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Summer Releases

Thursday, 11 August 2022 | Pedro Lopez-Cabanillas

This week I have published several new versions of my music applications:

The first two applications, kmetronome and kmidimon, are now over fifteen years old and are only available for Linux. These two new versions are simply bug fixes, with no new features. But it is interesting to note that in FlatHub they are already based on Qt6 and supporting both Wayland and X11, although the packages in AppImage format still use Qt5. The chances of finding these applications in the official repositories of Linux distributions are slim. In fact, kmidimon was removed from the official Debian repositories with some lame excuse, and it is unlikely to be included again. I can't do anything about it, so please: direct complaints where they belong. Or use the new available distribution formats or the unofficial repositories, like Debian Multimedia, which includes the three mentioned applications and many others.

The other app, dmidiplayer, is much newer and cross-platform. It is the successor to Kmid2, the KDE karaoke application that I rewrote many years ago. In this new version the most remarkable new feature is the persistent configuration of the songs. This is a feature that was already present in the old Kmid2 and that allows you to store the tempo, general volume, pitch transposition, and MIDI channel settings for each song, which will be applied when it is played again in the future. The other novelty is the individual volume adjustment for each MIDI channel, something that was not possible in Kmid2.

After all these years, it is curious that it is still possible to find Kmid2 in one distribution: Fedora, despite being a Qt4/KDE4 application. So a functional comparison of both applications is not only possible, but easy to do. In my opinion, with this version dmidiplayer has reached parity in terms of functionality with Kmid2. On the other hand, the new architecture has allowed the application to be available on other Unixes (such as FreeBSD) in addition to Linux, macOS, and Windows.

I guess the next app to get updates will be VMPK. There is no forecast yet of the changes it will bring, but there is a recurring request that I will not do: MIDI Jack support. This is not to say that it is not possible to use Jack MIDI with VMPK, because in fact there is an utility called 'a2jmidid' that serves as a translation layer between applications using the ALSA Sequencer and Jack MIDI. On the other hand, for VMPK to use new native backends it is only necessary to implement Drumstick::RT plugins. And this can be done by any interested developer, and then independently distribute the out-of-tree plugins. I've opened a discussion on GitHub about this. Anyone interested, please read and ask your questions there.