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-   -   OK, so here's a serious question for Avid regarding "openness"... (http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=319588)

TieDyedDevil 03-19-2012 12:48 PM

OK, so here's a serious question for Avid regarding "openness"...
Since PT9's announcement, Avid has been touting their commitment to "openness".

For example:

"Openness is a design commitment, built into every Avid product from its inception." from http://www.avid.com/US/about-avid/corporate-profile


"Avid brings openness, collaboration and productivity to the show floor ..." from http://community.avid.com/blogs/buzz...er-presos.aspx .

The obvious question for those of us who frequent "All Things Guitar" is: "How will this message of openness apply - if at all - to the Eleven Rack?"

Here are just two examples of how "openness" could benefit the Eleven Rack user community:

1) Third-party developers could create standalone tools for patch management and editing if given documentation of the protocols used to probe and control the Eleven Rack over USB.

2) Third-party developers could better integrate MIDI controllers with the Eleven Rack if given documentation of the messages sent *from* the Eleven Rack.

I don't need to tell you that these two scenarios will fulfill frequently expressed needs. I doubt that many Eleven Rack users would grouse about having to use third-party software or hardware to get better and more convenient control over their Eleven Rack.

I'm personally not an advocate of opening up the Eleven Rack as a "platform" for third-party developers, as some have requested on Ideascale. As a professional software developer, I believe that path is fraught with peril.

But I have to wonder: Where's the harm in simply *documenting* existing communications protocols between the Eleven Rack and the outside world...? This would give the third-party developers a green light to add significant value to the Eleven Rack's ecosystem.

While Avid may worry that this concession would cannibalize ProTools sales, they must be aware that excluding third-party developers cannibalizes Eleven Rack sales by discouraging the customers who won't willingly pay for a bundled ProTools software package that they won't use.

I've worked for enough big companies to know that the wheels of progress can turn very slowly, indeed. I've also learned from experience that semantics can be twisted to bring new, unexpected meanings to words used in corporate communications. I'd really like to know, from Avid's perspective, whether "openness" is a guiding principle that's going to take a long time to unfold; or is it a convenient marketing buzzword with a redefined scope limited to a "not-exactly open" corporate mission?

adamqlw 03-19-2012 07:58 PM

Re: OK, so here's a serious question for Avid regarding "openness"...
I too would like to see an answer to this.

sorcerer27 03-20-2012 09:22 AM

Re: OK, so here's a serious question for Avid regarding "openness"...

zedhed 03-22-2012 09:56 PM

Re: OK, so here's a serious question for Avid regarding "openness"...
Any announcement of openness is expressly designed to stop these types of questions being asked ;)

AvidEditor 03-23-2012 01:21 AM

Re: OK, so here's a serious question for Avid regarding "openness"...
Openness regarding Avid is an interesting issue. Avid was an innovator and world leader in video and film editing. As the undisputed leader in the industry Avid developed the OMF file which unified and standardized digital media. I'd say this was proof of openness - but obviously Avid does what's best for Avid. Avid does not do what's best for you or me.

As an owner of a succession of Avid editing systems I owe a lot to the company. Avid has done great things.

On the other hand, I've sued Avid and arrived at fair settlement.

I don't hold any grudges, Avid has great tools. But products reach end of life. As we know, it's just business. I'm sitting in my office at home looking at an Avid Meridien system. I couldn't now sell the system on eBay for $300 and it had an MSRP of $19,999 when I bought it. It was worth every penny back then - the current moment of technology and the value as a tool for earning money determines the value of professional products. Is the Eleven Rack a professional product? That's the million dollar question.

TieDyedDevil, while I think you are correct that they're using "openness" as a marketing strategy, in the past Avid has set a precedent that they are a world leader and they do promote openness. But unfortunately with the Eleven Rack I don't see enough profit for Avid to spend the type of R&D we Eleven Rack owners would like to see. In order for the Eleven Rack to be fully supported by Avid I think it needs to be a tool in the professional workplace. I don't work in the music industry, I hope someone who does gives their opinion. I think if the Eleven Rack makes inroads into the professional recording studio we'd see advancement. But I don't see it. In the meantime I love the Eleven Rack, it's a fantastic tool.

junkgear 03-23-2012 07:07 AM

Re: OK, so here's a serious question for Avid regarding "openness"...
This is kind of a strange topic for me because although I would love to see the Eleven Rack thrive in the industry, I have to stand up for Avid as well.

For one, when the Eleven Rack came out, it was marketed as an extension of the Pro Tools system; a tool that would allow you to work in Pro Tools, then take those sounds on the road.

I think the big problem is our expectations are high due to the competition. We all got spoiled by other devices that aren't tied to a specific DAW and simply expected AVID to follow suite. Except, the other companies weren't DAW companies, and don't have any software to tie it into.

I'm sure everyone agrees that Digidesign/Avid did an incredible job on the 11R and the integration with PT is first rate. Would I like to see more updates and a stand alone editor? Sure. But I also can't blame Avid for sticking to their original plan; make a great interface for Pro Tools.

TieDyedDevil 03-23-2012 10:34 AM

Re: OK, so here's a serious question for Avid regarding "openness"...
Thanks for the thoughts, everyone...

zedhed, you and I seem to share the same jaundiced view regarding corporate communication. I think we'd have lots to talk about over a pint... :cool:

AvidEditor and junkgear, I appreciate your points in support of the apparent Avid strategy. (That assumes, of course, that the actions we're seeing are in fact strategic and not simply a result of neglect. Obviously it's difficult for us to know what Eleven Rack contributes - if anything - to Avid's bottom line.)

I'm not one of those people who think that Avid should chase the competition bell-for-bell and whistle-for-whistle. I firmly believe that the value proposition for the Eleven Rack - at least from my perspective as a musician - extends well beyond the typical internet gear hound's usual checklist items of "does the product have feature X?", "are there at least Y models of a particular type?" and "is the vendor patching the firmware Z times a year?".

To me, the design, behavior and sound of the Eleven Rack as a performance tool trumps any number of ill-considered checklist comparisons. I love my Eleven Rack and would not willingly exchange it for the acknowledged "high-end" modeling device to which everyone pays lip service.

Furthermore, I understand that Eleven Rack is essentially a Trojan Horse designed to drag guitarists onto Avid's ProTools upgrade treadmill. I don't intend for that to sound as cynical as it does, but that's the reality of the situation. People who buy into a software product - any software product - find themselves committing to the vendor's upgrade path in order to stay abreast of the latest developments, achieve compatibility with current computer hardware and operating systems and maintain the ability to exchange files with other users of the product. That's not a bad thing; it's the price one pays for progress.

What I have a hard time grasping - and again, this circles around to Avid's marketing message - is Avid's apparent failure to exert even the least bit of effort to support Eleven Rack's use as a live performance tool. (I'm not delusional, am I? I'm sure that Avid hasn't positioned Eleven Rack solely as a recording platform.) It seems that there are plenty of third parties who would love to add value to Eleven Rack with controllers, editors and librarians if only they could extract a meager amount of information from Avid.

richpjr 03-23-2012 12:30 PM

Re: OK, so here's a serious question for Avid regarding "openness"...

Originally Posted by AvidEditor (Post 1915006)
But products reach end of life. As we know, it's just business.

The problem is that as of right now, the 11R is not at end of life. The package has just been upgraded from including PT8LE to PT9 (with the free upgrade to PT10). The hardware is identical, but now those of us who bought our 11R a year ago are expected to pony up $500 just to be able to continue running it on a current OS. I can only speak for myself, but I'd guess that a large portion of people wanting a stand alone editor want it so as not to have to pay the upgrade fee. If the priced the upgrade at something more reasonable (such as what their competitors are charging) I'd expect you wouldn't hear nearly as much complaining about it. Sure, a stand alone editor would be more convenient than launching ProTools to tweak things but I'd do it if the upgrade was $99 or even $199. But $500? No freaking way.

I get the vendor lock in strategy and if the price was reasonable, I'd allow myself to be locked into Avid. But now, they are alienating enough people that I am looking elsewhere and will likely be avoiding Avid products in the future. Not a win in any case for Avid. I guess a smaller number of people paying large upgrade fees is more appealing than a larger number paying smaller fees for them.

TieDyedDevil 03-23-2012 02:06 PM

Re: OK, so here's a serious question for Avid regarding "openness"...

Originally Posted by richpjr (Post 1915141)
I guess a smaller number of people paying large upgrade fees is more appealing than a larger number paying smaller fees for them.

I can imagine that this may be true. If the burden on Avid's tech support staff is high due to the complexity of the product and of its interactions with the host platform, having fewer users willing to pay more money could very well be the correct business decision.

That's purely speculative, of course...

Max Gutnik 03-23-2012 03:50 PM

Re: OK, so here's a serious question for Avid regarding "openness"...
Thanks for the great comments in this thread. The answer is we are very serious about being open. I am interested in learning more about the kind of tools you would want to see from us and/or third parties for Eleven Rack.

Can you give me some specifics?

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