Re: [linux-audio-user] Any MIDI apps that don't suck?

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Subject: Re: [linux-audio-user] Any MIDI apps that don't suck?
From: Chris Cannam (
Date: Mon Dec 02 2002 - 14:14:18 EET

Silvan wrote:
> On Saturday 30 November 2002 05:42 pm, Chris Cannam wrote:
>> Why on earth do you think we wouldn't be interested in MIDI?
> You want me to say it? I'll say it. Because I'm a jerk.

Well, what can I say?

I have to admit I was surprised by your message, because your one
previous communication on the Rosegarden lists had been very level.

I can understand your frustration though -- the older I get, the
more likely I am to just declare that a piece of software is crap
and give up on it when it won't immediately work for me. (For a
long time I refused to give either MusE or Brahms any serious
consideration because I couldn't get either of them to start up
cleanly and make sounds without a significant amount of work.)

> MIDI is working in today's CVS, finally, long after the trouble was
> reported fixed.

The MIDI code in Rosegarden-4 has come a long way. MIDI is not
quite as easy as it seems, particularly when you take into account
managing things like tempo changes, repeats and loops, when you're
trying (perhaps misguidedly, for historical reasons) to support
more than one MIDI API at once, and when you're trying to keep a
GUI in sync at the same time. That's only an excuse -- there are
plenty of MIDI applications that work better than Rosegarden did
when you tried it out last. Your complaint was one of several
at about the same time describing some problems that we Rosegarden
developers did not actually see, which made it quite difficult for
us to debug them.

> How can anything be more important to a MIDI sequencer than MIDI?
> That's like working on changing the layout of the dash board of a car
> that doesn't have an engine.

That's an artifact of the fact that we have more than one developer
working on separate parts of the application, with varying amounts
of workload and (usually very limited) time available. While one
guy irons out those bugs in the MIDI code that prevent you from
finding the application usable at all, another is frustrating you
by polishing the GUI endlessly even though the MIDI code doesn't
work. But that's just the way it is: the one doing the GUI work is
better placed to work on GUI and is not in a position to fix your
problems with MIDI, while the MIDI guy is better placed to work on
MIDI but not on (say) crashes in the notation editor. That doesn't
mean the MIDI code has a lower priority. It's surely the way that
most software development works, it's just that in a closed
environment you wouldn't get to see it.

Bear in mind too that we've only fairly recently started declaring
that Rosegarden-4 is likely to be of interest to anyone except a
few sympathetic developers, and we're still some way from 1.0.
This also means that relatively few people have used the software
in any serious way yet, so you _will_ discover all sorts of new
problems, and you should report them.

> I've found real bugs, such as the seeming
> inability to export useful .ly files

You should definitely report that (to rosegarden-user, and bug
reports to the SourceForge bug trackers). I find Lilypond output
works okay, and I imagine it has even fewer regular users than
the rest of the application, so bugs you find are highly likely to
be new to us.

> Let me sit down and try to write something with this from start to
> finish, instead of starting with an imported MIDI file, and I'll try
> to get over my attitude and give you some useful, calm feedback, bug
> reports, and suggestions for how things could be done more easily
> from a user perspective.

You'd be very welcome.


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