Audacity now collects user data:

I need a new audio editing program. Any recommendations?

@khm A fork of Audacity could work for now.

I've also seen Ardour used for recording songs for production. I don't know much about it, but it seems like a solid program.

@josias @khm ardour is fine, although it's more complex than audacity. It's more a DAW than a plain editor.

If you want a windows build you can buy it for money, I think there are premium support and features in it then. Otherwise you need to fetch the code and build it yourself (or find someone who did that already). At least that was the state five years ago, things might have changed

@khm Reaper. Been a customer for 13 years or something like that.

@khm It's labeled as a DAW, but you can use it to edit wave data just fine. The time precision is sub-sample accurate.

@cancel the sheer complexity is terrifying, but I'll see if I can muddle through...

@khm Yeah, it does a ton of crap. So does Audacity, though. Reaper is a bit scarier looking because the default interface shows a ton of stuff all at once, even before you add any wave files or record anything.

If you're not editing music, you might want to change the project time base to be minutes:seconds or samples instead of bars/beats.

@cancel I think the set of Audacity features I actually used closely approximated the Windows 98 Sound Recorder program.

@khm Also, there's nothing wrong with just hoarding an old version of some audio software if it works perfect for you. You probably already knew that, though.

@cancel For sure, but this seemed like a good opportunity to get outside my comfort zone and see what's happened in this space since the last time I looked

@cancel @khm agreed. Just use an older version of audacity and never upgrade it.

@cancel I edit, so it's probably worth learning one of the bigger packages, if only so that I can learn to 'do it right' instead of just eyeballing waveforms and hoping for the best

@khm @cancel well, then you can maybe even use blender (video sequence editor) or alternatives. There's even some suckless software (blind) that could be able to edit sound, but I don't know

@khm @cancel on Linux, mhWaveEdit will probably do the trick for you; on Windows, there's Wavosaur, which is freeware rather than open source, but covers the same territory

@khm If you ever need a hand with anything Reaper-related, feel free to ask.

Audio editing "is not intended for individuals below the age of 13". This is what happens when software starts doing things other than what the users need it to do.

It says a lot. "The things we want to do to you are so bad that our country flatly forbids everyone from doing them to children. That's why we had to exclude children from our audio editor"

@clacke For some reason, that part bothered me the most.

@xmanmonk @clacke

that gives the message they don't even want the software to be used in schools (where it is of course very useful) and in countries with strong safeguarding laws it could even discourage Education Authorities from recommending it above proprietary software..

Just don't update. Pin the version before tracking was introduced. Soon enough a fork with identical features will come up, just under a different name. I'm proposing "Audapolis"

@khm Depending on the complexity of your work, going from simple to studio:
EKO - simple sound editor
KWave - easy to use sound editor (very similar to Audacity)
Frinike, LMMS - both more features
Ardour - full studio class workstation.
I've used EKO, KWave and Ardour, so can recommend all 3!
There are others of course. Happy hunting.
I'll be going with KWave for the time being.

@khm Happy Reaper user here, though depending on what you need an audio editor for that might be a slightly overkill option. If you want something simpler, at least on Windows Goldwave is not bad and they're also working on a cross-platform web version. On Mac, Amadeus, either the lite version if you don't need multitrack or Pro if you do fills a similar feature set.

I have used ocenaudio i think it was. Quite simular.

@khm audacity is free/libre, so you can edit it
apparently people already did versions without telemetry
(found it with a "audacity fork" qwant search)

@bunni @khm forking seems to be the only way to go tbh. i doubt the devs will revert those changes back. the bad thing is tho that outside of those forks, there is not really a good replacement for audacity that is free/libre (at least that i know of)

@absturztaube @khm I think the best option would be to have a group of devs take back audacity from a fork
something like GNU audacity

but idk if anyone would want to do that uwu

@khm Getting into a new workflow sure will not be that easy. I am also on the lookout for something as an alternative for the time being I will use that version 2.4.1 that ships in the arch repos (I don't know why did not bump that package but :nkoShrug: )

I will let you know should I stumble over something

@khm Sorry to say that but opensource software heavily NEEDS usable user data. We're so far behind that there isnt even a competition, mostly because much dev work is spend on things nobody cares instead of going in a direction where the user expects it to go. Asking for users to give feedback doesnt work, as you want to have data from the average user, not the with-opensource-involved-nerd.

@fabiscafe @khm Sure, but there are ways to do this without screwing over the Audacity community.

@fabiscafe @khm
To start:
- Not banning it for under 13
- Making it completely opt-in
- Writing a privacy policy that's biased toward the user, is extremely specific about what the data can be used for, and collects no more than is absolutely necessary

@josias @khm
You havent got the point :(
1. it's not banned for <13yo, it's legally saved for Audacity not get sued for receiving data of <13yo, because they arent the ones to blame.
2. opt-in is useless. You wont get any usefull data. enabled by default, yet asked to disable on first startup is a sane option
3. "no more than is absolutely necessary" is another wishywashy. Everything is necessary to improve product quality.

@josias @khm
I can understand that you dont want this. Still this is essential to create a future for a project, to compete in the market. You cant just guess, you cant just ask nicely and wait for some of them to give feedback. You want to know your audience to grow your project.

@fabiscafe @khm
My main concern is this:
If developers and users were in charge of the development of Audacity, they could make their own choices that would likely be made for the best-interests of the community. I trust them more with coming up with a privacy policy and telemetry scheme than MuseGroup, which is using their generic policy and hoping everyone ignores the consequences.

Those who use the software should make such decisions, or at least have a strong voice in the matter, not those who happen to "own" it.

Yes, I know telemetry is a method of determining what people want. But that's not enough to decide how much telemetry itself people actually want or need.

There's a cost, and a balance must be made. MuseGroup will primarily act in their own self-interest (as is natural according to free market principles), so they shouldn't be trusted to make the best decision in this matter.

@josias @khm
Fully agree with you. The thing is, when it comes to telemetry, and especially in the linux community there is no talk, no clear technical or logical reasoning. The community instantly goes full emotional mode and screams "FORK!" and whatever.

You can hope that you have some people in the dev team who look at both sides and start a quality discussion, while ignoring all the loud noises around. TBH I couldn't do that.

@fabiscafe @khm I’m sorry you feel that human interaction ie questions for your users is too much work and you’d rather spy on them. We don’t need tracking data. We never have and never will. Devs don’t listen to feedback to often as they take it at criticism. Maybe that’s the real issue to be addressed. Our egos?

@thedaemon @khm
I dont feel that way. The problem with asking are the people who answer. That might be me and you, but not the 1000 non-technical people who just want to use the app.
You dont have to spy, you can tell them and they can opt-out if they want to. It's just of no help to not enable them until the disable it.

@fabiscafe @khm I guess I mainly use technical applications so I don’t feel nontechnical user’s input would be helpful. Maybe we should give an example. Audacity is not a nontechnical application and that’s what OP mentioned. I’m an intermediate user and have little input besides that it’s a confusing mess. 😂

@thedaemon @khm Show me your data that it is an app for technically advanced peeps, I mean for real…

@fabiscafe @khm Many of the issues blockchain communities struggle with, like governance and steady funding for the people adding the most value, are eerily similar to the issues I hear in open source every day.

User data is a touchy subject with GDPR and other regulatory pitfalls. Open source projects are often bootstrapped and don’t have the capital to deal with compliance or the liabilities associated with collecting and housing such data.

Which really goes back to a lack of standards and adequate funding for some form of data co-op across open source projects. This is actually an old problem that was talked about often in the early days of Web 2.0, but we all know how that played out.

@steve @fabiscafe Sorry, I don't accept the claim that the only way to improve software is by surveilling its users. That sort of ivory-tower daddy-knows-best garbage that turned the IT industry into a bottom-feeding minimum-viable-industry. None of the surveillance programs return accurate information anyway -- users who CAN block DO block, so you wind up with usage data skewed toward less-competent users, which just reinforces the superiority complex.

@steve @fabiscafe Incidentally, laws protecting people's civil rights are not "regulatory pitfalls." They're exactly the sort of laws we need, now that we have several decades of evidence that profit-driven software organizations operate in an absolute ethical and moral vacuum. Democratic governments are going to need tools to protect people from these vultures.

@khm @fabiscafe I have always said privacy is a right, not a privilege, so I’m with you. Most modern Democratic governments are in bed with Big Tech data monopolies to wield an unfair advantage over their constituents and their markets. That much has already been proven, especially over the last 4-5 years.

@steve @fabiscafe No, this is ceding too much to Silicon Valley lies. They very much want advertisers to believe in some kind of "big tech data monopoly," but in point of fact none of them are monopolies and none of them are competent enough to do anything productive with the data they're hoarding.

The whole concept is a red herring that politicians wave around, and the tech companies don't dissuade anyone because it inflates the percieved value of their advertising products.

It's all bunk.

@khm @fabiscafe The consortia of companies that own the lions share of data provide that information to governments and spooky Intel community backed companies like Palantir, who then use it for what amounts to the early stages of a western social credit score and pre-crime analysis.

So I understand you may have an aversion to that entire lexicon and school of thought, but they are still an accurate description of the current situation none the less. Surveillance economics are not sustainable, ethical or standardized in its current iteration.

I think pretty much everyone agrees with that at this point.

The biggest lie spun out of Silicon Valley in the last decade that we need to take our data back in order to turn around and sell it for pennies on the dollar directly to data providers and random companies. As if we need to sell our data and track everything we do online to begin with.

@steve @fabiscafe My point isn't that it's not happening. My point is that it's irrelevant. None of the companies you're thinking of have useful data, and the organizations they share it with are not capable of doing anything with it once they get it. I've worked in these sectors. It's organizational cosplay; meaningless posturing.

Meanwhile, Audacity adding telemetry has immediate and real consequences, such as barring kids under 13 from using the software:

@khm @fabiscafe Do you really believe that half a billion popups that you clicked have somehow protected you? The practice of lobbying such as Google's GDPR is only possible due to the inability of ordinary people and legislators to keep track of all the details of project implementation and management. If this were not the root of any lobbying project, Google could not have suddenly increased its advertising market share in Europe by 30% because its competitors did not have enough budget to handle the burden of GDPR administration.

@OscillatingAgama @fabiscafe I've said before that I don't really care about the web, and I meant it. Clicking on popups isn't something that particularly bothers me given the accessibility failures and wasteful design 'patterns' the web embraced years before the GDPR came along.

If inch-tall banners are the price we pay to get useful privacy enforcement tools on behalf of people, fine by me. I guess the poor competitors are going to have to actually innovate instead of aping incumbents.

@khm @fabiscafe I didn’t say I was an advocate of the surveillance economy did I?

There are well established privacy friendly data anonymization methods to balance the knowledge and insights gleaned from that kind of data with users privacy. Plausible is a prime example of how to approach this.

An open source data initiative that pushes the various data monopolies towards transparency would be far better than the zero sum game of data supremacy we have now.

Sharing data across open source projects to understand user behavior and basic demographics, what is working and what isn’t, etc… is not a bad thing, at least if handled and executed correctly. Therein lies the rub.

@steve @fabiscafe I feel like you're conflating data collection from web interactions, which is impossible to avoid, with data collection built into otherwise completely non-networked software, which has to be deliberately inserted. I don't really care about the web. Inserting telemetry into offline software is a hostile act; it abuses my compute resources, storage, and bandwidth for no gain to myself.

That said, if one were to insist upon it, Debian's Popularity Contest is a better exemplar

@khm @fabiscafe Oh I completely agree. Tracking offline software is bottom of the barrel, but still so many do it.

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