DELUGE goes OPEN SOURCE
Since launching our beloved Deluge, we’ve added a ton of functionality, made it more versatile and packed it full of ground-breaking features. Our arranger, looper, advanced sequencing and MPE implementation are still industry leading.
At Synthstrom, we’re devoted to sustainability and want our Deluge to continue being the centre of our users' musical excursions for many years to come. Late last year we started retrofitting older Deluge variations with the OLED screen featuring in our new units. The next step we're taking has been even longer in development - waiting until we knew we had a community full of talented coders who were as passionate about the Deluge as we are. We know now the time is right - it’s time to take software development into overdrive - we’re going open-source!
What is open-source? Open-source means we're opening our software code to the community; our users who know how to write code can now develop their own Deluge features, make refinements to the existing code and contribute to a Community version for all users.
Before the speculation even starts, this isn't us working on a new model, there are currently no plans for that. We've employed a team to manage the open-source project so we can focus our energies into ramping up the building of new OLED Deluges to meet demand, speeding up the retrofitting and refurbishing of older units, and just maybe, finally getting the Deluge into limited retail - though don't hold your breath on that last part
Synthstrom will continue to maintain and update the main “Official” repository, including all official Deluge Firmware releases going forward.
Alongside there will also be a “Community” repository (for both the OLED & non-OLED versions), forked from the Official repository, as a central place for community code contributions to be merged together, so long as they don’t appear to break anything and represent complete features ready for use. And of course all future updates to the Official branch can be merged in, too.
And of course, you can fork either branch and make your own changes and share these with others, irrespective of what’s happening in the Official or Community repository.
Installing Community or other firmware builds is 100% compatible with your Deluge's hardware warranty. However, if you use a non-official community build, we won't be able to provide software support.
Our open-source project manager will initially oversee and maintain the Community repository, though this will probably change in the longer term, particularly if or when open-source development branches in multiple different directions. We’ve created thorough documentation and Rohan will also be on hand at the launch, to offer guidance and assistance to those getting involved - including open video Q&A sessions.
Rohan has always been eager to give back to the global community of makers and tinkerers that helped him as a beginner, we just had to make sure the time was right, we had the right people involved and that we had a system that aided those taking part.
We’re also launching a Patreon to help support those contributing to the 'Community' repository. This will allow the entire community to show their gratitude to those developing, testing and refining code by making a monthly financial contribution, from just $1. Though administered by Synthstrom, 100% of these payments (less Patreon fees and tax) will be distributed only amongst those coders contributing to the Community repository - distributed in accordance with how much each individual contributed.
We have re-opened the epic feature suggestion threads on our forums where coders can find ideas to work on and where users can discuss their desired features: https://forums.synthstrom.com/categories/deluge-suggestions
In special cases, the Official repository may consider submissions from the Community repository*, where features and their UI have proven universal appeal. However, Synthstrom needs to continue to provide our customers with a stable and high-performance official firmware version, so we need to be responsible for every line of code in this branch.
Deluge Firmware will be released under the GPLv3 license. There are no restrictions on personal use and this license allows for code to also be used in commercial projects - however, if even one line of code from this is used in a commercial project, the entire piece of code for that project must also be made open-source under this same license.
The newly open source Deluge Firmware source code will live in GitHub. We will be launching this project in June though you can follow our GitHub now and be alerted when it's live. https://github.com/SynthstromAudible
- If a Community feature is to be accepted into the official repository this will be negotiated and licensed on a case by case basis with its developer(s)
Key dates & details:
Monday, June 5, 7pm EDT - Codebase made available, documentation released and Patreon launched.
Wednesday, June 7, 7pm EDT - Open Group video Q&A session with Rohan. Will be recorded and made available on GitHub following.
Saturday, June 10, 11am, CEST - Open Group Zoom session with Rohan. Will be recorded and made available on the GitHub following.
Following these Q&A sessions. Rohan and/or our Open Source team will be responsive in answering questions on the GitHub. Please try not to flood forums with questions until after these sessions as we anticipate much will be answered therein.
Open-source Project Manager: Jamie Fenton
An experienced games, audio and multimedia production tool engineer, Jamie Fenton is known in the Deluge community for developing the Downrush application. Downrush is used for transferring, viewing and editing of Deluge songs, patches, and media assets using a Wi-Fi SD card and your mobile device.
I'm not sure how the Patreon will be setup but what about also having feature requests that have a "bounty" reward system.
For ex. I as a user want xyz feature and am willing to donate 5$ for said feature and those funds can go to the team/person that contributes to the feature. But I can still support all devs by donating to a general pot of money.
Is that too capitalist 😃
Awesome news! I'll hold off on most questions but can you share any info on required hardware ahead of the full source release? I'm interested in contributing and I'd like to know if I have all the hardware on hand to do so
haha, I wonder which manufacturer you could be talking about
Dream come true and even better to have Jamie leading things!!!
Under the GPLv3 license I am very impressed, great news hoping to be able help too.
No doubt, tempering expectations would be wise. But I would also say, don't underestimate how much support may come from those of us with very specific wants and no coding skills of our own.
But that could easily turn into a logistical nightmare for you guys on the Synthstrom team. Perhaps for any really specific, big wantlist projects, let us the userbase work out a gofundme or something and divvy up Patreon bucks for smaller tweaks that people work on.
Maybe a dare system could be put in place. Example: "If anyone is able to code x into the firmware, I will shave my head and livestream myself streaking through my hometown with Deluge in hand."
Best update I've seen yet (and there have been a lot of amazing ones). I love this particularly because of the promise of what's to come. Y'alls commitment to building community as a top priority has shown through since the Deluge's launch, and now we get to see the ultimate benefit of that: fully empowered community feature development!
Also, who else does this? It seems like a really visionary move, I hope other gear designers are taking note!
since so many are betting on monetary incentives to push particular features, i wanna point out that this doesn't necessarily mean that the resulting code is of a quality that can be maintained by a broader community. as a result these features won't be merged or may well lead to frustrations among the unrewarded devs if merged.
an alternative approach would be to sponsor specific editions where paid devs ensure a long-term mainenance.
This is such great news. So many times software is open sourced with a drop and a wave. I'm really impressed not only that Synthstrom has made this decision but executed it with an eye to good stewardship.
This has the potential to transform the Deluge hardware into a tremendous sound hacking device. So much stoke.
Time to start working on the export to DAW feature?
they did it... the crazy b$&#(@ds actually did it!
This is exciting news so I can't help but ignorantly speculate on a few things...
Will we get a release of the official toolchain as well for this? I thought one of the issues was that Deluge firmware was compiled on an expensive gcc that enabled some critical features and performance... Also will there be any kind of official framework for compatibility of new features? Especially for FX like a new filter type or something, it would be nice to have a modular setup that wont result in incompatibility, even if you don't have that feature on your firmware...
Seriously CAN NOT WAIT to check out this madness!
This is absolutely incredible news and a great gift to the community! As a software dev myself I can't wait to have a peek under the hood (and hopefully add dotted semiquavers to BPM sync settings 😆). Love your work, keep up the good stuff!
This is exciting news! I'm hoping to be able to add an alternate tuning scales feature, as well as tweak the way MIDI sequencing works.
You are amazing!
Still curious about this....
Definitely. Was a nice surprise reading that Jamie is part of this. Makes sense too!
Wow! This is awesome!
Temporary panic mode... When will I find the time to contribute?!!
I'm really glad to hear about this initiative and that there is a plan for its governance. Kudos!
This is like a dream come true! I hope to contribute! What language(s) are used?
Oh, sorry, yes, this is not far away, we were aiming to have a bugfix update out in time for Superbooth initially. Sorry, I fully read that as about the OpS versioning.
Nice. But what about the fw fixes that are there for the oled but not for non oled? Will these be ported?
This is BIG! I'm a developer with a strong affinity to open source, so I'm really interested to see where this is going.
I have no experience with writing software for a (very complex) hardware synth, but I'm eager to peek inside the driving bits and bytes of the Deluge
This is incredible, kudos!!
Not only are you going open source but you're also making sure there's a frame to make it work, and one that empowers the existing community.
Big respect and can't wait to see what comes from this new dynamic!
That's great. Thanks for the quick response
Wow, very cool. Interesting to see what comes down the pipe!
One possible concern is an unscrupulous manufacturer making “tribute” Deluges for a fraction of the price.
This is the hope. The project manager will have both. This is a community effort, not us, so we need to see what comes from that, but if non-OLED users are getting left behind, we might have 'encourage things' to make sure that doesn't happen. There are still many more non-OLED units out there than OLEDs though, so my best guess is that there will be people who can do whats required to port onto the other. We believe in the community and that it will do the right thing, we want to be as hands off of the process as possible, but yes, if for some reason things aren't being ported to both versions, we'll do our best to work on it.
There is also every possibility it goes there other way, as said, there are far more non-OLEDS than OLEDs out there and this will still be the case in June.
Oh, what programming language and tech stack is the OG source code using?