pd license issues and opensource modular synthesis

Guenter Geiger geiger at epy.co.at
Mon Jul 19 17:14:10 CEST 1999

est at hyperreal.org writes:
 > Hey, pd People, :)
 > Having played with pd a bit, I feel some urges to hack on it. :)
 > What is the possibility of getting GPLed patches into the main
 > distribution?  I'm a struggling consultant and the idea of someone
 > making money off my volunteer work (by taking pd closed via the
 > Berkeley-style license) is unacceptable to me.

Quote from LICENCE.txt:

Modifications to this software may be copyrighted by their authors
and need not follow the licensing terms described here, provided that
the new terms are clearly indicated on the first page of each file where
they apply. 


This means, your changes have to be in separate files. I guess this is
ok, as you probably don't want to protect simple bug fixes.

If you want to change, rewrite bigger parts of pd, best thing is to
keep them as separate as possible from the main distribution.

The best way to hack on pd is to write externals, which means you can
distribute your code with any license you want to.

What exactly is your concern about pd's license ?
Is it too open ?

 > Guenter, what's your perspective on such questions?
 > I basically want opensource modular synthesis.  The three alternatives
 > I see are classic csound (not really an option since commercial use of
 > the software is forbidden), pd and quasimodo (GPLed).  Am I missing
 > any other major alternatives?

 This depends on other factors too (Do you want to have realtime
 synthesis ?). The drawback of pd is, as I have 
 mentioned before, the lack of the possibility of dynamic instrument 
 instantiation. This is rather easy in Csound.
 But then Csound can not guaranty that the patch is really runable in 
 realtime if too many voices are instantiated.
 Effect processing and the like is straight forward to implement in
 Actually pd breaks with the traditional "instrument and score" view, 
 most composers are used to, therefore being very suitable for
 experimental sound synthesis.

 Other software synthesis packages are CLM and CMIX, XAOS and Perry
 Cooks Synthesis toolkit, which are all Open Source.
 Perry Cooks toolkit features some nice instruments, requires C++
 programming. I'm not too familiar with Cmix, XOAS I don't know, 
 and CLM's realtime support is rather limited (as I recall).
 Pd has this nice "Try and Error" programming approach, which, IMO
 made Max that famous. 


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