PenguinSong.org is the software-development organization behind PenguinSong.net.
Our active projects at the moment are:
- Combo -- the software that actually
runs our websites. Combo is a versatile, configurable package for
running community websites. As the name suggests, Combo has several
components, among which are:
- AMP -- an Active Markup Processor, expanding templates and web
``macros'' to simplify web development.
file.cgi -- a web-based file-management tool.
- FilkWiki -- a collaborative web-based authoring environment that
preserves attribution, retains version history, and encourages
- SHAWM -- the SetTop Home Audio
Workstation for Musicians. Our proposal -- now a finalist! -- for the
Proposed or planned projects include:
- An open album format that can put a CD's worth of music,
compressed, on a minidisk-sized CD-ROM along with graphics, liner
notes, and links. There's no mystery about the format, really: it will
be HTML, pure and simple, plus standard, license-free audio and
graphics formats. The main components of the project will be the
specification, the tools and templates needed to create and manage
albums and corresponding CD's, and the free software (in Java) that
goes on the album to ensure that it can be played on any platform.
- The PenguinSong listener's kit, including everything you need to
download and play songs and albums, keep track of what you have
(including music you get somewhere else), manage your personal
homepage, and upload music.
- The PenguinSong web kit, including the page templates, upload
manager, and so on. Everything a member needs for managing their
- PenguinSong pro audio -- every byte of open-source software we can find
that might possibly benefit a musician. (Most of this can already be
found on links from Dave Phillips'
Sound & Midi Software for Linux website, but it's not all in
one place. Go there anyway, right now.)
We will, eventually, feature several prepackaged Linux distributions. All
will be easy to install, and most will be useable without installation by
booting from the distribution CD.
- Player. Turn a junk PC or single-board computer into the audiophile's
dream machine: play audio in virtually any format either right off the
CD or off the net. This distribution will be small enough to burn onto
a CD along with the music, the idea being to distribute the player with
the album. (This may end up being Movix or something like it.)
- Audio recorder/workstation. Turn a PC and professional-quality
soundcard into a multitrack audio recorder, mixer, and effects
processor. Record direct to hard disk or (for absolutely silent
operation) to a networked machine in another room. Supports digital
mixers and MIDI control surfaces. Can be controlled over the network,
so it does not require a monitor (though a touchscreen would
make a dandy control surface, don't you think?).
- The Hacker's Axe. Everything a hacker/songwriter needs. Your basic
full-featured Linux distribution tuned and tweaked for
music. (Actually, we may just point at AGNULA (seems to have vanished) or
DeMuDi, the DEbian MUltimedia
Distribution, for this one. It's still alpha,
but that's further along than PenguinSong at the moment.)
In the meantime, you can easily upgrade a RedHat (7 or 8) distro to an
audio and music workstation: see Planet CCRMA at
Home, which walks you through the steps. It takes about an hour
(depending on your connection speed), and starts by installing the RPM
version of Debian's excellent
apt-get package manager. It
then adds the latest kernel with low-latency patches (for glitch-free
sound), and turns you loose on a selection of 80-some-odd music and audio
If you have Mandrake 9.0 it's even easier:
Audio from the Eastman
Computer Music Center at the
University of Rochester. Not having Mandrake 9.0 handy, I haven't
tried it, but it's a single script: just run it and go.
It's important to realize that we don't intend to actually develop a whole
lot of software ourselves [presently, myself] -- the idea is to
pull together as much already-existing software as possible. In other
words, this is not intended to be a ``Yet Another Audio Editor''
project. It wouldn't even be ``Yet Another Linux Distribution'' if there
were a suitable one already out there. The player and recorder appliances
bear a family resemblance to things like the various router/firewall and
X-terminal distros, but of course the mix of application software will
have to be totally different.
There is some small but interesting glue software to be written
in the embedded space and in support of the website.
$Id: intro.xh,v 1.4 2002/09/04 15:24:55 steve Exp $