Monday, July 19, 2010

Open-Source Applications for Music Education - Launching

Update: In the wake of's ill-fated "upgrade" to Drupal 7 (and subsequent loss of essential publishing features), I've migrated my work in this area to it's own self-contained blog on Blogger.

In the coming weeks I will begin writing tutorial articles for on open-source programs of use to Music Educators. My goal is to raise awareness of open-source solutions among educators generally and Music Educators specifically. Especially as educational institutions begin trending back toward open-source technology (and away from expensive licenses), I'm anticipating a vacuum of sorts for music teachers in particular. Many of the free alternatives to software music teachers (and musicians generally) rely upon are almost unknown to them. I hope to use Examiner to gain visibility for these applications and maybe generate some buzz about my own work in this area.

As I've set out to start this task, I've set some limitations and guidelines for myself and for the project:
  • Software demonstrated must be available on all three popular platforms: Windows®, Mac OS and GNU/Linux
  • Each concise article will demonstrate a specific application's features and their use for a specific purpose. Each article will be a self-contained project that will be immediately useful to music teachers.
  • New or derivative works created for the purpose of demonstrating the applications (a new work for strings, for example) will be licensed under a Creative Commons license.
  • Articles will be accessible to those with basic computer skills (that is, they don't have to be computer whizzes). To achieve this, I'm going to include helpful screenshots that are pertinent to the procedures outlined in the articles, interleaved with the text.

Bearing in mind that any screenshots of programs running under a GNU/Linux platform are a tacit advertisement for open-source operating systems, I've set about cobbling together some desktop art and interfaces on which to demonstrate the software. I spent some time searching the web for some really top-notch desktop wallpapers and GNOME themes to make the desktops as efficient and attractive as possible. I set out to make these desktop environments as clean and inviting as I could, so I'll leave you with shots of those desktops, with captions detailing a little of what's under the hood. Throughout the post, you can click on images to view them at larger resolution.

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS with the “Ambiance” theme and Avant Window Navigator (the dock). An Emacs buffer is open and I'm using the “Slick Workspace Switcher” applet to view the available virtual desktops.

With a Terminal window open.

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS with the “Human” them and DockbarX along the bottom.

With a Terminal window open.

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS with the “Human” theme and Avant Window Navigator. I'm using the AWN Main Menu applet to view the different categories of applications and utilities.

Using the “Slick Workspace Switcher.”

In the coming days, I plan to post some more shots of desktops in Linux Mint, Ubuntu Studio and maybe the new OpenSUSE. Stay tuned...

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