Why I Love Open-Source Applications

Over the past two months, I have been setting up and learning how to use Ubuntu Studio for home music recording. Since I payed $300 (several years ago) for the Native Instruments Hammond B4 software, I wanted to see if there were open-source alternatives for the Native Instruments software… If I spent $300 for each NI software bundle, I wouldn’t be able to purchase hardware (such as midi keyboard controllers) for my home recording studio!

I discovered Bristol Organ to be an excellent open-source alternative for various organ, electric-piano sounds. I also use Qsynth (the frontend for FluidSynth) for other sounds like piano. What attracted me to Bristol Organ is the ability to change sound characteristics of various keyboards in real-time (such as modulation, volume, etc)… Bristol is the “backend” organ sound generator, while Brighton is the graphic (user) “frontend”.

Here is a link to the Bristol/Brighton WIKI:
[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_%28software%29 ]

I liked this Bristol/Brighton application, but had some questions. One question was how to automatically launch different organs without them overlaying on top of each other (i.e. spread them out over the desktop). I was looking for a –geometry option (like many other X-Windows applications have). I looked into the various notes, wikis and blogs, to find an answer, then finally decided to send an e-mail to the author of Bristol Organ – Nick Copeland.

Here is a portion of one of my e-mails:

Hi Nick,

Is there a way to place different organs on different locations on screen?
(I tried -geometry +#+#, but didn't work - I'm using 0.4)

Murray Saul

Nick replied within a couple of days, and decided to incorporate that suggestion into the next release of Bristol Organ! Below is one of his e-mail replies:

Hi Murray Saul,

The next release will include a -geom/-geometry option which will allow you do do
window placement. The following should be honoured:

-geom +100+100 will do just window placement
-geom 800+100+100 will scale the width to 800 pixels, adjust height to maintain aspect ratio
 and place the window
-geom 800x200+100+100 will take the literal size you request and place it on the screen,
 aspect ratio is lost.

The interface will also configure anti-aliasing if the window size changes by more
than about 10% from default.

kind regards. Nice feature by the way, am glad your requested it as I had never considered
the option and it seems pretty useful.


No wonder I love using open-source software….

What other type of software can you search out and be able to contact the program’s author, and have the ability to provide direct feedback to make a better product… and for no charge whatsoever?

I am impressed 🙂

Murray Saul


~ by Murray Saul on June 22, 2010.

2 Responses to “Why I Love Open-Source Applications”

  1. Hi, Murray.

    I enjoy reading your blog postings about Ubuntu and open source in general. Please keep blogging…


    • Thank you, I will.
      I have so much to say. I haven’t been blogging lately, since I’m setting up and learning about Ubuntu Studio, but I will be blogging a lot this summer!


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