This is just a short post to inform you that Ardour 3 is approaching alpha stage. While it might still take a while before it is actually released, this is exciting news for recording enthusiasts. Ardour 3 is a major step forward for this DAW, with MIDI support possibly being the most anticipated feature. The list of new features and improvements is long, and I suggest you take a look at their own website. From the main feature list you can click down to a more detailed description (which is why I don't duplicate that list here).
Linux Journal has a nice article about the current state of Ardour that is well worth a read. In it, Dave Phillips describes a number of projects that are tied in to Ardour to provide enhanced functionality and the ability to tailor Ardour to specific needs. The focus of the article is mainly on the development branch (Ardour 3) that is not yet available through regular channels yet, but it very clearly shows that professional Linux music production is moving forward fast.
There is one thing I should mention though: in the article Dave says that the current official release of Ardour (2.8.11) is not available in most distributions. While this is generally true, there are cutting edge releases that do have the latest Ardour available. I use Arch Linux and thus have the latest stable version installed. Although being on the cutting edge has its disadvantages (occasionally things break), developments in Linux music production are happening fast enough to warrant it. More information about my motivation is available here.
I recently discovered a fairly new project that has an interesting take on Linux music production: the Open Octave Project. The goal of Open Octave is to provide an environment for audio and MIDI production specifically for orchestral music and film scoring. What is different about this project - compared to other Linux audio / MIDI solutions - is that the developers don't build a new application from scratch. Instead, the team chose to combine and adapt existing projects into an unified framework. This actually works two ways: in using existing applications, the team doesn't have to reinvent the wheel and can use existing quality tools, and by contributing their efforts back to the original projects, these benefit as well. So what's in store with the Open Octave Project? Let's delve a little deeper:
Today, in a message on the Ardour site, Paul Davis announced that within a few weeks (he mentions 2) Ardour will have native open source support for VST plug-ins. Getting VST plug-in support was a technical and involved process up until now, but with the new version you can host the VST plug-ins right in Ardour. This is very good news that can significantly enlarge the Ardour user base, which in turn will help the development of Ardour. Getting all this goodness requires a bit of patience until the new release is out, but I don't mind...
One of the important steps in setting up a system for music production is selecting the software. This is of course no different when using Linux for music. And since almost all of the software for Linux is open source, there are some huge advantages, but they do come at a small cost. But if you know what you are looking for this is no big deal. So here are a number of things to take into account while selecting your software for Linux music production: