Why do we have to save the project file before using the DAW?

Something that Ardour does that no other DAW I’ve used does is it makes you save the project file before you can open the program. Why does Ardour work this way? When I have an idea, or I want to try something out, the last thing on my mind would be what to name it and sometimes you won’t even know if you’ll want to keep the file which means you’d have to remember to delete it later. It just feels like an unnecessary interruption.


As a developer, I work on “trash” sessions almost all the time.

I start Ardour and then I tap the return key twice as it starts up. This gives me a session called “Untitled-DATE-TIME” without any other input from me. 99.9% of the time, I quit Ardour (or crash it, due to the work I’m doing) without saving the session.


That’s a nice workaround Paul. It’s true each time I need to do something fast, like trying a sweep or testing a track’s levels, I think twice on opening ardour because of the start up protocols… it would be nice if it would just start up on a temp file, giving the feel of an audio desktop where you can also do quick trash and it will be forgotten.

Another way to manage it would be to have a shell script to start ardour.

For example, I have a script which sets the name of the session with a timestamp, and a template that has everything configured the way I want, so I can hit that, and once it’s all instantiated, I can hit record and immediately be recording 3 tracks, in my case (one dry guitar, one through a external effects pedal, and one through the ToneLib GLX stand-alone app.

/opt/Ardour-8.1.0/bin/ardour8 -N $(date +%Y%m%d\.%H%M) -T 3WayToneLib01

You could set the name of the session to be “Garbage.$(date)”, or something like that. Then, you can go back later and blow away all the sessions called Garbage.*. Or save it, or rename it, because, who knows… that’s why you’re recording it, because it might be gold.


At an absolute minimum, Ardour needs a place to put recorded sounds / MIDI, even before one decides to “save” the project: giving the project a default / throwaway name (if the user doesn’t provide one) allows Ardour to create a folder in which to store such files, along with others which aren’t part of the <foobar>.ardour “project file”.


In my home folder, I made another one called ‘Ardour Startup Projects’ or something like that. I pointed Ardour to that folder so when launching, I just tap enter twice (like Paul) and get going.

If something worthwhile happens, I’ll save it manually with a different filename in the ‘normal’ folder I use for session projects.

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Also, Ardour has a well-working function available: Session > Rename…

So it’s easy to change to a name describing your idea more accurately at any convenient time!

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