Linuxaudio.org enjoyed a very successful three days at the Sounds Expo
trade show in London last week. The organisation was represented by
Chris Cannam and Richard Bown of Fervent Software, Free Ekanayaka and
Tim Hall from AGNULA/DeMuDi and myself. Here's a summary of what
1. AMD sponsorship
Despite a considerable discount from the organisers of Sounds Expo
because we were running a not-for-profit stand, our participation was
only made possible due to generous and significant sponsorship from
AMD. Per Bahr from AMD joined us on the stand, where we gave out
promotional material featuring AMD's artist sponsorship programme and
the Opteron architecture, as well as pens, keyrings and so on. I
demonstrated a prototype of the '64 Studio' distribution running
natively on an Athlon 64 laptop, featuring JACK and Ardour.
2. Stand visitors
There was an obvious increase from last year in the number of stand
visitors who said they were already running Linux, if mostly for
non-audio tasks such as web development. For many of these users, the
questions were "why should I use a customised distribution?" and
"which applications do you reccomend?" rather than "what is Linux?".
However, there were still a great number of show visitors who had not
seen Linux before, even though most of them had heard of it.
A number of stand visitors were from UK educational institutions who
were actively considering replacing Windows and Mac OS with Linux for
music and multimedia courses. These institutions need both software
and consultancy services, so if Linuxaudio.org members are interested
in following up with these contacts, please let me know.
4. FireWire support
Due to the immature state of FireWire audio interface support on
Linux, we paid special attention to this area when speaking to
exhibitors in other booths. We now have new contacts with Focusrite,
M-Audio, RME and Yamaha in order to follow this up. We also enquired
about the fine print of mLAN licensing, and whether there is a way we
can get control node specifications for Linux audio developers. If
members are interested in forming a specialist FireWire group within
Linuxaudio.org, please let me know.
One of the most positive exhibitors regarding support for Linux
developers was Behringer, which has offered to help make sure that
Linux works well with its products - particularly its range of
control surfaces. These already work with Linux applications to a
certain extent, but the interaction could benefit from some polish.
If you need a contact within the company, please let me know.
This company makes a dedicated hardware controller for DJs:
They are interested in getting Linux support for it, and we suggested
that they consider working with the developer community to
JACK-enable it, possibly based around the jackEQ software mixer. If
you are interested in this project, just let me know and I will put
you in touch with the company.
7. Embedded devices
There were several Linux-based products on other stands, with the Korg
Oasys perhaps the star of the show. Although these embedded systems
usually run a proprietary application on top of a Linux distribution,
they seem to be rasing the profile of Linux in the audio industry. I
believe instruments like the Oasys had a noticeable effect on the
other exhibitors at Sounds Expo, particularly on the issue of
hardware support for Linux.
8. Linux presentation
At short notice, I prepared and delivered a presentation in the Sound
on Sound theatre entitled 'Linux in the recording studio - myths and
realities". This covers the history of free and proprietary software,
leading up to a brief discussion and demonstration of Linux audio
applications. If anyone would like the slides or speaker notes from
this presentation for reuse, please ask.