Lessons learned with Dropbox and UnionFS-FUSE

I’m an avid user of Dropbox, and also of the fantastic layered filesystem UnionFS-FUSE. However, I found that they don’t work well together. Whenever I tried to mount a unionfs folder somewhere where Dropbox could see it, Dropbox would seemingly randomly omit files from upload. Scary! This is supposed to be my backup!

It took me a long time of trial and error, but fortunately I was able to find the magic flags to make it work. If you mount your directory with these options:

unionfs-fuse myfolder=RW ~/Dropbox/union-folder -o big_writes,large_read,readdir_ino

…then Dropbox and UnionFS-FUSE should work together happily once again!

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Followup to my first RSI article

I wrote a followup to the first article about my RSI recovery. It looks at some of the things I experienced after my recovery, and where I am at now.

Read My RSI recovery eight months later.

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Jack2DSSI version 0.2 is released

A new version of Jack2DSSI, version 0.2, has been released. For those not in the know, Jack2DSSI is a DSSI plugin that can host Jack audio clients inside it.

It adds several fixes and compatibility options to make it even easier to use with your favorite Jack client. Check it out at the project page.

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Jacktube bugfix release

Jacktube v0.31 is out, which is a bugfix release, and it should be much more stable thanks to this. Check it out at the Jacktube homepage.

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Introducing Jack2DSSI

For a long time it annoyed me that certain Jack applications in Linux did not have a plugin version, so it could not be used inside a DAW without manual port routing and launch scripts, etc. Yoshimi is one example, and there are many commercial examples. While it would be possible to add plugin support for the open source variants, this is not possible for the commercial ones.

I wanted a more general solution, so for a while I’ve been working on a project to be able to use any Jack client as a plugin. The result is Jack2DSSI, which is a DSSI plugin that can host Jack applications inside it. So for example, if you want to use Yoshimi in your DAW project, but you don’t want to launch it manually every time you open the project, use the Jack2DSSI plugin instead. It will save together with your project1, and the plugin makes sure the Jack client is relaunched later.

Check it out on the project homepage.

1 Not everything is saved. See the Caveats section on the project page.

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No more wrist problems

Wrist pain

It’s been a long time since I last wrote about my wrist problems, or carpal tunnel problems. Well, I am happy to report that I have finally recovered! It wasn’t carpal tunnel at all, but a condition called “persistent somatoform pain disorder” (at least per my understanding), and curing it has been quite an undertaking. But I learned a lot along the way and in the hopes of helping others I have written an extensive log of both my history and the theory behind the disorder.

Read the full story…

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Break out concert

For several years I have played in a band that started at my old work place, but we only played at private venues at the time. Now we are making our move into the public, and we will be playing at Shamrock in Oslo on April 12th. The band is called Eight2Ten, and we play seventies-inspired rock, from The Doors to Pink Floyd, plus some of our own tunes.

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Jacktube 0.30 is out

My carpal tunnel problems have been less severe lately and I have gotten the chance to do some coding again! I will write more about that later.

In the meantime, for those who are not familiar with Jacktube, it is an open source audio/MIDI processor I maintain. Version 0.30 features a new plugin standard (DSSI), and many optimizations and bug fixes. Check it out at the project homepage!

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Introducing dssi-vst-rt

Since the original dssi-vst project seems to have halted development, I have decided to fork the project, and dssi-vst-rt is the result: A VST plugin wrapper dedicated to providing real time performance from VST plugins.

I also made a more suitable project page for it, with instructions and download links. Check out the dssi-vst-rt project.

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Real time Windows VST plugins in Linux

The most common plugin standard for audio is VST. The standard itself is not platform dependent, so it will work on any platform. However, in most cases, plugin authors will not bother to compile their plugins for any other platform than Windows (and possibly Mac OS). There are also a lot of license restrictions on the API, which means that Linux authors generally utilize other plugin standards.

I use Linux for all my work, and while Linux has a nice selection of plugins based on the LADSPA and DSSI plugin technologies, let’s face it: the selection just isn’t as big as on the Windows platform.

That’s where the nifty dssi-vst wrapper from Chris Cannam comes in. What it does is take a VST plugin, compiled for Windows, and wraps it in a Linux DSSI API, so that Linux applications can use it. It achieves this by using the Wine compatibility layer.

As I started using it I discovered that it had some shortcomings when it comes to latency, and I found it unsuitable for real time performance. However, I didn’t want to miss out on a lot of great VST plugins, so I started hacking on dssi-vst, and I came up with some patches that make it more real time robust. They should enable you to run VST plugins in Linux without experiencing any dropouts.

To get a hold of it, follow these steps:

  1. Go to: https://bitbucket.org/k_amlie/dssi-vst/changesets/tip/branch(%22hard-rt-support%22)
  2. Click on the topmost revision (the code consisting of numbers and letters).
  3. Click on “Get source” in the upper right corner and download the package in your preferred format.
  4. Extract the contents in a folder and then follow the compile/install instructions inside the README file.
  5. You can test it using the standalone plugin host “vsthost”. Just type in “vsthost” and the path to a VST plugin on your command line.

That should give you access to VST plugins with real time performance!

Like I stated earlier, the original code comes from Chris Cannam’s excellent dssi-vst project. I have talked to him and he wants to get these patches into his “official” dssi-vst, but he is stressed on time, so meanwhile you will have to get it here.

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