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Feb 2003.

The transition to GNU Objc is proceeding smoothly. The nightly CVS should start compiling soon, and the currently-out-of-date API docs will get revised shortly after that. In the meantime, here are some interesting links to projects and standards that have influenced Octal's direction:
  • OpenSoundControl --- An interesting text-based protocol for the control of synthesizers. It actually has the potential to do much more. Octal will use a variant of OSC.
  • Linux Audio Developer's mailing list --- Home page for the low-latency hard-realtime audio application gurus. The LAD group also develops API standards to promote interoperability between audio applications. Thus far the group has produced a low-latency inter-application connection server (JACK) and a basic audio effects plugin interface (LADSPA.)

    JACK is a solid effort and Octal will support JACK output. The LADSPA standard is not useful for virtual instruments; various attempts to add support for graphical user interfaces have failed to reach any consensus. A new LAD effort called XAP---an API for virtual instruments with sample-accurate events---is in the planning stages.

Octal in GNU CVS.

The following commands will check out the latest development version:

cvs -d:pserver:anoncvs@subversions.gnu.org:/cvsroot/octal login
cvs -z3 -d:pserver:anoncvs@subversions.gnu.org:/cvsroot/octal co octal

About the project.

GNU Octal is intended to be an integrated electronic music workstation. It consists of:

  1. A C-language plugin API, used to define sound processing objects called "modules" that users may download from the web to use as instruments or effects in their compositions.
  2. A core component to load these modules, communicate with them, route and mix audio signals between them, and produce output on an audio device.
  3. A graphical user interface to interactively compose and perform music using the core as a back-end.
  4. An open file format for saving these compositions and their associated resources.
Our ultimate goal is to create a completely free-software music system---plugins and all---with an archival file format so that the work put into compositions will last with time.

© 2003 by David O'Toole (dto@gnu.org) Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

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