Financial Support Issues

As of now, June 26th, the financial side of thing only looks OK because of a single payment of US$1000. Last month (May) didn't quite make the $4500 goal, and this month was certain to fall short by quite a significant margin. Before the large donation just mentioned, there was still 28% of June's target unmet with only 5 days left this month. There are no companies backing this project at this time, so its totally incumbent on those of you who use the program and have not yet helped pay to support it to step up and do the right thing. Thanks to everyone who has paid for their contributions and support.

Ardour will continue in some sense even if I find other work, and I believe that Carl, Dave, Hans and others will likely keep up some of their efforts anyway. Since the new download system started, there have been about 15000 OS X downloads and 6000 source code downloads. Less than 3% of the OS X downloads and only 23 source code downloads were associated with up-front payment, though it seems likely than many users donated after the fact. The average price per paid OS X download was about US$10. With a user-base like that, it seems to me that it should be possible to pay one full-time north american developer and to offer occasional payments to others for their outstanding work. What do you think?

Hm, doesn’t sound good… and I hoped it could go into the direction of 2 paid developers.

Did you have any success with your question to paypal about the problem of some (German) people not being able to subscribe without credit card?

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Hm. 3% isn’t very much…

For the german people around here: Perhaps we could find someone we thrust, who has a credit card and a paypal account. So we could transfer the money to him, and he could forward it to Paul…

Hi beowulf666,

there is such a thing for normal donations for people who don’t want to use paypal in Germany

But I think subscriptions are better for Ardour and better for me. For me because these are small sums every month instead of a bigger sum every year or so. And of course for Paul because he knows how much money is coming in (the minimum).

If we can find someone who is willing to do such a “institutional” subscription, I’d be willing to pay my 10 dollars every month to this person, but it would have to be very transparent.


Re: german paypal etc … I ran into a deadend. I had a 3-time back-and-forth with low-level PayPal support people, and they alternately insisted that either (a) it works (b) it shouldn’t work. Totally hopeless.

I noticed just a week or so ago that my subscription had lapsed. I did not get any notification that it had ended other than the lack of the monthly $10 to paypal I notice when I am doing my accounts. You might formulate some reminder that is mailed out the last month of a subscription that gently reminds us to sign back up.


I think another compounding factor this month was the fact that there were no reason for most users to download ardour again, since the updates are few and far between because of the bulk of work going into 3.0

I agree with matt on the reminder service, if possible. Mine is still running though :wink:

Looking forward to the alphas later this “summer” - Very cold where I am at the moment…

Such a reminder is already part of the lm_paypal subscriptions model that I am using to manage subscriptions. I will need to investigate whether it is sending emails and if not, why not.

I think it would be great to continue tallying the amount of money donated to this project even after the goal of $4500 is reached. Also, I think there should be a yearly tally and a monthly suggestion . Naturally there are going to be more donations in a month where there is a new release, and there are going to be less in a month without one. Allow this trend to work to your advantage and suggest, say, 6000 in a month with a release and 3000 in a month without one. However, I think not showing the amount of money raised in a month with a release then complaining in a month without one is ludicrous, especially for a project boasting openness.

What about a commercial page on this site where hardware manufacturers could advertice for paying a fee? That ought to generate a substantial revenue - considering the traffic of pro’s semipro’s and hobbyists working with recording and mixing.
If you want to delete this post because of its heretic and improper nature, you are wellcome to do so. Just couldn’t help mention the possibility… :wink:

@thefirefly - thanks for your comments. However, I do take issue with the general direction they seem to head in. First of all, I would really, really like to avoid the kind of endless “new version, pay to upgrade” nonsense that happens with many other DAWs. Reaper has a much better model there, and I’ve tried to take some inspiration from that. I really don’t want to get sucked into holding back features because I want to stagger releases so that people pay more overall - maybe I have to, but that seems like a desperately sad outcome to me.

Secondly, I really take issue with your confusing the openness of ardour’s source code and development process with the financial model. It is already a little unusual for a programmer to effectively post a graph of their monthly income online for everyone to look at, and one that I sometimes question - I don’t know of any comparisons to this level of openness. I am attempting to make a living from Ardour, not just raise a little extra cash to pay for a couple of extra features, and this is a large difference from other open source projects that occasionally have fund raising related to specific development goals.

Finally, I have already set the monthly goal as low as I can reasonably imagine. Its less than half of what I could make if I go back to doing regular programming work, work that would also come with things like health insurance and retirement plan funding in most cases. It is very hard with a project of interest around the world to justify the income level when I know that for some users it must look like a very nice life already. But I don’t live in a cheap country, and my own personal family situation is not cheap (I am married and have 3 children). Oscillating income is a fact of life for almost any self-employed person, but in my case it would need to oscillate around a figure at least 50% larger than the current monthly goal in order for me to feel comfortable. I didn’t earn US$6000 in the month where the was a release, and I doubt if I will when 2.8.1 comes out either. That is why there is a fixed monthly goal - if my income drops below that for a couple of months at a time, then I simply need to stop working on Ardour and get a regular job.

@Paul: I can understand your problems.

But perhaps (I really don’t know) more people would pay for your development, if they would be more informed about your work.
I know, most of this stuff is discussed in the irc channel, but a weekly(?) posting like a “And thats the cool new feature I’m working at” could be of help, I think.
Not only, to keep the subscriber, but also to find some new users/payers. There are not many musicians I know, who are interested in CVS commit mailing lists and development chats. So why not taking 20 minutes, to write a short development blog? Perhaps with some eye-candy screenshots? :wink:

Please… I agree it would be interesting for some users, but I think Paul’s really spending enough time answering questions here in the forum. Let spend him this 20 minutes a week on something else :wink:

If you are not interested in commits, the mailing list or development chats… wait for the changelog of the next release! Or check out svn and try it out yourself; Lots of possibilities :slight_smile:

More screenshots would be great though, but that’s something someone else could do. We could start a little ‘who’s got the greatest looking screenshots’ contest in the forum and the suggest them to Paul for the site.


I agree to your comment. That is nothing, Paul has to do, but I think, someone has to do it.

Don’t take me wrong: I am interested in the commits and mailing lists.
I just thought about the many people, who are not. These people are reading the public relations messages from Steinberg, Digidesign etc. but they don’t hear much from Ardour. So something like that could improve Ardour’s image. We’r talking about potential paying users, hm?

The screenshot section would be very cool. A sticky thread or something like that.

I am amazed that you (Paul) are willing to openly discuss matters of personal finance not just with a few people, but with an entire community of users, most of whom you probably only know by their Internet handles. So thank you for that. It’s a testament to your commitment to making the open-source ideal work in the real world (and that’s no small feat).

Being that I build and play with Ardour3 on a weekly basis, let me say that it is going to seriously rock. It is accumulating so many features and workflow enhancements that it will blow most proprietary DAWs out of the water. I hope the community gets behind it in a financially substantial way. Paul & family deserve a nice long vacation very soon.

I come from Germany and I am a subscriber, too. It works flawless with a credit card. What are the issues here? I did not understand the problems up to now. Could someone explain? Maybe I could give support here.

Erdie: The problem appears without credit card. It’s not clear whether or not it should be possible to use pay pal without credit card to subscribe to Ardour.
I don’t have a credit card so I can’t subscribe.


Is proper etiquette to pay for the download if I’m already a subscriber? I didn’t pay for 2.8.1 because I’m a subscriber. But, then I started having second thoughts about this. Comments?