Introducing L20rk: the Linux Laptop Orchestra
The success of the Princeton and Stanford groups inspired Ico Bukvic to form a similar group at Virginia Tech. However, his vision of the laptop orchestra would take the franchise into a new direction. Ico wisely adopted the Princeton group's general design and organization, but his Linux background compelled him to improve the ensemble's affordability and accessibility.
By 2007, Ico had founded the Digital Interactive Sound and Intermedia Studio (DISIS) at Virginia Tech with the intention of “fostering cutting-edge research as well as innovative approaches to interactive multimedia art genre”, to quote from the DISIS Web site. With such an infrastructure in place, Ico concluded that DISIS would be a natural fit for the world's first Linux-based laptop orchestra.
Early in 2009, Ico received an internal grant from the Institute for Society, Culture and Environment at Virginia Tech, in collaboration with his colleague Dr Tom Martin, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. By the spring, the project had acquired greater support from Virginia Tech as well as from external sponsors that include the Sweetwater company, MSI Computer and the Roland Corporation. At that time, the DISIS developed its own design for a hemispherical speaker and began assembling the various other hardware and software components needed for the debut of the Linux Laptop Orchestra in the fall—all told, a fair amount of achievement for a year's work. Since then, the group has expanded to include Dr Eric Standley (Professor of Art) and seven undergraduates.
In December 2009, the Linux Laptop Orchestra made its official world debut in the Squires Studio Theater at Virginia Tech (Figure 1). According to eye-and-ear witnesses, the house was jammed, and the performance was a great success. Critical coverage was positive, and the event even made it to the hallowed pages of Slashdot. Clearly, fame had come to the L2Ork.
Let's take a closer look at L2Ork's physical plant. The orchestra is currently configured for up to 15 players. Each player operates a basic system that includes an MSI Wind Netbook (Figure 2) with a Cakewalk UA-1G USB audio interface, Nintendo Wiimote and Nunchuk controllers, and a custom “hemipod” speaker array. The hemipods are connected to three shared subwoofer systems.
The L2Ork FAQ page notes that the decision to employ the Nintendo controllers resulted from a need to replace the Apple machines. The Princeton group exploits accelerometer hardware built in to the MacBook and PowerBook, but the Wiimote and Nunchuk controllers have proven to be a happy choice. They are well supported by Linux, are sufficiently sensitive for deployment as musical controllers, and their gestural geometry includes a Z-axis. Also, everyone has fun playing with them.
The integrated audio hardware on most laptops is insufficiently powerful for the typical needs of a desktop audio production system, much less for the needs of a member of a laptop orchestra. The L2Ork's Wind Netbooks are connected to the UA-1G, a USB audio interface with stereo I/O supporting sample rates up to 96kHz and bit depth to 24 bits. The unit includes decent analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters and provides RCA and optical connections for S/PDIF digital I/O. I was surprised to learn that MIDI is not a feature of the UA-1G, and I suspect that at some future time, the L2Ork crew will want to add MIDI connectivity to their network arsenal.
As you can see in Figure 3, the hemipods are definitely eye-catchers. An amplifier and six speakers are mounted within a hemisphere enclosure for a radiant 6-channel sound dispersal (Figure 4). Each seat in the group has its own pod, and each pod is controlled by its single user. The pods are potentially the most expensive component to the orchestra, but the L2Ork group has published complete directions for users who want to cut costs by building their own arrays.
Similis sum folio de quo ludunt venti.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- SourceClear Open
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Tech Tip: Really Simple HTTP Server with Python
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Returning Values from Bash Functions
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- Google's SwiftShader Released
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide