Revision 1 as of 2005-11-02 19:33:28

Clear message


Better integration of Timidity++ as a official soft synth package in Ubuntu, including "control panel"-style settings for soundfonts (with options to add/remove soundfonts or individual instruments); better playback performance; visual editing of patch mapping; etc.


Soft Synths such as Timidity++ offer great power while working with simple and small music files. Both the MOD and MIDI format offer the potential for high quality playback. To a great extent, the quality of the playback is dictated by the underlying sound fonts supported by the synth. Ubuntu (as of 2005/11) comes with freepats, which is a based on the older GUS format for instrument sounds. There are many problems right now, including:

  • Lack of support for automated playback of MIDI files on the file system;
  • Incomplete support for the GM (General Midi) standard;
  • Timing problems (audio playback in Timidity is a noticeable lagging with the UI);
  • Lack of tools to configure soundfonts, for tasks such as: adding a new soundfont, deleting a soundfont, remapping a sound font, etc.

Use cases

  • MIDI playback while browsing the Web (using Firefox), or in the local file system (using Nautilus);
  • Playback of MIDI Karaoke files (a popular activity in some countries);


  • Development of a official MIDI player (or plugin) for Firefox;
  • Development of a official MIDI player (or plugin) for Nautilus;
  • Development of a "control-panel" style applet to allow installation/removal of SoundFonts;

  • Development of a new 'ubuntu-midi-support' package to install all required packages;
  • Development of a new package with free SoundFonts;

  • Test to eliminate the existing timing issues.
  • Test to guarantee the quality of the individual sound samples, as well as guaranteeing that the tuning and volume level is consistent over all instruments in the system setup.


Most of the work is a matter of integration and using existing features. The Firefox and Nautilus players should integrated seamlessly with both systems. The only totally new piece of software is the Control Panel.


To be written.

Outstanding issues

  • Is the timing problem a Timidity issue, or is it a ALSA/ESD/OSS issue?
  • What is the state of the licenses for the sound fonts currently available? Can we be sure that there is at least one modern SoundFont file available, with sound of good quality?