Sometimes people say that the Linux platform doesn’t have “the best tools” for professionals. When it comes to video editing, it’s understandable as users won’t be able to install things like Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro X, and etc. With audio editing, however, it’s a totally different story. It turns out there’s an incredible, competitive, open source audio workstation ready to install Linux now; the Ardour audio editor. You can install Ardour on most Linux distributions via the package manager. It has a ton of features, like multi-track editing/recording, hardware support, video sound extraction and more.
SPOILER ALERT: Scroll down and watch the video tutorial at the end of this article.
To use this software, you must be running Ubuntu, Debian, Arch Linux, Fedora, OpenSUSE. If you’re running a different distribution, you will have to build Ardour from source. Keep in mind that if you choose to install Ardour from your operating system’s software sources, you may not get the latest version.
To install Ardour, open up a terminal and enter the command that corresponds to your operating system.
sudo apt install ardour
sudo apt-get install ardour
sudo pacman -S ardour
sudo dnf install ardour
sudo zypper install ardour
Building From Source
Though the Ardour audio editor is available for installation on multiple platforms, newer versions of the software are distributed on the website. Developers let the users purchase a binary (like a DEB or RPM file) to support the project. The only other way to get it is to compile from source.
If you’re using a Linux distribution that doesn’t support Ardour, this route is a good way to go. To start the building process, you’ll first need to address the many program dependencies. Ardour is a large audio editing suite and uses a lot of codecs and other tools. To install the dependencies, head over to the official website, read the documentation and learn what they are.
Once you’ve figured everything out, use the Git tool to clone the latest version of the source code from the Ardour public repo.
git clone git://git.ardour.org/ardour/ardour.git
Using the CD command, change the terminal’s working directory from /home/, to the newly cloned Ardour git folder.
Next, you’ll need to run the “waf” script. This script has multiple functions. We’ll first need to run it to scan your Linux PC to create new configuration files (makefiles and etc). Running the waf script will also help you determine if you have all of the correct dependencies installed. The script will refuse to configure without these files so if you’re having trouble finding them, this is a good way to troubleshoot.
If waf configure sees that all dependencies are satisfied, and everything is ready to go, Ardour will build. To start the building process, run the waf tool again, except this time leave out configure.
The Ardour audio editing suite is very large and will take quite a bit of time to fully compile and build correctly. Leave the terminal and let the GCC compiling tool build the software. In time, it will complete. When the process finishes up, it’ll be possible to run the software from the build directory.
Use the CD command to move to where the output of the build is.
From there, start Ardour with “ardev”.
From this point on, the Ardour audio editor is portable (provided the PC you move the builds to has all the required files to run it). Feel free to take the source and put it on a flash drive. Alternatively, install the software on your Linux PC by running the following command in the terminal.
Note: installing the build of Ardour using waf may require sudo privileges. Gain a root shell in the build directory with sudo -s before running the install tool.
cd .. ./waf install
Building programs from source though handy if the operating system you’re installing on isn’t supported, can be dodgy when it comes to uninstalling. Often times, developers don’t bother to include a way to uninstall compiled programs. Luckily, Ardour is not one of those programs and offers users the ability to easily uninstall it at any time.
To uninstall a compiled build of Ardour from your Linux PC, open up a terminal and use the CD command to move into the source directory.
Uninstalling is as easy as using waf.
Waf should delete all necessary files from your PC. From there, just delete the source folder using rm.
rm -rf ~/ardour
Building Ardour from the source means that every time there’s a new release, you’ll need to repeat the build process. This is tedious but can be controlled by “cleaning” the sources. Cleaning deletes the various libraries and other files that show up after building a fresh batch of software.
Clean the sources with waf.
cd ~/ardour ./waf clean