Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Recording the Kalimba:
Get Audacity for Free

There are many great digital recording software packages out there for $200, $300, $1000..., including Protracks, Protools, Sonar, Trackstation, Cubase, Logic Pro, Wavelab, etc., but you don't have to spend any money at all to get started doing digital recording on your computer.

In the 1980's, back when I was at MIT, a guy there at the Media Lab named Richard Stallman became indignant that software cost big bucks and he couldn't just give software away to his friends. SO, he started the GNU (*quot;GNU's Not Unix") project, in which he attempted to reproduce the functionality of every good bit of software so he could give it away. This was the beginning of the OPEN SOURCE REVOLUTION.

As he started to pick up speed, many other people jumped on board this movement, and donated their time and expertise, adding functionality as they went. A key aspect to OPEN SOURCE software is that anyone can look at the source code and see how something is done - and if they get a better idea, they can add to it, as long as they continue to make it freely available. This turns out to be a great way to make ever-improving software. Stallman's story is part David and Golliath, part Robin Hood, part Communal Software Living, and a huge success story - Linux, the fastest growing operating system in the world, is distributed under the GNU Public License.

One of the benefits of the GNU which YOU can take advantage of is the program Audacity. This is a totally free program that will do a heck of a lot to get you recording, editing, and analyzing sounds on your computer. If you click on the Audacity link above, you can download the program for free and be up-and-running in a few minutes (hopefully - of course, with computers, one never knows how long something is going to take).