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April 2009.

Octal has been decommissioned, since it has unfortunately been moribund for years, and other free software packages have long since overtaken it.

Feb 2003.

The transition to GNU Objc is proceeding smoothly. The nightly CVS should start compiling soon, and the currently-out-of-date API docs will get revised shortly after that. In the meantime, here are some interesting links to projects and standards that have influenced Octal's direction:
  • OpenSoundControl --- An interesting text-based protocol for the control of synthesizers. It actually has the potential to do much more. Octal will use a variant of OSC.
  • Linux Audio Developer's mailing list --- Home page for the low-latency hard-realtime audio application gurus. The LAD group also develops API standards to promote interoperability between audio applications. Thus far the group has produced a low-latency inter-application connection server (JACK) and a basic audio effects plugin interface (LADSPA.)

    JACK is a solid effort and Octal will support JACK output. The LADSPA standard is not useful for virtual instruments; various attempts to add support for graphical user interfaces have failed to reach any consensus. A new LAD effort called XAP---an API for virtual instruments with sample-accurate events---is in the planning stages.

Octal in GNU CVS.

The following commands will check out the latest development version:

cvs -d:pserver:anoncvs@subversions.gnu.org:/cvsroot/octal login
cvs -z3 -d:pserver:anoncvs@subversions.gnu.org:/cvsroot/octal co octal

About the project.

GNU Octal is intended to be an integrated electronic music workstation. It consists of:

  1. A C-language plugin API, used to define sound processing objects called "modules" that users may download from the web to use as instruments or effects in their compositions.
  2. A core component to load these modules, communicate with them, route and mix audio signals between them, and produce output on an audio device.
  3. A graphical user interface to interactively compose and perform music using the core as a back-end.
  4. An open file format for saving these compositions and their associated resources.
Our ultimate goal is to create a completely free-software music system---plugins and all---with an archival file format so that the work put into compositions will last with time.

© 2003 by David O'Toole (dto@gnu.org) Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

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