Ship mscore / fluid-soundfont in Hardy?

Cory K. coryisatm at
Wed Mar 12 00:57:49 GMT 2008

Toby Smithe wrote:
> Hi,
> Recently fluid-soundfont hit the archives (and since then, Debian).
> This is the first Free GM SoundFont, and is thus pretty damn useful.
> If you don't know what GM is, then this question probably isn't for
> you.
> fluid-soundfont enables synthesis that requires, you guessed it, a
> SoundFont. There are a number of packages in the archive which could
> potentially benefit: timidity, fluidsynth, mscore. I'm concentrating
> on mscore, because currently it links against the fluidsynth library
> (rather than use the ALSA sequencer), using that to synthesise audio.
> FluidSynth (as far as I am aware, and certainly in the way that mscore
> uses it) does not support the smaller freepats patches to do
> synthesis, and requires a soundfont.
> This direct linking makes it very easy, provided there is access to a
> SoundFont, to just get up and go: open mscore, and there's no other
> faffing about required before you can make noises. Naturally, the
> problem lies in that caveat: "provided there is access to a
> SoundFont". By default, there isn't, and so mscore doesn't make any
> sound.
> The last upload of mscore (-0ubuntu2) contained a patch to default it
> to look for the fluid-soundfont-gm file. This means that, if
> fluid-soundfont-gm is installed, mscore will Just Work. Because of
> this huge boost in functionality, the mscore package Recommends the
> fluid-soundfont-gm package. I would have set it to Depends, but there
> are two factors against this:
> 1. It does not fundamentally require the SoundFont, and can just as
> well (though with a little more effort), use a user-supplied font, as
> the package's install notification advised in the original -0ubuntu1
> version. Or, it can just work silently.
> 2. fluid-soundfont is *huge* at about 130MiB. If mscore depended on
> fluid-soundfont-gm, it would force the user to download an excessive
> amount over the three meg required to get the program to run.
> Now, the question is: do we ship mscore on the DVD for Hardy? I think
> that this would be an excellent move: get a relatively new package a
> plentitude of airtime to get bugs shown up and ironed out, and improve
> awareness of a massively potential Sibelius alternative. Plus, it
> would fill the niche that Sibelius does on Windows, but on Ubuntu
> Studio.
> Should we decide to ship mscore, we then have to decide whether to
> ship fluid-soundfont. As the DVD is already 877MiB, which is a lot to
> download, users are clearly prepared to download that much. Why would
> an extra 130MiB be too much pain? It would enable a lot of
> functionality (and during the Intrepid cycle, I'll be further
> integrating fluid-soundfont to allow it to replace freepats wherever
> possible).
> If we do ship mscore, but not fluid-soundfont, users are purely going
> to have to download the soundfont separately (thereby increasing the
> effects of waiting for download: rather than wait once in one long
> chunk, perhaps overnight, users would have to wait twice, which feels
> exaggerated), or find an alternative, or work silently.
> Personally, I do not have absolute pitch, and would prefer nice, crisp
> synthesis to silence. If this means adding an extra 130MiB, then so be
> it: the advantages brought certainly outweigh that singular negative,
> especially considering that the free software environment is rather
> biased towards broadband users.
> To sign off, I'll just ask again the question asked in the subject: do
> we ship mscore and/or fluid-soundfont in Ubuntu Studio 8.04?
> -- Toby Smithe

The size of the package has always been my concern in talking about this
to Toby.

I, as lead of Ubuntu Studio, have had mixed feelings on the size of our
disk and wanting to keep things as streamlined as possible. Getting rid
of OO.o Writer is still a thorn in my side.

So I must admit that the thought of including this package made me
uncomfortable. But the more I thought about it, I realized that I am not
embracing the decision to not worry so much about disk size and just try
to provide the best production apps we have to offer. This is not to say
I won't still try to get rid if OO.o Writer or will be adding tons of
new apps, just that this package really adds value to what we do.

So, still slightly apprehensive, (just a bit) I'll give this a +1.

I would like to hear from AU people or our dial-up'ers.

But if the majority of people want this we'll add it to the seeds at the
end of the week. No later than Friday if the freeze doesn't effect us.

-Cory \m/

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