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> KXStudio Monthly Report (July 2020)
On 2020-07-31 by falkTX

Hello all, another monthly report about the KXStudio project is here.
This actually covers June and July, since there was not much to tell during June.

So... first, for those that did not notice, there was quite a few linux/opensource-audio releases on July 15, for the Quarterly Release Pact.
The "Quarterly Release Pact" is an informal agreement between developers to do releases of as much software as possible on a common day.
This is a nice way to:

  • Keep the software in the public eye
  • Increase trust, as people see that the software is in development and is cared for
  • Increase motivation of the developers, as seeing a group working (by their releases) is a good way to push them to do something too
  • Engage in a kind of "Swarm Marketing": A small release does not have much impact and won't get featured often by news sites, but a whole group of software releases demands more attention.

I can speak for myself that the release day is a great motivator to push releases.
When such date is near, everything that has reached a certain point where a release is perhaps worth doing (but usually would be hold-off due to not being "perfect enough"), just gets released.
Because to be fair, there is no point on holding off a release for long periods of time.
If something really goes wrong, a quick bug-fix can be done, so why not. It is software, these things happen sometimes..

With that in mind, the DISTRHO-Ports and WineASIO projects got new releases.
I worked (with some help) to move the DISTRHO-Ports build system from the super-old premake3 build system to meson.
While irrelevant for users, it is very important for Linux distribution packagers because premake3 is simply no longer maintained (and thus not even installable in some cases).
The other changes were not really that substantial in my view, but why not release anyway?
As someone who has done a few packages myself, I can understand the pain of those that want to package something but have their work made difficult by this kind of problem.
(If all goes well, DISTRHO-Ports provided plugins will be installable as packages in the next Ubuntu version already!)

DISTRHO-Ports has been reworked in a way so that we can keep the existing plugins untouched, while adding/supporting new plugins made with JUCE6.
The "legacy" plugins will have LV2 and VST2 formats, while new ones will support LV2, VST2 and VST3.
I plan to write a tutorial on how to add a plugin to this project, so that other people than me can contribute.
This will increase the number of ported plugins drastically, as it does not have to wait on me to to do it. (I have a lot on my plate already..)
Once we have a good number of new plugins, or the next release day comes (in 3 months), you can count on yet another release! :)

Regarding The WineASIO, it was ready for release for some time, so I did the release in more of a "why not?" state.
You can read more about this release here, but in short, I am now maintaining the WineASIO project. :)
This is because the previous maintainer wished to step down doing so, and I was already fixing WineASIO for packaging in the KXStudio repositories anyway, which basically involves maintaining it.
It is important to note that it is really only maintaining the code (so that it keeps working on new Wine versions).
So there is not going to be any new features added to it, only bug-fixes.

In other news, Carla 2.2 Release Candidate 1 is out.
It was a bit more rushed than I wished for, with a late release because I had to fight with some macOS incompatibility issues.. but that should not happen too much in the future.
I already have in mind what to focus on for version 2.3, but I really hope that with this 2.2 release I can kinda already leave Carla a bit on the side (which was already supposed to have happened in version 2.1 by the way), because other projects really need my attention right now.
The final Carla 2.2 release is just siting on a timer now in a way.
My target is to make it available for Ubuntu 20.10, so I will fix whatever bugs I can until the time arrives for Ubuntu 20.10 package freeze. (So final release in October 2020)

Unrelated to the release pact now, I am working on automated builds for a few projects, learning along the way how that is usually handled.
This is not that useful for Linux users, because distributions can build and package up stuff quickly; it is more for macOS and Windows users for whom it is much harder to build stuff.
The automated builds will cover plugins (distrho-ports, dpf-plugins and more), Carla and even JACK.
It is not completely ready yet, but very, very close to done. Expect a few announcements regarding this in the coming weeks!

Something I need to mention... I know people have been asking about an ardour package update (in KXStudio repositories).
I will get to it eventually, yes, sorry for the delay.
Ardour is a different kind of build, so I need to find a nice way of handling it. (I want to repackage the official binary, as authors are ok with it)
Previously it was all very manual work, it is better to avoid that this time around.
My focus in the past few weeks has been on Carla and now the automated build setups, so packaging got put aside for now.

And speaking of packages, here is the list of updates and additions in regards to June and July 2020:

  • helio-workstation added
  • new-session-manager added, replaces non-session-manager
  • fluajho updated to 1.6.1
  • lsp-plugins updated to 1.1.24
  • mod-host updated to latest git
  • patroneo updated to 1.6.1
  • sequencer64 updated to 0.96.8
  • vico updated to 1.2.1
  • x42-plugins updated to 20200714
  • zam-plugins updated to 1.13

That is all for now, stay safe and sane out there!