Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Music It's funny.  Laugh. Idle Linux

Band Releases Album As Linux Kernel Module 128

Posted by samzenpus
from the because-we-can dept.
netbuzz (955038) writes "A band called netcat is generating buzz in software circles by releasing its debut album as a Linux kernel module (among other more typical formats.) 'Are you ever listening to an album, and thinking "man, this sounds good, but I wish it crossed from user-space to kernel-space more often!" We got you covered,' the band says on its Facebook page. 'Our album is now fully playable as a loadable Linux kernel module.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Band Releases Album As Linux Kernel Module

Comments Filter:
  • Lol wut (Score:5, Funny)

    by dcollins117 (1267462) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @10:12PM (#46829675)

    Our album is now fully playable as a loadable Linux kernel module.

    Yeah, that seems pretty safe. I'd love to load your album into kernel space. Seems legit.

    • by nemasu (1766860)
      Well...you can see the code. It's just a huge byte array.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        One wrong jump is all it takes.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Rob Fielding (3524407)
          This! I had to reload my psmouse module half way through the album. Apparently this is not so uncommon on Dell laptops. I read the source code, and it was trivial. But the very large byte array size makes this something that's generally inadvisable, precisely because you could jump somewhere into it where the audio happens to be specific byte code. I also discovered it from tweets coming out of thegrugq, etc.
        • by kasperd (592156)

          One wrong jump is all it takes.

          That is true even if you keep the array in user space. Kernel code has privileges to do anything, even jumping directly to user space and executing code from there. What you need to review is not the byte array, but the code processing it. Because that code is running with kernel privileges, so you need it to be bug-free.

      • by fearlezz (594718)

        And there is a few lines of code to convert the byte array to a mp3 file:
        #!/usr/bin/python
        import binascii,re,sys
        try:
        s = re.sub('0x','',re.sub('[,\n]','',open(sys.argv[1], 'r').read()))
        open(sys.argv[1]+'.mp3','w').write(binascii.unhexlify(s))
        except:
        print "Usage: "+sys.argv[0]+" trkNdata.h"

        I think I found their lost band member: https://www. [youtube.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by gl4ss (559668)

        we once played some linux .iso's through the soundcard with cat.

        you know what's sad? it sounded ways better than this.

        • Oh! Now he wants it to "sound good". Give 'im an inch, he's taking a yard.
        • by dejanc (1528235)
          De gustibus non est disputandum. I just heard about this band for the first time and I would categorize them as an "alternative electronic" band. I was first introduced to that kind of music during the mid nineties, just before the Internet came to my country, as it was swapped by artists on a BBS I frequented. I think it appealed to artistic geeks because they could create it with a heavy use of their favorite toy in their bedroom.

          We even have a show dedicated to this kind of music on a national radio s
          • by gl4ss (559668)

            if alternative electronic is something that was swapped on bbs's then my favorite alternative electronic artists are 4mat and lizard king(ok purple motion made one good track).

            we too had a show for _this_ kind of music on radio and it was called "space junk" because well, most of the music on it was just ambient noise. much like this bands titular song. so I would categorize this band just as electronic noise band, it really doesn't make it that much better if the noise is generated with light activated har

            • by dejanc (1528235)

              point being, nobody would have heard of this without this gimmick, so bravo for them for the gimmick. but let me ask you this, will you seek this song a year from now?

              Honestly, it's not my cup of tea and alternative music generally takes some acquiring of taste before it can be enjoyed.

              Still, I'm sure they'll find the audience, and they certainly get +100 geek points for this release.

      • Right. It's really a dumb idea. They are simply storing the data in the kernel and feeding it back to a userspace process when that userspace process does a read on the device node. A more accurate description from the band would be "Our album is now fully storable as a linux kernel module". If they really wanted to impress modprobe mystupidalbum would simply start playing the album interacting with sound drivers/hardware directly in the kernel. But that would take real work, be hard to make portab
    • Music to be pwned by.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zero__Kelvin (151819)
      That's what VMs are for ;-)
    • by jopsen (885607)

      Yeah, that seems pretty safe. I'd love to load your album into kernel space. Seems legit.

      It's DRM'ed media on windows routed through kernel space? Then it must be the superior thing to do :)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I found it here:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGM8PT1eAvY [youtube.com]

    • by mfh (56)

      Facebook will buy out the band's contract and issue an immediate "upgrade".

    • Our album is now fully playable as a loadable Linux kernel module.

      Yeah, that seems pretty safe. I'd love to load your album into kernel space. Seems legit.

      Didn't this sort of thing happen once before? [wikipedia.org]

      Not that I'm making an exact equivalence. This band might just be looking for some geek cred. Whereas Sony installing rootkits, well...

    • Re:Lol wut (Score:5, Funny)

      by kheldan (1460303) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @09:52AM (#46832365) Journal
      sudo more_cowbell
  • This is the greatest thing I've seen all year, had to up my VM memory to 6GB to compile it though. Too bad the music isn't my favorite. Oh well, neat idea!
    • This is the greatest thing I've seen all year,

      Really? Life must be pretty boring for you I guess...

    • We can only, for your sake, hope that this is a failed attempt at sarcasm. If not, get a pet, perhaps a low maintenance one.

    • Re:So awesome. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by I'm New Around Here (1154723) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @05:26AM (#46831067)

      Don't let them give you shit. If you like the idea, tell the others to get lost.

      Plus, it's only April.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You don't really need to compile the kernel module to listen to the songs, song data is just simple c hex arrays
      i used this on the tracks folder

      cat trk1data.h trk2data.h trk3data.h trk4data.h trk5data.h trk6data.h | xxd -r -p - - | ogg123 -

  • Quality (Score:5, Informative)

    by nemasu (1766860) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @10:16PM (#46829701)
    They transcoded it a ton, don't expect FLAC or even mp3 v0. Seems more for publicity. "...came from .ogg files that were encoded from .wav files that were created from .mp3 files that were encoded from the mastered .wav files which were generated from ProTools final mix .wav files that were created from 24-track analog tape."
    • "...nothing but netcat."

    • Re:Quality (Score:5, Funny)

      by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @12:14AM (#46830197)

      They transcoded it a ton, don't expect FLAC or even mp3 v0. Seems more for publicity.

      "...came from .ogg files that were encoded from .wav files that were created from .mp3 files that were encoded from the mastered .wav files which were generated from ProTools final mix .wav files that were created from 24-track analog tape."

      Mod this insightful! I was tricked and thought that loadable kernel modules were going to be the music distribution format of the future... it seems so convenient! But it turns out that this was just about the publicity. How dissapointing!

      • by nemasu (1766860)
        I know, right?! One can only dream.
      • by asmkm22 (1902712)

        You just saved me a ton of heartache, buddy. Thanks!

      • by Richy_T (111409)

        There go my plans to open a nationwide chain of kernel module stores.

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        They transcoded it a ton, don't expect FLAC or even mp3 v0. Seems more for publicity.

        "...came from .ogg files that were encoded from .wav files that were created from .mp3 files that were encoded from the mastered .wav files which were generated from ProTools final mix .wav files that were created from 24-track analog tape."

        Mod this insightful! I was tricked and thought that loadable kernel modules were going to be the music distribution format of the future... it seems so convenient! But it turns out that this was just about the publicity. How dissapointing!

        Well, the next step is to add DRM. The next version of the album will disable all output so that you can't try to record the signal going to the speakers. The version after that will wipe your hard drive just in case you did manage to record it anyway.

  • by Severus Snape (2376318) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @10:18PM (#46829703)
    I'd say publicity mission successfully.
  • by corychristison (951993) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @10:19PM (#46829709)

    localhost ~ # modprobe dafuq

  • Linux lead me astray.
  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @10:34PM (#46829773)

    I'll save you all the trouble. Their "music" sounds like one of those sleep CDs you hear them playing at incense shops that sell quartz "power crystals" and/or the soundtrack to Myst.

    Here's their picture:
    http://www.networkworld.com/gr... [networkworld.com]

    The guy on the left clearly did the kernel bit.
    The dude in the middle has a cello and tattoo so he's clearly getting laid and therefor has never heard of Linux.
    The guy on the right... well look at his hat and shoes... he's way too busy putting imitation carbon fiber parts on his Mitsubishi Lancer to have time for programming.

    Your welcome for the 10min of your life I saved you.

    • by laddiebuck (868690) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @09:16AM (#46832049)

      lol. Stereotypes aside, I went to school with the guy in the middle and I can assure you he graduated with a CS degree (U of Washington), and all the undergrad computer labs ran Linux. Matter of fact I think he took a capstone that was about writing a linux FS driver. It's nice to see him pursuing his passion of music... I would have had no idea if I hadn't clicked through to your pic and spotted his name. :)

    • by NulDevice (186369)

      Cello guy is clearly stoned out of his mind, too. The other two look like they're posing for DMV photos.

      Granted, there's no such thing as a band photo that DOESN'T make you look like a douchebag, but this is pretty far up there on the list of offenders.

  • by Raxxon (6291) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @11:07PM (#46829933)

    I wonder what they'll name the exploit centered around this module....

  • GPL? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CoolGopher (142933) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @11:13PM (#46829953)

    Is the module GPL'd, or does it taint the kernel?

    On second thought (and without RTFM'ing) I'll go out on a limb and say that an album taints the kernel regardless of license.

    • None of the files in github mention any license at all.

    • The GPL only applies to distribution. AFAIK you can install any software of any license of your liking in your computer.

      • The GPL only applies to distribution. AFAIK you can install any software of any license of your liking in your computer.

        Kernel tainting isn't a legal thing, it's one of the kernel sysctls [kernel.org](the 'tainted' section). One of the ways to cause nonzero taint is with a non-GPL kernel module; but various other categories of "If you are doing one of these things, we don't want to hear your damn bug report because it is likely to be hopeless and/or not our problem" also have taint codes.

        You are still free to do things that taint the kernel; but if something has a taint code, there is a strong suggestion of 'not recommended, on your

    • by dabadab (126782)

      I'll go out on a limb and say that an album taints the kernel regardless of license.

      Only if it's by Soft Cell.

    • From dmesg

      [ 421.406145] netcat: module license 'unspecified' taints kernel.
      [ 421.406149] Disabling lock debugging due to kernel taint
      [ 421.416664] [netcat]: netcat - Cycles Per Instruction - Kernel Module Edition - 2014
      [ 421.416668] [netcat]: netcat is Brandon Lucia, Andrew Olmstead, and David Balatero
      [ 421.416670] [netcat]: On the web at http://netcat.co/ [netcat.co]
      [ 421.416671] [netcat]: 'ogg123 -

      So yes

  • Enjoy your 15 minutes.
  • What about an Emacs package? Or does the band not speak with a Lisp?

  • No way... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jddeluxe (965655)
    This is NOT music...
  • by gman003 (1693318) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @11:55PM (#46830117)

    "As netcat, Brandon Lucia (drums, Chango, computers), David Balatero (cello, computers), and Andrew Olmstead (synthesizer, computers) explore the intersection between technology, complexity, and free improvisation. netcat's music brings together seasoned performance on conventional instruments -- cello, synthesizers, and drums -- combining it with computer generated sounds and computer instruments, like the Chango, a novel synthesizer that is played with light.

            The mixture of these ingredients is textural, long-form structured improvisations. netcat's music is the kind that calls for laying down on the floor with expensive headphones on and enjoying the solipsism. The flow of the round, sinusoidal bass of the Chango and synthesizer carry the listener on an electric current, through a confluence of sweeping, dramatic arcs on the cello and tympanic drumming. Among it all manifests speaking computers attempting, with futility, to master spoken language and a sonic embodiment of the flurry of bits and bytes traversing a computer network."

    Translation: "We bought a bunch of really expensive, weird-ass MIDI controllers, and brought out a random string instrument from [middle|high] school so we could get the "explore the intersection of ___ and ___" music groupies ("explore the intersection" is music's "synergy" or "cloud" - meaningless catchphrase). We did so by playing a couple simple intervals really, really slowly, because we never figured out how to play above 30bpm with any of the aforementioned expensive, weird-ass MIDI controllers. We named everything after random linux terms and published as a kernel module in order to get some free publicity, which Slashdot dutifully provided."

    I half suspect that if I actually nabbed a copy of their synth programs, I'd find that they just used default voices for it. Sadly I use less obscure programs and fewer weird-ass MIDI controllers, so I cannot tell for sure. Also I never want to waste another minute listening to that droning to compare.

    You want some real "explore the intersection between technology and music"? Go listen to Machinae Supremacy - they combine modern hard-rock/heavy-metal with Commodore 64 chiptune, and it actually sounds good (regular personal taste disclaimers apply). Or any of the other dozens of chiptune crossover musicians - I can recommend "The Black Box" by aivi & surasshu for people who want more tranquil music that's still, y'know, music. And chiptune actually requires a good bit of technical knowledge to write, rather than simply using a computer as just a funny-sounding synthesizer.

    • by mrbester (200927)

      I remember the Aphex Twin encoding data into a track such that when run through a spectrum analyser visualisation (like that in WinAmp) a picture of his face appeared. I also remember that this was well over a decade ago.

  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @12:08AM (#46830161)

    They really wasted the opportunity to do something really geeky, like release the song as a network service that outputs via the loopback interface. Then you could play it by using netcat.

  • can't wait to see what happens with a kernel module coded by a microsoft employee [1] when released in the wild.

    [1] http://brandonlucia.com/ [brandonlucia.com] guy a the left in the picture.

  • and i will build for you a live band in kernel space.

  • This repository contains the album's track data in source files, that (for complexity's sake) came from .ogg files that were encoded from .wav files that were created from .mp3 files that were encoded from the mastered .wav files which were generated from ProTools final mix .wav files that were created from 24-track analog tape.

    So they went from wav -> mp3 -> wav.... for no good reason? Then down to what can only be assumed to be Vorbis.

  • I thought it was MySpace...

  • There's a remix version available through kGraft. Remix without rebooting.

  • by fph il quozientatore (971015) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @02:17AM (#46830557) Homepage
    Is it from Sony perchance?
  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortexNO@S ... t-retrograde.com> on Thursday April 24, 2014 @02:43AM (#46830625) Homepage

    The last time someone's music got into my kernel it was Sony with a rootkit. At least these folks are open about nabbing root.

    They really screwed the pooch on this deal. Since their name is 'netcat', I'm waiting for the song to be released via telnet server as ANSI music. [textfiles.com] That way I can netcat the netcat album with my cross platform old school Codepage 437 + PC speaker enabled terminal emulator from GNU, Linux, BSD, OSX, iOS, Android, Windows, MSDOS or even DR-DOS. Maybe I'd buy in if the cover art was a sick scroller. [google.com]

    In all seriousness: Any FLOSS publicity is good publicity. Windows or Mac folks can run Linux in a VM to try out the audio; It's not my cup of tea, but sort of neat.

  • there is a nice issue on there github account, https://github.com/usrbinnc/ne... [github.com]
  • [ 3.598160] systemd-udevd[134]: renamed audio interface netcat to pcspkr

  • Remix (Score:5, Funny)

    by pr0nbot (313417) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @06:17AM (#46831195)

    I'm going to wait for Theo de Raadt's Libre remix.

  • Since "Heartbleed" was found out, the NSA is looking deperately for new ways to get into your computer.

  • Wow, I'm impressed. Do we now have to drop the old:

        insmod

    and now use

        insrocker

    Does this mean my Kernel will be tainted? With Rock and Roll?

  • Sony BMG CD's from 2005-2007 do the same thing with Windows [wikipedia.org].

    Nice to see someone is finally bringing this same capability to Linux.

  • Thanks, but no thanks, I prefer listening to /dev/urandom ..

    If you distribute a movie as a kernel module, how would MPAA treat it? is it OK to do as it is software and not media.

  • Sometimes I wish there were some normal musicians using Linux and that was publicised instead of these hacks. The fact that these guys get attention and regular musicians don't tells me more about the lack of Linux use in music than anything else, and that's fucking sad. Linux sucks, stop promoting it until it gets more use by pro users.

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"

Working...