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Open Source at Linn
2018-01-14, 12:03
Post: #1
Open Source at Linn
Dear Linn,

First of all, thanks for the great products you make. I am a happy owner of a Majik DS-I and it has given me countless opportunities for pleasure and relaxation. I recommend your products to all my friends interested in music reproduction.

But the post is about something different. You have been for some time now hosting http://oss.linn.co.uk/ . I understand that OSS there stands for Open Source Software. This is surely something to be proud of!

But I have noticed that "recently" you've not been doing your best work to keep it up to date. Correct me if I'm wrong on any of the following statements.

First of all there are both Kazoo and KazooServer there. The former at some point "lost" its Linux build and as far as I remember haven't ever been published as an Open Source project. The second one contains binaries for various NAS operating systems, but not for desktop x86_64 Linux. It's source code used to be hosted at GitHub, as far as I remember, but it ceased to exist there.

Konfig seems to share Kazoo's fate. Although there is a proper Linux binary in the downloads section it is almost as ancient as time itself. Besides, the code has never been published as well, am I right?

The developer programme mentions things such as Nokia N800 and Windows Mobile. Ever archaeologists scratch their heads when asked about such topics. And the build instructions reference an svn server that hasn't been touched in a while as well.

Then there is the GitHub repository itself. I really appreciate it, and I couldn't have written https://doomhammer.github.io/songcorder/ without your open source libraries. But building the projects is really tough as first of all, it contains a lot of references to your walled resources (like downloading binary dependencies from your NATed servers) and second: it is a moving target. Some libraries reference other libraries with a full version number but you tend to clean those versions up and not update the projects themselves so the builds simply fail.

I understand you are not an Open Source company in the first place, but I believe having a great open source community around your products could actually boost development of third-party products and services which will, in turn, increase your sales. I'd really love to see OpenHome and Songcast supported outside your own garden and a few copycats. Also: it's much cheaper to let a bunch of enthusiasts build a value for you than doing it yourself. Think about it, please.

Finally, I am open to chat and would be happy to help if you wanted to tackle the problem.

Thanks for your consideration and best wishes,
DoomHammer
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2018-02-16, 01:11 (This post was last modified: 2018-02-16 01:12 by guussie.)
Post: #2
RE: Open Source at Linn
Well spoken, Doomhammer!

--------------
Majik DSi
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2018-03-07, 13:35
Post: #3
RE: Open Source at Linn
Deafening silence from Linn. Is anyone surprised?
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2018-03-07, 20:34
Post: #4
RE: Open Source at Linn
Good point by DoomHammer!
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2018-06-13, 14:47
Post: #5
RE: Open Source at Linn
Funny nobody from Linn ever responded to this topic...
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2018-06-13, 19:24
Post: #6
RE: Open Source at Linn
(2018-06-13 14:47)DoomHammer Wrote:  Funny nobody from Linn ever responded to this topic...

Sadly, it's neither funny (in either sense) nor surprising, when you relate it to what's happened with OpenHome. Linn are clearly drawing in their horns where Open Source is concerned.

I don't think that this is a result of a change of ethos. Rather, I suspect that resource constraints have made the need to support new product releases a greater priority. Moreover, the experience with the OpenHome player was that outside developers were not interested on it, and that must have been very discouraging for the Linn team.

David

Main system: [Basik/Basik+/K5/Lejonklou Gaio >][Roksan Kandy Mk III >] KEDSM > Akurate Exaktbox 10/1 > Linn Silvers> A4200 x 2 and A2200 > K600 > Akubariks
Second system: Kiko
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2018-06-13, 20:42
Post: #7
RE: Open Source at Linn
(2018-06-13 14:47)DoomHammer Wrote:  Funny nobody from Linn ever responded to this topic...

Apologies for that. There was no ulterior motive - we've just been busy and this slipped down the list of threads and was forgotten. Thanks for reminding us about it.

There were a number of points in your post. I'll try to cover them all below.

We have not stopped releasing open source software but certainly have changed focus in our efforts. Relatively little of our control point software is currently open. Conversely, we've opened substantial amounts of DS code.

We didn't set out to close our control point code. Rather, we had a period where we were focused on making improvements to development practice and ended up with something that could not be immediately shared. We may do the work (e.g. removing keys, passwords, etc, rewriting associated git histories, finding a way for us to hide occasional development that is commercially sensitive) to allow the code to be opened in future. This is not a priority for us; for all the time our control point code was opened, no-one used it seriously.

Roughly in parallel to the control point changes, we opened substantial amounts of code from the DS. Community response to this has been mixed. Our UPnP stack has a few other users, our reference Songcast code has had sporadic use (most recently from you I think) but our audio pipeline has had very little external attention. We expect to continue to do much of our DS development in the open.

We hope that building these projects will be a bit easier now. We were previously hosting pre-built binaries for their dependent projects locally. Backup considerations meant that we regularly had to prune old builds, leading to the dependency fetching errors you've seen. We've recently moved all these binaries to AWS so have far greater storage capacity now. If you still find it difficult to build any of our repos, feel free to post questions in this forum.

While we'll continue to support linux for Kazoo Server (via QNAP), we have no plans to support other distros or produce linux builds for Kazoo or Konfig. It takes time for us to create then maintain any new platform for our apps and there just isn't a big enough overlap between Linn owners and linux users to justify that work. (I realise this will be controversial and will attract several comments. We suspect most of our linux-using customers will also read our most technical forum!)

You're quite correct that oss.linn.co.uk is in a poor state. We'll try to find a bit of time to tidy it up (at a minimum, removing the outdated content & links).

I agree with your sentiment that an active open source community would be a great benefit to us. Unfortunately, we've never succeeded in building this. Our control point code was open for many years and was largely ignored. Some of our device code has been put to interesting uses; other areas much less so. It takes either great luck or a lot of effort to build a successful community. We're happy to open code where it is either generating interest or is easy for us to do so. We'll struggle to justify the effort required for more in the short term.
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2018-06-13, 22:13
Post: #8
RE: Open Source at Linn
Thank you very kindly for the detailed explanation, Simon. It is interesting, and also sad, to see that it bears out the points made in my previous post. We all understand that resources are limited, and that there is little point in devoting effort to maintaining an open source library when the take-up is very poor.

Your statement about supporting Linux is a helpful clarification of the position. Of course it is disappointing, but it is also difficult to see how you could sensibly take any other view.

David

Main system: [Basik/Basik+/K5/Lejonklou Gaio >][Roksan Kandy Mk III >] KEDSM > Akurate Exaktbox 10/1 > Linn Silvers> A4200 x 2 and A2200 > K600 > Akubariks
Second system: Kiko
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2018-06-15, 20:20
Post: #9
RE: Open Source at Linn
Thanks Simon for providing this insight views. Although I understand the issues involved with developing and maintaining software releases, I still wonder whether Konfig for Android/ IOS would be quite a useful tool in the hands of Linn customers.

I personally am on Android being very satisfied using bubbleDS Next as control point for my Linn system. Is there any intention to interest third party developers to develop a Konfig like app?

Regards
Bernd

Linn Akurate DSM Mk1, Linn LP12-S/N89xxx Afromosia plinth - Kore/Cirkus - Ittok LVII - Koetsu Black - Lingo4 - Uphorik, Akurate 4200 bi-amped into Harbeth SHL5plus with Tonträger Audio reference stands
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2018-06-18, 09:26
Post: #10
RE: Open Source at Linn
(2018-06-15 20:20)BerndS Wrote:  I still wonder whether Konfig for Android/ IOS would be quite a useful tool in the hands of Linn customers.

We fully agree. We'd like to enable this in future.

(2018-06-15 20:20)BerndS Wrote:  Is there any intention to interest third party developers to develop a Konfig like app?

I don't think this will happen. Konfig is used relatively infrequently so the demand for paid mobile versions may not be high. Conversely, the work required to configure an Exakt system is very complex, so the effort required to develop this would be substantial.
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