Has anybody tried or heard of somebody else implementing a full Digital Audio Workstation in Pure Data?
I've been searching for an open source alternative to Ableton Live, Reason, FL Studio, etc. They're just too expensive for most beginning musicians. Also sharing the results with other people can be challenging. One can share a rendered audio or stems but it's not the same as being able to tweak all synths and effects. So if someone doesn't own a license to your specific DAW, they have to bother with trials (which can be limited by time, functionality, saving capabilities, etc). It's also usually hard to customize proprietary software as much as open source software. Need support for your DIY controller? Want custom visualizations? Want to play with other musicians over the internet? Want to slightly change behavior of one knob or automate some routine tasks? Usually you're out of luck or have to jump through lots of hoops. And finally, most of your work and knowledge are locked into a single proprietary ecosystem. If you spent years learning every nook and cranny of a DAW, switching to a different one can be quite challenging (you'll get frustrated with things that don't work as you expect, you'll interrupt your creative flow to deal with technical details). But it can happen: in 10 years the company may go out of business.
The world needs free open source music making software that everybody can use! It should be modular and highly reusable. I envision a central database of namespaced abstraction libraries that allows you to specify a library using "namespace/library-name" and it'll automatically get downloaded and installed, making all synths/effects/plugins instantly available in the DAW (as long as they conform to a certain specification).
I tried Ardour but it has some disadvantages. There's no support for Windows. The interface is often counter-intuitive and buggy. And out of the box it can't do much, a lot of the functionality (synths, effects) is supposed to be provided in plugins. But how do I create a plugin? I found no good tutorials on writing a LADSPA or other kind of plugin in Pure Data. One can use JACK for routing audio but connecting the outputs quickly becomes a crazy task when you have multiple tracks that need to be routed to multiple effects and back. User needs to often switch from Ardour to Jack Pilot to Pure Data which is very inconvenient, not to mention the absence of state saving. And if I wanted to customize something inside Ardour, I'd probably have to dig into the C++ sources and then recompile the whole project with all dependencies.
Recently I learned about Pure Data and I am very excited! Free, open source, cross-platform, extremely customizable, supports live coding (even over the net), supports lots of hardware, visualizations, etc. Huge number of projects are using it. However, I see a bunch of things that still haven't been figured out. There's no prevailing standard for creating abstractions that addresses state saving, GUI controls automation and easy pairing with hardware MIDI controls, easy access to mixer, metronome, etc. There's lots of really good patches and libraries out there but they're are usually not very easy to reuse (you usually need to tweak them according to how your project is set up instead of simple plug-n-play).
So far it seems to me that Pure Data has all the pieces of the puzzle, somebody just needs to make it happen. But first I'd like to your opinion guys! Thanks for reading to the end of this wall of text by the way!