Exchange tips and tricks for the Akai MPC4000

By illiac Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:25 am
>> Illiac, I am glad to have someone like you interested.

Glad to be interested. :)

>> Could it be possible to develop starting from a beta version? (0.1, 0.5 or 0.9)

Well, haha, this would negate a lot of the advantage of getting the existing OS, because the difference between beta and final release is a ton of debugging and testing and refinement. But I can't see why Akai would give out a beta release -- they are most probably either going to say YES or NO. YES means they license their sources in a way that makes this development possible, and NO means go away.

By the way, it doesn't have to be an open source license per se. It could be a very specific source code license that permits OSes for the MPC4000 to be developed as a derivative work, and nothing else (no other use permitted for the code). It really depends on what their management is thinking about the future of the MPC product line in hardware and software. I can't guess what they are thinking.

>> If the beta version is not released, you think we could start an alternative OS that had the MPC4000 Working as much as possible as it works today?

No. I think you mean, can you build an OS if you don't start with sources from Akai, and the answer is that you can build something but it would fall very far short of the current functionality and stability.

>> If we manage to start an alternative OS with no/little support for the actual Akai files, would that give us better ground on asking them to provide the format definitions so it can be compatible?

Probably not. You know, the format definitions are a lot less proprietary and contain a lot less intellectual property than their source code, so I think it's pretty likely they would give you those even if they refused to give away source code.

> Is it hard to add compatibility to a working OS if we manage to make one (and if Akai supports this part)?

Of course. Look, just think about a multi. It describes a mixer -- a bunch of simultaneous audio sources being summed. Each of the programs describes a bunch of keygroups which map midi events to samples that go through envelopes and get shaped by a modulation matrix and you name it. You gotta make all of that stuff work like it does now. It's all specified in the multi and the programs and samples that make up the multi. It's a ton of work and a ton of detail. All of this has to be programmed in a way that doesn't overtax the CPU and memory, which are finite resources.

>> Who will benefit the most if we manage to release a stable OS that is fully compatible and bug free?

The people who use it. :)

-illiac

By Renich Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:37 am
I am being strongly advised to port Linux (I am talking about the kernel, of course, for those who think that linux is an entire OS) to the MPC.

I will post some of the emails here, so you know.

On 7/26/06, Renich Bon Ćirić <renich@woralelandia.com> wrote:
> Well, we are trying to make a proposal to Akai Pro so it releases the
> source code of the OS that runs on the MPC4000 Worstation/Sampler.
>
> If you want to join and help, go to http://www.woralelandia.com/openmpc/
>
> # Reference
> http://www.mpc-forums.com/viewtopic.php?t=54825
>

I took a look at the specs Akai sent you. If you intend to port linux
to it, you have a nice begining there. You have the full list of
hardware pieces inside, and all the schematics. Even if akai don't
give you their OS source, everything is still possible.

--
Marc-Olivier Barre.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

On Wed, 2006-07-26 at 17:29 -0500, Renich Bon Ćirić wrote:
> > Thank you so much for the those words! ;=)
> >
> > As you saw at the links, the first goal is to get the source from
> > Akai... even a beta. If that fails, we are gonna try and develop a whole OS.
> >

Why? That makes no sense. Why not just port Linux to it?

> > Thanks again
> >
> > Marc-Olivier Barre wrote:
>> > > On 7/26/06, Renich Bon Ćirić <renich@woralelandia.com> wrote:
>>> > >> Well, we are trying to make a proposal to Akai Pro so it releases the
>>> > >> source code of the OS that runs on the MPC4000 Worstation/Sampler.
>>> > >>
>>> > >> If you want to join and help, go to http://www.woralelandia.com/openmpc/
>>> > >>
>>> > >> # Reference
>>> > >> http://www.mpc-forums.com/viewtopic.php?t=54825
>>> > >>
>> > >
>> > > I took a look at the specs Akai sent you. If you intend to port linux
>> > > to it, you have a nice begining there. You have the full list of
>> > > hardware pieces inside, and all the schematics. Even if akai don't
>> > > give you their OS source, everything is still possible.
>> > >

--------------------------------------------------------------
> Why? That makes no sense. Why not just port Linux to it?

Agreed. There are so many embeded linux projects out there, it would
be like writing one's own printf function when there's glibc here to
do the job...

Moreover, it would allow you to take avantage of a lot of
application/file formats/whatever that is working already pretty well
on a linux audio workstation.

Looking at the specs, the MPC 4000 seems like a big pack of knobs,
LCDs, LEDs, and audio circuits. it's up to the OS to do some music
with it. Are you sure you want to go on the crusade of reinventing not
only the wheel, but also the whole stuff around it ?

________________
Marc-Olivier Barre,
Kinoko en Orbite.

----------------------------------------------------
On Wed, 2006-07-26 at 18:00 -0500, Renich Bon Ćirić wrote:
> > Well, very wise words you say. But, on the other hand, this piece of
> > hardware is worth 3,000 usd. We have a ton of users to think about. We
> > must provide compatibility with it's native format.
> >
> > It would be cool to be able to use all the OpenSource arsenal out there.
> > But first, we need to clone... at least, that's what they have said (the
> > users)
> >

Just port Linux to it then develop the support for the native file
systems/formats/etc. MUCH less work than writing your own OS.

(BTW top posting is considered bad form on this list)

It sounds like you're responding to user requests of some kind - do you
have a link? What exactly are you trying to accomplish?

Lee
User avatar

By Kalei Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:41 am
jahrome wrote:Its taken years for the 4000 to get where it is today. To install a 3rd party OS would mean another 3-4 years of playing with that machine and its OS.


Not really. Akai could have reached the same results as they have with current OS WAY faster than they did. On more than 1 occasion it took them over 8 (!) months to come with an update for the 4000. I am sure that if Akai would have spent their time working on the 4000 they could have managed all the updates they've done for it within 6 months after its release, or even less.

By Renich Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:57 am
Guys, i have added a poll to the site. Please take it. I think your opinion is crucial to know what are we gonna do if akai rejects the proposal. Not trying to be pesimistic, just trying to put togeather plan B.

Thanks

# Site
http://www.woralelandia.com/openmpc/
User avatar

By feline1 Thu Jul 27, 2006 8:13 am
Akai's development was a farce.

OS 1.50 was the classic example: that's the one where they finally
let you send MIDI clock and MMC to all 4 MIDI outputs at once
(what RETARD ever thought that wasn't a "must have" feature in the
first place?!? I mean jeez, do you remember, for 2 years, we could
only send MIDI clock out to port A, B, C *or* D, you had to choose!?!)


If you remember, when they released that,
it just didn't work AT ALL. It was just over Christmas.
All you'd get was this "MIDI OUT FULL" message.

Either their build controller was a complete mentalist and somehow built and
released the wrong OS,
or (I get the impression this was more likely) the code was being
hacked by a single developer who simply wasn't doing any proper
unit and regression testing - he just had the classic
"hey! it works on my machine, that's fine!" attitude.

Basically what I'm saying is that it's clear that Akai was NOT employing
a professional software engineering development model for a lot
of the last 4 years!
So open source can do better.
User avatar

By jahrome Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:36 am
Kalei posted:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by jahrome:
Its taken years for the 4000 to get where it is today. To install a 3rd party OS would mean another 3-4 years of playing with that machine and its OS.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Not really. Akai could have reached the same results as they have with current OS WAY faster than they did. On more than 1 occasion it took them over 8 (!) months to come with an update for the 4000. I am sure that if Akai would have spent their time working on the 4000 they could have managed all the updates they've done for it within 6 months after its release, or even less.


Not really? Who is going to spend all their time doing the actual programming for free? You? Other forum members?

Besides the folks pissed because every single function doesn't work exactly as they feel it should, there are still people that use the 4000 every single day. Is there a similar product on the market today that works better? No. Just speculating...but it appears Akai has other priorities right about now...thus, the 1 1/2 year wait since the last OS..and the only MPC 4000s really being sold is on the 2nd hand market.

By illiac Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:44 am
Guys,

Linux as it is ordinarily distributed is not a small-footprint real-time operating system. You will notice that your cell phone does not run Linux. There is a reason for that. There is also a reason that the MPC4000 is a zero-latency device whereas a PC, even one running Linux, is not a zero-latency device; it requires audio buffering and latency compensation and all that sh*t that drives people to work on an MPC in the first place.

If you haven't designed a real-time embedded application before -- e.g., the software that controls a piece of machinery or electronics -- then you are not in a good position to offer advice about how best to do this.

There are public-domain RTOSes available that are suitable for this task. To those, you can add drivers for USB and FAT32. Without an RTOS to give you hard real-time scheduling, you have no chance to achieve the rock-steady timing that the MPC currently has.

-illiac

By Renich Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:01 pm
Well, as you said, I am not the right person to talk about this. I respect your opinion very much since it is always well informed.

I have heard a lot about realtime kernel on linux and realtime patches. In fact, there are a lot of A/V apps out there and embedded linux apps go high in numbers if you google them.

Maybe it could be made? Maybe another public domain RTOS could be used or ported or whatever.

I must note that I am not a programmer. I have almost no experience in programming. I am, in the other hand, familiar with Linux and the Open Source Community. I know they have been capable of developing unbelievable things on the internet alone.

It seems to me, also, that achieving a complete OS, like RedHat, Suse or Debian must be far more dificult than getting an OS to use the full capacity of the MPC4000... even if it's realtime. Please check out this webpage for further reference:

http://linuxdevices.com/articles/AT4721170330.html
http://www.realtimelinuxfoundation.org/
http://www.lynuxworks.com/?ck=53

By Renich Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:31 pm
Thanks for the observations, Stilio.

Is there an editor here who could revise and correct the draft?... feline1?

;=)

Help me, please. Just register and I will grant you editor rights! ;=)

# Website
http://www.woralelandia.com/openmpc/
User avatar

By alpha80 Thu Jul 27, 2006 3:23 pm
Watch "JJ"(of JJ1000 fame) come outta nowhere and pop up with a new 4k OS, like:...

"$40...........you're welcome" 8) :D
User avatar

By alpha80 Thu Jul 27, 2006 3:25 pm
....on another note, anyone here familiar with how flash rom works?

for instance, on the 2KXL, you can upgrade/replace your flash ROM up to 8 MB. :shock: :D

I have no idea if ours is on the main board, or seperate, but either way, there's got to be some alternate routing capabilities.... :idea: :wink:
User avatar

By McSmooth Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:07 pm
alpha80 wrote:....on another note, anyone here familiar with how flash rom works?

for instance, on the 2KXL, you can upgrade/replace your flash ROM up to 8 MB. :shock: :D

I have no idea if ours is on the main board, or seperate, but either way, there's got to be some alternate routing capabilities.... :idea: :wink:

That has nothing to do with this topic. The 2k's flash rom was just a way to store samples when the power was off. This is similarly to a flash card except it was fast enough to be used directly off the ROM instead of having to load it into RAM like would normally. This is somewhat similar to how a lot of hardware has a flashable OS (I'm pretty sure the XL was the first to do this in the MPC line). But search in the 2000 forum for more info, its not available on any other model.

I agree with illiac where this is kind of pointless without the source. You are basically starting over from scratch and will never have the MPC you wanted, just something different in an MPC shell. Porting linux (or any other complex OS) over would be a task in itself, and probably isn't best for real time. This is why computers don't quite have the killer accuracy of the MPCs. However, they do use linux and even windows in phones (and other common devices). Mine has crashed a few times, how lame. This is exactly why it doesn't belong on dedicated hardware like the MPC (phones aren't dedicated to making calls anymore).

By _Stilo_ Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:32 pm
There's a piece of hardware called the Soundart Chameleon:

http://www.chameleon.synth.net/english/index.shtml

It's basically a DSP (no sampler), with a freely available Software Development Kit to enable anyone to program their own application (called Soundskins) for it. I think something like that would be a great thing for the MPCs as well.
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By Kalei Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:37 pm
jahrome wrote:Not really?


Did you even READ what I wrote? Go away troll.