Release a synth with the heart of a PC, and it’s only a matter of time before someone tries to use it like a PC. Sure enough, Korg’s flagship OASYS, with an Intel CPU and a Linux-based OS, has been hacked to run off-the-shelf distributions of Linux and Windows from its CD drive:

Karma Lab Forums – OASYS Runs Knoppix! (via Luca Capozzi’s Synthosium)

The person who did it, Mark Fenkner, apparently performed the task mainly out of curiosity — and to see if he could use his $8,000 keyboard for an occasional email check. The display didn’t quite work on his first try, but the Ethernet port (onboard but unsupported by Korg’s software), and USB keyboard and mouse did, thanks to Linux. (The OASYS normally runs Linux, but the Korg installation is intentionally stripped-down.) WinPE, a bootable Windows install, worked, too. The idea wouldn’t be to play the keyboard under Linux or Windows, but to use it in dual-boot mode.

Useless? Absolutely, since the whole point of the Korg OASYS is so you can use its finally-tuned, music-only features. Still, it’s hard not to admire the hack on its own merits.

For total OASYS geeks, you’ll also be interested to note that Mark thinks Korg hasn’t given up on the unused Ethernet port. Could that mean advanced features in the future? (I’m hoping for OSC support, but I won’t hold my breath.)


Previous OASYS links, including the in-depth story I did for O’Reilly Digital Media,
Inside the OASYS