Report: Open Source City in Liverpool

Hey folks, here’s a quick update about how I got on at the Open Source City event in Liverpool last weekend. It was a really interesting event staged at the Mello Mello in the centre of Liverpool, a bar I’ve not been in for years so that was quite a nostalgia trip. It used to be a main stopping point going to and from the famous Cream night club which is just next door. On Friday afternoon I went to see some of the presentations going on.

The first talk I saw was by Daniel James of 64 Studio who was talking about Linux in main stream audio production, obviously a subject close to my heart. He was also showing a new portable studio device he’s been working on called InDaMixx which I was very impressed with. It’s basically a little tablet pc with a custom Linux distribution running and it’s packed with audio tools. Daniel told me that they made their own hybrid distribution for it drawing from Debian and Ubuntu with the 2.6.21 Linux kernel, which apparently gives much better audio performance than later versions. The device is based on a Samsung Q1 Ultra UMPC and uses a 900mhz processor. For a relatively low powered device it was really snappy, even when opening programs like Ardour which can be quite intensive. The device is really interesting and I’d love one but I guess I’ll have to get saving up as it’s over $1000 at the moment, even with the weak dollar I won’t be smashing my piggy bank just yet. Speaking of cash, the device is backed my hop hop DJ Cut Chemist who some readers may now, he even invested in it’s development and it’s completely open source. I’ve always loved Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow, Jurassic 5 and so on, so this just makes them even cooler if that’s possible. Head over to the site and check it out for yourself. I hope to talk to Daniel in a future episode of Linux Outlaws and I’m also very interested in getting 64 Studio set up in my own recording studio.

Also speaking at the event on Friday was Tom Chance from the UK Green Party
who gave a very interesting talk about the history of copyright and the philosophy behind intellectual property. He looked at the differing perspectives of 3 famous philosophers and examined just who copyright laws really benefit, could artists survive in a world without it? Thoughtful stuff. The third and final talk of the day was by James Wallbank of Access Space in Sheffield, a community computer lab with a difference. They only use Linux and free software and they try to embrace all different aspects of the local community to get people involved. James talked about something he calls the Social GPL, applying free software principles to aspects of how we treat people in our communities and I thought it was fascinating. You give a little and you get a little back.

Unfortunately I couldn’t make it over for the live gig on Saturday night where they had bands on such as the Apt Gets playing, great name I have to say. I believe it was very good though and I’m sure a great time was had by all. I returned on the Sunday for a workshop with Daniel James on streaming media to the Internet via Icecast which was very interesting, I believe that’s how the guys over at the Linux Link Tech Show do their live show and I had crazy ideas of Linux Outlaws Live but that’s a way off in the future I think. I also saw Daniel Jones demonstrating a really cool piece of software he’s written which takes the actions of DNA and biological organisms and models them virtually with computer AI, then turns this into a sort of self aware music generator. He’s made it all open source and available on his website so go and check it out.

I had a really great time at OSC and I hope they’ll do more of these events in future, congratulations to Tim, Ross an all the people from Sound Network for doing this and a big thanks for putting in all the hard work. I hope to hook up with them at some point in the future and maybe help out. A great weekend and lots of fun. Let’s hope we can make it bigger and better next year πŸ™‚



  1. cool thing dan, woul love to here more about it in the podcast πŸ™‚

  2. Thanks Leon, there’s a lot about OSC in the newest ep 44 but it’s not out yet. Fab has had some delay editing. We recorded Monday, should be out in the next 24hrs πŸ™‚

  3. At litte late, but I was also there. Great little event and I hope that more like that will happen in the future.

  4. Definitely agreed Andrew, hopefully we can make it a bit bigger next year. I’ll try and help out if I can πŸ™‚

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