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General Discussion: Important Announcement from Eigenlabs

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written by: cellular_model


Thank you very much for your response.

I guess, it's just those ten thousands hours of practice that are missing.


written by: john

Sat, 12 Jan 2013 15:42:16 +0000 GMT

Dear All

This is an announcement of some major changes that will be happening at Eigenlabs over the next few months. These changes are very significant, I hope in a good way, and will affect every Eigenharp player in time. They bring a number of opportunities to us all as well as some new challenges.

The first change is the formation of a new, non-profit organisation, The Eigen Foundation. This will take over the development of the EigenD system and have a mission to further the playing experience for you all, promote the continuing improvement of EigenD and to advance the performance of music using electronic instruments in general. It will have remit beyond the Eigenharps to facilitate the development of expressive performance using computer based musical software and hardware and it will promote open standards for the communication between such systems with a specific goal of assisting in the creation of a new network protocol for musical performance, something badly needed by us all and as yet unrealised.

It will also have an educational mission, to get young musicians playing expressive electronic instruments. I personally think that this part of its activities may be the most important thing it will do, in time. It's no good having all this marvellous technology if no one knows how to play it, and we need to start introducing young people to it as their first instrument.

It will be regulated by the Charity Commission of England and Wales, as is normal with such organisations.

The full current EigenD, Stage and Workbench software source code will be donated to the foundation by the shareholders of Eigenlabs and will become freely available as a combined system to all users. Over time it is probable that both Stage and Workbench source code will also be released under the same GPLv3 licence as core EigenD. This software will form the core of the foundation's efforts to improve live musical performance and we will actively work on broadening support beyond the Eigenharps to other interfaces, including many of the exciting new instruments now being made.

The formation of the foundation has just been set in motion and we will be seeking suitable trustees and volunteers to run it over the next few months. I will be one of the founding trustees and will be making an initial donation to the foundation to get it up and running and to cover initial continuing work on EigenD. The current software team will continue to work on EigenD in a freelance capacity as far as resources permit, which means at a reduced rate compared to development over the last three years initially, but should things go well this can change to suit circumstances and finances. This whole process will take several months to complete.

We are also considering the future of the Eigenharps themselves. Eigenlabs continues to make these (a new Tau build has just started for example) and we may also transfer this business to the foundation in time, should it seem to be appropriate, although it is presently too early to be able to give any further information on this to you. It will depend on a number of circumstances, not least the amount of community support and help that comes about for the new foundation. I will keep you all posted as to developments in this area.

I'd finally like to say that I think this may be a very positive development for EigenD and the Eigenharp players that use it. I think that it has become steadily more obvious that it would make a much better community project than one owned by a company and thanks to the generosity of my fellow shareholders we are now able to make this a reality. I will continue to be actively involved in the future, but it is also now genuinely and fully open to you all to get involved, to contribute and to benefit directly from that activity. With some work, some help from you all and a following wind we can make this foundation a powerful force to improve the live performance of computer based music in the world.

John Lambert


When will this happen?

The setup of a foundation usually takes several months to get approved by the Charity Commission, so at least that. There are a lot of details yet to be determined, such as the full board of trustees, so it may take longer. We will keep you posted.

I've just bought EigenD and now you're going to release it for free, can I have my money back?

No. Thank you for your support, but any funds returned to you will simply reduce the amount of funds available for the setup of the foundation and make future software development more difficult. You lose absolutely nothing in this change. The only thing you have to put up with is watching others who didn't buy EigenD in the last six months get the benefit of it when it becomes free. This may be annoying but you will be no worse off.

What's happening with Eigenlabs?

Eigenharps are still being made by Eigenlabs, please see above.

Can I be a trustee or volunteer some help?

We're looking for just those people right now, please write to me directly, I'd love to hear from you. If you have suggestions for a trustee, we'd like to hear those too, but please make them directly rather than on the forum if you can as we don't want to cause any embarrassment to anyone who can't do it.

Will I be able to donate to the trust to help it in it's work?

Yes you will when it is formally established, and it will have (if approved by the Commission) the normal generous UK tax breaks for such donations.

Is this all totally certain?

No, because all new charities must first be approved by the Charity Commison of England and Wales, which has yet to happen. This process can take some time, see above.

When exactly will EigenD become free?

Probably in the couple of months, but it may take a little longer.

written by: NothanUmber

Sat, 12 Jan 2013 17:06:41 +0000 GMT

Thanks John and all the shareholders for giving EigenD this chance to live on. This is a very valuable gift you provide us there and I really appreciate it!

It would have been nice to see a few more years of full time development driven by this very gifted team of people that work at Eigenlabs. Nice as long as it lasted! Wishing them all the best, with your capabilities it shouldn't be difficult to find another source of main income.

I have to be careful with promises (While my job is "being pragmatic" my biggest hobby is definitely perfectioning ideas - so many things never make it outside my mind...).
But I can say one thing: I will definitely help the open source dev team to keep EigenD running on at least one current operating system I am personally using as long as at least one of my Eigenharps still works. Eigenharp players should be able to continue to use their instrument with new computers as long as USB exists.

All the best,

written by: dhjdhj

Sat, 12 Jan 2013 23:13:13 +0000 GMT


written by: jaself

Sun, 13 Jan 2013 03:14:44 +0000 GMT

Wow, Indeed!

However this works out, I just want to say Thank You Eigenlabs for all the effort and imagination that you have put into developing Eigenharps and EigenD and pushing the boundaries of electronic musical instruments.

written by: astronota

Sun, 13 Jan 2013 13:34:42 +0000 GMT

Quoting Armstrong, I would say: "That's one small step for Eigenlabs, one giant leap for Eigenharps."
And we are all part of it.
That's wonderful
Thank You John and Eigenlabs

written by: TheTechnobear

Sun, 13 Jan 2013 14:13:06 +0000 GMT

An interesting development and potentially a very exciting direction for both eigenharps and expressive electronic instruments generally. I hope the foundation does well, and wish success in the future to all those involved in eigenlabs.

written by: vanMeerdervoort

Mon, 14 Jan 2013 16:50:15 +0000 GMT


written by: stuwyatt

Sat, 19 Jan 2013 23:13:52 +0000 GMT

This is great news. My 6 months of EigenD Pro is coming to an end soon ;)

written by: MiiMCorp

Sun, 7 Apr 2013 02:03:08 +0100 BST

Any information on the timeline ?

Thanks for all you have done

written by: Bjoern

Thu, 16 May 2013 11:26:37 +0100 BST


I am also wondering about the timeline for the software release (like I am sure lots of people are)!

An update would be greatly appreciated!

written by: MarkPowell

Thu, 16 May 2013 23:28:06 +0100 BST

I agree; even if it's just 'we're still working on it, but bear with us', it'd be reassuring to know that the whole thing hasn't bitten the dust. I know that John said it may take a while, but the deafening silence is making me nervous and I'm sure I'm not alone.


written by: MiiMCorp

Fri, 17 May 2013 18:08:43 +0100 BST

You are not alone ;-)

written by: whitetree

Sat, 18 May 2013 01:16:10 +0100 BST

I've just recieved my first eigenharp, used- and effectively cant play it at all without the software. I would be very grateful if a timeline was established so I could decide whether to wait for the foundation software release or to buy a subscription.

written by: TheTechnobear

Sun, 19 May 2013 13:46:46 +0100 BST

@mark , I think we would all like an update given its been 5 months since the announcement, and very little activity here.

@whitetree, 1.4 is available free so you could use that for the time being. so dont think its quite fair to say its unusable.

But I will grant if you dont have 2.0, and need workbench (which most people do, if they want to amend configuration) then this not an ideal situation.

Not sure its worth buying, as the price is a 'subscription'...
"Buying EigenD gives you access to unlimited updates for the update period you have purchased, including the current Experimental and Testing versions of the software"

since the announcement we have not seen any updates (even 2.0.74 before was just setup) , given we are seeing nothing happening here, I doubt we will get any further updates. im hoping though 2.1 could be released as a experimental release?!

perhaps Eigenlabs, should change the EigenD software wording and remove the subscription element? perhaps consider selling as a one-off reduced price purchase whilst the foundation is being setup?

Anyway, lets hope we get an update soon, pretty important to keep the community alive ... and so we can move the software onwards

written by: MarkPowell

Wed, 26 Jun 2013 19:23:36 +0100 BST

Well, another six weeks and still nothing; any progress or is this essentially dead in the water?

written by: john

Thu, 27 Jun 2013 13:34:35 +0100 BST

Hi Mark

This is still happening, and there will be an announcement at some point in the next few months. Progress has been very slow as it relies upon me doing a pile of paperwork, which I hate, plus the fact that I took a long break this last winter and spring from all things Eigenharp related. After twelve years of full on work I felt the need to do something else for a bit, so I spent the winter learning to pattern weld in my forge, making some furniture in the woodshop and hunting on my horse. It was very nice and good for the spirit, but not enormously productive for the proposed Eigenharp Foundation.

I was, oddly enough, just staring at a voluminous Charities Commission document when you posted, so I am finally starting to get to grips with it. The paperwork is a dull as dull can get though, so I'm having to ration myself or else I will probably injure someone in a fit of rage. It also has to be right, so I can't just fluff through it without full understanding which makes things considerably slower. I will, when there is progress worth reporting, let you all know. In the meantime please be patient - the formation of the foundation is meant to both ensure the long term future of the Eigenharps and EigenD as well as enhancing the scope of their use and their educational mission. In reality little will change to start with, and anyone who is waiting on the formation for some reason can contact me directly and get the ball rolling on their project right now if they wish anyway, we can always figure out a way to make things happen.

There is a pending new release of EigenD with some important bugfixes btw, should be out in the next week or two.


written by: MarkPowell

Thu, 27 Jun 2013 23:25:43 +0100 BST

Thanks for taking the time for such a comprehensive reply John. I'm glad to see things are still moving on. I was getting nervous when you'd been around on the forum, but maintaining 'radio silence' on this thread.

Your mention of the new release essentially leads me on to my biggest short-term concern. My subscription to EigenD Pro lapsed in February, but I'm obviously not going to re-subscribe as a result of the announcements that you made in January. Does this mean that I, and others in a similar situation will be unable to access this release? We're kind of in a 'no man's land' at the moment

written by: john

Fri, 28 Jun 2013 09:11:07 +0100 BST

Dear Mark

Please don't take this the wrong way, but I do feel it needs to be said.

If anyone is waiting on the formation of the foundation so that they might save money and not have to pay for any future software updates, they have pretty much missed the point. The purpose of the foundation will not be to subsidise Eigenharp players and the amount currently asked for software by the commercial company Eigenlabs Ltd does not cover the costs of producing it by quite some way, I personally subsidise this activity out of my own pocket at present, and it is not a minor expense. Any additional money I put in at this point in time is just money that the foundation won't have in the future, so when you pay for software at present you can just consider it an early contribution . It lacks the tax advantages of a contribution to charity, which the charity normally keeps via gift aid, but apart from that it's effectively the same. Neither I of the other shareholders are going to be going on holiday with it, we have never drawn salary, dividend or any other benefit from Eigenlabs in its entire twelve years, the very opposite in fact. Eigenlabs is already effectively a 'not for profit' and changes to a charitable foundation are really about increasing community involvement and improving tax advantages, not about any seismic shifts in reality.

The ambition of the trust is to increase the work going on in software in time, as well as encouraging and fostering the open source effort, which Eigenlabs as a company has already put considerable resources into. This will take cash, and I would expect, quite reasonably I think, existing Eigenharp players to amongst the contributors to this need. We will be looking for other sources of funding as well, but it's the small contributions from many people that make things possible in reality, and a charity that benefits from many private contributions also has a much better moral weight when raising institutional finance.

In short, if anyone is waiting for the foundation to be created so that they can get EigenD without putting up some money then I would ask you to seriously consider your position for a moment. If everyone thinks like that, there will be no foundation, it simply cannot be done. We do not yet know the model for EigenD in the future, it may well be completely free with a requested contribution (though the 'yipee it'll be free' tenor of some comments I've read puts me off this I have to say), it may stay as partly free, partly purchased model. Whatever we do, the current contribution from software fees is just a small part of what must be raised every year, and if that's going to dry up completely then this bodes very, very poorly for the foundation - if players aren't going to feel able to contribute fiscally in the future then how on earth can we expect anyone else to? This is not about saving everyone some money, it's about a different future.

So in summary, if you're avoiding buying EigenD because you'd like to wait until the foundation is created and it might be free, then think about that for a moment. What are you doing? You are certainly not helping it's creation, the very opposite in fact.


written by: carvingCode

Fri, 28 Jun 2013 14:09:21 +0100 BST

After reading John's post, I have made sure my EigenD subscription renewal option is turned on. I had set it to off awhile ago, being unsure how things would pan out. But John has made it clear that players really do need to continue financial support of the company. I understand this and will continue to do what I can.


written by: BobThDog

Fri, 28 Jun 2013 14:31:43 +0100 BST

Well for some of us who have a buggy and crashing version 1 that makes the instrument useless and have held of paying more money on a version 2 in the vague hope that version 2 doesn't crash constantly a free upgrade would be nice just to see if it works!

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