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Frank Zappa's Influence On Linux and FOSS Development 195

Posted by timothy
from the oh-yeah-try-to-disprove-it dept.
Roblimo writes "Zappa's 'Dinah-Moe Hummm' is totally about Linux, at least in spirit, while the song 'Montana,' with its talk of zirconium-encrusted tweezers and dental floss, 'is obviously about Mac users.' Not only that: In the early '70s Zappa wrote a song called 'Penguin in Bondage,' an obvious foretelling of the anti-Linux lawsuits and threats from SCO, Microsoft, and other evildoers. Zappa was also a heavy user of the Synclavier, an electronic music machine that was a precursor to today's 'studio on a computer' recording and sound editing software. According to an article on DevX, today Zappa would no doubt be using Linux and Ardour for most of his recording and composition."
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Frank Zappa's Influence On Linux and FOSS Development

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  • Well Hold on There (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:13PM (#32450014) Journal

    According to an article on DevX, today Zappa would no doubt be using Linux and Ardour for most of his recording and composition.

    I do not agree with this statement. There is a lot of doubt in my mind. As I listen to Zappa albums, I constantly find new things mixed into them. Often I tell a friend about a great Zappa song but they haven't the patience to listen through five minutes of weirdness just to get to a great guitar lick intricately backed. Anyhow, I would wager that Zappa's thirst for this kind of mixing would lead him to the industry standard: Pro Tools [wikipedia.org]. I highly doubt a professional musician would stray from that but if Zappa dumped some cash into Ardour development and increased its support then maybe. But right now, audio recording on Linux isn't the greatest. Pro Tools is often augmented with dedicated hardware ... I am unaware of how you would do this with Ardour. I also have had one hell of a time trying to get a dual core processor with plenty of ram to record in Linux and also play back what you're recording on top of several tracks without delay.

    In my hobby projects, I have given up on audio recordings in Linux although I must say I was impressed with Ubuntu Studio [ubuntustudio.org] when I was trying to layer guitar tracks a few years ago. It just seemed that the audio bus could not keep up when recording through my M-Audio USB input box ... like a lot of things in Linux it could have been a configuration error but I spent a lot of time on that. Unfortunately, all musicians are not computer savvy and they certainly do not like messing around with getting software working in the studio.

    • Is there any professional musician that is on the record as using Linux and/or Ardour?

      Even a guy like Trent Reznor, who has released entire albums under the Creative Commons License seem to stick with Pro Tools.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by farrellj (563) *

        I just finished recording a pilot for a radio series using Audacity. It's easy to use, and being under the GPL2, I know what the license contains, and thus won't be blindsided by some obscure clause in a non-opensource license.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Hatta (162192)

          Audacity is hardly comparable to ProTools, or even Ardour. If you're recording voice over tracks, or a live performance, Audacity is pretty good. If you're mixing an album, forget about it.

          • by Miseph (979059)

            They are for different usage levels. Audacity is the best tool I've encountered for doing quick and dirty edits, where the end result is a track that only slightly varies from the original (eg. I spliced the beginning of Jorge Quintero's 300 Violin Concierto into an intro for They Might Be Giant's Particle Man a few weeks ago... the entire edit took less than 5 minutes) and there just isn't much value in spending more time than absolutely necessary doing them.

            That is not what Pro Tools is for.

        • by westlake (615356)

          I just finished recording a pilot for a radio series using Audacity. I know what the license contains, and thus won't be blindsided by some obscure clause in a non-opensource license.

          Have I missed something?

          Won't the broadcaster - your client or customer - be making most of the big decisions here? Audio formats and media acceptable for submission? Audio formats and media acceptable for broadcast?

    • by maharg (182366)

      Ardour / JACK rocks on my ubuntu studio, I'm using a presonus firepod. YMMV.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ardour is embedded in some of the products by Harrison Consoles, like the Xdubber ( http://tinyurl.com/328peem ).

      You might have had issues with it, but there are a number of Linux based pro studios, and Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) is not only Linux based, but provides an audiocentric spin of Fedora that I have found to be very stable. ( https://ccrma.stanford.edu/software )

      As for problems with a USB-based audio interface, well, you get what you pay for!! I run 16

    • by elgo (1751690) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:38PM (#32450340)

      According to an article on DevX, today Zappa would no doubt be using Linux and Ardour for most of his recording and composition.

      ...I would wager that Zappa's thirst for this kind of mixing would lead him to the industry standard: Pro Tools [wikipedia.org]. I highly doubt a professional musician would stray from that but if Zappa dumped some cash into Ardour development and increased its support then maybe.

      You highly doubt a professional musician would stray from Pro Tools? What about Logic Studio, Digital Performer, SONAR, and the reams of other Digital Audio Workstaitons? Many professionals use these as well, often integrated with Digidesign's high-end TDM hardware. Logic in particular destroys Pro Tools in terms of features and price and many are making the switch. Pro Tools' integration with Digidesign's proprietary hardware has become a handicap in the prosumer price range particularly, as Digidesign's hardware is trounced, in terms of features and sound quality, by other less expensive offerings.

      But right now, audio recording on Linux isn't the greatest. Pro Tools is often augmented with dedicated hardware ... I am unaware of how you would do this with Ardour. I also have had one hell of a time trying to get a dual core processor with plenty of ram to record in Linux and also play back what you're recording on top of several tracks without delay. In my hobby projects, I have given up on audio recordings in Linux although I must say I was impressed with Ubuntu Studio [ubuntustudio.org] when I was trying to layer guitar tracks a few years ago. It just seemed that the audio bus could not keep up when recording through my M-Audio USB input box ...

      That might be where your problem lies. M-Audio's hardware is worse than Digidesign's (although they are the same company) ! All kidding aside though, M-Audio driver support for Linux is sketchy. My M-Audio Delta 1010LT works beautifully under Linux with the ICE driver. It requires some configuration, but so does setting up a digital audio workstation in OSX or Windows - especially Windows. Also, latency and the like depends on the distro you're using. The reality is that Linux has tons of free audio software, and could easily be used to replace my Logic Pro setup, except for the lack of commercial plugins and sound libraries. As this is fixed, Linux will be more viable.

      Like a lot of things in Linux it could have been a configuration error but I spent a lot of time on that. Unfortunately, all musicians are not computer savvy and they certainly do not like messing around with getting software working in the studio.

      Good point. Once Linux is packaged well for musicians and audio professionals, I believe it could supersede Windows as the #2 platform for digital audio. Then again, in 10 years, maybe Haiku will be up there as well, with its BeOS underpinnings. For a good example of what Ardour can do/be when combined with proprietary DSP, check out Harrison Mixbus. http://www.harrisonconsoles.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=108&Itemid=42 [harrisonconsoles.com] It is under $100 (or was last time I checked) and features that Harrison sound combined with Ardour's power. It is OSX-only at the moment, but it will be available for Linux eventually. I've already used Mixbus to mix a few projects via Logic; once it is available for Linux it will replace Ardour as my main Linux DAW of choice.

      • by sg_oneill (159032) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:50PM (#32450516)

        Theres a reason Zappa might well be using Pro Tools.

        Its because he already was. Zappa was one of the original pro-tools users, before his death. I cant find a reference online, but I do remember him marvelling in one of the music magazines about pro-tools crossfades and how he used them extensively.

        Now the thing with musical software, is people tend to pick a DAW and stick with it. Pro-tools , other than the hardware capabilities which is where pro-tools does shine , is no greater, or necesarily worse than say cubase or sonar, but people stick with what they know and stick there.

        That said, he might well have been impressed with Sonar's score transcribing capabilities. Cakewalk was always good at that stuff.

        What's ardour's midi capabilities like these days? I havent used it since early versions (when admitedly setting up JACK taxed me so far I ended up reformatting and returning to cubase.

        • Its because he already was. Zappa was one of the original pro-tools users, before his death

          I don't think that's correct. According to this article [soundonsound.com] with Dweezil talking about updating the famed "Utility Muffin Research Kitchen",:

          The studio had accumulated not just an extensive vault of tapes, but a considerable collection of analogue hardware too. "Frank had several machines — I don't know if we have some of the earlier machines he recorded on. We have the Studer 24-track and we have three of the two-track machines. They all have different head stacks, and we even have a five-track head stack that was made by Paul Buff when Frank had a studio in Cucamonga — the Studio Z in the early '60s. We're curious to see if there's a way to get a machine to work with that head stack. It was before multitrack — Paul invented this thing and made it work, but I have never seen it in use. We found it in a box!"

          I'm not saying Frank never used Pro-Tools, but it sounds like analog hardware was his primary focus.

          Incidentally, it's a misconception among non-musicians that Pro Tools is the best/standard. There are several Pro Audio level DAWs out there that are just as powerful. My personal favorite is Cakewalk's SONAR [cakewalk.com], but that's just me.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday June 03, 2010 @05:27PM (#32450946) Homepage Journal

            I'm not saying Frank never used Pro-Tools, but it sounds like analog hardware was his primary focus.

            Actually, he was a pioneer of digital systems for music. He gave up composing for real musicians for a good long while, using only his Synclavier.

            However, I have to disagree with anyone who believes Zappa was some sort of FOSS pioneer. There is disagreement about his own beliefs regarding copyright and intellectual "property" but his legacy regarding IP is awful. His estate has gone to the very unusual length of sending cease and desist letters to cover bands simply for performing his music live. We're talking about tribute bands for god's sake, who are probably working for free beer and keeping his legacy alive. His wife has sicced lawyers on former members of the Mothers of Invention for performing his music or even mentioning his name. While trying to protect his legacy, it's a good way to insure that he's forgotten by future generations.

            While I admire Zappa's work, there are plenty of indications that when it comes to the music business, he was a dick to a lot of the people he worked with. The people who are in charge of his estate, especially his widow, are even worse.

            • Yeah, but does that necessarily reflect his own personal beliefs? That's just his current estate being dicks.
              • I think it probably does reflect his beliefs pretty closely. Making money with his music was the only way he could continue to create it. Since radio wouldn't touch him, he had to use whatever other means was available, including asserting his right to protect his IP through proper licensing.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              I agree that Frank was one of the first people to really embrace the Synclavier. As a pretty big Zappa fan myself, it certainly isn't lost on me his penchant for embracing technology. For crying out loud, the entire "Perfect Stranger" and "Jazz From Hell" albums wouldn't have existed if it weren't for his efforts on digital instruments (although, as an aside, there is a really good version of G-Spot Tornado played by a live orchestra on The Yellow Shark [amazon.com]).

              In his book, he extolled the virtues of the S
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Spiked_Three (626260)
        Your list of software identifies you as a pro-sumer at best. Seriously, every pro uses pro tools, and nothing else has better than 2% of the market. The difference is in what you call a pro - a dude playing sax on the street corner had some money thrown into his case, is he a pro? I think not. You buddy that plays a gig at the local bar, is he a pro - I think not. Someone who spends a minimum of $10,000 to get an album recorded and produced, is he a pro - probably, and the odds are better than 98 to 1 he u
      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        It sounds like you're up on this stuff, so I have a question: What would you recommend to capture 4 tracks off a mixing board for recording and later editing? I'm playing in a trio and we prefer to do as much "live" as possible, so I simply need an easy and hopefully affordable way to record 4 tracks for later editing and mixing on a PC. I've been out of the loop for awhile so my analog experience isn't useful and the amount of devices and gadgets out there is truly overwhelming.

        It don't have to be fancy,

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      >I would wager that Zappa's thirst for this kind of mixing would lead him to the industry standard: Pro Tools [wikipedia.org].

      Right. Do we really think techie artists are gravitating towards Linux? Lets not be naive. I don't think Thom Yorke is demanding that all Radiohead stuff be done strictly on OSS software. Outside of extremists and college students, you'll find that people are just practical and use the best tool they can afford for the job.

    • We went with MAudio Delta 1010 cards for recording with Ardour and associated tools. It started out on a system with a Sempron processor and 512MB RAM; songs averaged 25 tracks, and drums were recorded live on 6 separate tracks. There were no performance issues.

      http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1275379&cid=28397147&art_pos=25 [slashdot.org]

      I won't argue the fact that ProTools is industry standard :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      While Linux is not ready for prime time when it comes to professional recording/mixing chores, it is extremely useful in professional and project studios.

      Besides acting as a sample-server and archiving system, it works great for offloading real-time effects processing and rendering duties.

      I'm a big fan of Cockos' Reaper in place of ProTools, and Reaper has a technology called "ReaMote" which allows you to use a Linux system to handle real-time effects and virtual instrument (VSTi) over gigabit ethernet. No

    • by Pax681 (1002592)
      Frank zappa's latter means of making music , even for live stuff was the [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synclavier]Synclavier[/url] which is far from open source.

      it enabled him to play what would be impossible to play music on traditional instruments.

      check out his [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Zappa#Synclavier]Wiki page[/url] where it gets it's own little scetion in his wiki entry.

      while i agree that Zappa would very much like and agree with FOSS and the concepts i don't think he'd be usin
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Unfortunately, all musicians are not computer savvy and they certainly do not like messing around with getting software working in the studio.

      Right, they want to make music, not futz with the computer equipment. That is what the studio IT guy is for. The equipment should 'just work', so they can 'just play'.

    • by yanyan (302849)

      It just seemed that the audio bus could not keep up when recording through my M-Audio USB input box

      USB adds a lot of latency when recording. Try a PCI-based card such as an M-audio Delta 1010LT or better yet an RME Hammerfall. The RME in particular is mentioned in the ardour docs.

  • What's the magic FOSS connection to the song "broken hearts are for assholes" and in particular the lyric "You're an asshole, you're an asshole, that's right! You're an asshole, you're an asshole, yes yes!"
  • Can someone explain the appeal of Zappa to me? Most of his songs seem weird for weirdness' sake, but I'm willing to learn.

    • You either "get it" or you don't. I'm not even sure I'd put Zappa in the 'acquired taste' category.
      • by Purity Of Essence (1007601) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:35PM (#32450294)

        You can definitely acquire a taste for Frank's music. As a young teen, the first time I listened to Zappa I didn't really like it at all, except for a couple jokey tracks like Valley Girl and Jewish Princess. Those appealed to my Dr. Demento mentality but not much else. Later as a adult with much more musical experience, I could appreciate it much more and it began to grow on me like a fungus. For the last fifteen years or so it's been almost the only contemporary music I can tolerate.

        • Fair enough. Most of the people I've tried to turn on to Zappa couldn't get passed the "weird" factor.
          • by i.r.id10t (595143)

            Of course, he's done his own interpretations of classics as well. Came across a recording of his version of Ravel's Bolero and it is quite nice...

            • by treeves (963993)

              Haven't heard that one. I'd like to. Of course, there's also Stairway To Heaven for the classic rock Zappa.
              And he's got his own classics, like Valley Girl, and He's So Gay. How come no one ever covers that one?!

      • by chub_mackerel (911522) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:16PM (#32451620)

        Yes, Acquiring a taste for Zappa can be done, even for the uninitiated/unsuspecting.

        When I was in college I had a cassette with "Thing Fish" on it, and my roommate accidentally took it home with him for summer break. He got a delivery job that summer. The company truck had a cassette deck in it but no CD player. Since my roommate had no cassettes, he decided to give "Thing Fish" a listen (or three). Once he started listening to it he really loved it. This is a guy who previously had pretty mainstream musical tastes.

        So I'd say as long as you're open to the weirdness and not too easily offended, you should give it a shot.

    • by causality (777677)

      Can someone explain the appeal of Zappa to me? Most of his songs seem weird for weirdness' sake, but I'm willing to learn.

      Sounds like you wouldn't like Mr. Bungle.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sponge Bath (413667)
      If you don't enjoy his "weird" stuff, then check out his instrumental only albums like "Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar". Personally I like it all, but it can be an acquired taste.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pojut (1027544)

      I can explain why Zappa appeals to me, but first a slight bit of backstory:

      For fun, I produce spacey, ambient tunes [www.last.fm]. Music like this involves layering textures together. What may sound like only one or two different noises is actually dozens of different synths and samples layered and mixed.

      Zappa was a master of layers. The way he could combine seemingly infinite noises into one, cohesive texture was a monumental achievement. Beyond that, if you really listened hard to his music, that cohesive texture c

    • by Carik (205890)

      I think Zappa mostly appeals to people who appreciate weirdness for weirdness' sake, honestly. I like some of his stuff, the rest is just too strange.

      • by bjb (3050) *

        I think Zappa mostly appeals to people who appreciate weirdness for weirdness' sake, honestly. I like some of his stuff, the rest is just too strange.

        No, if you want weirdness for weirdness' sake, listen to Captain Beefheart. Zappa was weird and was often categorized as "comedy music", but he was at heart a modern avant garde composer with heavy classical and R&B influences. The fact that he made rock and roll was because "nobody ever made any money playing classical music" (can't remember source of th

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I suggest starting with something tame like Hot Rats. Work your way through Apostrophe and Overnite Sensation and then You Are What You Is and One Size Fits All. If you've stuck with it that far, take on Joe's Garage and you'll be ready for almost anything Zappa can throw at you.

    • Pick and choose (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SIGBUS (8236)

      In many Zappa albums, there are some tracks that are all-time favorites of mine, and others that I just can't stand. There are only a few albums of his that I can play through without interruption -- Hot Rats, the Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar series, Apostrophe ('), and Over-Nite Sensation come to mind.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Not all Zappa is weird. I don't even think of *most* Zappa as weird. However, most of it *is* pretty complex stuff. He occasionally wrote pieces for orchestra that had passages considered unplayable by human musicians. OTOH, that which isn't complex often tends to the opposite extreme: the ribald or scatalogical stuff is frequently very simple musically.

      So what's the appeal? Each fan would give you a different answer, and the answer would probably vary from track to track. I'll just pick two songs fr

      • by BitHive (578094)

        Thanks, that was exactly the sort of reply I was looking for. I feel like you've given me some good starting points for understanding his music better.

        Thanks as well to everyone else who made a serious attempt at answering my question.

    • Weird just means art doesn't it. One of the most funny things I've noticed in this world is that "artistic" types who go to a gallery and blather on and on about the "freedom" of Picasso, and Jackson Pollock will positively run in terror from music that violates 32 bar AABA song structure. So Zappa is how much weird, he's kind of weird? But you know whenever I feel blue, I put on "Trout Mask Replica", (not Zappa but close) laugh my ass off, and am able to proceed mightily through this world which is much mu

  • by jbeach (852844)
    While Zappa was clearly a tinkerer, he was also one into making music. And music programs simply aren't up to a professional musicians needs on Linux yet. I know, this program's great, that program's great...they are in theory. But they aren't standards in music for a reason. They don't have full feature sets for non-programmers, and more importantly they aren't stable and reliable.

    Zappa would probably be ProTools, as other's have suggested - or Nuendo, which actually has a final output sound that's a b
    • by rickb928 (945187)

      What makes you think he wouldn't be using Ableton?

      • by jbeach (852844)
        Ableton is very likely for Zappa as a performance tool, actually. Especially as it's currently usable with Max/Msp.

        But I've heard people complain about Ableton's sound output for mastering. So, probably yes for performance, maybe for composing, probably not for final studio product IMHO.
    • by DannyO152 (544940)

      In his times, he could have given Todd Rundgren a call for hints as to cutting edge engineering. It was Rundgren who seemed to be the examplar of artist/engineer deluxe. Would he hire a programmer? That's almost like, in the 70s, hiring an electrical engineer to build an effects pedal. I think Zappa would have found that a distraction from his main mission, which was to make challenging music without wandering too far afield from rock and blues. Let someone else produce an effect box and then see if it serv

  • I don't think so. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:25PM (#32450184) Homepage

    Frank Zappa was one of the greatest musical geniuses that our species has ever produced. To even remotely insinuate that we could assume his intentions or possible course of action is douchebaggery of the highest order.

    Show some fucking respect.

    • by sugapablo (600023)
      +1
    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Wow... honestly I have heard very little of his stuff but what I heard was interesting. But his kind of music isn't a strong liking of mine.
      I think you are being a big over the top. At the worst and frankly the best this seems nothing more that idle silliness. Must be a slow news day or a further sign that Slashdot is becoming less news for Nerds all the time.

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        I think you are being a big over the top. At the worst and frankly the best this seems nothing more that idle silliness.

        Click here [slashdot.org] for an explanation of my opinion.

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          That is fine. I am not disputing how good he is. I am a musical listener. I like what I like but I am no expert. Just the amount of effort and venom expended. Zappa is probably a great artist at least that is what I hear. Frankly I wouldn't get as bent over someone being silly and saying that Jonas Salk would have stuck to using MS-DOS!

    • +10 if possible.
    • You mean *perceived* genius, by all those who think parroting it around while acting like dicks would totally make them cool.

      Sorry, to me his music was just bad. Not even bad in a hateable way. Just... horrible rhythmic structures and cringe-able dissonances.
      But I don’t go around, and insult others while telling them that my point of view is the only true one and everyone who thinks different is an idiot. Why? Because it’s music! Music is by definition subjective. There is no absolute good and b

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Not only that: In the early '70s Zappa wrote a song called 'Penguin in Bondage,' an obvious foretelling of the anti-Linux lawsuits and threats from SCO, Microsoft, and other evildoers.

    No.... No, I think that implies something else altogether. Something... something involving fat nerds in leather suits.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:25PM (#32450202)

    Zappa was also a heavy user of the Synclavier, an electronic music machine that was a precursor to today's 'studio on a computer' recording and sound editing software.

    What does this have to do with anything at all? The synclavier was not open source or Linux based. Also, the synclavier did not lead to any FOSS music production tools. In fact, even now, the vast majority of studio work is done on mac OS or windows. How does this synclavier relate to the point they are trying to make? Sounds to me like they are drawing correlations that do not exist.

    • Agreed. It's a bit of a stretch. I could understand if the Synclavier was some sort of hobbyist machine, that you could build yourself, but it was a commercial product, and nothing about it was "open source". When the company died, so did the Synclavier.
    • The hardware was certainly versatile. Dartmouth College built its mid-80s network infrastructure around multi-purpose network gateways around boards made by NED (makers of the Synclavier) and at the time was probably the world's largest LocalTalk network.

  • Nope. Not at all. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MarkvW (1037596) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:27PM (#32450216)

    Frank would be using the best stuff in whatever format. He wouldn't be constrained by Linux, or Windows, or Mac, or whatever.

    Appropriating Frank's memory to endorse anything is just wrong, man.

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      It sure is wrong.

      Because we all know he'd be using an old Atari ST connected to even older Roland sound modules!

    • Indeed. It would be a shame to use Zappa's name to endorse using the best stuff in whatever format.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ricdude (4163)

      Agreed.

      Although, Dweezil's preference (circa 2006) "is to use the Euphonix R-1 hard-disk recording system and then bump that over to Nuendo." (http://emusician.com/tutorials/emusic_frankly_dweezil/index3.html), FWIW...

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Totally agree with that. Zappa would care less about the 'political' side of computing and would just demand the best tool to do his job, and cost or openness wouldn't even factor into the equation.

      And no, Montana was NOT about mac users.. What the hell is he smoking?

  • by Ricdude (4163) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:40PM (#32450378) Homepage

    The tweezers in question are encrusted with "Zircon", and not Zirconium, as alleged.

    • by Roblimo (357)

      I've heard both Zircon and Zirconium on different versions. And Joe Volodorsky, the guy who told me Montana was about the Mac OS and its users, said Zirconium.

      This little article grew out of some loose talk, with lots of laughter, about how you really need to be from L.A. to understand some of Zappa's stuff.

      I mean, do you remember the Cheech and Chong line, where one says, "We're going to be bigger than Ruben and the Jets, man," or something like that?

      There is a Frank Zappa monument [youtube.com] in Vilnius, Lithuania.

      No

  • I'm pretty sure that "Don't eat the yellow snow" and "Let's make the water turn black" were about Windows.
  • The religious texts say a thing, such as when Jesus told his followers "Remember that all these things will happen before the people now living have all died". And they didn't.

    This leaves the religious with three choices, none of them good: either:

    1: Jesus was wrong
    2: Jesus was a liar
    or 3: the Bible doesn't mean what it says, and must be re-interpreted in order for it to remain relevant to us, who are not the audience it was written for.

    Needless to say, most of the faithful pick the third option. The Re

    • by washort (6555)

      The religious texts say a thing, such as when Jesus told his followers "Remember that all these things will happen before the people now living have all died". And they didn't.

      Eh, only a few Christians ever believed that, though most of them lived in 20th century America. All those prophecies about stuff happening in that generation did happen; much of the "end of the world" stuff discussed in the Bible was about the end of the Jewish world when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD. I don't agree with all of these guys' conclusions but they cover most of the bases on this topic: http://www.preterist.org/preteristQA.asp [preterist.org] (Who's Frank Zappa? ;-)

  • Did this author think to even talk with some of the still living Zappa clan? This article isn't much of anything if the author isn't going to even try to get some opinions from those closest to FZ himself.

  • Without Zappa's inspirational lyrics, titties and beer would be nowhere near as popular as they now are!
  • by lumenistan (1165199) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:56PM (#32450600)
    Newton - FreeBSD
    Leibniz - Solaris
    Donny from the Big Lebowski - QNX
    Phil Hartman - BeOS
    Moses - OS2/Warp
    Hammurabi - MS DOS 5
    Rush Limbaugh - Windows Vista
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by TeeJS (618313)
      at what point did Rush Limbaugh die? I totally missed that one!

      Newton - FreeBSD Leibniz - Solaris Donny from the Big Lebowski - QNX Phil Hartman - BeOS Moses - OS2/Warp Hammurabi - MS DOS 5 Rush Limbaugh - Windows Vista

      • by Xtifr (1323)

        at what point did Rush Limbaugh die? I totally missed that one!

        Does brain-death count? If so, I'm guessing some time before 1988. :)

    • Yes, but the real question is what OS will Jesus be using during the second coming and will your system be compatible?

      At least the good thing about Linux is that regardless of what it is, you can be sure that some hacker will have posted a solution a short while after it is announced. Whether it will be legal to use it is another issue, but then so will the fees required by MS and Apple sales reps and lawyers.

      This will all be moot soon, when Google gets their android act together. Until then it will be be

    • Rush Limbaugh - Windows Vista

      I'm sorry to say Rush Limbaugh is very much alive and a Mac user. He once volunteered to appear in an Apple ad but his offer was refused, thank goodness.

      Also I'm pretty sure the author of the article is smoking crack. How did this make the front page?

  • ...is like dancing about architecture.

  • OK, so someone was listening to Frank's music and thinking about how to make a Slashdot story about it. Some story moderator thought it was cool to accept. I can appreciate that someone thought about these things and tied them together into a Zappa reference. Hey, I can get into that and I'm as excited to see it on here as CmdrTaco was when he first posted a story related to The Who 10 years or so ago (no, I'm not going to look it up and hyperlink it! grin). But what does annoy me is the claim that he had a
    • by garyisabusyguy (732330) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @05:58PM (#32451384)

      Maybe... just maybe they can lay a claim that prior exposure to Zappa albums may make a person more likely to adopt Linux...

      For instance, my early years of tripping to Billy The Mountain while playing Risk might, just might, have made it easier for me to accept software packages that sings its own tune, an os that requires text file manipulation to properly use a display adapter and made me willing to install Linux on a Sparc10 even though it took me a couple of weeks to replace the Sun bitmap with a penguin

      So there you go, prepare for a career in Linux by receiving brain damage while listening to Zappa

  • Taking a bet with a hooker that you could get her off, then nailing her hooker-friend until dynamo finally got into it enough to get off???

    I mean, I can't say that I ever got a balky machine to install an rpm just by doing it to another machine in front of it.

    Am I missing something here?

  • Mind you, I'm not slagging on him, but he seems to have kind of faded into the background. He's been dead just shy of 20 years and his music was always a tad experimental, but he doesn't seem to get tied into "modern" rock music the same way someone like John Cale does or some of the other proto-punk artists do.

  • by Bemopolis (698691) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @07:24PM (#32452392)
    "Dinah-Moe Humm" might, in fact, be about Linux. Namely, the lyric "I got a spot that gets me hot, and you ain't been to it."
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by al0ha (1262684)
      Wish I had a mod point cause that is funny. Though I must add, sung in that glorious soulful female background voice from the song I know you know, "If Linux don't get you hot, you ain't been using it."
  • by bezenek (958723) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:02PM (#32453302) Journal

    In the early '70s Zappa wrote a song called 'Penguin in Bondage,' an obvious foretelling of the anti-Linux lawsuits and threats from SCO, Microsoft, and other evildoers.

    Since Tux came into being in April-May of 1996, it is impossible for Mr. Zappa to have used a penguin reference to suggest anything about Linus in the "early '70s." See: http://www.sjbaker.org/wiki/index.php?title=The_History_of_Tux_the_Linux_Penguin [sjbaker.org]

    -Todd

  • by ClosedSource (238333) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:30PM (#32453550)

    Buddy Holley, Ritchie Valens, and the "Big Bopper" are Windows fans. Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison couldn't be reached for comment.

  • Zappa was a Pro... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    1. Take the current industry standard for PROFESSIONAL recording studios (not hobbiest or indi guys on a budget).
    2. Add custom hardware and software from the top engineers in the industry.

    THAT's what Zappa would be using. That's what Zappa has always used, dating back to the mid 1960s. You can find numerous references to his custom recording boards and equipment in assorted online archives. Doesn't the Zappa website have pictures of his homestudio?

    Zappa was a professional, a perfectionist and a business man

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