Perth, Western Australia - 6th to 10th January 2014

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Linux in the Club - An overview of the Open Lighting Project

Project: Open Lighting Project

The Open Lighting Project [] encompasses a number of hardware & software projects, aimed at accelerating the adoption of standardized control protocols within the entertainment lighting industry. For the last 30 years, lighting fixtures in theaters, stadiums, clubs, concert halls and theme parks have used a serial control protocol called DMX512. The last decade has seen a shift towards IP based control protocols but inertia and lack of awareness has slowed their uptake.

The project’s flagship component, the Open Lighting Architecture (originally the Linux Lighting Architecture) has been described as the ‘travel adaptor of the lighting industry’ due to its support for both open and proprietary protocols, as well as more than twenty USB lighting controllers.

The Open Lighting Architecture (OLA) enables artists and programmers to combine free software with low cost hardware such as Arduino and the Raspberry Pi to produce flexible solutions at a fraction of the price of the commercial equivalents.

This presentation will include a quick introduction to lighting control protocols, followed by a demonstration using the OLA Python APIs to control lights over a network using a Raspberry Pi. We’ll then cover the newer bi-directional protocols and show how open software and some cheap hardware allows people to create magical lighting displays.

Simon Newton

Originally from Perth, Simon has been building lighting control systems since primary school. Throughout high school & university, he was the nerdy looking guy behind the control desk at concerts & theatrical performances around Perth. As part of his Software Engineering degree at UWA, he wrote libartnet, a Linux implementation of the ArtNet lighting control protocol. This was the first open source implementation of an IP based lighting control protocol, which led to libartnet being used in venues around the world.

Recognizing a need for open source software within the industry, Simon started the Open Lighting Project in 2005 and began work on the Open Lighting Architecture. The project grew and spawned sub-projects to meet the needs of the industry, including automated product testing.

Simon is a member of the Entertainment Control Protocols Standards Committee and was involved with the sACN, RDM and RDMNet ANSI standards. He now lives in San Francisco, and his day job finds him working on network virtualization and software defined networking for Google.