Dominic Mazzoni and Vaughan Johnson from Audacity, winner of the SourceForge.net Community Choice Awards Best Project for Multimedia category, answer our questions.
What made you choose to make your project open source?
Dominic: I started Audacity when I was a grad student at Carnegie Mellon University. I used open source software and benefitted from it greatly as I was studying computer science, so it was only natural for me to release software I wrote as open source.
Also, as a practical matter, Audacity uses many other open source libraries for its GUI, for file I/O, for audio I/O, for effects, and more. Integrating other open source libraries has been critical to Audacity’s success, and we never could have created such a capable tool without access to all of those libraries. We do our best to contribute bug fixes and improvements to those libraries, of course.
Vaughan: Those of us who came on board after Dominic started the project believe in open source as a positive influence on society. We’re pleased that individual musicians use Audacity, but also happy about its use in many schools, public radio stations, and other beneficent applications, where people would otherwise have no ability to do audio recording and editing.
What does your development environment (OS, IDE, etc.) look like?
Dominic: One of the great things about Audacity is that it’s cross-platform and well-supported on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Years ago, I used to do my best to maintain all three versions, but that took an enormous amount of effort. I was very happy when other developers joined in and helped maintain some of the other ports. The first one I gave up was Windows; I continued to help debug problems on Windows occasionally but I let others take responsibility for making that port strong.
Vaughan: Because Audacity is cross-platform, developers use lots of different environments.
How long did it take you to develop your project and how many people contributed to it?
Dominic: I started working on Audacity in the fall of 1999. The 0.8 release on SourceForge.net in June 2000 was the first public version.
Vaughan: We have more than 50 developers, but there are really lots more than that, because we get lots of patches and use lots of libraries.
How many open source projects have you worked on? What is your favorite?
Vaughan: To any significant degree, only Audacity, so it’s my favorite!