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Friday Interview #1: HarryHaaren


Hi, and welcome to the first edition of the Friday Interview! I'm very stoked to actually be doing this, as this is something I personally find very interesting. There's a lot of very knowledgable and talented people around our community, but I personally feel like I don't know nearly enough about these great people.

I'm very glad to announce the first participant of this new series, interviewee #1 *drumroll*: HarryHaaren! Lets get started!

Introducing HarryHaaren

Harry van Haaren lives in Co. Clare in the west of Ireland, and is the guy behind OpenAV productions.
He's the author of plugins like Fabla, Sorcer, and several soon-to-be-released software. He is particularly interested in the unique workflow and state of mind of each musician - and how software influences this workflow.
He enjoys jamming, sequencing, and learning about other musician's workflows. Apart from developing software, he likes to surf and sketch cars.
HarryHaaren, outside of ASCII-mode.


Hey HarryHaaren! Thanks for doing this interview. What's your real name, and where are you from?

Hi! I'm Harry van Haaren (I chose the username HarryHaaren for online). I'm originally from the Netherlands, but I've been living in Ireland since '96.  

What's your musical background like? Do you play any instruments? What kind of music do you listen to?

I've always loved music: but finding a teacher that I could learn from proved difficult. I had about 6 guitar lessons when I was 11 or so, and I'm self-taught since then. Primarily playing guitar and piano, although I am practicing some other instruments too!  

When did you get into Linux, and when did you first try using Linux to make music?

The first distro I installed was "Fedora Core 4", which Wikipedia tells me was released in 2005. At the time I didn't use computers for music at all: I guess it was about a year later that I started using computers for music.

HarryHaaren's desktop in idle. Sleek!

OpenAV Productions

OpenAV has caught on quite nicely, and we're lots of people who really appreciate your work. What are you currently working on with OpenAV? Anything new in the works you want to talk about?

Thanks, I'm delighted it is where it is: and hopefully keeps growing in the future! I'm currently in alpha stages of Luppp, a live looping tool. That's the main project going on, although the ArtyFX project is in testing just before announce too. 

OpenAV has a pretty creative and novel system for getting donations for the work you put in. Can you talk about the idea behind the donation system?

The donations system is one unique to OpenAV productions as far as I'm aware: its a balance between developer effort, money and time. It can be summarized as follows (check for details):

  1. I write the software
  2. The source code is released under GPL 1 year after its announced.
  3. You can “buy back” the deadline for release.

The "total" amount of money is set based on the amount of time input to achieve the software. Users and interested people can then contribute to it being released earlier by donating money to the project.

The time element guarantees that even if there is not interest in a particular software, that it is still released even if no donations were made.

I wish to share and contribute to the linux audio community: but I also have bills to pay. I think the above system is a friendly way to promote donations, while also sharing the code even if the money doesn't show up.

Luppp from OpenAV productions in action!


How did the OpenAV donation system come about?

The idea initially occurred when I was writing a lot of software after the LAC 2012. I wrote Fabla and Sorcer during the summer of 2012 (they only got released a year later!).During that summer I was wondering how I should release them, and how I might make a living doing linux audio software.

The current release model went trough a lot of different revisions, with extra rules, things changed etc etc, until this system seems to be the most basic and fully functional system.  

How have the donations been working so far with the OpenAV projects released?

Since May of this year, Sorcer and Fabla have been released under the OpenAV donation system. Both Sorcer and Fabla were set a "target amount" of 120€. Sorcer was funded 9 days after it was announced, while Fabla only took 8 days. I've received some donations "out-of-the-blue" too, so in all I've received about 270€ since May: But read on...

"Sorcer was funded 9 days after it was announced, while Fabla only took 8 days."

I've also been tracking hours spend on OpenAV projects since May: the time data and the money make for an interesting comparison: Since May, I've done a total of 377.6 hours. That time does *not* include, writing the emails for this interview for example. 377 hours is 48 working days: 5 days a week working, that is almost 10 weeks of full-time work!

"Since May, I've done a total of 377.6 hours... I received 0.72€ an hour."

To sum up, based on the numbers as of today: 377 hours, 270€. I received 0.72€ an hour. There are some new projects nearing completion, which would increase the money received. Assuming it takes approx 20 hours, and I get 120€ again, the numbers then stand on 390 hours, 390 euro. That makes it 1€ an hour.

All in all, I'm considering making the "target amount" higher: the logic here being that 1€ an hour is very little. How much higher? I havent decided yet, but welcome community feedback: its about finding a balance between what the community has available to donate, and what time the developer spends on the software.

The time clause is in the release-system for a reason: to ensure the community *will* benefit in the long run: perhaps it will take time, but the software will be released regardless!  

What's next for OpenAV and yourself?

I'm hoping to get doing some live-sets soon: I have some demo sessions created, which I'd like to play to a techie-musician audience to get a reaction, and see what people think of the software / workflow combo.  

Do you have any long term vision for OpenAV?

Yes... I'd love to see an "OpenAV Suite" of software tailored to doing live-performance. I hope that the workflow of the suite would allow the musician get away from "staring-at-the-screen", and push the boundaries of what is possible in terms of live performance.

His own music

What software are you mainly using right now, when you're making music?

Currently I'm using Ardour3, QTractor and LMMS. Add in some LV2 synths and effects, that's mostly it. I hope to start creating more music again soon: currently writing Luppp is on the priorities, so there's not much music made. I do make time for a 4-to-the-floor once in a while: a bit of raw dubstep / DnB is always good right!? ;)  

Are you currently doing any form of musical project yourself? If not, what kind of project would you like to do eventually?

Currently there's a couple of smaller things going on: I was in the studio with Stephen Savage, doing some drum-loop recordings. The sample kit released with Fabla is from that recording session.

Eventually I hope to push the boundaries of live-performance: I have ideas as to how that can be achieved, but nothing that is ready to be . I know pushing the possibilities of live-performance is a pretty big undertaking, but its OK to dream big right?!?

The workstation of HarryHaaren. Where the magic happens!


Final questions

Do you feel that anything is lacking in Linux Audio today? What would you like to see more of?

I think there's a lot of awesome software out there: what is needed in my opinion is to combine the huge variety of software into a set that works together. Building a base of programs like that provides a better user-experience, and allows power users to "just get on with their work" and stop thinking about tools.  

What can users do to contribute to OpenAV? People who can't do coding, what can they help out with instead?

Currently all aspects of OpenAV productions is being run by yours-truly.

  • If you find there time and wish to get involved, making demo-videos, some OpenAV artwork or something else, please get in touch:
  • If you find there is money but no time, then donations can be made to OpenAV:
  • If you find there's no money, and no time, then feel free to use OpenAV software anyway: I'm writing it to be used, please do so without a guilty feeling! Ping me an email of appreciation if you feel like it though :)

Where can people find your work? Both applications and music.

All software is available on the OpenAV website:

The music I'm writing / producing myself is available on my soundcloud page: >

How can people get in touch with you? Do you have a Facebook page, Google+ group or similar for yourself/OpenAV?

To contact me directly, is the best way.

To raise a bug / issue you're having, please go on the project, and file an issue (if one doesn't exist yet). Links to the github pages are found on the project page on  

Aside from your own (;)), what's your favorite free and open source plugin currently?

Difficult choice, but I'll choose the Triple-Oscillator from LMMS. Its currently being ported to LV2... and although its still rough at the edges, I love creating harsh basslines and leads with it :)  

Finally, anything you'd like to add to the interview yourself?

I'd like to add that I feel honored to be part of the linux audio community. There are a huge list of people I'd like to thank for helping me, teaching me, and just asking about the projects : the community that is linux audio : and I'm very happy to be part of it.  

Okay, thank you very much for your time and interest Harry!

That was HarryHaaren of OpenAV productions. Thanks to HarryHaaren for participating, and thank you for reading!

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