I'm a sucker for a good multimedia package. I love playing with software that does movie playback on encoding, audio playback, transcoding...you name it, I love playing with it. So naturally I was pretty psyched to see that somebody has contributed the Fluidsynth
software synthesizer package to OpenSolaris
. Here is what I did to install it and run it in order to prove that the package actually works. (here's a spoiler for you: it does work.)
Fluidsynth was put into the OpenSolaris "pending" repository
, the idea being that people will check it out and if it's deemed to be of reasonable quality, it'll get voted into the contributed software repository. The "contrib
" repo is where good packages go after they've been testing in the "pending" repo staging area. We haven't voted on Fluidsynth yet as of the time I write this; I'm hoping that will change after people read what I've done here.
(note: for my testing, I am running OpenSolaris build snv_111b)
First things first: set up OpenSolaris to find packages from the Source Juicer "pending" repository with these two steps:
- type "pfexec pkg set-publisher -O http://jucr.opensolaris.org/pending jucr-pending"
- type "pfexec pkg refresh"
Next, I launched the Package Manager application and chose the "jucr-pending" repository from the pop-up menu on the right side of that application's user interface. After Package Manager thought about its new catalog of apps for a moment, I saw a list of hundreds of packages available to me. I used the search field to type "fluid", and found the "fluidsynth" package. Selected that, saw that it lists several other packages as dependencies (i.e., those other packages had better be installed for Fluidsynth to work correctly), then I installed it. Nicely, the Package Manager installed Fluidsynth and its dependent packages for me.
At this point I ran into a little snag, which is not the fault of OpenSolaris: I'm testing this within OpenSolaris, but OpenSolaris is running as a VirtualBox guest on my Mac Book Pro. Turns out that audio support in OpenSolaris under VirtualBox needs a little bit of work to get going. It's easy enough, though, and took less than five minutes to get it working. The instructions on how to make it work are in this blog post
, which is clearly written. And I had fewer problems than were mentioned; I didn't have to reboot or uninstall the "SUNWaudiohd" package. Good times!
At this point, my big challenge was where to find two files to test Fluidsynth: a sound font (basically, a description of instruments that Fluidsynth uses to play music), and some music (a MIDI file). I did a Google search to find a nice Yamaha DX-7 electric piano sound font (I happened to find it here
), and it was easy to find any number of .mid files to play.
To test, I typed "fluidsynth <name-of-sound-font.SF> <name-of-MIDI-file.mid>". That worked just fine: I heard the music loud and clear, although Fluidsynth complained that there is no /dev/midi. I believe it is expecting me to connect a MIDI keyboard to the computer and start playing, which is not necessary for this test. Also, Fluidsynth had to re-map some of the MIDI file's preferred instruments to what was available in the sound font's instrument library. Not a problem, though.
Just for fun, I tried turning off the built-in chorus and reverb effects, and I boosted the amplitude to see if these features worked:
"fluidsynth --chorus no --reverb no --gain 0.8 <name-of-sound-font.SF> <name-of-MIDI-file.mid>". I also tried changing these parameters individually to isolate the effects. Again, this worked fine.
As far as I can tell, Fluidsynth works perfectly well on OpenSolaris. It should make a fine addition to the contrib repo.
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