For program version 0.4.0

1. Introduction

Agordejo (Esperanto: 'place to set things up') is a music production session manager. It is used to start your programs, remember their (JACK) interconnections and make your life easier in general.

You can create a session, or project, add programs to it and then use commands to save, start/stop, hide/show all programs at once, or individually. At a later date you can then re-open the session and continue where you left off.

Agordejo does not re-invent the wheel but instead uses the New-Session-Manager daemon and enhances it with some tricks of its own, that always remain 100% compatible with the original sessions.

2. Preamble

Session Management leads to simplification of workflows, overview and control over programs and data and a good portion of convenience :)

No program exists on its own, because no program can do everything that is necessary for today’s music production.

This is obvious in a JACK environment, which is fundamentally modular: Different programs fulfill different functions and "talk" to each other by sending data to each other. A sequencer sends MIDI to a sampler or synthesizer, which is connected to a plug-in host for effects etc.

Even the most monolithic all-in-one DAWs have to, or want to, eventually connect to the outside world. For example, to connect to a screen recorder or streaming program, include a word processor for recording order or lyrics, or to use a function that is simply not available in the DAW.

Much of the work is already done by the JACK subsystem. All programs can share their music in real time, have synchronized timelines and play in the same tempo.

What remains is the tedious work of always starting all programs, loading project files, connecting audio channels etc. Session management in general (e.g. specifically written starter script files) and Agordejo in particular do this work for you, or at the very least, greatly simplify it.

In contrast to the self-written script mentioned above, you don’t have to decide in advance on a setup, but everything is saved automatically as long as you manage everything through Agordejo.

2.1. Example

  • Start Agordejo (Start menu, terminal etc.)

  • Press the button "Quick New" on the left

  • Now you get a choice of programs:

  • A double single click with the mouse starts a program

  • The program appears as entry in the other column and indicates that it is running

  • To show it’s GUI you probably need to double click on this new entry.

  • The programs "jackpatch" and "nsm-data" were already added automatically.

  • Audio and midi ports can now be connected together in a patchbay. The connections are stored in Agordejo.

  • The name of the session so far is simply a date. Through the menu you can enter a real name. Like "My song"

  • If you are finished you can return to the session selection by using the menus "Save and Close"

  • Now Agordejo could be closed itself.

  • All stored data is in a single directory on the hard disk (~/.local/share/nms/My Song)

  • The session can be resumed: After double clicking on the name, all programs start automatically and connect their JACK ports to among themselves.

3. Full Explanation

3.1. Selecting a Session

Sessions are displayed as a table, which you sort by clicking on a column header. Here is shown how the session is called and when it was saved the last time, probably the two most important pieces of information. Also shown is how many programs/clients are in the session and whether it contains symbolic links. The latter is probably set to "Yes" if use a sampler, or similar, that contains large audio files. These are initially only linked into the session, and not copied, to save disk space. The displayed disk space usage is not the actual one, but includes the sizes of symlink-targets. Only when you archive the session or replace the links with real files the number becomes correct.

Finally, the directory in which the files are actually stored is also given.

Sessions represent the directory tree. A session is always a "leaf" and cannot include subsessions. When creating or renaming sessions, you can also arrange them in the tree by using the usual slash notation: song123New album/song 123 or Test/asdfRomantic pop ballads/My heart will keep beating. How to organize your sessions and how many subdirectories you create is up to you. It is, however, not allowed to start the name with / or use the special characters ... The tree view can be deactivated by a checkbox on the left side, e.g. to be able to sort them. This is just a view, your data remains untouched.

Each session has a context menu (e.g. right mouse button) with further options: You can choose to rename a session, delete it (including all associated files on the hard disk!) and more. These functions are equivalent to your file manager. If you like, you can also use your file manager to rename, move, or delete the session directories themselves (unless they are is currently open). You don’t need to restart Agordejo to do this, it will respond to the changes while running.

Click on "New session" to create one. In contrast to the quick view, you must enter the name directly . As mentioned above, you can use the directory tree. In addition, there are several (almost obligatory) programs suggested to start with. Normally one should accept all suggestions. There is always the option to remove them later.

A double click on an existing session (or the "Load Selected" button) does just that.

3.2. In a Session

The view is divided into three areas: Program starter, programs in the current session and the session notes. There is also a dynamic menu.

On the left side you see the program starter. A double-click starts a program instance in this session. You can also start a program more than once. For available programs please refer to the chapter "Program Database".

3.2.1. Running Programs

Started programs are located on the right side. A double-click switches the visibility to hide its window if the program supports it. If not, nothing happens.

The following information is available per program:

  • The name (possibly with icon)

  • A "label" that programs can use freely (e.g. Fluajho shows the loaded .sf2 here)

  • The program status

  • Stopped , not running

  • Ready, running

  • Launch, If the status halts here but the programs works, it is one that does not specifically support session mode. Agordejo cannot know if it is already running or not. Everything is fine! :)

  • Other states are only transitions and usually only visible for a very short time, e.g. Open / Loading

  • Visibility (A cross for visible, blank for invisible)

  • Changes - Are there currently unsaved changes?

  • ID - A unique identifier that can be used to distinguish between multiple instances of the same program

All other functions are accessible via the menu or context menu. One click on a program selects it, and the client menu in the menu bar will now apply to the client. Alternatively, you can right-click on an entry for a context menu, which is identical to the menu.

In addition to self-explanatory functions there are also:

  • Rename gives the program a self-chosen name, mostly to make its purpose clear and to distinguish it better from others. This feature is only available when 'nsm-data' is running in the session.

  • Save only tells this program to save

  • Remove takes the program out of the session. However, no files are deleted in the process. At the moment you have to "clean up" in your file manager by hand.

If the client "nsm-data" is in the session (this is the default setting) the lower area provides a large text field for notes. It is the same as in the quick view. Write what you want: TODO lists, lyrics, credits and sources from external Samples etc.

3.2.2. The Session Menu

In contrast to the quick view, full mode offers menus, which can also be accessed via the usual keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+S for saving etc.).

  • Save instructs all programs to save, the session continues to run

  • Save and Close ends the session, after all programs saved

  • Abort ends the session without saving the programs

  • Save As saves the session under a different name and closes the current session without saving. From now on you work under the new name.

  • Add Client offers the option to add any program, whether it is in the program database or not.

  • Any installed programs are suggested. Agordejo doesn’t check them for usefulness for a music session, or even for runnability. You will find ls here as well as agordejo itself.

4. Program-Database

Agordejos launcher is based on a program database, which is partly self-generated, partly maintained by hand. As in a start menu Agordejo will offer you only programs that are actually installed on your system.

The database is created at the first start. Depending on your system, this can take some moments to a few minutes.

If you are reinstalling or uninstalling audio programs, you will need to update the database via the command in the control menu. Program installations and system changes are even possible while Agordejo is running (even in a session). After a DB update you can immediately access all new programs.

If you do not see an installed program in our launcher, but you are sure that it supports session management please report it to info@laborejo.org or under https://laborejo.org/bugs .

In addition, you can add (in full view) programs that are not in the database.

4.1. For advanced users

The strict rule is that only programs in the $PATH are included in the database. Absolutel paths are not allowed, even if you enter the program name yourself through the menu. However sometimes you just want to try out software, or you are a developer yourself and want to test without system-wide installation.

In the control menu / settings is a tab "Program-PATH", where you can define and add your own search paths. One absolute directory path per line, no wildcards, trailing slash don’t matter.

For example: /home/myuser/sources/newsequencer/bin/

These search paths are not stored in the session, but locally in your ~/.config directory.

5. Tray

Agordejo has a tray icon, if your window manager supports it. A click on the trayicon shows or hides Agordejo.

If you close Agordejo using the normal window manager function, such as a click on the [X], the program and the session is not terminated, but minimized to the tray.

A right click on the icon gives you access to common functions:

You can directly start the most recently used sessions.

If a session is already running you can save, cancel etc.

Agordejo can also be completely exited here.

6. Program parameters

As an advanced user, you can start Agordejo in the terminal and add some parameters.. For a complete list please use the --help parameter.

For example:

  • --session newAlbum/mySong starts the given session.

  • --continue starts the last active session.

  • --hide starts Agordejo as TrayIcon.

  • --url osc.udp://myhost.localdomain:14294/ connects to this server, if available, or starts the internal session server at this address. This is a very technical option and probably not needed.

  • --session-root /home/user/production2030 sets the root directory. Only sessions in this directory are displayed, everything is stored here.

The combination of --continue and --hide is essentially what many people expect from Session Management: Resuming at the previous state, without any extra windows in their way. If your system uses a start menu you will find not only the normal Agordejo starter but also "Agordejo Continue" to start this mode directly.

7. Miscellaneous / Explanations / FAQ

Session Save and Exit responds slowly: Agordejo is not a standalone program like an word processor. The participating programs in the session are not plugins either. When you end the session a signal is sent to all participating client to save. This may take a few moments where you are able to see "live" how individual programs terminate and disappear from the session. Everything is fine.

I have added a program but it does not save with the session: Does the program support session management? If not, Agordejo cannot do much. But you can ask the program developers to contact us (info@laborejo.org) and we can work together on support.

The programs hang on exit: Sorry about that. Actually, the programs themselves are to blame, but we are also interested in improving the situation by offering at least an emergency solution in the future.

Agordejo won’t start! I start the program but I can’t see anything: Most likely Agordejo is running, but invisible, because you exited it from the tray last time. Is it in the tray? A message should have popped up, maybe you missed it. If there is no tray in your window manager, the program should always be visible. With all these special window managers in Linux it may be that the tray detection did not work properly. Contingency plan is to delete ~/.config/LaborejoSoftwareSuite/agordejo. This will NOT remove any sessions, but only local settings such as the visibility of the program window. At next start Agordejo will behave like the very first start.

JACK crashed. A lot of programs hang. What can I do to prevent data loss? Probably already many programs in the session are not running properly and are not reacting anymore. The best thing to do is to use the 'Abort Session' function and restart everything. If the data has actually been unsaved for a long time, you can also dare to save/exit. It may be necessary to re-draw some jack, or all, jack connections by hand at the next start. If you want to be on the safe side, you can manually make a copy of the session directory in your file manager before ending the session (with inevitable crashes).

A program update broke my session because it can no longer load its files. Unfortunately, this is a problem that even Agordejo can’t solve. It also happens with LV2 plugins and with all other software, such as office programs. If you fear that a program becomes incompatible in the future, write down its version number in the session notes, so that you can at least, in an emergency, reinstall the old program version (even if this is very is cumbersome).

What’s better? Monolithic DAW or session management? Why not both? There is no conflict. Session management is worthwhile with two or more participating programs, which one needs almost always.

You should not feel compelled to suddenly make everything modular with individual programs, only because you use a session manager. Agordejo is designed to make your music production easier. If it is faster and more comfortable to manage all plugins and effects e.g. in a single "Carla" instance then you should do exactly that. If you basically want to do everything in Ardour, do that, but start Ardour anyway in session management, because no program can do everything alone and the time will come where you add a second one.

Session management is another level of hierarchy. Sequencers or DAWs are not plug-ins themselves. Patroneo does not belong "in" Ardour and Ardour does not belong "in" Laborejo. Already in this example each of the programs fulfils a different role because the others follow a different design philosophy and cannot ever offer the same workflow. And more:

Some programs can’t host plugins, some can’t export audio files. They are not bad programs, but programs that concentrate on one task. Furthermore, there is a lot of software that does not directly do music production, but still is connected in the grander scheme: Open Broadcast Studio (OBS), music player, word processors and graphic programs etc.

Agordejo contains functionality which is not within its scope: Music production is very complex and complexity is inevitable. It’s like a waterbed: if you press down on one side, something bounces up in another place. When you create a "clean and lean" program, which therefore implements only a part of the complete workflow, then the missing part pops up somewhere else. A minimalistic session manager provokes plug-ins (not LV2), helper-scripts, workarounds and hacks.

E.g. not to include file management provokes user errors like deleting the wrong files. If the SM knows what to do and it can do it, then let it do it. Or crashes: Technically, crashing programs are not the "problem" of the session managers, but they are part of the software reality. Crashes happen every day and need to be handled. Can Agordejo simplify the work and help to restore good conditions again? Then that should be done. Session management is also an opportunity to simplify even complex technical scenarios, e.g. distributing sessions over the network.

8. Installation and Start

Agordejo is exclusive for Linux. The best way to install is to use your package manager. If it is not there, or only in an outdated version, please ask your Linux distribution to provide a recent version.

If not available in the package repository you can build Agordejo yourself.

Build and Install
  • Please check the supplied README.md for dependencies.

  • You can download a release or clone the git version

  • Change into the new directory and use these commands:

  • ./configure --prefix=/usr

    • The default prefix is /usr/local

  • make

  • sudo make install

Now the program is available to run via your menu/launcher or agordejo in a terminal.

Please read README.md for other ways of starting agordejo, which are impractical for actual use but can be helpful for testing and development.

9. Help and Development

You can help Agordejo in several ways: Testing and reporting errors, translating, marketing, support, programming and more.

9.1. Testing and Reporting Errors

If you find a bug in the program (or it runs too slow) please contact us in a way that suits you best. We are thankful for any help.

How to contact us

9.2. Programming

If you want to do some programming and don’t know where to start please get in contact with us directly. The short version is: clone the git, change the code, create a git patch or point me to your public git.

9.3. Translations

Agordejo is very easy to translate with the help of the Qt-Toolchain, without any need for programming. The easiest way is to contact the developers and they will setup the new language.

However, here are the complete instructions for doing a translation completely on your own and integrating it into the program.

You can add a new language like this:

  • Open a terminal and navigate to qtgui/resources/translations

  • Edit the file config.pro with a text editor

    • Append the name of your language in the last line, in the form XY.ts, where XY is the language code.

    • Make sure to leave a space between the individual languages entries.

  • Run sh update.sh in the same directory

    • The program has now generated a new .ts file in the same directory.

  • Start Qt Linguist with linguist-qt5 (may be named differently) and open your newly generated file

  • Select your "Target Language" and use the program to create a translation

  • Send us the .ts file, such as by e-mail to info@laborejo.org

You can also incorporate the translation into Agordejo for testing purposes. This requires rudimentary Python knowledge.

  • Run the "Release" option in QtLinguists "File" menu. It creates a .qm file in the same directory as your .ts file.

  • Edit qtgui/resources/resources.qrc and duplicate the line <file>translations/de.qm</file> but change it to your new .qm file.

  • run sh buildresources.sh

  • Edit engine/config.py: add your language to the line that begins with "supportedLanguages" like this: {"German": "de.qm", "Esperanto: "eo.qm"}

    • To find out your language string (German, Esperanto etc.) open the python3 interpreter in a terminal and run the following command:

    • from PyQt5 import QtCore;QtCore.QLocale().languageToString(QtCore.QLocale().language())

To test the new translation you can either run the program normally, if your system is set to that language. Alternatively start agordejo via the terminal:

  • LANGUAGE=de_DE.UTF-8 ./agordejo -V --save /dev/null