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Who made this?

Non is the work of Jonathan Moore Liles. He can be contacted via email at male at

What does freedom have to do with this software?

Non is free software. This means, briefly, that you are free use it as you wish, free to examine and adapt the source code, free to share it with your friends, and free to publish your changes to the source code. Furthermore, Non is copyleft, which means that you are free from the threat of some other entity taking over and denying you the above freedoms. The free part of free software doesn't refer to price any more than the free in free speech does.

To learn why free software is so important to us (and why it should be important to you), please see the Free Software Foundation's website:

What is Free Software?

What is Copyleft?

Why don't you provide OS X or Windows binaries?

I don't have those systems, or the time or motivation to support them.

Why doesn't Non come packaged with my favorite GNU/Linux distribution?

That's a good question. Packaging for distribution is a task left to users and maintainers of the various GNU/Linux distributions. Usually, the first step toward getting something packaged is to submit a request to the distribution's issue tracker (or chime in on an existing issue).That being said, Non is already packaged by several multimedia oriented distributions--you might consider using one of them.

Why can't NSM support every session management protocol that ever existed?

Simple: Pudding + Crap = Crap Pudding. NSM was invented to get away from the deep architectural problems of all the extant and nacent session management schemes in the Linux Audio world. In order for NSM to support Jack Session, LASH, etc. clients, it basically means lowering the bar on data portability, integrity, and stability. Is that what you really want? A better solution is to add NSM support to applications that need it.

What happend to Non-DAW?

The name Non-DAW was really meant to encompass the entire project. Applying it to one component resulted in uneccessary confusion (the concept of a modular DAW being sufficiently novel in itself to bewilder journalists). The application that was Non DAW is henceforth known as Non Timeline.

Do I need to use all of the Non suite even if I only want to use one part?

Absolutely not. Non was designed to be completely modular. Users who need a live mixer may utilize Non Mixer by itself. Users who only need a session manager may use NSM. The freedom to choose is yours.

What is a DAW?

The acronym DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation. Of course, Non is software, so when we say DAW we imply a purely software based system. A DAW is used by modern studio engineers to record and arrange multi-track sessions of different musicians into a single song. Perhaps a more noble use of a DAW, and the one for which Non was specifically written, is to provide the mutli-instrumentalist individual with all the software necessary to quickly and conveniently record and arrange his compositions and produce a professional quality result.

In this author's opinion, a DAW comprises the following functionality:

  • Non-linear, non-destructive arrangement of (portions of) audio clips.
  • Tempo and time signature mapping, with editing operations being closely aligned to this map.

Since Non uses JACK for I/O, some things traditionally considered to be within the scope of a monolithic DAW can be pared out into JACK and Non Mixer:

  • Signal routing
  • Audio mixing
  • Hosting of effects (DSP plugins)

Why write another one?

First and foremost, since our goal is to have a free and open system, we can disregard all non-free DAWs. This excludes virtually every other DAW in existence. Secondly, we require a DAW that runs on the GNU/Linux operating system in conjunction with other free software, such as the JACK Audio Connection Kit, in a modular and cooperative manner. Finally, we require a program that is powerful, fast, and reliable. No other software meets these requirements.

The design of Non differs substantially from others. This is a good thing; for a clone of a bad design is doomed from the start.

There is only one other DAW that is capable and free software, and its name is Ardour. Suffice it to say that the architecture of Ardour is incompatible with the requirements of speed and reliability. Other DAW-like free software programs, including Traverso and QTractor, are similarly limited (being of similar design), but suffer the additional burden of cumbersome legacy ALSA support and very a limited feature set.

Given these options, I had little choice but to start from scratch, this time on a solid foundation, rather than attempting (in vain) to shoehorn good design into an existing code base.

Why does Non Mixer sometimes max out my CPU?

It's not Non Mixer! It's one of the plugins you've loaded. It's probably sensitive to silence as input--or the plugin could simply be poorly written. It's somewhat of a complex issue, but it can usually be fixed by recompiling the plugins with the appropriate options for your CPU. For a full explanation, see Denormals.

Should I use JACK1 or JACK2?

There's no reason to use JACK1. JACK2 provides a better user experience and performs better on multi-core/multi cpu systems. Use JACK2.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License