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Frank Zappa's Influence On Linux and FOSS Development

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the oh-yeah-try-to-disprove-it dept.

GNU is Not Unix 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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Well Hold on There (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450014)

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.

Re:Well Hold on There (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450088)

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:Well Hold on There (2, Informative)

farrellj (563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450548)

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:Well Hold on There (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450672)

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:Well Hold on There (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450890)

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.

Re:Well Hold on There (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450104)

Is racing for first post the only purpose you have in this life?

Re:Well Hold on There (1)

maharg (182366) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450122)

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

Re:Well Hold on There (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450302)

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 tracks of input using 2 MAudio Delta 1010 interfaces and I've done hours of recordings with no issues.

Frank was always interested in new tech - he was one of the first adopters of the Synclavier, and released an entire album of the 18th century Italian composer Francesco Zappa's music performed entirely on that machine.

I'd like to think Frank would have loved the open source movement and been an enthusiastic supporter. We'll never get to find out, sadly.

Re:Well Hold on There (4, Interesting)

elgo (1751690) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Well Hold on There (3, Informative)

sg_oneill (159032) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Well Hold on There (1)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450738)

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.

Re:Well Hold on There (4, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450946)

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.

Re:Well Hold on There (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450388)

>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.

Re:Well Hold on There (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450652)

Zappa was a musician who could actually read and write as well as play. He might just have used Rosegarden for composition.

For mixing and recording, Pro Tools, Logic Studio or some other DAW.

Zappa uses Sony Vegas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450730)

At least for video editing: http://news.creativecow.net/story/863443

Re:Well Hold on There (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450764)

As someone who uses a lot of recording software (not professionally) I was thinking the same thing. I've used various DAWs and Ardour just isn't there yet. Maybe in a few more years. I really wanted to like Ardour. A few kernel versions back the M-16DX (16 inputs all sent individually) started working pretty nicely in Linux so I gave Ardour a shot. It was way better than a few years prior, but still pretty crappy. It can do most of the basic stuff, but compared to protools, sonar, logic, or cubase it was just missing tons of features and much bulkier to use. Zappa may have tried something like that out. He was known for making very complex music on old tape 4 tracks with track bouncing, so playing with it seems likely, but the odds are anything serious would still be done on a serious DAW. I'm looking forward to Ardour getting better and to the day I can switch to it, but right now it is very lacking.

Re:Well Hold on There (1)

CyDharttha (939997) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450986)

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:Well Hold on There (2, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451074)

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. Not only is Reaper much more stable than ProTools, but with ReaMote and a Linux box, I can have a dozen instances of Omnisphere playing simultaneously without having to "freeze" the tracks to save cycles.

I've tried doing complete projects on Linux only and I just hate the way it handles audio hardware. Jack is a nightmare. But in its proper role, Linux is an essential part of a working studio.

One question remains (2, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450042)

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!"

Re:One question remains (3, Insightful)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450134)

I always thought that one was about BeOS.

Re:One question remains (1)

bjb (3050) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450924)

I always thought that one was about BeOS.

No, that'd be "Pick Me, I'm Clean".

Re:One question remains (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450238)

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!"

It's about the standard issue Linux Sysadmin. They are *ALL* assholes from the "user" perspective.


-- Saeed al-Sahaf

Re:One question remains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450586)

Theo?

Re:One question remains (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450660)

Weasels Ripped My Flesh!

I don't give a crap what audio editing software Zappa would have used, all I can say is that he was awesome, irreverent, brilliant and had the coolest song titles ever.

I actually found Porn Wars on Youtube, reminded of it now that Al and Tipper Gore are kaput.

I'm not even going to read it.. (0, Flamebait)

tabooli (927310) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450044)

Based on title alone, I have to say that whatever Neckbeard Linux Zealot Hippy wrote/submitted/approved this story should be shot with a ball of his own shit.

Re:I'm not even going to read it.. (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450162)

So why comment on it, troll?

Without Neckbeard Hippies, you wouldn't even have a fucking computer to troll with.

I don't remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450416)

Bill Gates having a beard.

Re:I don't remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450486)

Or George Boole, Alan Turing, John von Neumann or countless other people who contributed way more to the existence of modern computers than these Loonix neckbeards.

Re:I'm not even going to read it.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450528)

shot with a ball of his own shit.

Genius. Does this work with a potato gun? I so want to try this on someone.

Doesn't /. have a 'fanboyism' category? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450080)

...'cos this kinda belongs there. Chalking it up to humor doesn't quite cut it.

I don't "get" Zappa (2)

BitHive (578094) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450112)

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

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450138)

You either "get it" or you don't. I'm not even sure I'd put Zappa in the 'acquired taste' category.

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (3, Interesting)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450338)

Fair enough. Most of the people I've tried to turn on to Zappa couldn't get passed the "weird" factor.

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (1)

oh-dark-thirty (1648133) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450556)

One of FZ's many talents as a composer and musician was his ability to write and perform in every musical genre. His stuff ranges from classical to funk, jazz to plain rock, weirdness to well, just more weirdness. I've always said that if I had to be stranded on a deserted island for the rest of my life with only one artist's music, it would be Zappa.

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450576)

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...

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (0, Troll)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450188)

flamebait?

Moderator, please go play a game of hide and go fuck yourself.

-1 flamebait doesn't mean I disagree with you.

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (1)

BitHive (578094) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450266)

Seriously. It was an innocent question but from the moderator's reaction you'd think I'd insulted Ron Paul or something. Oh well, I guess I'll just think back to this experience every time I get a little curious about Zappa.

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450328)

The funny (and sad) thing is, the person who is modding you flamebait won't think, "I might be hurting Frank's image here." No, he will think, "Fuck it. He won't ever give Zappa a chance anyway."

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (2, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450366)

And ironically Zappa would be disgusted with the attempted censorship.

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450650)

Seriously. It was an innocent question but from the moderator's reaction you'd think I'd insulted Ron Paul or something.

I don't know why you got a flamebait mod; it seems to me you had a perfectly valid question asked in a perfectly non-trollish manner. Bad moderator! Shame! For pennance

As for your question... I don't know why anyone else likes Zappa, but I generally like his music for the depth, richness, and variety of it all. He has some really intricate work, and fascinating combinations of instruments. It's different. It's unique. It's weird. It's not all to my taste; I'd say I actively dislike about 10% of his stuff. But even in that 10% I can recognize and appreciate his sheer craftsmanship. I really wish that I'd managed to see Frank perform live.

If you want a good, approachable introduction to Zappa, I recommend finding Weird Al's "Genius in France" (on the Poodle Hat album). It's not a parody of any one song, but an homage to Zappa's style. And it's a pretty funny song in its own right.

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450244)

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:I don't "get" Zappa (2, Informative)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450314)

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 could be broken down to the point where you could hear the individual components that served as a foundation for the whole sound. Being able to create rich textures that are simultaneously seamless yet individualized is, from a musician's standpoint, a mindfuck of an accomplishment.

Zappa's appeal isn't in his sound so much as it is in his technique and sheer ability...at least for me. I find his work to be quite inspirational.

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (1)

oh-dark-thirty (1648133) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450602)

FZ always tried to keep what he called "conceptual continuity" in his work. If you listen to his progression throughout the years, that phrase sort of makes sense. He was also a master at taking disparate tracks (from several different songs), and creating fresh material without playing a single new note.

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (1)

Carik (205890) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450324)

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.

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (1)

bjb (3050) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451010)

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 the quote).

The guy was a genius, but of a flavor that most people would spit out and stay away from because it tasted weird. As others have said, you either get it or you don't, but no fault if you don't because it isn't easily consumed.

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450350)

CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER:

This is the CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER...it is my responsibility to enforce all the laws that haven't been passed yet. It is also my responsibility to alert each and every one of you to the potential consequences of various ordinary everyday activities you might be performing which could eventually lead to The Death Penalty (or affect your parents' credit rating). Our criminal institutions are full of little creeps like you who do wrong things...

and many of them were driven to these crimes by a horrible force called MUSIC! Our studies have shown that this horrible force is so dangerous to society at large that laws are being
drawn up at this very moment to stop it forever! Cruel and inhuman punishments are being carefully described in tiny paragraphs so they won't conflict with the Constitution (which, itself, is being modified in order to accommodate THE FUTURE).

Enough said.

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (2, Interesting)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450398)

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.

Re:I don't "get" Zappa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450988)

Seriously, We're Only In It For the Money.

Pick and choose (2, Interesting)

SIGBUS (8236) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450902)

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.

Fanboy posting (0, Offtopic)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450114)

This whole article being posted smacks of fanboy trolling. Yes, we can guess what Zappa would have used and whether he was a "Linux Prophet" or not (...not...) but it is pretty much indicative of a slow news day. Lots of trash on /. today, which is weird considering lots of interesting things are going on in the real world that we could be discussing.

Re:Fanboy posting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450282)

I had thought Iron Baby was the worst article possible. At least that was on Idle, and was meant to be humorous. Frank Zappa... and a Linux connotation... and OSX flamebait? Excuse me while I go puke.

Re:Fanboy posting (3, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450290)

Actually after taking a second look at the "logic" presented in TFS, it starts making more sense.

Zappa is best appreciated when really stoned or tripping out on acid or mushrooms. That's when the connections and the lyrics in his music suddenly seem so brilliantly clever like an inside joke that nobody else in the room - or in the whole universe - can understand. Similarly, the connections and leaps of logic in the summary are the kind of thing that won't speak to you unless you just sucked back a few bowls or you're otherwise in a state where you could spend 30 straight minutes examining the wrinkle patterns on the backs of your hands.

If you don't like this submission, you're clearly not high enough.

Re:Fanboy posting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450386)

No, I'm pretty toasted myself right now and TFS still seems pretty lame to me...

One Question (1)

rotorbudd (1242864) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450152)

Where does bromidrosis fit in?

Nah. (1)

jbeach (852844) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450172)

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 bit nicer in some ways than ProTools, due to Steinberg's sound algorithms. Both of these require Windows or Mac OS. Of the two, I find it very likely Zappa would prefer Mac - it is simply a better environment for non-text work.

Also I think it's VERY likely Zappa would be using Max/MSP, which doesn't exist for Linux yet and won't be ported any time soon. Or he maybe would be using Symbolic Composer, or programming in Kyma - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyma_(sound_design_language) [wikipedia.org] - but this also is aimed at programming DSP cards in Mac and WIndows environments

However, it is also very likely that Zappa would want some crazy special computer software/hardware combinations, that may be most easily achieved by hiring a programmer, who would then be more likely to write the controlling software in Linux. But again, I doubt it would be Zappa himself.

Re:Nah. (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450554)

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

Re:Nah. (1)

DannyO152 (544940) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450858)

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 serves his purposes well.

One thing I'm certain of, Zappa would have had zero tolerance and have applied maximum loudness and torque for anyone Napstering/Limewiring his tracks. I would imagine the hypothetical 21st century Frank would have put out a suite of scathing songs called "Freetard Anal Ants" or some such.

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

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450184)

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.

Re:I don't think so. (1)

sugapablo (600023) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450520)

+1

Re:I don't think so. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450532)

In your opinion. Others can listen to it and think "boring shit".

Re:I don't think so. (1, Insightful)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450544)

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.

Good grief! You Zappa fanboys are worse than hardcore RMS flacks!

Re:I don't think so. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450572)

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.

Re:I don't think so. (0, Flamebait)

fortapocalypse (1231686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450688)

To all those that +1 Insightful, you are not true Zappa fans. If you were a true Zappa fan you would have either voted +1 Funny or you wouldn't have been reading Slashdot (for reasons that if I explained here I would be modded -1 on). If you mod this as Insightful, you are a moron, and -1 on you (for any reason). Hail the Libertarian party!

"Penguin in Bondage" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450192)

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.

I just can't get enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450198)

.. of Slashdot's humor stories. I'm dying from laughter, in all seriousness.

Re:I just can't get enough (2, Insightful)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450510)

.. of Slashdot's humor stories. I'm dying from laughter, in all seriousness.

You may be posting that sarcastically but I voted this story up as "Funny" in Firehose.

It's completely absurd, of course. "Montana" had nothing at all to do with computers, it was about growing pot. In any case, Zappa would have used whatever tool would have made his job easier for him. My guess would be Pro Tools on a Mac, like most other musicians these days, but that's worth about as much as anyone else's guess--exactly nothing.

Re:I just can't get enough (2, Interesting)

Roblimo (357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450710)

Of *course* it's all absurd.

But how about this: if you go to the forums on zappa.com and search for Linux, you get 76 results, and only 29 each for Windows and Mac.

This proves something -- something silly, no doubt, but still something (or other).

- R

What does the synclavier have to do with anything? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:What does the synclavier have to do with anythi (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450304)

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.

Nope. Not at all. (5, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Nope. Not at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450330)

I agree.

Zappa was a great composer, pushing the boundaries, and his guitar work was on a level few will ever achieve.

That's what he'll be remembered for, and using his name in this silly context is crap.

It's an OS, not a religion.

Re:Nope. Not at all. (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450522)

God damn it, it's fucking GNU/Religion.

Re:Nope. Not at all. (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450360)

It sure is wrong.

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

Re:Nope. Not at all. (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450512)

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

Re:Nope. Not at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450666)

You are right, my guess is he probably would be using BSD.
But this is just my guess - based on Netcraft rumours that Zappa and BSD have a lot in common.

Re:Nope. Not at all. (2, Informative)

Ricdude (4163) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450846)

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...

Zappa would be Tea Partying with his Amiga! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450336)

I got an ass I can pull stuff out of as well.

Huh? (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450358)

Roblimo, what are you smoking?.....Can I have some?

This article is totally false. (2, Informative)

Ricdude (4163) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450378)

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

Re:This article is totally false. (1)

Roblimo (357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450628)

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.

Not all talk, all articles or all monuments need to be serious, you know.

- R

Incomplete summary (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450410)

I'm pretty sure that "Don't eat the yellow snow" and "Let's make the water turn black" were about Windows.

This reminds me of modern religion. (2, Insightful)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450434)

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 Revelation of John is even worse; in modern times most of the faithful read it as if it were written for a modern audience rather than a then-contemporary audience, so we turn a warning about the political power of Rome into a warning about bizarre apocalypse destined to happen in the future (ours).

This post reeks of this sort of post-hoc reasoning. Let's not do Zappa a disservice by deliberately reading him as if he were talking to us about something he clearly wasn't.

While I'm sure (I hope) it was meant as a jest, does this sort of evangelical logic really promote Linux in a way that is useful? This reads like fanboy logic written for the converted. More damning, however, is that while it is supposedly humorous, it's not actually funny.

Re:This reminds me of modern religion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450568)

I see your username is appropriate. What are you on about?

Re:This reminds me of modern religion. (2, Insightful)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450692)

That trying to shoe-horn new meaning into a work where it didn't exist is intellectually dishonest, whether it's the Bible or a Frank Zappa song.

Recontextualization is one thing, but this sort of no-holds-barred literary deconstruction is simply nonsense.

And an ad hominem attack based on my username against a post where "what I'm on about" is pretty clear? Really? In 2010?

I don't think Dweezil is into Linux (1)

garrobon (790884) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450440)

I wouldn't assume that anything that Dweezil is doing is any kind of predictor for what Frank might have done, but I'm pretty sure whatever he's using is running on Windows. Unfortunately I can't recall the exact source, but one of his blog posts (http://www.dweezilzappaworld.com/posts/54) does mention some hardware that doesn't appear to have vendor supplied drivers for Linux.

Special Slashdot Memo #233321 (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450452)

Slashdot is reaching new lows with this "story".

What's next? Zappa's influence on skull-base neurosurgery? Zappa's influence on number theory?

The Gulf of Mexico is becoming the Gulf of Oil [google.com] and you post this crap.

Your appropriation of Zappa to Linux is ALMOST a
violation of trademark. I've notified Moon Unit.

Slashdot: News For Hits - Stuff That DOESN'T Matter.

Yours In Ashgabat,
Kilgore Trout, C.I.O

There are still more Zappas around (2, Informative)

Pete Venkman (1659965) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450474)

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.

Mumbo Pocus (1)

Octatonic (808510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450490)

What a load of complete bollocks. Mumbo Pocus, you might say.

This just in (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450562)

Without Zappa's inspirational lyrics, titties and beer would be nowhere near as popular as they now are!

$RANDOM_DEAD_GUY$ would TOTALLY use $RANDOM_OS$!!! (5, Funny)

lumenistan (1165199) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:$RANDOM_DEAD_GUY$ would TOTALLY use $RANDOM_OS$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450746)

Problem is, Limbaugh is a die-hard Mac user...

Re:$RANDOM_DEAD_GUY$ would TOTALLY use $RANDOM_OS$ (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451072)

But... but... but... he doesn't wear black turtlenecks or sip lattes or sit in coffee shops all day reading Marx. How could he possibly use OS X?

Re:$RANDOM_DEAD_GUY$ would TOTALLY use $RANDOM_OS$ (2, Funny)

TeeJS (618313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450906)

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

Re:$RANDOM_DEAD_GUY$ would TOTALLY use $RANDOM_OS$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450954)

Rush Limbaugh - Mac OS-X

Numerous links on Google.

Reeelax Zappatistas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32450740)

As Henry Rollins once said to me while arguing about why Black Flag didn't play my town, "don't tie your dick in a knot!"
You Zappatistas need to calm down with the pontificating...

I agree there is much "liberty taking" in TFA, but the author is trying to "connect the dots", as it were, between a very-much-out-of-the-mainstream genius(on many levels) and the open source community, which has many such genii of a similar political(for lack of a better word) bent.

Talking about Frank Zappa's OS choice... (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450778)

...is like dancing about architecture.

Points added for Zappa, lost for making no sense (1, Insightful)

bjb (3050) | more than 4 years ago | (#32450864)

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 anything more to do with Linux than Beethoven, Taco Bell, Ford Pintos or rubber dog biscuits.

C'mon. Zappa's struggles over the years had nothing to do with computers or freedom of the tools he had. It was all about business, musician unions and satirical observations of "the world".

Sure, I could come up with something like, "hey! Opus the penguin from Bloom County was all about the position in society of the Linux user, and obviously because of the penguin reference!". Why not. But if anything, Frank had over 60 studio albums of material released and I'm sure one could make a lot more connections if they thought about it.

The author of the story says that Apple was influenced by LSD. While Jobs has been on record with the statement that it was one of the most important things he did in his life, I'm not ready to chalk up more than a few small points of that company's history to it. People claim to have grand visions and revelations under the influence, so maybe Jobs was just good at recording or remembering his revelations rather than just grabbing a bag of doritos and sitting on the couch listening to Pink Floyd. There were a lot of other things that contributed to Apple's success that had nothing to do with drugs or brainstorms thereof (see: Xerox, Homebrew Computer Club, IBM, Palm, etc).

So how is Linux influenced by Zappa? Linux was influenced by the entire history of UNIX and other commercial operating systems, not some avant garde musician. As well, why would he be using Linux? As others have mentioned, I'm sure he would be using whatever the best tool is. He made heavy use of the Synclavier back in the day because it was THE tool for electronic music and was capable of playing the complex compositions he defined and had someone program in for him (see: G-Spot Tornado and just about everything on Civilization Phaze III). I appreciate the progress that we've made in regards to music production on Linux, but from everything I've ever read about Frank, he's not going to use Linux for music production because of the philosophy. Yes, he was a tinkerer, but there isn't anything about Linux that you couldn't do with another platform when it comes to music.

Frank dedicated his time to his music and his family. I honestly don't think he'd have time for the difficulties involved with using Linux when he could just buy a Mac for Pro Tools or Digital Performer. Besides, I think I saw Mac Book Pro or two at a Dweezil Zappa show recently ;-)

TITTIES AND BEER TITTIES AND BEER (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451046)

Does anything zappa ever did compare? Penquins? Microsoft? Pft! Titties and beer, man !!

http://www.bittenandbound.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/dale-bozzio.gif [bittenandbound.com]

http://www.dlisted.com/files/dalebozziomugshotsad.jpg [dlisted.com]

It was the blackest night There was no moon in sight
You know the stars ain't shinin' 'Cause the sky's too tight
I heard the scarey wind I seen some ugly trees
There was a werewolf hon kin''Long the aide of me

I'm mean 'n I'm bad, y'know I ain't no sissy Got a big titty girly by the name of Chrissy
Talkin' about her 'n my bike 'n me N this ride up the Mountain of Mystery, mystery

I noticed even the crickets Was actin' weird up here
So I figured I might Just drink a little beer
I said, "Gimme summa that what yer suckin' on" But there was no reply
'Cause she was gone

"Where's those titties I like so well,
'n' my godam beer!"
Is what I started to yell, then I heard this noise
Like a crunchin' twig, 'n up jumped the Devil, . .
He's about this big, . .

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