There’s something to be said for making connections in hardware studios: if you’ve got the cables, you can make it happen. In the world of the computer, it’s another story. The vision of Jack is to make routing audio between software as flexible. As the creators put it:
Have you ever wanted to take the audio output of one piece of software and send it to another? How about taking the output of that same program and send it to two others, then record the result in the first program? If so, JACK may be what you’ve been looking for.
Previously, Jack lived primarily on Linux and Mac. But StÃ©phane Letz’s brilliant jackdmp implementation, which fully supports multiple processors (among other things), is now available on Windows, via StÃ©phane’s hard work. Even the Qjackctl graphical front end gets a port, thanks to Rui Nuno Capela. With all three platforms supported, it’ll be interesting to see what’s next — perhaps more development of netjack, the over-the-network rendition of the idea.
I think it’s also worth mentioning, after all Microsoft’s puffery about “innovation” for musicians in Vista, here’s something genuinely innovative and practically useful for XP and Vista alike. That’s not just to take a slam at Microsoft, either. I hope that these larger companies (all of them) will start to take notice of the value of some of these independent efforts of developers for the larger good. (Developers! Developers! Developers!) For OS development, it means better document your APIs. Be public about changes, earlier and wider. And install these tools, use, and test them.