Open Music System (OMS), the industry standard for MIDI on the Mac, is under threat.

Current OMS owner Gibson Musical Instruments has drastically scaled down OMS-developer Opcode, which it bought in October 1999. Gibson has given no indication that it will continue development of OMS.

Gibson's lukewarm response to the OMS question has prompted musicians and programmers to start a Save OMS Campaign, that they plan to take to the influential North American Music Mall event.

OMS creator, Doug Wyatt said: “OMS is a layer of software designed to let software applications communicate with MIDI interfaces in a consistent way.

“Many software companies have built OMS compatibility into their applications. It is the de facto standard for MIDI on the Macintosh platform. Apple's QuickTime even has an option to play through OMS.”

Software manufacturers incorporate OMS into products to enable programs to communicate with one other. Instrument makers - including Yamaha, Roland, Alesis, DigiDesign - have also built OMS-compatible or OMS-reliant hardware.

Influential music publication, Keyboard, recognizes OMS in its January 2000 issue as a “technological milestone for its status as the first succesful standardized MIDI operating system”.

Save OMS Campaign members have raised a 3,000-name-strong petition on its Web site, imploring Gibson to release OMS to the open-source community.

The site also contains background information on the issue.

In related news, the David Bowie-approved Vision composition program is also under threat from Gibson.

Musicians are asking that Vision be given to the Open Source movement, rather than abandoned.

Industry insiders indicate that “a large Macintosh software company” may move into the frame to save OMS, but this is not yet set in stone.