Why not open source REAPER?
peeder
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#1
9th April 2007
Old 9th April 2007
  #1
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Why not open source REAPER?

Hi Justin,

I'm wondering why you're keeping REAPER closed-source, while pricing it at an almost certainly unprofitable cost and stating that you are doing this "philanthropically."

Common reasons for staying closed source:

1) I don't want people seeing this cwappy code I'm hurling!
2) Things will go much faster if I don't feel I need to make my code readable by others, and I don't have to answer questions about it from random people of random skill levels.
3) It would be nice to have beer money from this.
4) Revenue is the most honest form of acclaim and measuring sales will give the team a tangible goal to work towards.
5) I have delusions that someone will try to fork this and steal my thunder/run away with the show.
6) No benefit to it...we're not going to get anyone helping, really, who wouldn't prefer working for a paycheck instead.
7) It's more fun to keep secrets and unleash things on the world Steve Jobs-style.
8) Nice to keep options available if this develops into $omething down the road...

Anyway just curious what you're thinking, being myself a programmer who's gone both ways on the issue.
#2
9th April 2007
Old 9th April 2007
  #2
Gear nut
 

This is a good question--and believe me, I've considered it at times.

The price of REAPER actually isn't unprofitable.. Provided you get enough people using/buying it, which we are.

A big factor however, is that if REAPER was open source, it would be much more difficult to support proprietary standards.

The licenses for VST and ASIO are incompatible with GPL'd software, Propellerheads will only license ReWire to non-open-source developers, etc.

Get Steinberg and Propellerheads to open their stuff up, and we'll think about it

-Justin
peeder
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#3
9th April 2007
Old 9th April 2007
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Frankel View Post
This is a good question--and believe me, I've considered it at times.

The price of REAPER actually isn't unprofitable.. Provided you get enough people using/buying it, which we are.

A big factor however, is that if REAPER was open source, it would be much more difficult to support proprietary standards.

The licenses for VST and ASIO are incompatible with GPL'd software, Propellerheads will only license ReWire to non-open-source developers, etc.

Get Steinberg and Propellerheads to open their stuff up, and we'll think about it

-Justin
Wow that's really useful to know...The computer audio world is built on closed standards! The standards setters are specifically preventing open source competitors.

That more than doubles the challenge then...you have to recreate those standards, and hope that you get enough support...

OK you hit that out of the park Justin we can aim our ire at the standardsmakers. Thanks!
#4
10th April 2007
Old 10th April 2007
  #4
Gear nut
 

open source standards do exist

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Frankel View Post
A big factor however, is that if REAPER was open source, it would be much more difficult to support proprietary standards.

The licenses for VST and ASIO are incompatible with GPL'd software, Propellerheads will only license ReWire to non-open-source developers, etc.

Get Steinberg and Propellerheads to open their stuff up, and we'll think about it
its a very valid point, and one we struggle with almost daily in regards to VST over here at the Ardour project.

But I'd like to point out there are no technical reasons to support Rewire, really. Although its not truly finished in the sense of being an easily installable piece of user-oriented software, Stephane Letz' port of Jackdmp to windows works *better* than Rewire in almost every way and has the huge benefit that apps do not have to be written to know anything about JACK in order to use it (unlike Rewire, which requires (a) a license (b) code support within each participating app). You could also choose to use the JACK API as an alternative to using ASIO directly, which costs nothing in latency other than a few extra cycles consumed every interrupt. I still have to eat a hat at some point because I told Stephane I didn't believe that he could get it to work on windows, but he did.

I know that its highly unlikely you would pursue this path, but I just want to mention that the open source world *is* taking on the task of defining new open standards that can compete with (and do better than) existing proprietart ones, at least in a few areas.
#5
10th April 2007
Old 10th April 2007
  #5
Gear nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dawhead View Post
its a very valid point, and one we struggle with almost daily in regards to VST over here at the Ardour project.

But I'd like to point out there are no technical reasons to support Rewire, really. Although its not truly finished in the sense of being an easily installable piece of user-oriented software, Stephane Letz' port of Jackdmp to windows works *better* than Rewire in almost every way and has the huge benefit that apps do not have to be written to know anything about JACK in order to use it (unlike Rewire, which requires (a) a license (b) code support within each participating app). You could also choose to use the JACK API as an alternative to using ASIO directly, which costs nothing in latency other than a few extra cycles consumed every interrupt. I still have to eat a hat at some point because I told Stephane I didn't believe that he could get it to work on windows, but he did.

Funny, it looks like he apparently did this after we did ReaRoute, which does the same thing (though only for REAPER).

Seriously, though, ReWire does have some advantages, including sending of MIDI events, and more importantly, transport synchronization.

Quote:
I know that its highly unlikely you would pursue this path, but I just want to mention that the open source world *is* taking on the task of defining new open standards that can compete with (and do better than) existing proprietart ones, at least in a few areas.

We have enough long battles in front of us
#6
10th April 2007
Old 10th April 2007
  #6
Gear nut
 

actually, no ..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Frankel View Post
Seriously, though, ReWire does have some advantages, including sending of MIDI events, and more importantly, transport synchronization.
Just a FYI: JACK these days does sample-accurate MIDI (the API is still evolving just a little bit) and has always done sample accurate transport sync.
#7
10th April 2007
Old 10th April 2007
  #7
Gear nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dawhead View Post
Just a FYI: JACK these days does sample-accurate MIDI (the API is still evolving just a little bit) and has always done sample accurate transport sync.
Fair enough, though to do this, the participating apps would have to be programmed to use JACK, right? Which none (on windows) are, yet...
peeder
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#8
10th April 2007
Old 10th April 2007
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This thread is really getting interesting!

Some links for background:

Ardour

http://ardour.org/


JACK

http://jackaudio.org/

Nice to have all these choices and efforts... I certainly see the DAW field as soft (virtually all software fields are soft actually)...in the sense that people aren't terribly happy with any of the standard offerings. There is tons of complaining about upgrade pricing, debugging, feature sets...complaints are gifts but the DAW makers don't understand customer service terribly well.

There will be plenty of inertia getting people out of their comfort zones as most people want to focus on music and not learning new software. But if they can keep their hardware and plugins/virtual instruments they are also very likely to switch out their DAW. People would rather buy something physical than software and few musicians have cash to burn.

If you guys can come up with effective open standards for plugins, inter-application streaming, and hardware interfacing, then the balls-and-chains tying people to their choice of DAW are flung off and we can all compete on value. Having really easy porting kits for the developers is going to be key: you want to make it dead simple to get from at least VST and ASIO to your new standard...and since x86 has now taken over things should be easier on all of these fronts. You also want to have lots of low-cost contractors available so the various manufacturers can just hire people to do the port. Build a golden bridge to an open future!

#9
11th April 2007
Old 11th April 2007
  #9
Gear nut
 

JACK API

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Frankel View Post
Fair enough, though to do this, the participating apps would have to be programmed to use JACK, right? Which none (on windows) are, yet...
right, since neither ASIO, WDM, the new Vista audio stuff or even CoreAudio really include any API that one can piggy-back on, the transport stuff requires JACK specific code. Stephane has had plans on OS X to translate JACK transport sync into MIDI (either MMC/MTC and/or MIDI SPP), so as to avoid this requirement, but AFAIK, this has not happened yet.

the MIDI stuff .. theoretically one could bridge into the existing MIDI API on a given platform, but that gets rid of the sample accurate property, which is part of the whole point of JACK MIDI - super-lightweight, super-accurate inter-application MIDI routing, with no timing issues to deal with.

and of course, there *is* a windows port of Ardour, we're just not comfortable letting it out of the door yet
#10
13th April 2007
Old 13th April 2007
  #10
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
Hi Justin,

I'm wondering why you're keeping REAPER closed-source, while pricing it at an almost certainly unprofitable cost and stating that you are doing this "philanthropically."
Hi peeder,

I'd like to hear your comments on why you'd make a audio software like Reaper open-source?

As a developer of a soft synth plug-in, I have always been distant to open-sourcing such software, mostly because of the reasons you have mentioned.

if there ever was a good business model behind open source for consumer level software (as opposed to enterprise/business software), then I'd consider open sourcing my code as well.

Bulent
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