Shooting yourself in the foot

The long version: Some of you might get offended reading this, but it does need to be understood nonetheless (it’s already been said, but not necessarily understood).

Ardour is a great idea. I love it the idea of it, and I hope it does extremely well. As it stands, it’s keeping a lot of doors closed on itself though.

If only people with a fairly advanced knowledge of how OSs work can actually install the program, that sort of negates every other advantage it has. And let’s face it, that’s exactly the case here.

I’m not computer illetarate. I was programer once, I can use linux (Suse at least, the idiot’s linux). But I can’t for the life of me figure out how to install this program. Rather than start a thread asking for help, which I may still (cause really, I could definitely use some), it seems prudent to bring this issue up more generally.

This site offers absolutely zero insight into how to install this program. “Depends on what your set-up is” is the answer equivalent of “you just do”. It’s not advice whatsoever (not targetting just that one post either, after searching the forum records that seems to be the most typical answer).

This is more than just frustration boiling over. I may or may not give up on this entire program (I’ve been trying for a few days, and have made zero inroads)… I’m stubborn so likely not. But what about the other people like me who do give up on it?

It’s not like there aren’t literally tens of thousands of people who would simply love a “free” high powered DAW. Ardour dos itself a disservice by not making it easier or clearer to actually use this program. Considering how much money goes into music software on the consumer end all the time, you basically just forfeit your share of it by not making your product more accessible.

That’s all I’m really driving at here. I’m honestly not trying to be confrontational or standoffish, but YOU LOSE LOTS AND LOTS OF MONEY by making your product inaccessible to a huge demographic. As it stands, most of the people who can use your program are one and the same as the ones who can design and further it (from what I’ve seen of these forums, I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions), but the #1 demographic you should be targetting, which is the slightly less computer-literate but nonetheless musician, seems to be basically an afterthought in practice, never mind the pitch.

The short version: Seriously, you guys need an installation page. Even just a general roadmap would help. You have essentially nothing right now but a run-around and the best advice I’ve seen is “learn unix better”. And you lose dollar signs for it.

John E, just a small remark:
I think I am “computer savvy” … but I do not hate windows. I just find it irrelevant in my activities involving computers. My using linux is not an anti-windows statement :wink:

Taken on board, Thorgal. FWIW I’m not a Windows hater either but I fear we are in the minority… :frowning:

Not worth saying any more because that argument has already been flogged to death many times.

3-something - on a personal level I sympathise with your subject heading but (ironically) you shot yourself in the foot by giving a bad example! As others have pointed out, most Linux distros now offer some kind of package manager where (sooner or later) you’ll probably find yourself able to install Ardour. The problem of course is that Ardour might not be available in its standard list of repositories and when you enquire about this, the most common response (as you’ve correctly observed) is “switch to another distro”. It’s incredibly discouraging for a new user to make a switch to (say) 64studio - only to be told a few weeks later that there’s some other package that’s not available yet in 64studio but would be available if he “switched to another distro”.

No matter which distro you use however, there’s a much more fundamental problem… None of the binary packages that you install can ever offer all of Ardour’s functionality “out of the box”. There are some features (most notably VST) that you simply cannot get without building Ardour from source - and that’s one area where Ardour has seriously shot itself in the foot.

Also, you only need to take a cursory look at some other serious Linux projects to realise that many of them are starting to accept (however reluctantly) that they cannot afford to keep ignoring the Windows market. Paul’s view (which is perfectly reasonable) is that entering the Windows market would introduce an unnecessary and unwelcome extra burden of support. As Paul hinted earlier, he is deliberately targeting Ardour at a very niche market - AFAICT, the “computer savvy” (but Windows hating) musician. There are many people here (and I’m one of them) who believe that Ardour is too good a product to be languishing in such a small demographic. Nevertheless, Paul’s reasoning is sound and I think we all accept that there’s a dismal “chicken and egg” situation which Ardour is currently trapped in. However good a product Ardour is, it cannot possibly support a large new user base without considerable financial backing (the one key ingredient that’s still missing from the equation). Recently, there have been frantic discussions about how to improve Ardour’s coffers but while the above drawback exists (not being able to obtain the full product in binary form) there’s no simple solution to the problem.

Sorry, I’m starting to digress from your point… Is Ardour shooting itself in the foot? I’d say “Yes”; not for the reasons you mentioned but for the more subtle reasons I mentioned above. Paul would probably say “No” because after all, it is undoubtedly successful in the market that he’s targetting.

There are too many audio-based distros available that package ardour to make your argument valid.

Try using Ubuntu instead of SUSE, try especially UbuntuStudio or A/V Linux

No, see, this exactly what I mean. Ubuntu is even harder to use than Suse for someone struggling to learn Unix for the first time. I understand that there are audio-distros. That’s ultimately what I’ll do on another machine that I can dedicate to 64 studio or JAD or whatever. Although, when I buy another machine I might just as well buy a DAW I can actually figure out how to use as well. Do you see my point at all here?

And a whole new install isn’t exactly always an option either. And your answer exemplifies the typical answer I see on this subject. I mean, I appreciate you answered, but this is not a solution, re-install your OS.

Really, like I said, regardless of where I stand on this issue, the ones who stand to make money off this, even if it’s just money to pay for the cost of maintaining the programming, just lose so much of it because this is how it goes for those of us who don’t understand the finer points of compiling programs from scratch.

It just seems to me be the most glaring omission, and honesly, if you were in my shoes, would you bother to try and learn this? Or just go and drop some coin on another program that made it obvious and easy, cause really, I could care less how it comes together, so long as I can use it once it does.

All this effort you’ve put into this program. it’s all a total waste until you idiofy it, and it won’t ever be anything but a love of an ideal and an uphill battle until then.

Just my opinion.

Well, it always be an uphill battle, nothing wrong with that. It’s more like… there’s a reason why Microsofts and companies like that manage to do so well for themselves in spite of their many obvious and glaring problems, while much more sound and well thought-out programs like Ardour languish in obscurity.

While I think it probably could be a bit clearer (and perhaps mentioning openSUSE as well), on the Download/Excecutable page it says:
If you run Fedora, Ubunutu, Debian, Slackware or Gentoo, you are advised to install Ardour using the normal software installation tools for your distribution

So, for openSUSE, look at this page ( to enable the repositories for you particular version (it’s especially the Packman repo you’ll need) and then you just fire up Yast, select Software/Add software, search for ardour2 and install it. Or fire up a terminal, type su and enter the root password and type zypper install ardour2

Had you been using the (much harder !??!) Ubuntu distro you wouldn’t even have had to add the proper repo since it’s already enabled.
That said, their package for Ardour in 8.10 is broken, so it’s actually good you’re using openSUSE :wink:

And, as hogiewan said: if you want an audio centered distro please check out AVLinux ( or 64studio ( They have Ardour as well as other great music software like Rosegarden, Hydrogen, Jamin and others installed by default.
They’re also set up to run in low-latency mode by default.

There, and that was so sublimely easy. Thank you peder.

Now take that explanation you just gave me and let’s put it on an install page that’s more obviously marked.

Really, here I’ve been trying to build it from scratch the whole time and it was soooooooo much simpler. I can’t be the only person who’s been in this predicament. And Mac OSx users… talk about disposable income combined with limited know-how :wink:

While I appreciate the feedback, let me make the following comments:

  1. You assume that you know what Ardour's target demographic is. I'm not sure you do. How can I say this? Because I'm not sure that I know ...
  2. If you go to there is a link called Download near the top of the page. If you click on that, you have the choice to get an executable or the source. If you choose the executable, you get to a page that recommends that if you use Linux, you install Ardour using your distribution's own installation tools. What precisely is it that you believe we should say at that point? Do you believe that we should attempt to name the installation tool for every distribution? If not every distribution, which distributions do we include or exclude?
  3. Our working assumption for Linux users is that you need to know how to run your Linux system, and that we are not here to tell or teach you how to do that. How could we possibly start from the assumption that you don't even know how to install software on your machine, when this is a fundamental operation for any Linux user?

if you want to compile ardour in a debian based distro (64studio, UbuntuStudio, etc), you can always try my quick howto, posted somewhere in this discussion :

Someone tried it and got it to compile and work fine.
I would just make a final remark: you are using linux, not windows or mac.

Sorry J-something, but I think your´re just frustrated about something and try to put it in a philosophic context. if you don´t know how to install programs, its not the fault of ardour. if you try to get into linux, just get one of that funny live-cd´s and find out (I like dyne-bolic for that). and: have you ever tried one of that commercial programs for windows? I really think you just went to the wrong forum…

You could have googled “suse based daw” and found Jacklab, with its instructions on how to set up a great suse-based daw.

Check it out:


While I sympathize with your frustration, Ardour really isn’t much more difficult to install than any other linux program. If you are looking for the closest thing to a turn-key solution, there are several dedicated distributions available whose aim is just that. Also the only reason VST can’t be included in distribution with ardour is because of dumb licensing issues with Steinberg, so it’s not “Ardour shooting itself in the foot” on that matter. And I think if the author of ardour was worried about money I doubt he would have left (as a founder) in the mid 90’s to develop open source software. Maybe he kept some stock, who knows, but the point is this is an enthusiast crowd and believe it or not we enjoy the steep learning curve involved in tweaking a unix based system into a powerful DAW.