Tag Archives: news

Libre Music Production project launched

Perplexed by the way music is made on Linux? A group of free software advocates launched a new website that aims to explain both basics and specifics of using various Linux apps and plugins for composing, mixing and mastering music.

Libre Music Production is collaboration between Staffan Melin, Gabriel Nordeborn, and Conor McCormack. Essentially, it’s a project by musicians for musicians.

The new project is a long missing link between experienced Linux audio users and newbies who want hands-on information about libre tools for making music. It focuses on delivering both workflow explanations and detailed tutorials, with an outlook to post relevant news to keep users in the loop regarding software updates.

The quality of materials that have already been published is rather impressive. E.g. Paul Davis, original developer of JACK and lead developer of Ardour (free/libre DAW) already called the introduction to JACK probably the best material on the topic currently available online.

Gabriel Nordeborn, who has released several albums made mostly with libre software, is currently considering to move his existing publications (tutorials and short interviews with developers and users) from zthmusic.com over to Libre Music Production.

For Staffan Melin this is the second project of this kind. In 2012, he launched Libre Graphics Production with a similar goal — to document a recommended desktop publishing workflow involving Scribus, GIMP, and Inkscape.

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Diagramming with bling: VRT updates free stencils for LibreOffice

Annoyed with much dated networking stencils in free diagramming software? Mark Oellermann of VRT, an Australian systems integration company, fixed that for you.

The situation with diagramming stencils for free software is no less frustrating that the situation with the actual diagramming software. If you do a lot of this kind of technical illustrations in your line of work, chances are you either use Visio-like proprietary software, clench your teeth, shut down your sense of beauty and get on with Dia’s set of shapes, or maybe ransack Open Clip Art Library for anything usable.

Strictly speaking, diagramming is about getting the job done. However, the bling does help selling projects to customers. And that’s where Mark’s contribution to LibreOffice is so important.

The collection he designed contains 200+ stencils in light and dark variants: routers, server racks, printers, desktops, laptops, IP phones — pretty much everything you need, if you are in the systems integration business, or if you are responsible for IT infrastructure in your company. It doesn’t exactly bring the art of flowcharting to the next level, but it does provide a sensible alternative.

Network shapescollection

Over to Mark:

I work for a small company that moved to LibreOffice and needed to create the sorts of IT networking diagrams you often see done with Visio’s isometric shapes, but couldn’t find any decent shape libraries in a suitable open format.

After much investigation I realised that it wouldn’t be too hard to produce something ourselves on par with what MS had done for Visio, so I dived in and some 2 years later we’ve got near 200 symbols, available on CC terms.

The project is not exactly news: the first collection was released over two years ago, but for some inexplicable reason it barely got public’s attention at all. The most recent version of the stencils collection was released last week and features newly added shapes for logical networking and visualisation/display systems.

Stencils can be installed as both OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice extensions.

Later this year Mark expects to ships the stencils in SVG and PNG, so that once Inkscape 0.91 is out, people could easily plug new shapes and use them (the upcoming release is featuring a Symbols palette), or easily convert them to Dia shapes.

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Explore new ideas with latest Distrho’s softsynths

Do you feel like you could do with more virtual instruments and sound FX plugins on Linux? Filipe Coelho released new ports of synths that are based on Yamaha DX7, Oberheim OB-X, and Roland TB-303.

The Ports section of the Distrho project is essentially comprised of native ports of plugins that had been released by their developers on KVR or elsewhere as free software. Pretty much all of those plugins were developed with the JUCE crossplatform multimedia framework which makes Filipe’s job a lot easier.

This section now contains 3 new software synthesizers and 3 new audio effects:

  • Dexed — a softsynth based on Yamaha DX7. It might look simple, but it’s versatile enough to produce a variety of sounds, from ethereal pads to weird sounds effects.
  • Nekobi — a softsynth that is loosely based around Roland TB-303. This might come in handy to those who have been composing in Ardour 3 and missing an LV2/VST version of the DSSI-based counterpart called Nekobee.
  • Obxd — another synth based on a real piece of hardware, this time — Oberheim OB-X. Vadim Filatov, original developer of the plugin, also participated in development of Dexed.
  • KlangFalter — a convolution reverb that supports true stereo impulse response files and loads them in their entirety while managing to keep the DSP load low enough (at least, that’s the claim).
  • MVerb — a reverb that provides a much anticipated free implementation of Jon Dattorro’s figure-of-eight topology of the feedback loop (see the paper for details). A Linux VST build of the plugin was provided by the original developer, Martin Eastwood. Filipe provided the LV2 version of the reverb effect.
  • Pitched Delay — a basic delay effect that can optionally pitch-correct the sound both inside and outside the feedback loop.

All plugins are available as LV2 and native Linux VST effects supported by e.g. Ardour and Qtractor digital audio workstations. Source code is up on GitHub, same as the issue tracker.

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Tupi project goes to Indiegogo, asks for funding of a Windows port

Gustav Gonzalez launched a fundraiser to create a Windows port of Tupi, a free exposure sheet based animation editor with tweening tools and a stopmotion plugin.

Tupi is essentially a one-man band project, so it’s going to take a while till it can be safely recommended for use on deadlines in production pipelines. However evidence suggests that the app turned out to be easy enough for kids around the world to learn the basics of animation.

Since neither Linux nor OSX dominate on the educational market, bringing Tupi to even more kids at schools simply means porting the animation editor to Windows.

Gustav estimated the project cost as USD $6000 which includes Indiegogo processing fee, development time for a month of work, a new laptop for development, annual hosting fee for the project’s own cloud service, and quality assurance testing of the upcoming Windows installer by a third party.

The developer seems determined to reach the goal whatever the result of the crowdfunding campaign would be. One week into the fundraiser Gustav got 4 out of 20 modules of the application to compile on Windows, and that’s just the beginning of the journey. There are still 3 weeks to fund it, and then (officially) a month to deliver an actual installer.

If you are not familiar with Tupi and you have either Linux or Mac around, fetch the latest version and give it a spin. The campaign’s page, should you choose to support the project, is right here.

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