Announcing monome-rs 1.0

I’m happy to announce the release of monome-rs 1.0, the first stable version of a Rust crate (the idiomatic name for a Rust library) that aims at easing the use of monome devices in this language.

monome devices are beautiful control devices that don’t do anything in themselves, but that one can use and program with in order to do anything. Often they are used to do live music performances.

Grid & Arc

The crate is feature complete, and has the following features:

Rust is very good for this kind of work. Using Tokio for network input/output was a bit strange at first (most people that I met who also tried Tokio had the same initial reaction), but was in fact very flexible and easy to use once I got hold of a couple concepts. Using Crossbeam to have a good lock-free queue (to avoid blocking the user threads) instead of the default channel() allowed to have even more reliable performances in real-time scenario, and this was very easy to use (for the user, it’s just a lock-free queue after all).

I’ve written a few programs in Rust that use this library while developing it. Some run on desktop OSes (without a single code change or configuration between different targets) but also on the Bela platform, which is a Beaglebone black with a special shield on top that runs a real-time Xenomai kernel and allows for easy high performance low-latency embedded audio programming.

Performance is very good and predictable, which is important for real-time interactive music applications. I’ve written an mlr clone in Rust running with very low latency audio callback on my Macbook Pro 15” 2016 that uses less than 3% CPU total (and this number is very stable), while polling for inputs and updating the 128 leds of my monome grid at 100Hz. Admittedly, the DSP complexity of this program isn’t very high but it’s a real project updating every LED on the device at a good refresh rate, which hints at the fact that a low single digit percent is a good ballpark figure for the highest CPU usage this library will use, leaving ample room for real computations (DSP code, other devices, GUI, etc.).

Like most libraries in the Rust ecosystem, it is dual-licensed under Apache 2 and MIT, and the sources are available on GitHub, but Rust programmers probably want to simply add:


to their Cargo.toml, and start using it, after having read the docs at

I welcome any kind of feedback or contribution. Feel free to send patch or open issues on GitHub: It’s feature complete (I think?), but I’ll keep maintaining it for the foreseeable future, since I’m using it (both on desktop and Bela) in my other projects.

Directly attacking the monome serial protocol will probably happen later, when I’ll start experimenting with smaller SOCs (such as the famous STM32) that don’t run Linux, I’ll probably implement the serial protocol as a separate library with more or less the same API.