About the Mod: Part One

The following article is an expansion and revision of material found in my book, Linux Music and Sound, published by No Starch Press.
Linux Mod Players

Mod players for Linux are also available in console and X interfaces. As noted earlier, almost every Linux distribution includes MikMod (see Figure 7), which is available in various incarnations (e.g., console, GTK, Qt, Xforms, and Java). The popular MODPlug player for Windows has been ported as a plug-in for the excellent XMMS player (see Figure 6) and is also the playback engine for Gmodplay.

Figure 6. MikMod in Console Mode

Figure 7. XMMS With MODPlug Configuration Options

Table 1 lists the available Linux trackers, Table 2 lists the players. The status ratings indicate the program's level of usability. The higher the number of stars, the more complete the application. Devel indicates that the application is at the alpha or early beta development stage. Entries marked with ? indicate that I was unable to build and/or run the application.

See the Linux Sound & Music Applications site at sound.condorow.net/mod.html for a current list of these and other Linux mod trackers and players.

Some of the popular mod trackers and players for Windows and MS-DOS may also run under WINE, VMWare, or DOSemu, but I haven't yet experimented with them. If you do try some mod software in those emulation environments please let me know how well they perform.

Demos and Mods

A demonstration program shows off neat graphics and animation hacks which are often accompanied by a musical score. The music is usually in a mod (or MIDI) format played by an embedded player (MikMod's libmikmod is very handy for playing mods in Linux demos). I highly recommend seeing the outstanding Loop, at mustec.bgsu.edu/pub/linux (binaries and sources are also available there), and State Of Mind, at skal.planet-d.net/mind/index.html. Both of those demos use an embedded libmikmod to play their scores.

Learning More about the Mod

The United Trackers and MODPlug Central sites are excellent guides to finding trackers and players, sample archives, links to mod collections, and tracking tutorials. The MOD Archive lists an enormous number of mods for your enjoyment and study. You might also want to keep up with the alt.binaries.sounds.mods and alt.music.mods newsgroups, where many independent musicians post their creations, questions, and information regarding the very active mod tracking scene. (See Resources)

In the next issue we'll take a look at SoundTracker.


Dave Phillips maintains the Linux Music & Sound Applications Web site and has been a performing musician for more than 30 years. His work with music software dates back to 1985, and he has been a Linux user since 1995. He is a founding member of the Linux Audio Development group and has been active in the Linux audio software development community since he began using Linux. His publications include contributions to The Csound Book (MIT Press, 2000) and several articles in the Linux Journal. Linux Music & Sound (No Starch Press, 2000) is his latest publication.


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