Audacity is a great application – free, fully featured and easy enough to use. Or it was.

Ubuntu now has 1.3.3 in it’s packages and this version appears to remove the option to import tracks! The most useful option and the one that every podcast creator relies upon for creating their final audio is gone! Missing. Denied. Have they gone mad?

Apparently the version that Ubuntu is packaging is a variant called CleanSpeech, which adds some useful features, but it does so at a price that seems far too high. If the ability to have multiple tracks in a single instance of Audacity exists, please tell me as it’s now stopping the release of the next Feathercast episode, in fact it’s stopping any further Feathercasts!

To say I’m annoyed and confused is an understatement.

UPDATE: I downloaded the Windows version of 1.3.3 and there were all the features that I expected to find. Thinking it was a simple case of different versions I downloaded the source tarball and built it on Ubuntu to find exactly the same version that the package delivered! It’s very annoying as I don’t currently have a version of Audacity that will allow me to create podcasts at AC US next week. I’ll try and get an older version working as an interim measure, but of course that requires an older version of WxWidgets… sigh

I wish the Audacity team would get their act together.

UPDATE #2: It’s possible to get back the old Audacity that you know and love! Under Preferences > Batch there is an option that controls whether Cleanspeech is used. Simply remove the tick for this option (and restart if using 1.3.3 but not required with the code in CVS) and all is well. Why the option defaults to On is a question only the audacity team can answer.