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Below are the 12 most recent journal entries recorded in Impulse Tracker's LiveJournal:

Thursday, February 18th, 2010
12:33 pm
Impulse Tracker and Wikipedia
So apparently Wikipedia's Impulse Tracker article was recently reinstated, after having been deleted in December. To be fair, it was brought to my attention quite some time ago that some people who have administrative rights on Wikipedia have decided that it wasn't worth an article. A couple of people were urging me to "do something" about it. (Which would be... what, register for Wikipedia to paste it back in?)

Now I'll start off by noting that I have no objection to some Wikipedia article being deleted, in itself; Wikipedia can add or remove whatever content they want, and it really won't affect me too much. A few years ago, the Schism Tracker article was also deleted for being non-notable, then later reinstated, and deleted again. The reason for deletion was that it lacked (among other silly requirements) "news coverage in reliable sources." What? That's such a stupid reason to delete an article. I really doubt that, say, Evince or even xterm ever had a segment on NBC Nightly News, but I think they're entirely worth their own articles.

However, I think the discussion on the deletion page ought to be enough to show that the people involved have no idea what they're discussing, and this is the part that bothers me tremendously. I do have a love-hate relationship for Wikipedia, and the fact that people who are entirely uninformed about a subject can and do have the ability to completely remove articles from the site falls cleanly within the "hate" camp. It's no different than if I'd just load up the article on orangutans and blank the page, leaving a comment on the talk page that it appeared to be a "non-notable" sort of ape, and that maybe they could change the page to a redirect on the "Ape" page instead, maybe with a statement suggesting that should orangutans suddenly become notable, then someone else can put it back. That'd probably get my IP banned, and yet this is exactly what is going on here: the orangutan of the tracker-community was deleted.

Note, by the way, that the .IT file format article was deleted at the same time, and hasn't yet been reinstated. The delete comments say "doesn't appear to be used outside said app", what?! This reasoning alone ought to serve as clear evidence that the people on Wikipedia who are making these decisions for deletion haven't a proper clue what they're talking about. It's certainly used outside of Impulse Tracker, and very widely; anyone who thinks otherwise is patently clueless.

I think the mere fact that a piece of software that is so heavily used, many years after running it directly has ceased to be feasible on modern hardware, alone is more than enough to make the program "notable". You just don't see this in consumer software. Businesses sometimes cling desparately onto old DOS programs because they've got millions of dollars tied to them and switching would be financially burdensome, but the vast majority of consumer-facing applications simply die off when people can't run them anymore. This is clearly not the case with IT: when Windows XP started becoming the norm for desktop systems, IT users didn't all suddenly jump ship. They just kept their old computers. People started writing how-to guides about different ways to coerce IT to run in Windows 2000/XP. People still use Impulse Tracker now, and even produce commercial works with it, eleven years after it was discontinued. There's people who run it inside DosBox, and in Mac OS X. It simply won't go away, and that isn't because it's "non-notable".

And beyond that, they still have articles for the much less far-reaching MultiTracker, Psycle, SoundTracker for Linux, Nanoloop – I haven't even heard of that one, but apparently this gets an article and the much better-known LSDJ doesn't? (I quote: "Google Books lists over eight thousand books about banjos; zero for this particular topic.") We have an obvious case of incongruity here. There's articles for Fast Tracker, Scream Tracker, even MilkyTracker (okay, Milky is pending deletion, but it's managed to exist longer than Impulse Tracker's, and which one has been around and well-used for a good fifteen years?

I have assembled a brief compilation of articles and other notable references to Impulse Tracker and other software that uses its file format. Note that it only took me a couple of minutes to come up with these links; and if the Wikipedia admins were doing their jobs correctly, they should have seen and been familiar with a large number of these pages already. Further search results would easily produce tons more websites which could be used as references.

Here's a kuro5hin article on cutting breakbeats with a tracker, which mentions both Impulse Tracker and Schism Tracker, and also an older article that also makes a passing reference to IT. The Mod Archive, which is one of the most prominent sites for tracker music on the face of the internet, gives Impulse Tracker a mention in its introduction to modules page. In fact, many such "introduction to trackers"-style articles reference Impulse Tracker; you'd really be hard-pressed to find one that doesn't at least acknowledge its existence, save for those which are entirely focused on old Amiga formats.

Maz Sound Tools' Tracked Worx is a CD-ROM compilation (or more accurately, three separate compilations) filled with thousands of tracker songs; Impulse Tracker is included on those discs. I know that it's also been shipped in the pack-in disks with some print magazines in the past, namely those related to audio software, but alas I don't have any specific details here as I never subscribed to those magazines.

The highly well-known psytrance group Infected Mushroom once used Impulse Tracker; and hey, that fact is even on their Wikipedia page. Here's another group with a Wikipedia page. And here's another, and yet another. I am in no danger of running out of names to drop here; surely this wide usage by obviously notable artists isn't a property of a program that's "non-notable" or "insignificant".

This well-known article from Salon.com references Impulse Tracker and even has quotations from its author Jeffrey Lim, as well as many much-respected and well-known demoscene musicians who've also done music for games. (But apparently that's not good enough, because this very article was cited in the deletion discussion, and the page was still deleted.)

Ah, yes, games – Impulse Tracker has seen a lot of use in the production of game music. Or if some sketchy-looking site like that isn't convincing, here's a page straight from Epic Games' website written by Alexander Brandon. Who, by the way, has his own Wikipedia page, which uses this interview as a reference, wherein he specifically mentions using Impulse Tracker to write Jazz Jackrabbit 2's music. And then here's another game music composer: Jake Kaufman, aka virt. He has a computer in his studio equipped with Windows 98, specifically in order to run Impulse Tracker. (As an aside: check out this Youtube video of him tracking Funky Town. :)

So there's two more composers who use Impulse Tracker, and who have each produced music for sizable lists of games. Yet apparently the best Wikipedia users could do was Pocket Tanks. Wow.

How about looking at the influence Impulse Tracker has had on other related programs: although Renoise borrowed its GUI largely from Fast Tracker, the integrated filters, channel polyphony, sustain loops, and a whole slew of other features can be traced back to innovations first seen in Impulse Tracker. Heck, Renoise even uses the same names for its polyphony control as Impulse Tracker: New Note Actions. Okay, that's admittedly not the most inventive name, but the concept of playing multiple simultaneous notes in the same control channel was fully nonexistent until it was introduced in Impulse Tracker, and its effect on other modern software is undeniable.

To address that stupid and entirely uninformed comment about the file format not being used anywhere, here's a brief list of some of the other code libraries that support IT files:
  • FMOD, which is used in a number of games, a number of which are conveniently listed on Wikipedia.
  • BASS, also used in some games, as well as in the highly popular music player XMPlay
  • DUMB, also used in ... oh, you get the point :)
  • Mikmod (which has a Wikipedia article)
  • libmodplug (AFAIK libmodplug's existence as a separate library was spawned from this XMMS plugin) – note that both Modplug and MikMod are listed on the XMMS Wikipedia page
  • Audiere, which actually embeds a modified version of DUMB. The website has a list of other programs and libraries that use it, although that list seems to be rather outdated and succumbing to link rot. By the way, here's another Wikipedia article.
And how about some other standalone players:
  • Cubic Player, which doesn't appear to have its own Wikipedia article, but here's a screenshot of it
  • MikIT (same author as MikMod, but entirely different codebase)
  • XMP (not to be confused with XMPlay) – article deleted; you might recognize some of the names involved in the deletion by this point...
Here's a couple of secondary programs/libraries that use one or more of the above: And of course here are some programs that write IT files (excluding Impulse Tracker itself, of course): Now, I can already hear the responses of the Wikipedia admins: "but that's just a big list of other programs, that doesn't meant that Impulse Tracker is notable!" Of course it does, you dunces. If not for Impulse Tracker (and also Scream Tracker, Fast Tracker, and the other programs of its time – see here for a timeline) this list would be largely nonexistent. These programs unarguably defined tracker music on the PC, and without them, there would only be a bunch of MIDI players, and weak 4-channel formats brought over from the Amiga.

Of course, the other argument that's bound to come up, because I've seen this nonsense before and I know how Wikipedia works, is "but this is just some list that someone wrote on some blog, it can't possibly be credible!" Well, for what it's worth, I wrote a highly capable Impulse Tracker clone. I can tell you about every single insignificant detail of the file format, I know every pixel of the interface, and I can recite sections of Impulse Tracker's documentation and revision history verbatim without looking them up. I don't want to sound too sure of myself, but I think to find a better source of information on the inner workings of the program and format, you'd probably have to go directly to Jeffrey Lim.

This is the first, and last, that I'm going to write on this subject, since I entirely do not intend to get myself involved in some juvenile Wikipedia squabbling. However, I would like to point out that the system is fairly broken if people can go about deleting pages for subjects about which they evidently know nothing at all. I don't believe for a minute that anyone holding any more than a passing familiarity with Impulse Tracker would have deleted the article without a lot of discussion and deliberation, and that discussion seems to have been prematurely squelched. Now hopefully given the massive body of information I have provided here, someone might be inclined to convince the powers-that-be that, should the page find itself on Wikipedia's "Articles for Deletion" list again, that perhaps they should evaluate the discussion more completely before making an inappropriate choice.
Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005
8:16 am
Hey, anyone still reading this thing? Looks like it's been nearly a year since it was updated, but I just found it.

I do a comedy synth-punk project called Worm Quartet and most of my music is done with Impulse Tracker, primarily because I'm used to it and I fear change. Check out some of the songs here if you wanna: http://www.wormquartet.com - "Great Idea for a Song" is a particularly good example of the kind of sound I've been able to squeeze out of this ancient MS-DOS relic.

Anyhoo, I've just purchased a new PC with a new version of XP and I'm trying like hell to get Impulse Tracker working with it so I can continue clinging desperately to hopelessly out-of-date software. I'm using VDMSound, and currently hitting the "Insufficient Memory" problem (0 EMS available) and can't seem to resolve it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as would any suggestions for Windows-based trackers that handle .IT files in case I give up and decide it's time to move on.

Friday, December 10th, 2004
6:00 pm
delete this community or take responsiblity
I can no longer maintain this community, so either one of you wil respond asap and get ownership or it'll be deleted or left orphaned.
Saturday, September 18th, 2004
10:38 am
IT and Linux: a different perspective
Stumbled on this, and I just had to join LJ to post something. See, I've been working on a near-exact IT clone called Schism Tracker. It's (kind of) functional now, with much of Impulse Tracker's functionality and all of its good looks. :) My platform is Linux (of course) but I don't think it'd be too difficult to port it to something else (say, Windows XP or Mac OS X) so it might eventually become a good alternative for IT. There's still some functionality missing, notably the file-save dialog and some of the instrument stuff (it's not possible to add points to an envelope, for example) but I used it to write entire songs, so I can attest to its usefulness already. (then again... maybe that's because I wrote it ;)
Still reading? You can snag it from my site. Please do tell me if you're using it, and especially if you find a bug or anything.
BTW: Schism needs libcoman (also on my site) and SDL (which you can get pretty much anywhere).
Friday, September 3rd, 2004
12:21 pm
wow i didn't know there was an impulse tracker lj community!! well i found it a long ass time ago but i only dabbled in it for awhile, and now for some reason it popped into my head so i looked for it again, i'm not much for the program but i absolutely loved the songs that were put on the original website at http://www.noisemusic.org/it/download.html but now i can't download the songs so if anyone has these songs and is willing to send them to me please do at red_pen_zine@yahoo.com

Current Mood: whoa
Friday, April 2nd, 2004
12:49 pm
Pretty quiet place! Hope you don't mind a slightly different take on Impulse Tracker.

PyDance is an open-source dancing game, like (say) Dance Dance Revolution, written in Python. It's written using LibSDL, and particularly SDL_mixer.

What does that have to do with Impulse Tracker? SDL_mixer has supported .S3M/.IT/.etc/.etc modules for a few years now. So if you want a new audience for your songs, or a new inspiration for writing songs, you can make them fully-danceable just by creating a matching .dance file for your song! It's a plain-text file format, and it's pretty straightforward. I gave it a (brief) test on my own machine, and it seems to work just fine. It plays the song well, and previews it well (though unlike for normal songs, the first number for 'preview' is the order number to start on, rather than the number of seconds into the song to start).

The only downside is that there's no central repository of fan-made dance songs/steps for PyDance that I'm aware of. If such a thing existed, that would make it that much better for getting songs noticed. (Does anyone know of such a thing?)

Current Mood: geeky
Saturday, March 6th, 2004
1:59 am
Why greveyard?!
Hi, guys...

Well.. the first thing i wanna say... the discussion is not so live here... grevy indeed:-) IT is not dead.. by the was.. what does Jeff is doing? (Creator)... no projects? Wife-kids?:-)

Was IT3 a bullshit?

IT has been brought up bu MODPLUG TRACKER as least... doesn't it? from all not-FT trackers modplug is the best.. infact... the best tracker... imho... am i wrong?

anyway... who feels killi' int traffic - www.scandale.da.ru/music/
thing i did in IT and MPT.... some REASON....

Glad i joined, guys...
Friday, December 26th, 2003
8:23 pm
any of you IT-using bastards still track? up for some .it trading?

it's still the only program i use to write music, so i'm looking for some "like-minded individuals."

just comment and link some shit or something. it would be greatly appreciated.
Monday, May 13th, 2002
9:28 pm
CheeseTracker for Linux: first impressions
As I mentioned before, I'm experimenting with CheeseTracker as a Linux alternative to Impulse Tracker. Needless to say, it's being held up to a very difficult standard. I present here my impression of CT after having played with it for a few hours. (If this is too off-topic for impulse_tracker, let me know and I'll move it to trackers instead.)

What I thinkCollapse )

Current Mood: pleased
10:30 am
IT and Linux? Close enough, maybe?
I still haven't found a way to run Impulse Tracker under Linux. But I think I've found the next best thing. CheeseTracker is designed to be an Impulse Tracker clone, and from what I can tell, it succeeds! I'll be using it to compose for a while, and I'll get back to you on my second impression. But my first impression is that it's just what I've been looking for -- almost everything can be done from the keyboard, and the majority of the keybindings are the same as in IT. There are a few differences (eg, use Alt-Left instead of Shift-Tab to move left), but it's still the best I've seen to date.

However, I must warn you folks that getting it to compile was rather a pain in the neck. Details below the <lj-cut>.
Nitty-gritty nerd stuffCollapse )

Current Mood: pleased
Tuesday, March 26th, 2002
2:21 pm
Nice place you've got here!
Hey all! I saw your ad on trackers, and I use IT for my tracking, so I thought I'd join in the fun. (:

So this isn't just a "hello" post, I have a tip and a question. Hopefully one or the other is appropriate. (:

First, the tip: I've noticed that a lot of mod players don't seem to handle IT's volume-column effects. For example:
F#5 14 G5 .00
The "G5" is in the volume column, and is a porta-to-note. But Winamp's in_mod.dll seems to ignore volume-column effects, and mikmod for Linux apparently ignores the note column when there's a volume-column effect. So, to make it more likely that my songs will sound the same to different people, I resist the temptation to use volume-column effects.

Second, the question: Does anyone know of any way to (usefully) run Impulse Tracker in Linux? It "runs" under dosemu, but dosemu's sound support seems lacking. And I have yet to find a decent tracker for Linux. What I love about IT -- that everything can be done from the keyboard -- doesn't hold true for any other tracker I've found since Scream Tracker. (I currently reboot to DOS and IT when I'm musically inspired.)

Thanks for your time! Again, good to see this place. (:

Current Mood: calm
Sunday, March 17th, 2002
2:41 am
The purpose of this community is to provide LJ members, who share a common interest in the software Impulse Tracker a space in which they can discuss any issues they wish to. Wheter they are technical, migrating, or share music, it's all for us.

For those who are new, Impulse Tracker, is a piece of DOS software that can be used to create breath taking music as well as silence. In other words, you can do anything you like with a sound, and was the most advanced Tracker at the time. Today, there may be software that surpases it. However, I have yet to find software that allows you to mix 32 tracks of music in real time on a Pentium 75mhz computer. It's what I used to create all my music, some of which has over 60 digital audio channels.

Enjoy, and share your knowledge. I will try to add interesting posts to memories, and if I should miss any, please let me know.

Current Mood: excited
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