Open-source / Community firmware

Hello Polyend.
I guess you have seen that Synthstrom had made the deluge firmware open-source. I’m sure that there is a bunch of good programers in the Play owners community.
Could be a good idea and give us hope for updates
Best regards


my two “no one cares” pennies.

I have the Deluge and I like what they are doing. I also observe the discord and see the interaction between the non-developer and developer. I see many come into the forums late, wanting this and wanting that. Devs have been really good saying, "that’s not in scope. While it’s been good back and forth, I can’t help but think there needs to be separation. Most consumers don’t understand the concept of “scope” I work in the IT space and one of the things I try to manage is limiting a thing called “scope creep”.

If I am not mistaken, Synthstrom has someone that’s managing the community side. That requires a level of effort and coordination. While on the surface, I would love to see other companies follow suit, I’ve learned that it’s not as simple for me the consumer to wish everyone do that. Maybe people are watching with Synthstrom does and will cause others to follow suit. While that is good, it should not be the expectation that others should.

Yes, there are talented devs. There are also greedy consumers that want this and want that while not understanding the nature of coding. We have awesome toys that we should be playing with. And the consumer should have the option to put out feature requests, like we do here on the wishlist. Maybe that is good enough for Polyend. Boundaries are important between the devs and the community.

I am sure this is not a popular stance for some. Been there. If Polyend feels that open source is not the road they wish to pursue, it is not bad thing. It doesn’t mean they don’t care. Just as we in the consumer space love to compare gear, we should use caution when doing the same with companies.

The other point is running two different firmware version. The official and the community. What impacts will that have. Are you locked into one vs the other if you are doing projects. If the official does not pull in something from the community, does the community get more “worked up”. Lots of variables.



I agree that we shouldn’t romanticize the open source thing. I believe in “hackability” as a business proposition to the creative and tinkering crowds. It doesn’t come for free, and it doesn’t give what most users are usually looking for.

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see also:

see also: :wink:

I am very much pro open. But I also know that it’s not a magic tool that gives everyone free lunches forever. And that it might come with a burden of running a project in the open.

But there are many ways of being open source: From the most basic of literally just keeping the source open, but doing all development in the dark. To also doing all development and decision making in the open with the community.

For a company like Polyend, leaning towards the former is probably a better fit. But that said, I definitely think it could be a strength to have the source open. It would allow people to tinker with and tweak the firmware. But it would also allow the community to propose fixes for bugs and improvements to existing stuff. Maybe even provide new features, but that’s a longer shot. I emphasise “propose”, as you have no obligation to merge in fixes from the community. But you have the chance to, if they manage to provide anything useful.

You don’t have to maintain an "official and a “community” version of the firmware. You can still stick to your own roadmap and leave out the proposes community changes if they don’t fit into your roadmap. And if the community fork the firmware and run their own parallel development, well that’s not really your problem.


The short version: think about switching your device firmwares to open source so that everyone can benefit from the great advantages.

The long version: I think it would make a lot of sense to share the software with the community. The success story of Synthstrom Deluge could serve as a model. Here, the path to open source was an ingenious boost that both fixed bugs and made long-desired features possible within a very short time. It can be seen here in the forum: the community has numerous ideas and the developers at Polyend could certainly also progitize, especially since it is a hardware company.

I have recently become a mini user and previously worked with the original tracker for longer. It is also clear to me personally: the potential of the devices is enormous, but we are not fully utilizing it due to bugs and lack of desired features. This is another good reason for switching to open source.

What do you all think? And most importantly: many thanks to the Polyend team for their fabulous work!


I think this was posed and the answer was no from Polyend. I might be wrong as my brain is over 50 and forgets.

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I completely understand this and would probably have seen it in a similar way before the enormous success of the Deluge and its community firmware - but this way all sides benefit, in the end there is a more attractive device, which should attract more interested parties again. But why not start with the trackers, for example?

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As already mentioned, bugs were fixed within a very short space of time, major new features were launched and the community experienced a huge boost.

There was a request for open source of the Poly 2. The response to that was no.

My guess is the same here.

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What about we merge this topic with Open-source firmware! to have this conversation in one place?

Update: and moved.


Moved topic from Play to General and added tracker tag, since this topic is now about both devices.

(Original topic was about the Play and was merged with a Tracker topic)

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As a software developer myself, i would like to move this conversation from a simple wish or desire to see open source firmware, to something with a bit more meat on its bone. For us as a community, as well as for Polyend.

There are a couple things to consider i think:

  • We as a community should never have the expectation that a company is willing to opensource their intellectual property. This is infact a massive privilege, when it does happen.
  • To open source always comes at a cost as well. Maintaining and organizing such a venture always has a price. Timewise (and/or monetary) for everyone involved.
  • It also opens up other manufacturers to just take your code and build their own hardware around it, which can be a risk you expose yourself to.
  • Riskmanagement for bricked hardware in case an open source firmware somewhow destroys devices.
  • And/or defining rules and agreements so that users who are willing to use 3rd party firmwares on their hardware know that they are voiding their warranty in case something goes sideways.

With this in mind, i wouldn’t blame any company to not be willing to expose themselfs to this.

Having said all that - i think there are a couple valid strategies that can be put into place, that would still allow for community contributions - if a company is willing and can spare time and effort towards this.

  • Vetting developers that you grant code access and putting them under an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement)
  • Setting rules that only compiled firmwares are allowed to be released to the public / community
  • I’m sure there are other strategies that i didn’t think of (but this post is already freaking long)

I also believe it would be very important to quantify how many actual developers would be interested or willing to work on community firmwares. It’s easy to wish for it, but you also need people willing to actually contribute. So let’s have a little poll, shall we? :laughing: Let’s see where our community falls under.

This poll is anonymous. If you are a developer please specifiy which ecosystem you are interested in and your preference regarding programming language (you can select more than one):

  • I would love to develop for the Play Ecosystem
  • I would love to develop for the Tracker Ecosystem
  • I’m a developer and i don’t care which programming language i have to use
  • I’m a developer but it depends on the language required
  • I’m not a developer but want to help test community firmwares
  • I’d just love to see open source software
  • I just want to make music and don’t really care about all of this
0 voters

I invite you all to share this post with possibly interested parties, the more votes and opinions we can gather, the clearer the picture will become.

And i’m looking forward to any further discussion surrounding this topic. :heart:

@thekrazywabbit I have read your reply at the top of the thread carefully. While I understand your objections in principle, and I’m not a computer scientist myself, I see the situation somewhat differently.

From the customer’s point of view, I want a product that works well and sells well. Features that arise from the concept of the devices should be added bit by bit and critical bugs should be fixed. But the manufacturer also wants a well-functioning, well-running product:

  • Regular updates signal that the device in question is being taken care of and thus the value remains the same if not increasing
  • Communication about the device
    is improving, in forums, on YouTube or in conversations between musicians
  • Of course, more devices sold means more turnover for the manufacturer, greater distribution, etc.

All of this can be improved by switching to an open source project, especially if there are difficulties with the previous topics. Now I don’t know the sales figures for the Mini, for example. But I can see the poor or even almost non-existent communication about the e.g. the Trackers on Youtube, Insta etc… I am convinced that it is therefore worth thinking about it.

from polyend?

theyre far more communicative than most companies.

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Open sourcing software generally serves one of two purposes:

  1. shared development of essential software (Linux kernel, but also text editors and compilers) where nothing is gained from doing it on your own and thereby reinventing the wheel.
  2. insurance against obsolescence, for example by allowing you to update drivers for your devices if the manufacturer stops supporting them.

Neither of these apply to Polyend. Polyend makes appliances that each serve a unique purpose and that do not require drivers to interact with other devices. Your devices will continue to work the way they should even if Polyend were to disappear from the face of the earth all of a sudden.

I’m a big fan of open source and have been since 1998 or so, but I fail to see what would be gained by open sourcing Polyend firmware.

Other than to satisfy my curiosity, of course.


Not my call to make so these are just my thoughts, not official Polyend stances. But as for open source in this industry I see a spectrum of Deluge to Mutable Instruments. Mutable is out of business, despite providing benefits from their code to everyone from Arturia, to us, to the people that make clones of the modules she was selling. Synthstrom has one product and I presume a very small team? I also don’t notice a whole lot more Deluge users out there and have no idea how much of a success opening it up was? I don’t know much about it but seems like it was an end of life product that gets a little more life? I could be wrong but I’m glad they open sourced it either way.

Also they seemed to directly copy the Play perform mode, which is kinda weird and maybe a lawsuit if we were a litigious company like 1 or 2 particularly companies out there but hey whatever, we aren’t. It does make me wonder if open sourcing the hardware could open us up to liability too though. I’ve read some really boring articles on product liability for open source and the law is evolving - mostly not for the better for open source products.

If it was open source I wouldn’t want to manage what falls within the scope of the project either. In fact QA and bug testing takes us much longer than writing the code so it might bring faster updates but I’m not sure they would be better.

In theory I want everything to be open source, but in reality I don’t think you always get a better product with something as niche as music hardware. MI opened the code up with hopes that people would expand on it, and everyone took it, but only the clouds parasites firmware really did anything interesting with the code that I know off. I could see if it was something that was end of life and the code wasn’t repurposed but otherwise I really dont think it makes sense for most MI companies. If you said something like “Arturia is open sourcing all their products” I would really have to rethink this position.

As for firmware updates - We have some big BIG updates coming that have taken a lot of time so please be patient we’ve got good things coming this year!


I agree. synthstrom are a 2 or so person team, and opening it up does appear to me like an end of life kinda vibe. it’s a great thing to see, but I don’t think polyend should or would be doing that. I don’t see elektron doing it either, even for their legacy machines. gotta watch out for a certain “uli” too these days, that rascal wouldn’t waste 2 seconds borrowing yer codes :smile:


If Polyend did this, I would like to see it walled off from the community asking the devs for this. I know that may be odd. I am watching Deluge and I see a mixture of devs and community in the same space. Many in the community ask for this and that with little idea behind the coding. And it’s amplified. Sure, devs can say no.

I think my biggest objection is we ask for too many enhancements as a community as whole. We have lots of options in this space if something isn’t meeting your need. I am probably way off on this but to me, it feels like another way for the community to dig it’s claws into something when we should focus on playing and let companies do their thing.

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