Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Schiemer, G and Chen, E, Enabling Musical Applications On A Linux Phone, in Proceedings of ACMC09, Improvise, The Australasian Computer Music Conference, Queensland University of Technology, 2-4 July 2009.

Additional Publication Information

The Australasian Computer Music Association provides a forum for Australian and New Zealand composers and researchers with an interest in music technology and computer music. The annual ACMA conference is held in various cities, and publishes peer-reviewed proceedings.


Over the past decade the mobile phone has evolved to become a hardware platform for musical interaction and is increasingly being taken seriously by composers and instrument designers alike. Its gradual evolution has seen improvements in hardware architecture that require al-ternative methods of programming. Dedicated I/O in-struction sets for dealing with the idiosyncracies of vari-ous embedded peripheral devices are gradually being overtaken by I/O control using generic software that behaves more like operating systems developed for mainframe computers over three decades ago. This paper looks at the Neo FreeRunner, an open source mobile phone programmed using Linux. Its attraction as a plat-form for musical instrument development is that many musical applications created using open source cross platform software that once ran only on desktop com-puters can be now run in an embedded environment. The paper documents procedures we used in order to run musical applications effectively in the Neo FreeRunner. Musical motivations for using this platform can also be found in musical instrument development with j2me phones that provided a foundation for the creative work of the first author over the past 4 years.

Link to publisher version (URL)

The Australian Computer Music Association