Is there Ardour support in 2018 for Windows?

I just read at…
It reads…
"However, at the present time (Spring 2015) there are and will be no official releases of Ardour for Windows. "
1 - is this still true?
2 - Is the Windows version complete, maintained, and as robust as the other versions?
3 - I’m also confused if Ardour comes in two versions… free open source and paid with additional features… or whatever.
Thanks for any help. has had Windows releases for several years now.

The source code for Ardour is always available without cost. If you want a ready-to-run version with some level of support from us, we ask you to pay something for that. We also offer a free/demo version in ready-to-run form, which will go silent after 10 mins (though you can ask for more time).

The Windows version is complete, maintained and as robust as the other versions. None of Ardour’s developers use Windows, and we would still not recommend Windows as a platform for a variety of reasons, but a majority of users of Ardour are now on Windows.

Thank you Paul.

  • However that gives me pause to wonder… If a majority of users are on Windows one has to wonder why on earth Windows wouldn’t be the primary development platform.
  • We run a small Linux server for our vpn and think it works great… and we also run a linux server for our website in the cloud… but we would have to close our small business if we did not use Windows work stations.
  • You mentioned you guys still would not recommend Windows “for a variety of reasons”
    … Maybe it would help us decide weather to go with Ardour if we knew those reasons.
  • And, when you say “pay something” is that in the form of a formal payment or donation or what?
    Thanks for your help.

We’re not telling you what to run. We just can’t in good conscience recommend the use of platform of such marked technical inferiority. If it works for you, because of history, or the plethora of available plugins, or whatever, then that’s just fine. Windows, despite the excellent work of some people at Microsoft over the years, is fundamentally a poorly designed and cruft-laden operating system. Which is still used by at least 95% of all desktop computing users. Go figure.

We don’t use Windows for development. It’s that simple. We’re not Windows people, and we don’t wish to be. We use cross-platform toolkits and libraries, and as a result of a lot of hard work by a very small number of people, there are very few platform-specific issues with Ardour anymore. The problems you’ll run into with Ardour on Windows will be the same problems you’d encounter on macOS or Linux.

Paying is done via where you have the choice to name your own single-payment price, or to subscribe at one of three different levels.

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Ah Ha! I know where you are coming from.

  • As a tech guy I know a ton of software engineers and developers who use Linux at home… and they all rant and rave about how bad the Windows OS is… but, of course, Windows work is how they make their living, support their families, save for retirement, and send their kids to college.
  • I also do some programming… all on the Windows platform… and have had no issues that I can blame on the OS…
  • of course I also rant and rave myself when I can’t figure out how get it do do something I think it should… but ultimately, if I dig, I either find out why that feature/function is not available… or not as I expected… or I ultimately find out how to get the darn thing to do what I want.
  • That said, I know there is just no way to get folks to change their views on this topic… like trying to get an Apple user out of the “walled garden” … ain’t gonna happen.
  • I still may give Ardour a try as it looks like you guys have done a lot of good work… but it looks like to me that it is not a traditional Open Source program… as I have come to expect…
  • if I can find the time I’ll download the source and see how hard it is to compile it for Windows.

it looks like to me that it is not a traditional Open Source program

source code is freely available via tarball or git. You can compile it yourself if you feel like it. Most Linux distros provide packages.

I don’t know how to be more of a “traditional Open Source program”.

We just charge for pre-built ready-to-run versions and for support.

No problem Paul. I guess I was thinking of programs like GnuCash, Notepad++, Audacity, VLC, etc. But there is nothing wrong with your model… just the first time I’ve run into one exactly like this. Actually, I think it is a good idea from a marketing stand point. Most users can’t compile software but the ones that do become your advocates and help spread the word.
Again, if I can cram it in I’ll download the source and see how complicated it is to create a build.
BTW, what language is it written in?
And, am I correct in thinking that some of the cross platform issues are the use of objects, modules, and other pre-written routines that are available in linux but require a ‘work-around’ or alternative tweak in windows… or some such?

I can only speak for myself… If Ardour was developed in Windows, I would have never heard of it, installed it or have thought to contribute any code to it. The idea of installing an OS I strongly dislike to do volunteer work as a hobby when I use another OS for everything seems odd. I am not sure there would be an Ardour if it was originally developed in Windows. I don’t feel no one should use windows, people are free to use what they want. I think the same goes for development platform. Developers should use what they wish.

I am by no means a “core” developer, I have contributed some code for remote control of Ardour via MIDI and OSC.

Ardour is written almost entirely in C++, with tiny pieces in assembler and also a very expansive Lua binding for scripting. We use glib to provide cross-platform low level programming stuff (file I/O, threads etc), and GTK+ as the GUI toolkit. We also use a very large (1GB of space compiled) set of open source libraries to provide other functionality.

Thanks Paul.
Again, it is clear you guys have done a lot of work on this project… thus your success is well deserved.
Not sure what we are going to do yet in terms of migrating to a new multi-track recording and editing software.
If I decide to download the source and am successful in compiling it to run on Windows I’ll let you know.
Other than some C++ and a lot of Assembly Language I’ve not used the other things you mentioned… Lua, glib, and GTK+.
Just wondering, what do you think of IBM acquiring Red Hat? What linux distro do you guys use?

Download the demo first and see if Ardour is even appropriate for what you want to do.

Paul did not answer some of these questions, but I think they may still be interesting to you. My apologies if they are off topic.

Because Ardour was primarily developed specifically for Linux, because at the time there were no decent Linux audio recording applications. It eventually grew to encompass editing as well as recording, and only after it had become a very full featured multi-track recording application did it get enough interest that some Windows users were willing to work at porting it to Windows. The Windows users came very late to the party, and I am a little bit surprised that the majority of users are now on Windows. I of course know that 90% + of desktop users in general are on Windows, I’m just surprised that given the pretty non-existent promotion of Windows from the core developers that enough Windows users found their way here to become a majority. I assume that is probably not counting the linux users who use the distribution compiled versions they get from Fedora, Ubuntu flavors, etc., so hard to know the actual breakdown of users including those who compile from source and get distribution provided binaries.

I suspect that you do not deal with real-time programming. There is a reason that all of the financial institutions that have ultra low latency trading platforms use Linux and not Windows Server for their software.

You must be very young, I consider “traditional” open source programs to be programs where you can download the source code, all these projects with ready to run binaries are pretty new, and only started to make sense when the number of operating systems and processors in use collapsed down to just a few relevant models. Trying to make binaries available when you didn’t know if the users would be running FreeBSD, SunOS, Solaris or other System V, could be on M68k family, SPARC, MIPS, Alpha, Power/PowerPC, etc. just wasn’t practical. Being able to assume almost all your users will be running either Linux or Windows on 64 bit x86 extensions is a recent luxury.

That seems like an odd criteria to use in deciding what editing software to use. Are you only picking from software that you can compile yourself? If so it seems weird to complain about having to compile the software. Or were you actually just looking for freeware when you said open source? Ardour is of course open source, is distributed under GPL license terms, so is considered free software, and has one of the most generous support options you are ever going to find. The demo is free, if you like it you get to pick your own price you are willing to pay for the binary version. If you feel generous you can pay more, if you do not have the financial means or feel it is not worth as much as the commercial equivalents for some reason you are free to choose a lower amount. Whether you pay for a single version or subscribe or not, you can still create an account on the bug reporting system to report problems, and I have never seen anyone ask about financial contributions before answering questions on the forums, IRC channel, etc. I’m not sure what more you were looking for, but unless it is specifically more Windows focused hand-holding you are unlikely to find it elsewhere.


Except the majority that we know about (new version checks) is still running Ardour on GNU/Linux (48.8%), but that does not include users that get Ardour from Linux distributions so the fraction is likely much larger (vs. 40.9% Windows and 12.3% MacOS/X).

The latter is no-brainer. Developing on Windows is a horrible experience. The ecosystem of development tools available on GNU/Linux is amazing and pleasant.

That being said, there is very little platform dependent code in Ardour’s codebase so effectively it does not matter…

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PS. to amend above rant:

The design and development system is usually completely independent of the target, deployment system. For example, you don’t develop mobile apps on your mobile either, nor write cloud apps in the cloud. …and Japanese car markers manages to produce cars for foreign markets that drive on the wrong side of the road in Japan.

Anyway, there are some howtos to compile Ardour on Windows with mingw, and Ardour’s source comes with a MSVC project. The hard and time-consuming part however is not Ardour itself but to compile the build-dependencies.

I have to take issue with such blanket statements - I develop on many different platforms, including Windows, Linux and macOS. Each has it’s own particular pros and cons, indeed I’ve been known to complain about things I don’t see as ideal, on this and other forums, but sometimes you just have to use the tools available and get the job done.
The tool set available for Linux is amazing, considering it costs nothing, but it is not automatically better than anything else, and developing on Windows is not automatically worse. (Ironically, as support for audio on Linux has improved, many of the reasons I once had for preferring Linux for audio over Windows have now diminished as Windows has also improved significantly, and some of the more mainstream Linux distros have become more closely aligned with the aspects of Windows architecture I disliked.)

Installing Visual Studio or Xcode and having a ready to go IDE (if that’s your thing) is trivial and infinitely preferable to the default position on Linux which is to find yourself some kind of text editor, and then compile / build / create makefiles etc from the command line.

Developing on MacOS/X and XCode is fine… but Windows and VS, really? It’s been a few years since I went down that hole, but my experience was very similar to how @AdmiralBumbleBee described it recently at – looks like it got worse.

I don’t know if that example sets out any specific problems other than “this is what I wanted to do and this is what I had to do to achieve it” - Would it have been easier on Linux? I’m not sure. My point is that if you make a statement that ‘Developing on Windows is horrible’ it might mean developing on Windows is horrible for you Personally I don’t mind using the command line tools on Linux and / or plugging together all the bits to make a development environment myself, but others may not. It does not make it horrible and / or better or worse than anything else.
(VST3 SDK on Windows might be awkward, have you tried building / maintaining (legacy) AudioUnits on Mac with Xcode, or worse, developing VST2 / VST3 on Linux…? None of these things are ideal, but they are just technical challenges you solve or work with, as a developer… and in going back to the original thread - why you would and should justifiably charge for (the service of providing) a ready to go Binary vs do it yourself source code)

I feel like the OP was kinda trolling. His facts were not factual (more Windows users), he seemed unwilling to download the demo to even try it, and wanted to compile the source instead (if he finds the time). Would one not want to try the demo first just to see if it was even worth the complex trouble of building a windows development environment?

Speaking of Windows. I do not own a single Windows computer, nor will I ever. However, my job is to maintain about 100 of them (among many other tasks). I don’t know the guts of Windows, nor have I bothered trying to even build software for Windows, but I do know that Windows 10 is exceptional compared to all the other releases; Provided you install the BASH shell on it. It makes it very easy to create scripts to control your Windows, run Linux command line programs in Windows, such as ffmpeg. And all my Linux scripts work, with some minor path changes. It’s pretty sweet! However, this does not apply to Ardour in any way, or does it? hummm.

Why wouldn’t it? As far as I can tall it did that long before there was Win 10. Mixbus more so than Ardour.
Ardour sessions created on Linux or Mac load just fine on Windows. Plugins may or may not be an issue, although these days there are more and more plugins available that run on all major platforms.

Then again…

These days out-of-the-box experience using Linux for a DAW can be a lot nicer: just get AVLinux. :sunny:

It is interesting how many of those things apply to Linux as well. I found out a long time ago that shutting off cron while recording helps not to have xruns from nowhere. Cron runs very “Nice” but some of the bits that run under it like network access to check for updates are not so “nice”. Not using USB hubs and unplugging unused USB bits apply even to AVLinux. Setting up audio device priorities if using rtirq also differs for each device as on todays systems it is easy to end up with the mouse having a higher priority on USB2 (the port number) than the Audio device on USB3. Specifying usb3, usb2 separately helps. Another thing they don’t mention, is that it does matter which physical USB plug on a computer is used for the audio device as there is normally at least one that uses irq16 along with other legacy internal devices and just does bad audio. All of these things are true for both Linux and Windows I think.
The one big difference is the last thing they mentioned: In Linux an audio work station should never be run as Administrator/root… well basically almost nothing should be except admin work. The above article seems to suggest that for audio work, Windows should be turned into a single user system. I know Windows Multi-user setup started out as an added layer on top of the original single user system but I would have thought it was beyond that by now…