Hans-Christoph Steiner: Pure Data and its community

August 22, 2009 by nicolas, tagged programming and art_and_code, filed under commentary

Hans-Christoph Steiner is yet again presenting a visual programming environment historically related to MAX/MSP: Pure Data.

Compared to his two counterparts (S.Oschatz, L.Dubois) H.C. Steiner shows a great deal of enthusiasm especially in the first half of his presentation.

His live examples are more sophisticated and give a better sense of the usage of PD.

What he communicates on the community itself is different from his counterparts: Sharing programs and distributing them seems more common within the Pure Data community than the VVVV and MAX community. This may be solely due to PD itself being Free Software¹.

One interesting piece of his presentation was a praise and critic of the Free Software concept itself, praising its concept for the right it gives to users and criticising its implementations in that the complexity of software systems and languages nowadays builds a high barrier of entry to any user willing to contribute.

After he’s seen examples such as netpd, a server to share pd patches over the network entirely built in PD itself, his opinion seems to be that visual languages can, on their own be legitimately used to create applications. And that their ease of access let them answer the question of improving software literacy (everybody read and write software) asked in Golan Levin’s introduction.

¹ MAX, VVVV and PD may be almost alike, their users have developed different traditions, and there lies different goals and practices. Analyzing a programming language or environment needs to take into account both its objective qualities and also the traditions of its user base.