GSOC 2012/Student Application Triss

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Contents

Contact Information

Email Address: tristan.strange@gmail.com

Telephone: 07581798268

Blog URL: http://strangesound.tumblr.com

Freenode IRC Nick: tristanStrange

Why do you want to work with the Fedora Project?

I've been a user of free software for over a decade and have built up most of my knowledge of computing through its use. I would like to contribute something back to the community that made this possible. Whilst having contributed to smaller projects I'm keen to have my work utilised by a larger user base and to work on a more significant and popular system.

Whilst the Linux platform currently caters comprehensively to most types of user, this is not yet true for the average musician/sound engineer who is only just starting to integrate the computer into their practice. Currently configuring the platform and navigating the vast array of software that is provided with most audio production orientated distributions can be an overwhelming task. To resolve this situation some behind the scenes work needs to be completed and a number of tools developed. Although some work has begun on this it still needs to be organised and polished before it can be useful to everyone. The Fedora distribution would be the perfect platform from which to integrate this work into Linux as a whole due to it's focus on regular and rapid incorporation of new features, and the provision of a coherent, accessible and intuitive interface for them.

Do you have any past involvement with the Fedora project or another open source project as a contributor?

I've not contributed to the Fedora project before but have contributed to the following projects:

  • Timemachine - a tool that allows retrospective recording of audio
  • sc-monome - a library that allows easier integration of the monome input device with the SuperCollider programming language.

Did you participate with the past GSoC programs, if so which years, which organisations?

I've never participated in any of the previous GsoC programs.

Will you continue contributing/ supporting the Fedora project after the GSoC 2012 program, if yes, which team(s), you are interested with?

I will certainly continue to contribute/support the Fedora project after the conclusion of this program. The skills that I would develop working on Fedora Audio Spin would allow me to act as an OS Developer, working particularly with the Infrastructure, Release Engineering, Packaging, Usability SIG and Testing teams. I would also be able to contribute to the documentation of the functionality of Audio Spin as a Content Writer.

Why should we choose you over other applicants?

I've programmed as a hobby since childhood and have had a fascination with, and been a user of open source software since being exposed to a NetBSD installation at a computer camp in my teens. This experience gave me the knowledge and skills required for a 10 year career in computing at a Building Society, providing user and particularly developer tool support, as a system administrator on the Microsoft platform, and also later as a configuration and release manager. As a result of this I have a deep knowledge of Linux and other platforms, have used a large number of different programming languages, packaging technologies, software stacks, methods of managing application life cycles and have experienced maintaining a systems stability in a fast changing environment.

Over the last five years I've developed an interest in writing my own music and recently left my job to pursue a degree in Music Informatics. When I first engaged with writing music I was unable to find a suite of open source tools that suited my level of maturity as a computer musician despite them already existing and struggled to attain workable latency through Jack. For the first time in over a decade I migrated my home system back to a non-free operating system and worked for several years almost exclusively using commercial software for my music production. It is only now after almost two years of occasional tinkering and a great deal of investigative work that I've been able construct an environment in which I can express my-self musically using exclusively open source software. I'd like to see this learning curve made shallower for other users such that the plethora of musical tools available on Linux can be accessed more readily and that it becomes a more attractive target for developers of musical software.

Proposal Description

Overview

The Linux ecosystem provides a great number of tools for producing music. Whilst many of these tools are themselves often very easy to use, installing these tools and configuring a Linux distribution, such that they can be utilised with reasonable latency, is a huge barrier for less technically minded users. The Fedora Audio Creation spin hopes to reduce the size of this barrier. Although a number of distributions already exist with this aim in mind many of these don't provide support for newly released hardware, have difficult to comprehend features, require a high level of technical knowledge to configure, are difficult to customise, don't provide access to a working facility for building software or don't support certain day to day computing tasks like web browsing with audio.

In order to combat these issues The Fedora Audio Creation Spin should work to add the following features to a distribution based on the upcoming Fedora 18 release:

  • tools that allow easier configuration of the entire Linux audio stack including:
    • a tool/tools that allows the easy configuration of the ALSA, Jack and PulseAudio and sound cards.
    • tools for managing audio and MIDI routing between applications and hardware.
  • desktop environment(s) tailored towards audio production
  • documentation on how to configure the audio back end effectively
  • real-time performance out of the box
  • an easily comprehendable collection of tools for musicians of most types out of the box
  • documentation describing how a number of musical activities can achieved using the bundled collection of tools
  • easy access to a large collection of other musical software

Planned Personal Implementation Milestones

I aim to have carried out the following tasks on the following dates:

  • 10/4/2012 – Discussed involvement with the project with other developers
  • 24/4/2012 – Installed Fedora environment and familiarised myself with the distribution
  • 10/5/2012 – Learned how to package software using RPM
  • 24/5/2012 – Developed an understanding of how a Fedora Spin is created and construct a simple one.
  • 10/6/2012 - Developed a knowledge of most pro audio tweaks made by other distributions
  • 10/6/2012 – Added too, understood dependencies for, prioritised and assigned myself tasks at http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Audio_creation_spin_development

Have you communicated with a potential mentor? If so, who?

I'll be communicating with Brendan Jones via mail over the next few days.