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News and EditorialsLinux based audio tools have been coming along nicely in recent times and this editor can't resist playing with yet another audio toy. A new version of the program WaveSurfer has just been released. WaveSurfer is a graphical audio toolkit that is written in Tcl/Tk and is based on the SNACK sound kit. In fact, Wave surfer's capabilities are a good introduction to the various SNACK sound kit capabilities.
WaveSurfer can perform basic audio record, playback, and editing functions. WaveSurfer features a fairly wide variety of audio displays, in fact, the displays may be its most advanced feature. It is possible to view audio data as waves, spectrograms, spectrums, and pitches.
WaveSurfer supports a number of audio file types including wav, smp, snd, au, aiff, and csl formats. Large sound files are also supported; this makes it possible to work on files that are larger than memory, an important feature. WaveSurfer has the ability to output its displays as Postscript files, which emphasizes its capabilities as a research tool.
The installation of WaveSurfer couldn't have been easier, it involved downloading a binary image and setting the file to executable. The security paranoid should build from source, of course. The WaveSurfer source code is released under a BSD-style license.
With only a small investment in time perusing the online documentation, it was possible to load an audio file, edit out some undesirable sections, add some effects, and save the the results to a new file. Most of the functions are fairly intuitive to the user.
Despite having lots of fancy display features, the basic waveform display seems to be a bit lacking in features. Horizontal zooming is possible, but vertical zooming lacks GUI controls and is non-intuitive to use. The recording function is perhaps a bit too simple, there are no VU meters and finding a way to set the recording parameters, such as number of channels and sample rate, is not obvious.
The effects section includes fun things like reverb and file reversal, but lacks fade in/out functions, a very useful feature for editing both big music files and short sample files. The Linux audio world could really use a tool with a nice variable time logarithmic fade in/out function. There does not appear to be any way of creating and saving position markers, a feature that is critical for CD work.
With those shortcomings noted, an important part of any sound program is the "feel" of the GUI. WaveSurfer seems to be fairly easy to run and is heading in a good direction. The small WaveBar display provides an easy way to move around and zoom in and out of an audio file, and it nicely tracks the sound once the system wide Automatic scroll during playback mode is selected.
It would be great to see this program grow and mature into a more general purpose tool. The current focus appears to be mainly on audio display, with an emphasis on the study of speech. The addition of a few more general purpose audio editing features would make this tool useful to a much wider audience.
Oddly, to date, my favorite audio editing tool is still Broadcast 2000, a video editing program. Broadcast 2000 is well suited for production work on audio CDs and has a good list of useful features. Glame, which was featured in this column on May 3, 2001 is also looking like a contender for the spot as the best audio editing tool under Linux. Hopefully some nice, friendly competition will arise.
PostgreSQL version 7.1.2 released. Version 7.1.2 of PostgreSQL has been released. This is a bug fix release and systems can be upgraded from 7.1.X releases without the need for a database dump/restore operation.
PostgreSQL's Multi-Version Concurrency Control (O'Reilly). Joseph Mitchell has put together an article on concurrency control at the O'Reilly onLamp site. ' If you use PostgreSQL, you know that "no-locking" is already a reality. In PostgreSQL, readers never wait for writers, and writers never wait for readers. Before anyone objects to the claim that there is "no-locking" in PostgreSQL, let me explain PostgreSQL's advanced technique called Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC).'
LDP Weekly News for May 29, 2001. Several updated documents have been listed in the current issue of the Linux Documentation Project Weekly News. A new Mwave modem document has also been included.
Linux in education report #45. The May 28 edition of the Linux in Education report has a discussion of Linux web filtering tools for children, pointers to Linux projects in Columbian and Russian schools, and pointers to a number of interesting applications in the educational realm.
Here they come -- TVs with embedded Linux! (LinuxDevices). LinuxDevices looks at Princeton Graphic Systems TV running an embedded Linux kernel. "Powered by National Semiconductor's Geode CPU running an embedded Linux operating system, Ch.1 offers rendering of web pages at their native resolution of (SVGA) 800 x 600 through its full-featured browser via a 56k modem for dial up ISP service or Ethernet, T1, DSL or cable modem for broadband connections."
Embedded Linux Newsletter for May 24, 2001 (LinuxDevices). The weekly summary of the Embedded Linux world has been published by LinuxDevices.com. This past week saw stories on the Hi-Muse musical appliance, HA support for Hard Hat Linux, and an opinion piece on why Linux will trounce competitors in the embedded market space.
Cross platform python serial I/O with xio. An early beta version of xio, a cross platform serial I/O module for Python has been announced. Currently, the module implements port creation, opening, closing, configuration, reading, writing & status peeking. It has been tested under Linux-x86 and Win-9X. It contains a naive implementation of flow control (and pretty untested -- so beware!).
The Animation Editor, A Code Sculpture in GTK+. Lion Kimbro discusses the process of writiting of an animation tool based on GTK+.
GNet Oatmeal release available. The GNet network library is a C based network library package. Version 1.1.0, the Oatmeal release, is considered stable and is now available.
OpenNMS Update, Vol 2, Issue 22. This week's edition of the OpenNMS Update includes a discussion on advances to the Easy Installer, Snort integration, a Solaris port and lots more.
CUPS 1.1.8 released. A new release of the CUPS printing system is available. Version 1.1.8 features a large number of bug fixes.
FHS 2.2 released. The latest edition of the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, version 2.2, has been released.
Zope Weekly News. The Zope Weekly News for May 26 is out. Topics covered include the EuroZope conference and the upcoming 2.4 alpha release.
mnoGoSearch 3.1.14 released. Version 3.1.14 of the mnoGoSearch web search engine is available. The release notes document the changes which are mostly bug fixes. A PHP compatibility fix has also been added.
HTTP Benchmarking (UnixReview). Part 1 of a 2 part series on HTTP benchmarking has been published by UnixReview.com. "Autobench is a Perl front-end to httperf that helps automate the process of testing a Web server or comparing the performance of two Web servers. Autobench has an additional benefit in that it can generate a file from the results, which can be imported into a spreadsheet to form a graph or plot of the results. Autobench can also make use of a configuration file; I'll go into more detail about that next month."
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
May 31, 2001
Caml Weekl News for May 23 to 29, 2001. The May 23 - 29, 2001 edition of the Caml Weekly News is out. This issue focuses on adding lisp-like properties to the Caml implementation of atoms.
Blackdown releases Java 3d 1.2.1_01 API for Linux. A new release of Blackdown Java 3d API has been announced. The README file lists a number of bug fixes and contains installation instructions and installation requirements. The API may be obtained from the download page. Java 3D is covered by a Sun Binary Code License.
Java Media Framework 2.1.1-FCS. Also, the Blackdown Java Linux Team and Sun have announced the release of JMF 2.1.1-FCS Performance Pack for Linux. The Java Media Framework is an API for working with multimedia streams in Java applications.
Perl 5 Porters digest for May 27, 2001. The May 27, 2001 edition of the Perl 5 Porters digest is out. Topics include variable attributes and the iThreads module, defining real bugs, Test::Harness cleanup, and more.
This Week in Perl 6. The This Week in Perl 6 digest for May 20-26, 2001 is out. Topics include a Perl assembly language standard, the Perl Apprenticeship Program, Perl virtual registers, slices, and more.
PHP Weekly Summary for May 27, 2001. The May 27, 2001 edition of the PHP Weekly Summary is out. Topics this week include a DOM XML extension roll back, PHP 4.0.6 RC2, a new get_defined_constants() function, charset-aware html entities, and more.
Dr. Dobb's Python-URL! (May 28). This week's summary of the Python world includes discussions on the worse case behavior of Python lists, updates on the status of PSF plus the relationship of ActiveState and the Python License, and options for running Python on handhelds.
python-dev summary 2001-05-10 through 2001-05-24. This week's summary of the python-dev mailing list has been published, with its usual set of statistics and analysis.
A couple of new Python books. O'Reilly has announced the release of the Python Standard Library, a text that "distills the best parts from over 3,000 newsgroup messages." It aims to be a definitive reference to the Python library; the author is Fredrik Lundh.
Meanwhile, David Beazley has announced that the second edition of the Python Essential Reference is complete and on its way to the printer.
Updated Python development documentation. A number of small updates have been added to the Python 2.2 online documentation.
Jext: an open IDE for Python. Jext is a new, multi-platform programming editor for developing Python code. Jext features auto indent, word completion, syntax colorization, a Python class browser, and numerous editing functions. Jext is licensed under the GNU GPL license.
This week's Tcl-URL. Dr. Dobb's Tcl-URL for May 28 is out. Topics this week include source-level optimization, internationalization, complex arithmetic, a library of extra Tcl commands, a new Tcl GUI builder, a new SNACK sound toolkit, and more.
GETOX, a new Gnome Editor for Text Oriented XML (gnome.org). GETOX, the Gnome Editor for Text Oriented XML, is now available. "The main goal of GETOX is to manipulate an XML file as if it were a simple text file. It should also allow users to produce valid documents at any time by interpreting the DTD and suggesting contextual elements."
Section Editor: Forrest Cook
Gnu Compiler Collection (GCC)
Gnu Compiler for the Java Language (GCJ)
IBM Java Zone
Free the X3J Thirteen (Lisp)
Dr. Dobbs' Perl
PHP Weekly Summary
Tcl Developer Xchange