Does anyone compose music using any of the ports from the/ports/audio collection in FreeBSD?

Conrad J. Sabatier conrads at
Wed Jul 14 09:50:35 PDT 2004

On 13-Jul-2004 Kevin Koch wrote:
> If so what do you use?
> What I use is:
> Audicity
> Rosegarden(I LOVE it!)
> SpiralSynth/SPiralLoops/SpiralSynthModular
> FreeBirth
> Vsound
> and depending on my mood soundtracker and cheesetracker
> Once I brush up on my C/C++ code I  plan on  trying out my attempt at
> porting some linux audio /midi software to FreeBSD !
> FreeBSD is awesome as a music production environment!
> However that's just my opinion.
> And when i'm under the infulence of certain things my favorite  port
> is autozen which is found in /usr/ports/audio.
> It's  nice.!

FreeBSD's sound support is primitive in the extreme compared to the
facilities available on other platforms.

When I first started using FreeBSD, way back in 1996, we had Voxware,
which supported real MIDI.  Unfortunately, it was yanked from the
source tree due to the lack of anyone willing to continue to maintain
it, even though there was no replacement for the functionality that was
lost as a result.

Ever since, we've been limited to the most basic audio functionality,
*no* MIDI whatsoever, and as a result, anyone interested in MIDI
sequencing under FreeBSD is left with no choice but to use another

This is a very sorry state of affairs that has persisted way too long. 
When the removal of Voxware was under discussion, a number of us
registered our strong dissent, as it was obvious that no suitable
replacement would be forthcoming for quite some time.

Well, here we are, eight years or so later, and the functionality that
was ripped out of the kernel with the removal of Voxware *still* has
yet to be replaced with a working, compatible (that is, compatible with
the abundance of modern, sophisticated tools that are now being used on
other platforms) alternative.

This is an appalling state of affairs, IMHO.  I'm currently exploring a
number of alternatives in the hopes of once again enjoying the
functionality that once existed, mainly in the area of MIDI.

It seems that MIDI, as well as compatibility with the wealth of very
sophisticated music composition tools now in existence, is a *very* low
priority item in the minds of the main FreeBSD development team.

I, for one, am fast running out of patience with this state of affairs.
I love FreeBSD and prefer it over any other platform currently
available, but unless some serious improvement comes about in the area
of sound/music support, and soon, I fear I may be left with no choice
but to bid a bittersweet farewell to the project, and seek greener

Things have gotten so bad of late, that even the few, minimalistic
tools that we do have available to us, such as timidity++, aren't even
working properly, and recent commits have even introduced new bugs into
the existing pcm code.

I don't believe in issuing ultimatums or threats, but I am seriously
disgusted with the state of sound support in FreeBSD.  We are *so* far
behind the rest of the free *nixes, it's not even funny.

I would *love* to use FreeBSD as the basis for the home recording
studio I'm interested in setting up, but with the current paucity of
working tools and devices, that seems highly unlikely to be within the
realm of practical possibility.

I'm currently looking at AGNULA ( a Debian
and/or Redhat-based system tailored specifically for use as a full,
professional-quality music production environment.  Looks *very*

It makes me very sad that FreeBSD is so far behind the pack in this
area, it really does.  Otherwise, I think it's the best free OS around.
But I have needs that aren't being met, and I'm quite skeptical at this
point that FreeBSD will ever deliver the goods.  I think eight
years is a more than reasonable length of time to have waited for a
replacement MIDI subsystem to be instituted.  My patience is nearly at
an end.  <sigh>

Oh well.  You gotta do whatcha gotta do, I guess.  Just wish it weren't

Conrad J. Sabatier <conrads at> -- "In Unix veritas"

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