ardour without GUI

hi, is it possible to run ardour without GUI, having it controlled only with OSC ?
If not done yet by anybody, is hacking that tricky or feasible ?

Why Do you need to use Ardour from command Line ?

@nicbagstuff: there is no way to do so at present. Its not impossible - the code design tries to permit this, and years ago there was a terminal-only version (still a GUI, but not with X11). It would be tricky hacking it.

Thank you. I don’t have time now to investigate, but I might have some later. I’ll let you know if something interesting pops up…

I once thought about this just for exporting huge sessions, maybe without the GUI showing you the levels moving and other graphical things while exporting could be faster…

Think of it like a 3D renderer, you work in 3D with a GUI, then to render the final image you can do it by command line and it does it faster.

Just a thought… I’m so used to rendering images that take even days to render, exporting a music session in minutes is a breeze for me. Although maybe in a Pro end studio where time/money are critical could probably come handy.

In a Pro studio audio is bounced or rendered out in real time.

One of the most important benefits from ‘rendering’ or exporting the audio from a DAW in something other than real-time is that you can (in theory) avoid the audio glitches that can happen - due to xruns - when all the processing needs to meet very strict timing in order to keep the soundcard buffers filled. When you export a session ‘off-line’ the system should simply process the audio as a block of numerical data, out to a file, without the need to meet any strict timing deadlines, thereby avoiding any glitches.

Along with this is increased possibilities for shared work across large geographical distances.

In other words, if I am keeping an Ardour session in a VCS so that not only I can work on it, but also others(Which I have done repeatedly now) I can also set post-commit hooks to export previews and automatically render them so that others working on such a project can see where progress is made. Very useful when working on animations from a distance for instance.


thinking of driving Ardour from an other software, more than command line only. Ardour is great for a lot of stuff you all know about.

A no gui option opens the possibility of running Ardour as part of a server, or also experiment other visualization stuff (like

very exiting for me !

Back to that, here is the trick for ubuntu, without touching any source code.
The solution is based on Xvfb (X virtual frame buffer). It can be installed using apt-get or synaptic:
sudo apt-get install xvfb

First create a virtual display that does not display:
sudo Xvfb :1

Then, run ardour to be displayed on this virtual display:
export DISPLAY=:1 ; ardour2

A quick test with start/stop command sent using the OSC protocol worked nicely.