All They Need Is Funds: A Call For Community Support

by Dave Phillips

This entry is a little off my regular beat, but its substance is of great importance to all users of Linux audio software. To get straight to the point, it's about money and two projects in real need of significant financial support, the Ardour hard disk recorder/digital audio workstation and the Hydrogen rhythm programmer/drum machine. Both projects are well along in their development cycles, both have achieved great status not only in the Linux audio software world but on OSX as well, and both need financing for their planned evolution. Ardour and Hydrogen are two of Linux's finest programs for musicians, rivalling their commercial counterparts and providing libre alternatives to the intense vendor lock-in typical of the Win/Mac sound and music software worlds. These are truly important projects that deserve your support and financial backing.

First up, this announcement from Paul Davis, Ardour's chief designer :

"Ardour is looking for new project sponsors after our major contributor, Solid State Logic, informed us that a conflict of interest prevents them from continuing the financial support they gave to Ardour during 2006.

Ardour is at an exciting point in its development: version 2.0 is about to released very shortly, and more and more developers have recently started contributing to the project. Once version 2.0 is released, we have a large list of substantial new features waiting to be added, including MIDI recording and playback (already implemented as part of our participation in Google's Summer of Code). New work to add support for Mackie/Logic Control surfaces is already substantially completed.

However, despite the growing number of developers and the excitement of a 2.0 release, Ardour will not keep moving forward at an acceptable pace without at least one developer focused full time on it, and the end of SSL's funding will have a significant impact in this area. Paul Davis, Ardour's lead developer and founder, was paid entirely by SSL and is now seeking other ways of allowing him to continue working on Ardour as well as JACK.

We welcome continuing contributions via PayPal. However, we are also in an urgent search for corporations or orther organizations that see the long term value of Ardour as part of the audio technology environment. If you or your organization are interested in helping to establish and support a non-profit foundation dedicated to ensuring Ardour's continuing development, please get in touch with Paul ("

Figure 1: Ardour (Click here for large view)

I've been testing and using Ardour2 for a while. Ardour is and has been an indispensable component in my Linux audio toolkit, and I suspect that's true for the majority of Linux sound & music people. I'll make a contribution via PayPal, as I hope you will too, but the matter at hand requires a more substantial and dependable source of funding. If you would like to see Linux continue on its way into the professional audio arena, please consider Paul's request. At the very least, please make a donation to the Ardour PayPal account. Whether or not you're a dedicated Ardourista, you'll help make the world a better-sounding place.

Next up, this message from Alessandro Cominu, aka Comix, the lead developer of the award-winning Hydrogen. I posted a query to the Hydrogen devel list regarding the project's future, this is Comix's reply :

Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2006 15:15:14 +0100
From: Comix
Subject: Re: [Hydrogen-devel] Hydrogen development ?

On 12/11/06, Dave Phillips

> I've not checked out recent SVN sources, but watching the devel mail list I get the distinct impression that there's no internal development going on with Hydrogen.
> Almost all traffic on the list is concerned with translations. So, what's the story ? Is there a Hydrogen 1.0 in the works or is it a deader ?
> It would be a deep shame to see Hydrogen's development languish.

No no no... Hydrogen is not a dead project but currently I have to use my spare time for other projects. :( The real problem is always the same: money...I'm very low now and I can't work as usual on Hydrogen since it is a zero-profit project. It's sad, I know...but I have no alternative :-( As I said in the ML [mail list] I'm going to work on Hydrogen again during the Xmas vacation.

A big step forward [towards the 1.0 release] can be some donations or just someone that can help me in the development.

Have you some advice?

Alessandro Cominu

Icq: 116354077
Linux User # 203765

Figure 2: Hydrogen (Click here for large view)

Well, the best advice I can give is to the community: Help this project! Like Ardour, Hydrogen is an essential part of the recommended Linux audio applications suite. It is already a very sophisticated program, and it would indeed be a grave shame on the Linux community at large if an application of this order of excellence should lapse into the limbo of stalled development. We need Hydrogen, so if you'd like to help ensure its availability to current and future Linux-based musicians, please contact Comix and make an offer of assistance. You'll sleep better at night, and the world beat will love you.