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GNU is Not Unix It's funny.  Laugh. Music Linux

Frank Zappa's Influence On Linux and FOSS Development 195

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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  • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @03:33PM (#32450284)
    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.
  • by Ricdude ( 4163 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @03:40PM (#32450378) Homepage

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

  • by Pete Venkman ( 1659965 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @03:47PM (#32450474) Journal

    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.

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

  • by farrellj ( 563 ) * on Thursday June 03, 2010 @03:53PM (#32450548) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:03PM (#32450672) Journal

    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.

  • Re:Nope. Not at all. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ricdude ( 4163 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:19PM (#32450846) Homepage


    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 PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:27PM (#32450946) 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.

  • by bezenek ( 958723 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:02PM (#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]


Unix: Some say the learning curve is steep, but you only have to climb it once. -- Karl Lehenbauer