History of Zrythm

So, since the forums have opened. Perhaps this is a good time as ever to ask about the essentials of this DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) concerning its history and raison d’être. I suggest this post to be pinned for posterity reasons too.

From the following, I’m going to have to ask the reasons why Zrythm existed, among others directed to its author.

  1. Who are you? What is your relationship with Zrythm?
  2. How did the whole process of making this DAW get started? What were your inspirations?
  3. Did other DAW’s existence influenced you to make this one yourself? (Cite any examples?)
  4. What are your current expectations with this software?
  5. Most newer DAWs in the market tend to be either locked up behind hardware or expensive (And proprietary obviously). What made you want to make this one free as in freedom. software?
  6. Final thoughts.


Here’s the brief outline.


I’m Alexandros Theodotou, the main author of Zrythm. I currently work as a freelance translator and use the rest of my time developing Zrythm.

Why develop a new DAW

For personal reasons mostly - I want a free DAW I can use and the existing free ones are not usable for me.

How the process started (and how the existence of other DAWs influenced the decision to make a new one)

After ditching proprietary software a couple of years ago, I went looking for a new DAW for my GNU system and tried Bitwig (for a short while before ditching it too), Ardour, LMMS and Qtractor. After a couple of attempts to contribute to Ardour/LMMS, I saw design limitations and workflow/code complexities so I tried starting something (almost) from scratch. The process started by copying the jalv code onto an example Gtk program, so I had a basic LV2 host, and then I just kinda took it from there.


Workflow/UI/features: Cubase and Bitwig. Internals: Ardour.


To be a featureful and intuitive free DAW that would be the main choice for electronic musicians. I also expect to work full time on it - hence the paid installers.

Why free

Proprietary software is unethical and should not exist. Zrythm uses copyleft to ensure it stays free.

Final thoughts

Like all free software, this is by its nature a community project so join us and help if you can, either financially or by contributing code/ideas/artwork/translations or testing (see CONTRIBUTING.md for how you can contribute).


Interesting post !
It’s always a good thing to know why new software come along.

Any roadmap or feature plans ?

@Bobpatraque welcome!

yep, we use Redmine for that. here is the current roadmap: https://redmine.zrythm.org/projects/zrythm/roadmap

“beta” is for things that must be done before we enter beta, and “1.0.0” is for things that must be done before version 1 is released.


Nice ! I love roadmaps !!!
Is stretch mode supposed to work as ableton’s timewarping ? I do really miss that feature in ardour, and I think it’s stretch mode is quite odd (although it can do some really interesting sound texture…)

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I’m not familiar with either of them, but stretch mode will “expand” the content of the region. eg, it will do time warp on audio regions, expand MIDI notes on midi regions, expand automation on automation regions, etc.

I only saw it in ableton, because I only use free software, and it seems really helpfull to help a rythmic section to match with another. It make it possible to speed up or to slow down a selected part of a track, without affecting the rest, making this track kind of elastic…
Maybe it’s what you described (As english isn’t my primary language, I migth have not understand everything the rigth way). As far as I understand, zrythm time stretching should be really nice.
Thanks for the answer !

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Since we are onto the topic of history, a few nuggets of details wouldn’t hurt then.

Where does the name come from? I understand the similarities workflow and GUI-wise between Bitwig and Cubase but I cannot find anything regarding the name “Zrythm” that connects me to something.

idunno, it doesn’t really mean anything. it just sounded cool when i started it


Zrythm looks very promising. Thank you. For me open source software doesn’t mean that it’s completely free. If I use it, if I work and receive a salary, I pay for it as far as I can

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