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An anonymous reader wrote in with a story on OS News about the latest release of the Genode Microkernel OS Framework. Brought to you by the research labs at TU Dresden, Genode is based on the L4 microkernel and aims to provide a framework for writing multi-server operating systems (think the Hurd, but with even device drivers as userspace tasks). Until recently, the primary use of L4 seems to have been as a glorified Hypervisor for Linux, but now that's changing: the Genode example OS can build itself on itself: "Even though there is a large track record of individual programs and libraries ported to the environment, those programs used to be self-sustaining applications that require only little interaction with other programs. In contrast, the build system relies on many utilities working together using mechanisms such as files, pipes, output redirection, and execve. The Genode base system does not come with any of those mechanisms let alone the subtle semantics of the POSIX interface as expected by those utilities. Being true to microkernel principles, Genode's API has a far lower abstraction level and is much more rigid in scope." The detailed changelog has information on the huge architectural overhaul of this release. One thing this release features that Hurd still doesn't have: working sound support. For those unfamiliar with multi-server systems, the project has a brief conceptual overview document.

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Miguel de Icaza, founder of Xamarin and lead developer of the Mono open-source implementation of Microsoft's .NET platform, announced on his blog today that the third major revision of the Mono framework is now available. Mono 3.0 was released on GitHub on October 18. It adds support for some of the most recently added key features of the .NET platform, incorporates Microsoft's open-source framework for Web development, and beefs up the capabilities of Mono on Mac OS X and iOS. It also lays the groundwork for much more rapid development of features for the Mono platform going forward.

Mono 3.0's compiler for the C# programming language now supports asynchronous programming, which Microsoft introduced in version 4.5 of the .NET Framework. This improves applications to keep responding to input while waiting for a long-running task to complete. The .NET 4.5 Async API profile is the new default for the compiler, but it can support all .NET API profiles for compilation.

Microsoft's open-sourced stack for ASP-based Web development has been integrated into Mono now, including Microsoft's System.Json (which replaces Mono's previous implementation of the JavaScript Object Notation interface for passing data objects). It also includes ASP.NET's Web Pages, MVC 4, Entity Framework object-relational mapping, and the "Razor" view engine.

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alphadogg writes "The cyber-criminal gang that operated the recently disabled Kelihos botnet has already begun building a new botnet with the help of a Facebook worm, according to security researchers from Seculert. Security experts from Kaspersky Lab, CrowdStrike, Dell SecureWorks and the Honeynet Project, announced that they took control of the 110,000 PC-strong Kelihos botnet on Wednesday using a method called sinkholing. That worm has compromised over 70,000 Facebook accounts so far and is currently distributing a new version of the Kelihos Trojan."


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An anonymous reader writes "Apple hasn't released a Mac OS X device running on ARM yet, but a recently discovered thesis from a former Apple intern going by the name of Tristan Schapp details a 12-week project carried out in 2010 to port the OS to the ARMv5 architecture. The port got as far as booting to a multi-user prompt, but then hit hurdles to do with drivers and cache. The good news is that same intern now works for Apple as part of the CoreOS team. With rumors last year that a MacBook Air running on ARM could appear by 2013, could he be part of a team making that happen? If he is, I bet it will use the new ARMv8 architecture announced late last year."


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Above: Cycling 74′s just-released video highlights enhanced audio quality; our friend, French artist protofuse, has a go at working with the beta and showing off the new user interface. (See C74′s official take on the new UI below.

Max 6 in Public Beta; For Home-brewing Music Tools Graphically, Perhaps the Biggest Single Update Yet

Just because a music tool fills your screen with tools and options doesn’t necessarily make it easier to realize your ideas. From the beginning, the appeal of Max – as with other tools that let you roll your own musical tools from a set of pre-built building blocks – has been the blank canvas.

Max 6 would appear to aim to make the gap between your ideas and those tools still narrower, and to make the results more sonically-pleasing. The reveal: it could also change how you work with patches in performance and production. I was surprised when early teasers failed to impress some users, perhaps owing to scant information. Now, Max 6 is available in public beta, and the details are far clearer. Even if Max 5 was the biggest user interface overhaul in many years, Max 6 appears to be the biggest leap in actual functionality.

It’s what I’d describe as a kitchen-sink approach, adding to every aspect of the tool, so there’s almost certain to be some things here you won’t use. What could appeal to new users, though, are I think two major changes.

More visual patching feedback and discoverability. First, building upon what we saw in Max 5, Max’s approach is to provide as much visual information as possible about what you’re doing. It’s probably the polar opposite of what we saw earlier this week in something like the live-coding environment Overtone: Max’s UI is actively involved with you as you patch. There are visual tools for finding the objects you want, then visual feedback to tell you what those objects do, plus an always-visible reference bar and rewritten help. This more-active UI should make Max more accessible to people who like this sort of visual reference as they work. No approach will appeal to everyone – some people will find all that UI a bit more than they like – but Max’s developers appear to be exploiting as much as they can with interactive visual patching.

Multiple patches at once. New objects for filters and data, a 64-bit audio engine, and low-level programming are all well and good. But the change that may more profoundly impact users and workflow is be the way Max 6 handles multiple patches. Max – and by extension Pd – have in the past made each patch operate independently. Sound may stop when you open a patch, and there’s no easy or fully reliable way to use multiple patches at once. (Compare, for example, SuperCollider, which uses a server/client model that lacks this limitation.) That changes with Max 6: you can now operate multiple patches at the same time, mix them together with independent volume, mute, and solo controls, and open and close them without interrupting your audio flow. (At least one reader notes via Twitter that you can open more than one patch at once – I’d just say this makes it better, with more reliable sound and essential mixing capabilities.) Update: since I mentioned Pd, Seppo notes that the pd~ object provides similar functionality in regards to multiple patches and multi-core operation. This has been an ongoing discussion in the libpd group, so I think we’ll revisit that separately!

One upshot of this change: some users have turned to Ableton Live just to host multiple patches. For users whose live performance set involves Ableton, that’s a good thing. But it could be overkill if all you want to do is bring up a few nifty patches and play with them. Now, I think we’ll start to see more people onstage with only Max again. (Check back in a few months to see if I’m right.)

Here’s an overview of what’s new:

  • Discoverability: A “wheel” makes the mysterious functions of different objects immediately visible; Object Explorer makes them easier to find, and new help and reference sidebar keep documentation close at hand.

  • 64-bit audio engine

  • Open multiple patches, solo and mute them, open and close them without stopping audio, mix audio between them with independent volume, and take advantage of multiple processors with multiple patches.

  • Low level building blocks: You don’t get new synth objects, but you could build them yourself. New low-level data-crunching goodness work with MSP audio, Jitter Matrix, and OpenGL textures

  • More JavaScript: An overhauled JavaScript engine makes JS scripting faster and more flexible, and there’s a proper text editor with syntax highlighting (though, of course, you may still prefer your own).

  • New visuals: Vector graphics and “HTML5 Canvas-like” UI scripting (though to me it’s a shame this isn’t just the HTML5 Canvas). There are also massively-expanded Jitter powers, but those are best left to our sister site Create Digital Motion.

  • Filters: New filter-visualizing tools for audio filter construction and manipulation.

  • Dictionary data type and associated objects let you describe information in a more structured way (all kinds of potential here from control to composition)

  • Projects now let you organize data, media, and scripts in the manner more associated with conventional development environments

  • What about Ableton? No news on that front, but I expect more soon. Max for Live users will at the very least get the advantages above, since Max for Live is really Max inside Live.

Looking over all that Max does, I have to say, I’m really amazed. I wonder if computer musicians ever pause to consider how fortunate we are. Even if this isn’t the tool for you, its availability – compounded by the availability of a range of other tools – is itself worth reflection.

Max is a program that shouldn’t exist, doing a number of things it shouldn’t do, for a user base that shouldn’t exist, doing things they shouldn’t be doing.

It doesn’t make sense that you could maintain a commercial project for this kind of audience, that you’d wind up with something this mature and powerful that had a continuous lineage stretching back to the 1980s. It doesn’t make sense that musicians would embrace such a tool and produce invention. The only explanation is sheer love.

Then, even as Max reaches new heights, some of the alternatives you have for making your own music tools are simultaneously growing by leaps and bounds. They provide very different approaches to music making (compare Overtone and SuperCollider, or Pd and libpd, or AudioMulch, or new Web audio tools). There really aren’t many fields that have this kind of choice, free and commercial, in their medium. In science and engineering, there’s private and public funding, producing some amazing tools but nothing with this kind of meeting of power and accesibility. There’s just something about music.

The fact that Cycling ‘74 can maintain a business model – just as open source projects maintain volunteer contributions – is a testament to sheer passion and love for music, and a commitment to perpetually re-imagining how that music is made from an atomic level up. There was a wonderful piece on C creator and UNIX co-creator Dennis Ritchie, whom I remembered yesterday, that observed that what he did was to do what others said couldn’t be done. From Max itself to what people make with it, I think that fits nicely.

So, have a look at the public beta, and let us know what you think. The release of Max 6 has caused more people to ask what this means for Pd and other tools, or even whether to patch things from scratch at all, but I’ll leave that question to a bit later. (I do have my own opinion about which tool fits which circumstance and user, but that’s best left to a separate discussion.) For now, you can try Max yourself and see what the fuss is about. If it doesn’t fit your means of music-making, know that you have a wide array of other options – pre-built to low-level code to old-fashioned tape-and-mic approaches, and everything in between. Go out and listen and see what you discover.

http://cycling74.com/downloads/max-6-public-beta/

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Here’s a list of the features & capabilities Cinder provides right out of the box.

Platform Core

  • Standalone Mac & PC applications

    Platform-native windowing and event handling

  • Screensavers

    Create native Mac OS X and Windows screensavers

  • Internet I/O

    Load media via HTTP and FTP natively

  • Full I/O abstraction

    Seamless I/O from flat files, memory, resources and networks

  • C++ Core

    Internally reference-counted design prevents leaks, C++0x std::thread for multithreading

  • iOS Support

    Targets the iPhone & iPad; provides a growing list of device-specific features

  • UI Events

    Full keyboard, mouse (including scroll wheel), window and file drag & drop

  • MultiTouch

    Consistent multiTouch APIs for Windows 7, iOS and Mac OS X 10.6

  • XML DOM parser

    Built-in object oriented XML parsing API

  • Communication APIs

    Serial port (enable Arduino applications), OSC and TUIO

3d Graphics

  • Core Classes

    Perspective and orthographic cameras, triangle meshes, OBJ loading, geometric primitives

  • OpenGL Core

    Multisampled antialiasing, dynamic switching between full-screen & windowed modes, convenience methods for rapid development

  • OpenGL Classes

    Full-featured classes for textures, FBOs, GLSL, VBOs, lights, materials and display lists

  • Tile-based renderer

    Render arbitrarily large images (for print & other applications)

  • GUI Parameters

    GL-based GUI for powerful, convenient manipulation of parameters

Mathematics

  • Math primitives

    Full-featured matrix, vector and quaternion classes

  • Utilities

    Colors, random numbers, Perlin noise (up to 4D, with analytical derivatives)

  • Geometric Primitives

    Poly-bezier paths, polygons, axis-aligned bounding boxes, B-splines, least-squares B-Spline curve fitting

2d Graphics

  • Robust Image I/O

    PNG, JPEG, TIFF, BMP & others via platform-native libraries. Preservation of premultiplication and high dynamic range information

  • 2D image processing

    Professional quality image resizing, edge detection, desaturation, adaptive thresholding

  • High Dynamic Range Imaging

    Full support for floating point HDR pixel processing in image I/O, OpenGL and software

  • Powerful 2D rasterizer via cairo

    Full featured vector renderer exports to SVG, PDF, Postscript, EPS, CoreGraphics, GDI and a pixel-based antialiasing rasterizer

  • Fonts & Text

    Font enumeration, glyph path extraction, Unicode text layout and rasterization, custom fonts via flat files or resources

Media

  • Video Capture

    Webcam support via platform native libraries on Mac OS X, iOS and Windows

  • OpenCV

    Object-oriented lightweight wrapper for OpenCV 2.1

  • Full-featured QuickTime

    Frame extraction, native accelerated OpenGL path, audio playback, FFT analysis, asynchronous network loading

  • Audio support

    Loading standard file formats, synthesis, access to raw PCM data, FFT analysis (Mac-only), microphones (Mac-only)

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