Friday, August 10, 2007

Google Summer of Code 2007 and Mixxx

For those who aren't familiar with Mixxx, it's a program that allows DJs to do live beatmixing of music. Instead of lugging a pair of turntables and a record crate around, many modern DJs (both amateur and professional) prefer to use a laptop with an external hardware controller instead. Mixxx allows you to control the playback and speed of music, just as one would do with real turntables.

After being created in 2001, Mixxx has steadily become more and more useful. Unfortunately, the original developers decided to move on with their lives and left Mixxx in a half-broken state at the end of 2005. However, in the summer of 2006, the project was brought back to life by a new lead developer (Adam Davison). For the following 10 months, a new team of slowly accumulating developers focused almost exclusively on bug fixes, giving the software some much needed love.

Flash forward to Summer 2007 - After successfully applying to the Google Summer of Code program, the Mixxx development team was joined by three eager students: Pawel Bartkiewicz, Micah Lee, and Nathan Prado. We decided that we wanted to use GSoC as an opportunity to kick-start a new development push that would help bring new, much-requested features to the DJ community. To say the least, the program so far has been an outstanding success for us.

The graph of our SVN statistics says it all:

Not only have our students brought us much improved BPM detection, LADSPA effects, and a more functional playlist/library interface, but they've also helped tremendously with the revitalization of the project. The students' work has not only wooed several older developers into actively writing code again, but has also attracted the attention of many other talented new developers.

Mixxx 1.6.0 with the new library

The students' lasting contribution to the revitalization of Mixxx is only matched by that of Google themselves. With their support through Summer of Code 2007, we've been able to better equip DJs around the globe with professional quality open source software. Lastly, by introducing our students to team-based open source development, our mentors have been able to give our students real-world experience and a new set of skills. All of these contributions have been made possible thanks to Google's Summer of Code 2007, and for that we are tremendously grateful.

Open source software for DJs: Buy your music, not your software.

1 comment:

  1. After attending Burning Man this year, I decided to finally learn to DJ and try to find some obscure camp next year to spin a few tracks. After searching through dozens of software packages costing hundreds of dollars apiece (not to mention the friggin' hardware to go with them!), I stumbled across Mixxx and wa-la, in only a few hours I'm spinning quite tolerably, thank you. I even popped for a Mixman DM2 as Mixxx supports it. Great going, guys, keep up the good work and thanks so much! Ian Denchasy, Los Angeles CA