Monday, September 04, 2006
Musix is a free Linux distribution geared towards making music. It is an installable, live-boot CD with a lot of applications. The creator of Musix, Marcos Guglielmetti, was kind enough to do an interview with Linux Rock Star. Musix is available at it's homepage.
What inspired you to make a Linux music distribution?
I don't know exactly: it was a sleeplessness night, I needed something difficult that could occupy my head, my thoughts... so I asked myself, "would it be difficult to make a GNU/Linux distribution?"
Also: I wanted to make an easier music distribution, easier than aGNUla/DeMuDi (for instance), because I want to see free software on any machine, so it must be easier to use: more user friendly. Musix only takes 3 or 4 minutes to startup, and there it is: fully operable.
In the process, I decided that the ideology behind GNU/Linux was exactly what I always looked for: the Ututo GNU/Linux (Daniel Olivera) & FSF people helped me so much in that direction!!
I saw Richard Stallman in a public talk on 2004, in my city, La Plata, Argentina, and I felt that the hippies were back here again, only now talking about software... so, it's not an illogical idea to join
music + free software... it's like hippie software, I think.
Could you explain a little more behind why you value free software?
I do because a subjectivity matter: when you have something developed in a community way, when people share their thoughts and advances with others, you achieve subjectivity... I mean, this huge society is used to (mal)treating you as an object: almost a human? When the subject is treated as an object, it's only a number on an enterprise statistic meaning money, just that, and it's unhealthy.
But with 100% free software it's different: you can achieve subjectivity in any part of the operating system, and you are treated as a subject by the users and developers community, you are treated as what you are, and that's healthy.
Also, you have freedom to share the software: that's a very important thing, your freedom, it's part of the subject's rights, it's a part of you and you dont have to resign that to use your hardware, or make music.
Object = slave
Subject = person with feelings and dignity
What are your favorite applications you use in Musix?
Kmail, Firefox, Rosegarden, Ardour, Hydrogen, ZynAddSubFX and Qsynth: I need a normal Desktop System and audio & MIDI sequencers, softsynths, a drum machine... just to make pop-rock music.
What plans do you have for the future of Musix?
A Live-DVD version could be a final solution to the space problems: we need to include many more music apps, for instance Muse, many other languages... and even games!, I would like to add things like torcs (a 3D racing cars simulator game using OpenGL).
Also, we need to improve hardware detection, etc., it's an enormous job that can be fulfilled only in this way: using software from Knoppix, Kanotix, Debian, etc., etc., and making our changes if needed.
Today I finished Musix 0.59, so you will see it soon on www.gnu.org, I upgraded more than 650 software packages, solved some bugs, added NTFS read/write support, a 100% graphic boot up process, the Amarok multimedia player (terrific!), and something more. Now Musix can upgrade -theoretically- an older installed version, this subject should work better. using the new Knoppix's package upgrader, and also it can -theoretically- convert a Knoppix, Debian or Ubuntu distro into a Musix distro. But I recommend making a classical new installation.
How do you compare Linux music applications to full commercially available applications?
It's a matter of freedom, if you don't care about your freedom, just don't care about this subject.
But, talking about the technical affair, Ardour is almost as good as ProTools, Gilberto Gil recorded using Ardour, so it must be a good app! There are some recording studios out there using it, for instance Mirror Image Studios (www.multitrack.us), and there is also great hardware supporting GNU/Linux, for instance RME Hamerfall soundcards (http://www.rme-audio.com/): you can record using 52 channels with this soundcard.
Rosegarden is a good music editor and MIDI/audio sequencer: there are many good people working on it. I love the practical use of Hydrogen drum machine, and the dreamy sound of ZynAddSubFX, but there are many more apps to try: Beast, LMMS, Wired, Seq24, Noteedit, etc. Jamin is an excelent mastering tool, you can do anything with it, and it was built with the help of highly qualified people, it uses the LADSPA plugins, something comparable to VST plugins.
Qsynth needs better free software soundfonts, you can help us, join at: http://opensrc.org/
Was it hard to put together a full blown distribution?
Mmmm.... not if you talk about mental capabilities, but it's hard because of time: you need a lot of time to make any distro, because the software and the hardware are always moving, growing, and you need to make a lot of changes to the software, talk to users and collaborators (there are many from Argentine, Spain, and some people from Brazil, Portugal, and other countries), discuss, analyze, learn, etc., etc., etc.
How is the weather in Argentine?
Argentine is a big country, so you have many kind of weathers... here in my town, now it's raining, we are waiting for the spring to come at September 21... the winter is a little sad to me... so I am trying to make some reggae music ;-), and I love to walk on the La Plata's "backwood" on sunny days listening songs from my mp3 player.