Baked, Not Fried


By Steve Oppenheimer

(November 1998)

In the September 1998 “Letters” column, reader Geoff Hardy sang the praises of Linux, a Unix-based, computer operating system that is free, has an open source code that users can modify, and can run on many different hardware platforms. When Hardy challenged us to get with the program (so to speak), I responded that Linux was interesting but was likely to remain a fringe OS and wasn’t something most musicians were likely to use.

It didn’t take long to find out I was wrong; several knowledgeable friends informed me that Linux was happening stuff for musicians. I put Contributing Editor Scott Wilkinson on the case, and you’ll find his coverage of Linux in this month’s “Tech Page” (on p. 36). From here on, we’ll keep a close eye out for music-related products for Linux; if you have relevant Linux news of interest to EM readers, please e-mail me.

Meanwhile, I’ll have that crow baked, please—not fried. And because Linux is an open OS, make that an open-faced sandwich.

While I’m discussing computer products, we have a special treat for you this month. Digital audio sequencers are the core software for the desktop musician, combining MIDI and digital audio recording and editing. We’ve put together “Sequencing Secrets” (see p. 54), a master class that delivers both general techniques and product-specific tips for programs from Steinberg, Emagic, Opcode, MOTU, and Cakewalk. Admittedly, we weren’t able to include all the top sequencers, but we included most of the big ones.

This project brought out my Perry White side: I abused authors, editors, and manufacturers mercilessly. Fortunately, all responded with excellent work. (Did you know that Superman’s real secret identity is Dennis Miller?) “Sequencing Secrets” is an article you’ll come back to again and again. My thanks to all; bottles of salve for your bruises are in the mail.

Finally, we recently lost Assistant Editor Joe Humphreys to the freelance life, and that’s a big loss. Joe was an integral part of our editorial team. As I noted in the August “Front Page,” Diane Lowery also departed not long ago. The good news is that we have now brought our staff back to full strength with the addition of two very promising new editors.

Editorial Assistant Matt Gallagher is an experienced proofreader and copy editor who comes to its from Music & Computers magazine, which passed into history recently. Matt is a drummer, which means we have four drummers on our editorial staff. (It scares me to think about that!) In addition to proofreading and copyediting, he is handling a wide variety of essential tasks, and already he has made a difference.

Copy Chief Patty Hammond, whom we shanghaied from Red Herring magazine, is going to make a huge difference for us, too. Patty is a first-rate language wizard who will ensure that our editorial style is consistent and our writing is clean, properly punctuated, and grammatically impeccable. She is also a bass player, which not only gives her a personal interest in our subject matter but also helps balance the staff musically. I couldn’t have survived with five drummers.