Re: On illegal software in an academic assignment ...

Subject: Re: On illegal software in an academic assignment ...
From: Kenneth Newby (
Date: Sun Nov 13 2005 - 19:36:47 EST

On "obvious competence"... my mentor, Martin Bartlett, liked to
characterize computer music systems made by composers and musicians as
a form of folk music... a new oral tradition in which the free exchange
of techniques and approaches exceeds a culture of authority. While I
don't think anyone wants to see a culture of mediocrity develop from
this folk culture... I also don't want to be driven by an IT culture of
"best practices" that considers only the most efficient and
easiest-to-use approach as viable.

We get caught up in the cult of speed and capacity so easily in the
hysterical race of technological development. Sometimes it's great to
just hang out with a poky machine and software full of limitations and
try to be an artist again... confronting constraints and affordances,
solving creative problems based on the limitations of the medium at
hand. Developing a personal competence with what's there.

Again, we're in a "brave new world", where the stability of the
instrument is gone in the old sense of an object that remains
relatively consistent over time. At one point I noticed that it didn't
matter how hard I ran, the target remained just as distant. There's
always a new version, another upgrade and an exhortation that this is
the one that will solve all your creative problems.

Unfortunately our students are of that stage in their lives where they
are likely most susceptible to that culture of the upgrade and the
latest and greatest. How to develop that competitive advantage? A
culture of intense competition and individualism promotes the
questionable practices we're discussing.


On 13-Nov-05, at 4:17 PM, Michael Gogins wrote:

> Open source derives from academia, of course. AT&T licensed UNIX to
> universities, who redistributed sources. This was the origin of the
> concept or attitude that software should be free. From UNIX came a
> professor's toy operating system Minix, and from Minix came Linux. So
> the lineage is very clear.
> Both universities and open source programmers preserve the midieval
> attitude that the results of scholarship (and software is a form of
> scholarship among other things) should be freely shared. This is a
> fundamentally science-based attitude. It is not a business-based or
> art-based attitude at all.
> What is the source of your opinion about Csound? What experience do
> you have with it, especially with Csound 5?
> Regards,
> Mike
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Richard Wentk <>
> Sent: Nov 13, 2005 5:54 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: On illegal software in an academic assignment ...
> At 22:22 13/11/2005, you wrote:
>> As a sometime user of Csound and Reaktor, I would have to say that
>> one can
>> definitely do much more with Csound than with Reaktor. Although the
>> very
>> cool realtime granulation stuff in Reaktor does not exist in Csound,
>> there
>> is much more in Csound that does not exist or is difficult to create
>> in
>> Reaktor.
> Csound is full of OpenSource-think at the modular level. It's packed
> with
> third-rate imitations and simulations of modules and processes borrowed
> from other sources and mostly not implemented with any obvious
> competence.
> You can script more fluidly in Max/MSP or SuperCollider, and both offer
> more features, implemented more thoughtfully. So while there's
> certainly a
> niche for a scripted audio language, Csound isn't it. Being free
> shouldn't
> be used as an excuse for its many shortcomings.
> On the other hand, it is quite good at making student pieces that sound
> like a lorry load of Theremins or DX7s falling off a cliff. :-)
>> As you surely must know, the path of innovation in music engineering
>> has
>> more often been from academia to industry
> academia != OpenSource
> Richard

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