameters i’m using are :
% jackd -R -doss -b -r 44100 -p 2048 -n 4

‘-b’ is mandatory. jackd try to setting up hw memory buffer, and OSS don’t support it, as for some ioctl blocking mode. On FreeBSD-7, i’ve read you can avoid ‘-b’ parm. But this is not due to FreeBSD, 4Front/OSS port is not the same as for FBSD-6.3
As you see above, i’m using realtime (-R), but this not mean actual realtime, just a way to tell to jackd to ‘try’ and setup realtime.
I’ve read some mistake on realtime scheduling ability from FreeBSD.
FreeBSD does realtime, and rtprio do it for you.
I’ve tried to setup jackd with a ‘-5’ rtprio, and the same for Ardour2, and it work fine. I don’t know whether some latency trouble would be fixed with this (the only way to ‘taste’ it would be to plugged in a guitar, recording it with Ardour2 playing in background, and verifying whether beats are ok or not).
Just be careful using rtprio, some process like Xorg wouldn’t be able to take your CPU if Ardour2 or jackd take it.
7.0 release of FreeBSD make a new SMP scheduler ; if you get a multicore CPU, i recommend to use 7.0 release. Though, i guess realtime trouble would disappear with a quadcore at 2Ghz, even with a good or bad realtime OS scheduler, isn’t it ?
Last, 4Front/Oss team have done a great work on their driver for FreeBSD. Thanks to them. I’m using 2 computers with FreeBSD, and sound system are ok for both (and they embed some very bad sounds chips you know !).
FreeBSD will not be Mac OS/X for music, but remember : FreeBSD is … free ! (and Linux too of course !)

Hope this shed a light on the mess,


7.0 release of FreeBSD make a new SMP scheduler ; if you get a multicore CPU, i recommend to use 7.0 release. Though, i guess realtime trouble would disappear with a quadcore at 2Ghz, even with a good or bad realtime OS scheduler, isn’t it ?
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Hello how are you? Can someone tell me how to install Ardor on FreeBSD? I have not found how to do it, I really appreciate your help.


Not to say it can’t be done, but this thread is nearly a decade old at this point, probably not the best place to ask. I would suggest looking at some BSD forums to see if anyone there has experience with it. But you may get lucky and someone around here uses BSD as well.


Over the course of 2016, during the Ardour4 dev cycle, various BSD devs+packagers submitted patches to make recent Ardour build and work on NetBSD, OpenBSD and FreeBSD. As for how to install/compile or get it, I don’t know. shows that Ardour 5.9 is available. I would assume it installs like any other port, but I have almost no experience doing this, so I suggest consulting with BSD users on their forums if you run into trouble.

That page says to do this:

To install the port:
cd /usr/ports/audio/ardour5/ && make install clean

To add the package:
pkg install ardour5