Summer Coding Begins; Documentation for Music Software Is in the Works!

As the Summer Coding SIG announced this summer’s approved projects last Thursday, I was delighted to find my proposal on the list. The chance to contribute to the Fedora community this summer, with dedicated help from experienced Fedora Project community members, is certainly a first for me. I’m really looking forward to realizing my proposal this summer!

The upcoming Musicians’ Guide is a project that I proposed to help fill a knowledge gap. If you’ve ever tried to use a proprietary music or audio program (be it ProTools, Finale, or Cubase), then you know that these programs have a tendency to be very complex and very expensive. There are open-source equivalents for most of the proprietary software that’s available, but for a number of reasons, they are usually obscure and poorly-understood.

Believe it or not, Fedora Linux happens to be an excellent platform for audio production and other musical tasks. Especially with the additional “Planet CCRMA at Home” repositories hosted by Stanford University, the possibilities of Fedora are nearly endless. The guide will discuss software such as Audacity, Ardour, SuperCollider, LilyPond, and GNU Solfege. Instructions for simple tasks (like opening and saving files) can be found elsewhere, so there will be a special focus on knowing which tool to use for which task (Audacity vs. Ardour, or Qtractor vs. Rosegarden, for example), and on applying tutorial topics to real-world creative situations. Though it may be great to know how to save a ten-second audio clip of you making a “mmm” noise, the real power of computers comes in understanding how to transform ten seconds of “mmm” into ten minutes of music.

As a Fedora user, you are either directly or indirectly helping to support the Summer Coding 2010 program. Most of these projects wouldn’t have happened without the program, so on behalf of all students and mentors working with Summer Coding 2010, I invite you to enjoy your flight, and thank you for choosing Fedora Linux.

All Summer Coding 2010 projects will be making regular posts to Planet Fedora throughout the development process.



  1. Thanks for your comment! I plan to be making contact with several mailing lists this summer, and using the website, and others, as appropriate.

    An official Fedora guide, which is the goal of this project, gives credibility to the distribution for audio use. Furthermore, the specific content and target audience are unique when compared to most user guides.

    All of this will become more clear in future blog posts, and as the documents themselves are assembled.

  2. Why don’t you propose a Music SIG or even a Fedora Music Spin? It could be easier to people make Fedora its favourite music distro without having to fight between strange repositories and configurations…

  3. There already exists an Audio Creation SIG. It’s difficult to find, but here’s a link:

    I contemplated a dedicated music spin, but decided against it for a few reasons. Firstly, I don’t have the skills to do it alone. Secondly, it would take a huge effort to create, and then to maintain. I would be condemning not only myself, but many other Fedora contributors to many hours of extra work. Most importantly, it seems to me that a lack of documentation is what most frightens away new users.

    Besides, if the Audio Creation SIG decides to release a dedicated spin in the future, they will need documentation. By then, it will already exist.

    Thank you for your thoughts! It’s about time that somebody put the Audio Creation SIG onto the SIGs page!

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