[LAA] announcing openArtist linux distribution.

flow space cellstorm3 at operamail.com
Thu Jun 18 12:30:36 EDT 2009


I want to announce openArtist  (http://www.openartisthq.org). Its a ready to use ubuntu flavour build for creative people.
Its main categories are 2D, 3D, Audio, Video, VJ, HardwareInterfacing, Programming and Collaboration. 

it is a try to put all things that are relevant in terms of multimedia into one package, ready configured and documented.

- based on ubuntu hardy, but heavily patched to jaunty, in terms of multimedia.
- custom made menues, with all the tools sorted logically.
- can be used as livecd or installed.

A specialization in other areas than audio (3D, VJ, e.g) is completely lacking in GNU/Linux, so I think that my project has the right of existence. Also I think I digg a bit deeper, e.g. I also include free windows apps via wine and applications that run in the webbrowser (the aviary tools, for example).

as stated before, the documentation is onboard, which means there is a mindmap (actually a net of mindmaps, which is also the website), which collects everything relevant about a program. There is also extended help in the comments when you hover over an application launcher, local documentation symlinked into one directory, special help built into menue structure or program launchers, where needed

I stated to digg deeper, and I want to prove this with the examples of how I went into audio and 3D


I tried to make things as smooth and easy as possible.

In openArtist, there are mainly Jack and Alsa (also pulseaudio, but its turned off by default)

For every program that needs Jack to run (good), qjackctl will start with that program, automatically
When you close the program, you will also be asked if you want to close jack.

I provide a list of programs which MUST, CAN, and CANNOT use jack, and which audio device is selected in the program settings by default, in 
Audio -> control -> (Jack) Application Setup list

There are many little helper scripts in Audio -> Control, which help you tracking audio conflicts and such. like the "check which programs user the sounddevice" script, the  "kill all running jack instances" or the "reset alsa" script. I know you can do that all form commandline and more, but for new users this is much more convenient.

Then you have a script to inspect your audio hardware and settings, "soundhardware info". You get info about built-in audio hardware, usb, firewire and pcmica devices, also alsa and pulseaudio settings (which are a bit documented by the way).

as said before, (most of) the jack-aware applications are started with jack. 

I divided the audio menu into some subcategories:

plugins / synths racks:  all the synths live there, also the ladspa, dssi, lv2 racks (jackrack and similar), patchage, the jost vst host, and some standalone
tools like jackEQ, the tools form linuxdsp.co.uk. Bristol has custom launchers for every available synth. 

dj/live: mixx, xwax, aquaduo (a custom script by my which glues two aqualung players (which have lasdspa plaugin support) together with jackEQ and timmachine for recording), freewheeling, loopdup, superlooper, terminatorx, seq24, tapeutape, tranches

SoundCoding / experimental: blue , algoscore, athenacl, pd, supercollider, AVsynthesis (soundbased, draw music), beast

streaming: internet dj console, muse, darksnow, pd-based streamers form giss.tv
analyze:  jaaa, japa, sonic visualizer, sonorgam. 
more...:  recorders, rippers, note editors, id3tag editors..

the main audio folder holds the primary programs like audio players (aqualung audaicous2, amarok), daws and sequencers (ardour, lmms, rosegarden..), samplers and drumboxes (hydrogen, jackbeat, freecycle..) and the wave editors (traverso, sweep, audacity...)

I do not think i made a near perfect system for audio, but I thisk its working quite fine.

ok, I lack a recent rt-kernel, I use the one form puredyne project, a 2.6.24.
I actually took quite a lot from them. they do excellent packaging for plugins (pd and supercollider)
one can install that by using a script on the desktop, or the usual way.
I also have to thank elgenerealmidi form http://ubuntufromscratch.tuxfamily.org/ for his exceptional work.

but I did not want to do another audio distribution:


massive blender focus.

- 5 versions of blender (2.49, 2.5 with automatic download script of graphicall daily build, 2.41, 2.45, publisher 2.2.5 for compatibility reasons and fun :-)

- integration into nautilus (own blender mimetype, open with 2.41, 2.45, control movies with blender:anim on rightclick), hidden blender folder in home directory for fast access to scripts folders of all versions and to sequence and texture plugins)

- collaborative blender scripts folder (symlinked into dropbox, drop a script there and all others will get it, too). many scripts installed (focus mainly on renderers integration until now, all render-related scripts appear in render menu now)

- renderers preinstalled for use with blender: yafray, yafaray, kerkythea, indigo (these two via download script, as they cannot be redistributed), aqusis, pixie, nvidia gelato, luxrender (beta and stable), sunflow, pantograph.
also, freestyle standalone and helios distributed renderer are available. which brings me to the next point:

- distributed rendering category: helios (distributed rendering with sunflow), drqueue (packed in custom scripts and with help to be user friendly), yadra, networkrender, farmerjoe. Also all online-tools which allow renderfarming with blender are there, with test accounts: Pgrade Grid portal, HGblender ranch, burp, open rendering environment, BOINC, then the commercial ones: greenButton, respower, pouwa client, deadline renderfarm.
- blender video sequence editor and composite editor launcher in VID cateory, with test project and little intro texts.

other interesting things:
- 3D programs: ayam, moonlight, wings3d, k-3d, topmod modeller, equinox, gsculpt, kpovmodeller. Makehuman is there, once with the old version, and MHPhoenix, and a script to automatically download and compile the latest version. 
there is also Sharpconstruct (standalone scuplter) and structuresynth (where you can code 3D objects)
- texture tools: Mapzone (via wine and a script for download), semicuro, cellule (for procedural textures)
- shaderman tools: sler, shaderman (via wine) and cutter
- plant generators: arbaro, Ivy, ngplant, and apparently, tree form curves.
- g3dviewer: previews all major 3d formats
- bvhplay: player for bvh motioncapture files.

useful things beyond 3D

2D: gimp is heavily pimped with all major plugins and scripts
actually, there are 3 versions of gimp.
one is special-pimped for use with graphics tablets: Gimp paint studio.
- more graphics tablets apps: mypaint, gogh, drawpile, alchemy, qaquarelle, and pencil.
- djv imaging for image sequce playing and processing
- cinepaint is there. with full color management builtin.
- colour mangement: all relevant tools for linux are there (lcms argyl, lprof, oryanos, dispcal), but you will also find  tools like a print plugin in gimp, which accepts coulor profiles of printers, or the CMYK plugin for gimp.
- special kernels: there is a highram kernel available, which could be neat for renderings with more than 3GB ram. Yes you can use more the 3GB ram with a 32bit system. this kernel has to be installed seperatly, but there is an install script on the desktop


the Programming tools are python- and web-orientated, but there are also tools to produce art out of code
hardware interfacing allows you to interact with software via wii controller, reactable, osc, openmoko, graphics tablets.
the video category features not only video editors, but also 2D animation apps, streaming tools, dvd tools, converters, viewers etc.

and everything is configured, too. this means every mimetype opens with the appropriate program. Media information programs are integrated into nautilus,

I hope I've got your appetite wetted. 

about me:

my (nick)name is cellstorm, I am a student of software development at tu graz, Austria. 
I started this project about one year ago, in a rage of seeing so much good free software available, 
but no one integrates it as is should be: configured, documented, with a menu structure that makes sense.
Until now, I did 3 releases, constantly updating the programs to newest state and finding new exiting stuff.
As I am doing all this stuff alone right now, It's kinda hard to do much in advertising.
I have been featured by mkl, medienkunstlabor graz, a media artist laboratory in my hometown, where I am kinda
resident artist now. This means I do not only produce this distro, I also use it as production environment.

you can download openArtist at http://www.openartisthq.org
is hat grown to about 3.5gig until now.
(screenshots: http://www.getdropbox.com/gallery/331020/1/openArtist?h=49f07b)

greets, cellstorm

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