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The mortality of aging software.


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I started looking at Bitwig today. At some point I asked myself “Why am I looking at this? I already own Live and Reason.” In truth, I stopped being excited about Reason maybe 5 versions back. I stopped liking Reason 2 versions ago. When it was a stand along product great for making loops I loved it. When it decided to be a DAW my enjoyment went way down. When it decided to be a VST and suffered stability problems in the process I lost interest. Live has become bigger over the years, more bloated, and less fun. Once the favorite tool of rebel musicians who did not want another linear DAW, now a lot of people are moving away. And then there is Cakewalk. I started with version 1 and watched it develop into one of the big three DAW’s. It did not fall out of favor because of feature bloat, it was brought down by big game hunters. 

 

The more I think back on software I have enjoyed over the years the more it seems like software has a true life cycle, destined to meet an end be it from bloat, failing interest, replacement from something better, or is taken over by a big predatory company that mismanages it to death. It makes me wonder, if all software destine to die at some point, replaced by something newer, younger, less bloated?

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Well, consider how long Cubase, Logic, Performer, and Cakewalk have been around. They have less market share than they did when introduced, but there's more competition as well. So each slice of the pie gets smaller over time. Cubase, Logic, and Cakewalk are good examples of programs that might have gone away if they hadn't been taken over by a big, predatory company. Performer fans will never switch - frankly, DP has done some pretty amazing updating so if you are into DP, you have no reason to switch anyway. Pro Tools is so entrenched it would take an explosion to make it go away.

 

Reason was brilliant when introduced, but slow to respond to change. I think the beginning of the end happened when they put out Record as a separate program. No one wanted to have to deal with two separate programs when everyone else had it integrated. That would been the time to introduce Record as a DAW and Reason as a plug-in. 

 

Live still does what it does well, and now it's going direct. We'll see how it plays out, but it has remained true to its vision in many ways.

 

Studio One is an interesting case. It debuted specifically as the "fast, unbloated" new kid on the block. However they've taken a more iPhone-like approach to updates. Superficially, a new version doesn't seem all that different, but unfamiliar aspects are incorporated into familiar aspects. So, you can keep using it the way you did. FL Studio is another interesting case. It started off as kind of joke but has evolved into a super-popular, best-selling program. Then there's Reaper, which seems to be a highly polarizing program. People love it or hate it.

 

Then there are the casualties, like Master Tracks Pro and Acid, which was on top of the world until Sony couldn't figure out what to do with it. Acid is still around, but it lost its vision of what it was by trying to become more of a DAW. Then there are programs like Mixcraft, which fly under the radar but just keep on keepin' on.

 

So by and large it seems that maybe programs don't die, as much as they shift their position in the "top 10."

 

 

 

 

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I'm older and more bloated, so I'll be among the last to have a USB jack in my neck. I decided to go with Apple, whose OS and DAW are highly integrated. To each their own, no question, but Logic has steadily improved and become the giant Otari reel-to-reel of my dreams. The stability is amazing. I do RTFM with a highlighter in hand, but hitting the wall suddenly and having to back up is just as informative. I've done it long enough that I can just work at will, but my perspective as a mad composer is notably different from that of a band leader and both of those quite different from an EDM duo.

 

Staying with Logic has meant a ton of backward compatibility (my precious EXS24 files runneth over) and the M1 upgrade has been a jaw dropper. My view is that Apple is the least likely to go belly-up any time soon, so I'm comfortably entrenched.

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On 10/11/2022 at 4:22 PM, RABid said:

It makes me wonder, if all software destine to die at some point, replaced by something newer, younger, less bloated?

Of course. But keep in mind newer versions of software are still replacing the older, and it has nothing necessarily to do with being bloated or anything else other than being newer. Human beings are often frankly a ridiculous species and software purchases are one example. We're like crows chasing a shiny object and rest assured, many will buy something newer just because it is newer. Microsoft has made a living off of this with Windows, for example, often putting out a crap product that offers little if any advantage over the older version, yet people buy it in droves. 

 

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16 hours ago, bill5 said:

Microsoft has made a living off of this with Windows

I actually prefer Microsoft's policies of backward compatibility over Apple's policy of "let's break it so that they have to buy everything new."

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Logic and Apple provide an interesting example. Logic Pro X was touted as a complete rewrite of the product. [I've seen marketing say that before but my points hold true.] Apple's investment in it allowed the to do what appears to be MAJOR work to it, yet they kept compatibility and have continued to move the product forward since then, as well as give us every update for free. It seems to have less bloat if you're talking about inefficiencies in the code (see @David Emm's post above).

 

Apple did something similar with Final Cut Pro X previously, but made the mistake of shipping the first version of X with less features than the previous version, which of course caused people to start screaming like they killed their mother. Apple didn't make that mistake with Logi Pro X.

 

So the life cycle of software can be refreshed if there's enough money behind it.

 

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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On 10/12/2022 at 7:22 AM, RABid said:

I

 

The more I think back on software I have enjoyed over the years the more it seems like software has a true life cycle, destined to meet an end be it from bloat, failing interest, replacement from something better, or is taken over by a big predatory company that mismanages it to death. It makes me wonder, if all software destine to die at some point, replaced by something newer, younger, less bloated?

I'm finding there are many business models in life which are traversing the same trajectory. One that comes to mind is cars. A model comes out as a smaller efficient version of their larger cars to fill that niche. Each year a new version of it comes out, bigger, more features until eventual it falls off the top of the perpetual rotating helical "elevator" to be replaced by a newer smaller more efficient model. I see software a bit like that. It enters the fray at the bottom of the screw thread and winds it way up in bloatedness to eventually get spat out the top with a newer better one lower down following on it's heals!

The companions I can't live without: Kawai Acoustic Grand, Kawai MP11SE, Kawai MP7SE, Kronos2-73, Yamaha Montage8, Korg D1
Other important stuff: Novation Summit, Studiologic NC2X, NI Komplete Ultimate 14 CE, Omnisphere, Sonuscore Elysion and Orchestra, Pianoteq 8 Pro

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I had a Windows 2000 machine where peripherals would gradually stop working.  When a peripheral was replaced then the new one gradually stopped working too.  Tested in another machine and the peripheral was fine.  I have owned computers since 1986 and have never had that happen.  I want my machine to stay frozen once I optimize it yet Microsoft seemed to be breaking it remotely (Windows 10 forced update, anybody?).  I have a WIN7 netbook that I had to take offline after too many drive-by malware downloads and a firewall that did not work.  Then when Vista came along they forced you to replace EVERYTHING - the computer, the printer(s), any writable media, etc.  

 

That frustration led me to abandon Windows forever and jump to Apple/macOS.  My Mac Pro and other Apple products has been optimized and frozen on High Sierra, Apple leaves it alone, none of my peripherals mysteriously stops working.

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1 hour ago, DeltaJockey said:

I'm finding there are many business models in life which are traversing the same trajectory.

You know, you are right. Think of all the inventions that have run their life cycle and became extinct. We see it happening now with land line phones. Some, like record players and vinyl lp's are being kept alive by collectors. DVD's are following VLD's that they once replaced. Hmmm, I suddenly feel like a techno anthropologist. 

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My alto saxophone will be 100 years old in 2025. It still works as good as it did when it was new, it still can be repaired, and it still sounds great. Built with older, denser brass, and silver plate, it sounds better than most new saxes.

 

It was made by the H.N.White company in Cleveland Ohio, and is older than their brand name "King". They are no longer in business, but the sax is still working, and can be repaired by any woodwind tech without ordering special parts.

 

I have software that worked well for me, and with a Windows or Mac update, became not only orphaned but no longer functional.

 

Passport's "Master Tracks Pro" pre Win95 sequencer (with 8dot3 file names) worked until Win 10 came out. MTPro was sold to GVox who updated it and introduced a few bugs in it, but it still works. I met the original author, Don Williams a few weeks ago, and he plans of reviving it in the future, but he is working on Encore first.

 

I write aftermarket style and song packages for Band-in-a-Box. Thankfully, Peter of PG Music is very adamant about backwards compatibility. The styles I wrote in 1992 still work on current versions of BiaB.

 

<opinion>

Thanks largely to corporate capitalism, we live in a disposable market. Products must be upgraded, or replaced, constantly to feed the perpetual growth the corporations need.

 

Corporations have stockholders that typically own 49% of the capital. These stockholders need ever-increasing profits. If the stock doesn't perpetually increase in value, what's the sense of holding on to it? If it stays constant, and neither gains nor loses value for years, the stockholders will jump ship for something that has more growth potential.

 

So there are plenty of things the corporations do to increase their profits.

 

Planned obsolescence is a big one. Last year's model is so unfashionable. -- or -- Keep adding new features that entice the customer to buy the product again and again. In the software industry, this often leads to bloatware.

 

The Apple model, upgrade or die.

 

Manufacture a product that will break in a few years, and is uneconomical to repair.

 

Then there are subscription services, to keep you pumping money into the corporation every month

 

and so on  (feel free to ad).

 

A non-corporate business doesn't need perpetual growth. All it needs is to sell enough to pay the employees and the owners a living wage. Of course everything above that is welcome, but the need for more and more and more and more is not necessary.

 

"Corporationalism" is failing us. Not that communism is any better, it failed for good reason.

 

</opinion>

 

I don't know what the answer is. I've thought about it a lot, but can't think of a better way to do things. Corporations have also brought us good products that wouldn't be possible if we were only small businesses.

 

So we are stuck with obsolete software, continuous upgrades, or subscription services in order to keep the companies we depend on in business.

 

Insights and incites by Notes ♫

 

 

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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16 hours ago, The Real MC said:

I had a Windows 2000 machine where peripherals would gradually stop working.  When a peripheral was replaced then the new one gradually stopped working too.  Tested in another machine and the peripheral was fine.  I have owned computers since 1986 and have never had that happen.  I want my machine to stay frozen once I optimize it yet Microsoft seemed to be breaking it remotely (Windows 10 forced update, anybody?).  I have a WIN7 netbook that I had to take offline after too many drive-by malware downloads and a firewall that did not work.  Then when Vista came along they forced you to replace EVERYTHING - the computer, the printer(s), any writable media, etc.  

 

That frustration led me to abandon Windows forever and jump to Apple/macOS.  My Mac Pro and other Apple products has been optimized and frozen on High Sierra, Apple leaves it alone, none of my peripherals mysteriously stops working.

 

 

I use Win XP, Win 7 32Bit and 64Bit desktop computers and a Win 10 Pro 64Bit laptop for audio/midi work as also to run Creamware/Sonic Core DSP systems,- PCI cards in 32Bit Win XP and Win 7 systems, S|C XITE-1 alternately on Win 7 64Bit desktop and the Win 10 laptop.

There are RME cards in addition and MIDI interfaces,- Opcode/MusicQuest 8x8 (w/ Earthvegaconnection drivers) using parallel port on 32Bit systems and USB (Midex-8 and ESi) on 64Bit systems.

All works like it should.

Nonetheless, I´ll replace these old MIDI interfaces by network MIDI soon, last but not least by reason of 5-Pin DIN MIDI cable reduction.

 

I´m running different hosts (Reaper, Studio One, Reason and Traktion) and s##tload of plugins, all kind incl. bundles like NI Komplete Ultimate CE.

 

Most complaints about windows are horror stories from the web or those caused by user error.

Malware downloads don´t have anything to do w/ the Windows OS,- regardless which version.

Simply don´t use Windows´ antivirus and firewall, that´s it.

And don´t go into a five-and-ten and buy a stock Windows machine from one of these consumer electronics manufacturers using crippled hardware.

The real problem w/ computers running Windows OS is the variety of available "ready to go" machines you can buy and the by manufacturer "pre-installed" OS.

 

I´m using AVAST on all my Windows machines and NO firewall,- except the hardware firewall built into my router,- and ALL my machines connect to that router.

Surfing the web and currently typing on my Win10 office machine, I never ever have problems w/ virusses or really dangerous malware.

Instead it was damn Dropbox which got hacked many years ago and my email addy was affected,- so hackers were able stealing my adressbook,- but that was on Win XP and when I didn´t had the experience w/ computers I have today.

It never happened again.

 

According to Win 10,- I was VERY sceptical and possibly one of the latest users installing it.

My DAW machines are still Win 7,- except my laptop,- and guess what,- Win 10 is the most stable Windows I ever used after Win7.

Yes, Win 10 needs to be updated, but that´s not a bad thing when you use "WinPrivacy" and tweak your installation after it received the latest updates.

With WinPrivacy, you deactivate all the bloatware and save the setting of the previous installation for the case you need to go back.

I never had to go back.

Some say, Win update brings all back, but that´s BS.

You don´t even have to be online all the time because of updates.

When updates are available, these will be automatically downloaded once you´re online and YOU decide when these will be installed.

In fact, you can pause updates for more than 30 days and define installation date for a period of time you DON´T work w/ the machine.

believe it or not, w/ my Win10 Pro Lenovo (Intel i7 quad/ 6MB cache) workstation laptop, I can play my VSTis in realtime in my living room while I´m in the web via wireless LAN being connected to my router upstairs.

 

I´m not a Windows fanboy and like Macs too,- especially the older ones I use to run ancient Logic 6 or need to work w/ old hardware using SCSI and such.

 

But I really doubt the grass is much greener in Mac world w/ has other disadvantages.

To be up to date in Mac world, you´re more often forced to update OS and upgrade hardware than in Windows world.

Windows world is some more work to set up perfect, but it´s also way cheaper when building your own machines.

 

Nonetheless I want a Mac silicone machine in addition next year.

A Sonnet-racked Mac Studio catched my eye and one of my buddies confirmed how well Presonus Studio One Pro runs on it after he jumped ship and ditched Logic.

 

:)

 

A.C.

 

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1 hour ago, Al Coda said:

But I really doubt the grass is much greener in Mac world w/ has other disadvantages.

To be up to date in Mac world, you´re more often forced to update OS and upgrade hardware than in Windows world.

Windows world is some more work to set up perfect, but it´s also way cheaper when building your own machines.

 

As a user of both platforms, they are both wonderful and annoying. I leapfrog generations - my Windows machine is state-of-the-art, my Mac is the last stop before Apple Silicon. The big Windows advantage for me, but only since Windows 7, is minimal disruption to my business. New hardware works, old hardware works, 64-bit software works regardless of when it was released, updates work, done. With Apple, you get bleeding-edge performance and an entire ecosystem if you're so inclined, but I'm not looking forward to the growing pains of moving to Apple Silicon, a new OS, and the compatibility upgrade song-and-dance. In my world, 1+1 = 3, because having two platforms is three times more complicated than having one platform :)

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I am firmly rooted in the Windows camp. My aftermarket Band-in-a-Box business requires that.

 

The StyleMaker app in BiaB/Win allows me to make much better styles than the same app in BiaB/Mac. It's not and OS thing at all.

 

For years, I ran both (right up to OSX on the PowerPC chip) because the styles I write were slightly different for both apps. Then BiaB made them compatible for both, so I donated my last Mac to a needy child, and never looked back.

 

I don't care which OS it is, I do care about which OS runs the particular software I need best.

 

Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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On 10/11/2022 at 4:27 PM, Anderton said:

Well, consider how long Cubase, Logic, Performer, and Cakewalk have been around. They have less market share than they did when introduced, but there's more competition as well. So each slice of the pie gets smaller over time. Cubase, Logic, and Cakewalk are good examples of programs that might have gone away if they hadn't been taken over by a big, predatory company. Performer fans will never switch - frankly, DP has done some pretty amazing updating so if you are into DP, you have no reason to switch anyway. Pro Tools is so entrenched it would take an explosion to make it go away.

 

Reason was brilliant when introduced, but slow to respond to change. I think the beginning of the end happened when they put out Record as a separate program. No one wanted to have to deal with two separate programs when everyone else had it integrated. That would been the time to introduce Record as a DAW and Reason as a plug-in. 

 

Live still does what it does well, and now it's going direct. We'll see how it plays out, but it has remained true to its vision in many ways.

 

Studio One is an interesting case. It debuted specifically as the "fast, unbloated" new kid on the block. However they've taken a more iPhone-like approach to updates. Superficially, a new version doesn't seem all that different, but unfamiliar aspects are incorporated into familiar aspects. So, you can keep using it the way you did. FL Studio is another interesting case. It started off as kind of joke but has evolved into a super-popular, best-selling program. Then there's Reaper, which seems to be a highly polarizing program. People love it or hate it.

 

Then there are the casualties, like Master Tracks Pro and Acid, which was on top of the world until Sony couldn't figure out what to do with it. Acid is still around, but it lost its vision of what it was by trying to become more of a DAW. Then there are programs like Mixcraft, which fly under the radar but just keep on keepin' on.

 

So by and large it seems that maybe programs don't die, as much as they shift their position in the "top 10."

 

 

 

 

Reaper's for Tweakers.  That's why it polarizes.  To tweak or not to tweak, that is the proclivity.

nat

 

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Software mortality is one of the main reasons why I don't do software synthesizers.

 

My Yamaha TX81z, Roland MT32, Edirol SD90, Korg i3 and other ancient synths still work perfectly. The oldest ones were purchased when Window/DOS was 8 bit and Macs used Motorola chips.

 

I have newer synths too but they don't replace the old ones. There are a few sounds on the old synths that are still quite useful and are not duplicated on the newer ones.

 

We play music from the 1920s to the 2020s and sometimes even the sounds that are considered cheesy today, are perfect for 1980s and early 1990s songs. Plus the gems of those particular methods of synthesis still hold their own today. As long as the good ol' 5pinDIN MIDI cable works, I'm set.

 

So DOS died, most of the software that worked on Windows 3.2 no longer boots, the same for Motorola, PowerPC, and Intel Macs, but my old synths of that era still work.

 

 

Insights and incites by Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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Hardware synths have a lifespan too...I guess I've fully embraced software (though not for live), and the ones I use the most aren't spring chickens :)   Diva is 10 years old, Zebra 2 older.  It's one reason that I now try to stick to fewer developers that I know will do their best to keep updating products.

Plus it's not like most software plugins are all that expensive compared to a good hardware keyboard.  Omnisphere is the most expensive synth I can think (putting aside big libraries) and even an entry level pro-ish keyboard costs more.

I'd also like to think that progress marches on.  Obviously things like b3 organs and analog synths are a different thing where age can be a good thing :)   You'd think though that a newer synth taking advantage of newer processing--skill in programming being equal--should be "better" or at least as good as the old stuff.   For example I have little doubt that Zebra 3 when it actually comes out is going to impress!   And then talking fx, I think today's software fx sound amazing, and when I first got into software I'm not sure that was the case.   

As far as OS, I'm happy using macs and logic and I'm very glad about the Apple silicon advances (though mine is still intel).  I started on Apple in the late 80s, with Performer and Vision, then digital performer, pro tools and others...but then used Dos and Windows 3.1 sequencers for a long while, into XP (which sucked!).  I use Win10 for work and gaming and my machines are very stable and nice to use.   Personally I have no real loyalty, I just like things to work.  I don't really use features of OSes anyway, they launch the DAW and that's enough!

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2 hours ago, RABid said:

Oh, I would love to have Arturia V collection and Roland Cloud in real hardware. I would also love to have enough disposable income to hire a full time tech to keep it all going.

 

The good news: Your wish is sorta granted. The bad news: It's not being made anymore.

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2 hours ago, RABid said:

Oh, I would love to have Arturia V collection and Roland Cloud in real hardware. I would also love to have enough disposable income to hire a full time tech to keep it all going.

 

That's Synth Overload of a high order. It includes a Synclavier, Fairlight & VCS3. It'd be a dead heat between you going insane on your own or having your tech jump the shark. The cops will be pretty puzzled, wondering how your lungs became filled with Allen screws. 

Well well well, if it isn't the consequences of my own actions.
    ~ from Twitter

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2 hours ago, Stokely said:

Personally I have no real loyalty, I just like things to work.  I don't really use features of OSes anyway, they launch the DAW and that's enough!

 

Bingo. Once you launch your DAW, the OS becomes pretty much insignificant.

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I still have synths from the 1980s. No software app that I know of from that era, still works.

 

I bought my TX81z when I had an Atari/St computer and an "IBM Compatible" computer with DOS 5 and Windows 3.1.

 

I use a power conditioner on stage, and a UPS at home. I believe feeding them power with minimal dips and surges extends the life of my gear.

 

Fortunately, there is more than one right way to make music, and this is my "right way".

 

Insights and incites by Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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