My Manchester Talk Slides

On Tuesday night (July 21st) I gave a talk at a meeting of the Manchester Free Software group. It was about audio production with Linux and Free Software. Basically how I produce many podcasts and other things using only Free and Open Source software. I wanted to upload the slides and share them here with everyone. I hope they’ll be interesting and somehow useful on their own, but don’t worry there was HD video taken on the night – courtesy of Tim Dobson – which I hope to be able to share with you very soon. Everything is available under a Creative Commons license, naturally.

Download The Original ODF Presentation File

I wanted to say thanks to all those who came along and crammed into that room (literally) to hear my talk. We couldn’t have gotten any more people in if we’d tried. The talk seemed to go well, with a live demo of some tricks I use in Audacity, and a good discussion about how we can improve music production on Linux. I’m going to be using some of the feedback people gave in a new project. As the slides say, I think audio production on Linux is already at a more than proficient level, but music production with synths, drum samples and so on still has some way to go. I think we can improve things with a little more communication and perhaps organization. The first step is addressing the problem and defining it, then we can really start to fix it. I’ll be testing that theory in future.I have big ideas as usual and this time I hope the amount of time and effort required to realise them will be available too.

So, I hope everyone attended got something useful out of the talk, or at least had a laugh at some point. Thanks to Lucy for inviting me to speak and everyone else for making me feel so welcome. Keep an eye out for that video in future 🙂


  1. Dan, thanks for putting the slides up. I’m very keen on figuring out how to do audio in Linux, and I’m quite impressed with the audio quality of the podcast, especially given that you and Fab are in different countries.

    I have a recurring image in my head in which I imagine you saying, Ballmer style, “Microphones, microphones, microphones!”

    • @Steven – Thanks, that is a powerful image 😀 I think audio on Linux has had it’s issues but I also think we’re so close to fixing it once and for all. I’m gonna keep working on that and see who I can involve. I do all my standard audio production on Linux and have for some time. I do use a fair bit of external gear but the software is good on the whole. Just a few gaps to plug I think

  2. Was gutted I couldn’t make the talk, sounds like it went really well.
    Did you cover music recording & production in the talk?
    If you did, I’m doubly gutted!

    • @Doug – I talked mostly about audio production (podcasts etc) rather than music. The main reason being that I still do the majority of my music work on XP. It’s the only reason I still have a machine with a Windows partition in the house, and it saddens me. We actually discussed that at the end, what’s holding back music on Linux? How can we fix it? That kind of thing. I wanted to start a discussion because I think it’s a real problem that everyone is ignoring. I don’t know how I can get the equivalent of Reason, Ableton Live and the many VST instruments I like to use in Linux. There is VSThost and you can run some things in WINE but it’s never really worked for me. The discussion inspired me to really work hard on this and report back on any brick walls I hit. The first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one. It’s a cliche but it’s true. There’s already been a request for a follow up talk on music production, so I’ll let you know more about that when I have details. Thanks for reading, sorry you couldn’t make it too 🙂

  3. Looks like a cool talk Dan. You should really start recording your talks for your offshore followers 🙂

    • @digi_morass – It was videoed, in HD no less. Might be a while before I can get the footage and process it but I believe the plan is to put it on 🙂 Let you know when I have details

  4. yeah Dan, let us know when you get the video up somewhere 🙂 see you at LivLUG

    • @oscillik – I will do and cheers for coming over for the talk, was good to see you there 🙂 Still waiting too hear from Tim about the video, he’s pretty busy but I’ll keep pestering him don’t worry.

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