Open-source / Community firmware

I think we should all play more and talk less. Leave Polyend to do their own thing.


Agree with you; but remember that we users make a company success. We users spend money to buy a product because we need its features and functionalities; and if you ever worked in any company with more than 100 people, you will know that doing customer interviews and research is what makes the difference between getting a bonus on your salary at the end of the fiscal year, or find another job because your department and product has been cut.

that’s very different to making your software open source though. polyend constantly communicate with their user base, sure look at the wish system here on backstage.

I expressed the point in the post above; so won’t repeat what I already wrote.

One thing is to have a wishlist which may or may not ever be handled (there is no obligation after all, right?), another is to release your product as open source and let users handle things too.

Just look at RPI; the reason why people buy that board is because you have support for anything, and it is not because the RPI foundation supports it… But users. Same thing for many other “hackable” products, which benefit greatly from having an enthusiast community that does part of the work for free.

Of course you can stay closed source; M8 does the same and people still buy it; and same for many other devices; but going open source for part of it or the whole product, brings a lot of benefits.

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I love open source as a developer and consumer. I love different views from other people/developers outside of corporate companies. Hence why many companies goes open source = More, better and faster updates/fixes = better product. Hence why there are so many succesfull open source products that earns tons of money. Just make sure your license of the source code is set well.

I mean, we should not argue about if open source will do good for a product. It absolulety does, when its correctly managed!

Will it boost sales? Maybe!

On the other side, how many people know what open source means and does in the end?

Most are musicians that wants a piece of gear that just works.

For example?

Here a succes story;

Below a list (old) of succesful open source projects;

Oh, and teensy boards. Lots of open source. :wink:


The following is a subjective opinion. Here is a packet of salt if you wish to proceed.

Been hearing a lot lately about how limitations breeds creativity. As I look at the Deluge open source community, a lot is people wanting new features. One can argue those are cool. Then some feel other companies should follow suit. One can also argue this is no different than having a ton of plugins and no idea where to start. Is this the motive of open source, to add more features? Debatable. Yet in this context, I wonder how often “we” want more vs doing more with what we already have. It feels like we need to slow down a bit. On that adrenaline rush for something we think we need. Yet if we think back 30, 40 or longer years ago, people were making great things with a lot less.

Yes, anything managed correctly can have benefit. As I look across the landscape of toys available to us, I think managing our expectations would be of better benefit and play more. Sure, three people might not be able to do a thing yet a majority of us, if we are truly honest, are not being hindered because something doesn’t do more.

Today a new product has been announced: the Aodyo Loom (pending successful crowdfunding, but in about 5 hours they are at 50% of their goal). Anyway, their value proposition includes a “developer mode”:

You’re not limited to the modes we’ve designed. If you know your way around code, you can also take over and create your own. You can send a specific MIDI message to enter developer mode, where every input will be sent as-is, and you’ll be able to control the LEDs and display by sending MIDI SysEx messages to the Loom from your own program or script running on your computer. This way, you can entirely control what’s happening on your Loom, design new playing modes that you can distribute to others, or use Loom as an experimentation platform.

Ok, this product is a controller, not a synth, and therefore full MIDI control is a direct expansion of the original produce. Still, if one day all the Play’s knobs, pads and buttons could be mapped at will, I bet product sales and Polyend brand would increase their value. Without any changes to the code license and availability.


Open source can be summarized by Linux: you need something? Make it yourself if you know how to make it.Teensy and Arduino are another good example, followed by Raspberry Pi; where you are totally free to do what you want with them, even make your own boards from scratch if you so like; and change the designs to your own requirements.

That is the whole point. Then if even 1 person find that useful, you did a favor to that person and the whole point of being open make sense. The toy breaks when you put in the mix the consumer perspective and the obvious mentality of making money.

This goes out of the topic; but in the end if everything was free, you would not need money; so the whole concept of becoming rich would become irrelevant… You would not fight to make something to make money, and the system would just work as a constant open source system where everyone works on everything they can work, because they can help; and everyone benefit from it. It is a nice dream, I know.

The Loom is basically an iPad running garageband instruments with a touchboard instead of a touchpad :slight_smile: nice idea to have a dev mode. If people decide to use that for music, or for video editing or to control their light show or their kitchen appliance, I would love to see that happening. That is the beauty of devices that give control to the users to do whatever they want, without limit what they can and can’t do.

I still have to fight with keyboards that can’t even let me assign CC because they are stuck with their own SYSEX language… in 2024

I have a different take on this (and I spologize if someone already said this as I didn’t read all the thread). Open sourcing the software is great for the community but not necessarily great for the company. Synthstrom seem more driven by passion than anything else. But there is a different option that could still resut in something interesting for the community while preserving much of the IP of the company, and still drive hardware sales, and that is: open source a minimal subset of the software that can serve as a platform for a community project. Basically: here are the hardware components and their specs, perhaps some software for a bootloader, here is some sample code to read the encoders, drive the display, illuminate the pads, etc. You don’t get the code for the high-level functions like synths, or effects, or the sequencer.

Basically turn the hardware into an open platform that can be built on.

So any community efforts would be building something new using the hardware, rather than extending the existing software. Maybe someone would go off and build just a sequencer on the Play that’s a better Hapax/Oxi, while someone else builds a better Syntakt, and hey, maybe even a Deluge on more modern hardware. And perhaps later some people combine their projects. There’s a lot of capable developers out there who could build interesting things on top of hardware like the Play, while the hardware is more challenging to create.

One can dream…


I’ll add my two cents.

Totally agree with the voices pointing out all the drawbacks of completely opening polyend’s software to the community and also quite aware of the pain and effort that it will be for Polyend itself.

What about a controlled and walled developer mode via API? So you expose whatever parts you fill like you would like to expose and then just roll it with the firmwares. Polyend would provide them for the most common language…or even just the one for their choice to minimise maintenance.

In this way you mitigate some drawbacks of an open source roll out while allowing enthusiasts to further develop or integrate Polyend systems into custom flows, etc. With time and little by little, more integration could be brought between the exposed API and the hardware (for instance allowing custom sample editor filters to be loaded from files or an instrument creator that could send instruments directly into an opened project so sample managers could be integrated in very nice ways).

I think that been able to interact with polyend’s hardware by custom software can bring some very interesting creative approaches.

In any case, yeah…it would be a pain in the ass and the benefits are not guaranteed.

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