[PD] Proposing a cyclone update / another Pre Alpha release (milestone 2)

Alexandre Torres Porres porres at gmail.com
Mon Oct 3 08:00:18 CEST 2016

Howdy, as some of you know, me Derek and Matt have been working on new
updates for cyclone. Back when I forked cyclone to my repository and
proposed to step into a new development, some were worried about the future
of this project. As a proper discussion could only make sense when there
was something to show for, we finally have some sort of a preview of what's
been going on. Hence, here is a good moment to check this and give us some
thoughts and feedbacks.

Recently, I did release a Pre Alpha version (milestone 1), but no feedback
was shared so far. Here's a second (milestone 2) preview release...

Cyclone is a set of externals that clones classes from cycling74's Max/MSP.
It has the function to expand Pure Data Vanilla with a very large set of
externals, but also provides some level of compatibility between the two
environments, helping users of both systems in the development of
equivalent or similar patches. Cyclone came out in the era of Max/MSP 4.
Since then, later versions included new functionalities in some of the
objects that were cloned in cyclone, but cyclone just kept outdated. Our
work developing for cyclone is focused mainly in the effort of updating all
the outdated objects to include functionalities from the current version of
Max/MSP (currently version 7.2.5).

Cyclone was originally developed from 2002 to 2005 by Krzysztof Czaja, who
later abandoned it. Then, it ended up incorporated into Pd Extended under
the maintenance of Hans-Christoph Steiner until jan 2013. Fred Jan Kraan
started maintaining and developing for cyclone from dec 2014, but in feb
2016 decided to stop active development for cyclone, though he still works
on maintaining his 0.2beta  package. I forked cyclone (in its 0.2beta1
state) to a new repository and started working on further developments.
Since then, others got involved and Fred Jan Kraan’s repository refers to
our branch as the active development one.

Although our intent is to work in cyclone without diverging from its
original goal and scope, our branch is independent as neither the original
developer nor the following maintainers have been involved in any way. We
tried contacting the original author Krzysztof Czaja to discuss our further
developments, but he’s currently inactive in the Pd Community and couldn’t
be reached or found. Nonetheless, the next maintainer, Hans-Christoph
Steiner, did manifest ground rules for future maintainers in cyclone here
in the Pd list as follows:

"About maintaining cyclone, I think a reorg would be great, and further
maintenance as well.  If you want to do whatever you want with it, then
just make a fork and work on it as a new name.  If you want to stick to
cyclone's central goal of Max/MSP compatibility, then keep working on it as
cyclone. But please do not work on cyclone and break the Max/MSP

Link: https://lists.puredata.info/pipermail/pd-list/2015-06/110620.html

Respecting the rule of not breaking Max/MSP compatibility, we consider our
branch to be faithful to the original goal of cyclone. Thus, the intent is
to keep working on it as cyclone instead of a fork under a new name. In
this respect, we do not wish to impose any personal view or control over
the project. First because this is a project with a clearly defined scope
that leaves very little room for arbitrariness - basically, all that there
is to do is clone objects from Max in their original design and behaviour,
without any room for being creative. Secondly, also because of this well
defined scope, we consider that cyclone belongs ultimately to the Pd
Community and not to a particular maintainer.

In regard to this, we are open to collaboration and willing to discuss the
future of cyclone with the community before releasing a final and official
version of our work (not an alpha/beta test). If in agreement to the Pd
community, we shall release an update of the cyclone project as version
cyclone 0.3, in order to differentiate it from earlier versions. So far,
only “Pre Alpha” releases have been made available, but we hope to have an
Alpha or Beta test version by the time of PdCon16 in november.

It is my understanding that the worries about further development in
cyclone would compromise backwards compatibility or introduce drastic
changes. We did make some changes in the structure of cyclone, like using
low case letters instead of the old way with capital letters, but we didn't
break backwards compatibility, we are compromised with that.

About updating objects in cyclone, so far, for all we've done (and we're
close to the end), no change has been made that would compromise backwards
compatibility. This denotes how Cycling tries to respect backwards
compatibility when updating objects or Max versions. It is possible to
happen, but very rare. We did include new objects in cyclone such as
[scale] and [scale~] - a rare case where they changed the functionality of
an object, but since it is a new object in cyclone, it did not have to be

Several bugs have been fixed in our repository. These are changes that can
arguably compromise backwards compatibility, depending on the point of
view. But most of the changes are: actually minor changes; introducing
missing features without compromising the structure of the object; fix
mathematical errors; drastically wrong behaviour and the like.

Again, before releasing a final and definitive version, I invite people to
check this project, ask about some of the changes that have been made but
aren't clear, test it, and discuss with us the future of cyclone, raise any
possible issue, any good or bad feedback ;) If no issues are raised, we'll
assume that we are moving into a correct direction.

It is good to reinforce that this is a huge project that would highly
welcome collaborators. For instance, I only compiled for mac, maybe
somebody else can help us compiling for windows?

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