Audacity was developed by a group of volunteers under the GNU General Public License (GPL), and is open source, or free software. This not only means that it does not cost anything to download, but also that you can use the program, create items with it, and freely distribute these items, modify the program itself, and share your work with others.
You can download Audacity for:
Mac OS X
Other operating systems
Let's briefly go over how to download and install Audacity.
Go to the official Audacity website at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ and download the appropriate version of the software for your computer.
Once the installation package has been downloaded to your computer, double-click on it to start the installation.
Find the Audacity icon (shown in the next image) in the Application or Programs folder, to open the program.
You can use Audacity with GNU/Linux operating systems (and other similar operating systems), but you should download the correct installation package for it. Currently, there are a number of distributions available for the following types of systems:
You can download the installation packages for these and others from the Audacity Linux or Unix web page, at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/.
In this book, the screenshots are specific to the Mac OS X software. However, don't be concerned if this is not your computer operating system of choice. The software itself is very similar between operating systems, and any notable differences between the Audacity software screens for different operating systems, are noted, so you know what to look for.
Can't play or record files in the MIDI audio file format.
Doesn't natively play or export audio in propriety or restricted file audio formats, such as WMA or AAC. Additional plug-ins must be installed to do this.
Can't apply sound effects in realtime. This means that you have to record the track and then apply sound effects to the track.
Isn't a specialized audio editing software package, so there are some limitations on multi-track editing and mixing features.