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

Dmitriy Startsev metal_man at
Wed Jul 14 11:01:29 PDT 2004

Hello, Conrad!
You wrote to "Kevin Koch" <kcoch1 at> on Wed, 14 Jul 2004
11:50:22 -0500 (CDT):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you need this functionality so much, why don't you develop it yourself?
Or hire some programmers, money always were a good motivation;)

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

With best regards, Dmitriy Startsev.

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