[Consortium] Sounds Expo report

Daniel James daniel at linuxaudio.org
Mon Apr 18 07:38:09 EDT 2005

Hello all,

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.

3. Education
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.  

5. Behringer 
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. 

6. Emission
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.


Daniel James

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