New book on open source creative tools

There’s a new book out on using open source/free tools like Ardour, GIMP, Blender, Audacity and more. I haven’t seen the book, but its author Daniel James is one of the people behind the 64studio “creative-centric” distribution of Linux. It could be an interesting read for those new to these tools, although its not by any means a manual on Ardour (coming soon!). Part of the book blurb reads: Crafting Digital Media is your foundation course in photographic manipulation, illustration, animation, 3D modelling, publishing, recording audio and making music, DJ’ing, mixing and mastering audio CDs, video editing and web content delivery. Every technique described in the book can be achieved on GNU/Linux, but many of the applications covered run on Windows and Mac OS X as well. New to GNU/Linux and a little daunted? Don’t worry—there’s a step-by-step tutorial on Ubuntu for either temporary use or permanent installation..

Ummhh… it’s a good thing to write (and buy) a book on opensource, specially if it’s a book on opensource multimedia application…
but i personally think it’s a bad idea putting every opensource multimedia software together in one book.

Softwares like GIMP, Blender and Ardour are too complex to explain in few pages, a professional that wants to use Ardour for his recording studio has to learn how Ardour works, and what to do if it doesn’t works like he would. It should be explained in hundreds of pages.
The same is for GIMP and Blender. If i am an audio engineer, a professional, i won’t buy a book that explains GIMP and Blender too, they’re two great programs, but they doesn’t fit my needs.

Anyway it’s a good try to enclose the average user to open source software.

I bought this book for a relative who has been getting into creative tasks on GNU/Linux for Christmas. I’ve only had a brief look through it but it looks pretty good, with about 50 consecutive pages on Ardour. It also covers using Audacity, Gnome Baker (to burn the music that you produce with Ardour) and using sounds with movies whilst editing using a couple of video apps.

It does look like it tried to do too much, coving many widely divergent creativity apps (scribus to hydrogen to drupal), and even coming with instructions for installing Ubuntu and setting it up as a webserver (although the outdated at launch copy of 9.04 on the back page isn’t much use to anyone). However it should get people started with unfamiliar concepts and applications, and show the layperson what professional applications are available on GNU/Linux.

Getting over the ‘aliennes’ of Linux is probably the single biggest problem - and a psychological one at that. I think this book is ideal for getting the public interested and running at a basic level with apps like Ardour.

I’ve reviewed the book for the Linux Journal:

Yes, he covers a lot of material, but IMO the book is very well-organized and well-written. Its intent is indeed to get people working productively with Linux multimedia software, and I think Daniel’s done a good job. A big job too, I might add. :slight_smile:



It’s true that Ubuntu 9.04 is out of date to some extent, but that reflects the time lag involved in book publishing. The idea of bundling the CD is that the software matches the text, and every word in the text has been tested and re-tested. If I had written ‘go and download the latest Ubuntu’ instead, I’d feel confident that at least some of the shell commands in the text wouldn’t work, for instance. (I did the technical review on another Ubuntu book, and this was a constant problem, keeping up with changes in the six-monthly releases). Mostly the book is about the tools available, and general principles though, so the information should have a reasonably long shelf life.

As for the wide range of the book, I meant this text as an introduction to the world of Free Software for creative people. Once a reader knows about an application and has tried it out, they are in a position to read online resources such as the community Ardour manual, or one of the in-depth texts available on the Gimp. I still meet a lot of people who don’t know about Free Software at all, or think that you need to buy a Mac to do any kind of creative project. This is the kind of person I’m trying to reach with the book.



Got mine in the post today…

Thanks a lot for the comprehensive beginners guide. It will surely help me get into some of the more graphically inclined software I never could get over the initial starting curve.