Comments on

New fuses

Original entry posted: Tue Aug 15 16:02:39 2006

Corvus @ Sun Aug 13 05:00:13 2006 EST

Congrats! Feel free to use me as a resource for any questions you might want answered in English. What distro did you go with?

Thomas @ Sun Aug 13 08:12:54 2006 EST

I tried Mandriva, but it doesn't seem to have installed any documentation, and the package installer isn't working. I'm going to try Kubuntu again.

Thomas @ Sun Aug 13 15:41:52 2006 EST

Never mind, I'm wiping it out and repairing my Win2K installation. I thought it might be useful for the audio capabilities, but getting JACK running was just not worth it, and there aren't any really capable multitrack recorders on the level of Cubase or Ableton.

Josh @ Mon Aug 14 08:01:42 2006 EST

I was a big Linux supporter until I tried OS X. It gave me all the sturdy Nix underbelly, the power of a command line, and an insanely friendly interface (for me, mileage apparently varies there).

Still, Linux trudges impressively forward. Were I to make a supercheap computer for someone else, it would be on my list of OS's.

Thomas @ Mon Aug 14 16:19:17 2006 EST

I'm not sure. The package system, to me (and probably to many home users) is kind of screwy and hard to understand. Documentation for performing simple tasks like an installation is rare or cryptic. For example, check out this example from

"Binaries: please use your distribution's package manager (apt-get, yum, synaptic etc.)"

Okay. But the Mandriva software installer didn't find Jack on its repositories--there were examples and pieces of software that use Jack, but the API itself wasn't available. When I found an rpm, it didn't quite install because it was for a different distro--but I couldn't install the correct version on top when I finally found it, and uninstalling Jack basically mangled all of my audio programs. Not that they gave me an error message. They just wouldn't start.

It wasn't a good experience--and I have some idea of where to go for help. I shudder to think of dropping that on someone who lacks my general computer experience (and minimal *nix skills).

Corvus @ Tue Aug 15 11:24:21 2006 EST

Not to argue with you, Linux has a long way to go, but your average user won't be needing to install and run JACK, a task which gives even myself pause.

What's going to propell Linux into the mainstream market are the user friendly interfaces being built by and for companies like Novell. SuSE is about as user friendly as it gets and I've heard great things about their enterprise Linux as well.

Thomas @ Tue Aug 15 12:02:39 2006 EST

True, they might not need to install it. But should it really be that hard? It's just an audio driver. Installing ASIO, JACK's equivalent on Windows, was easy.

Besides, I think you might find the population of aspiring musicians larger than you think. And clearly, they need realtime audio.

I obviously didn't try the Novell or SuSE interfaces. But they'd have to be a lot better than what Mandrake turned into. Like I said, it's really pretty, but it's not very functional.

However, I suspect it doesn't matter. It's my impression that Linux is not really for the desktop, and people who insist it should be are missing the point. It runs a hell of a server.

Corvus @ Tue Aug 15 13:13:49 2006 EST

Audio is a jumble under Linux, it's true. So many competing acronyms - OSS, ALSA, JACK. It's a hazard of the method in which the environment grew. Hopefully we'll see some standardization of audio over the next few years... which doesn't help us right now.

I've been interested in getting MIDI working on my laptop, as I've got some files I'd like to re-edit. I too hit the JACK issue and tabled the project for another time.

Otherwise, I'm very happy with Linux as an OS. A lot of that stems from a social and political perspective, admittedly. But then, from the sounds of Vista, there's no way I'll ever be able to use that seriously, so...

Thomas @ Tue Aug 15 13:34:23 2006 EST

But see, here's the thing: for a musician, Vista looks awesome. Per-app mixing and re-routing? They're just now getting that running in a hacked way under ASIO in Windows, and there could be real benefits to it (being able to run my VST effects into a loop program).

And yet, we could do that in Linux now, if either of us were up to getting JACK installed. Peter Kirn at CDM never stops talking about it. That's the main reason I gave it a shot in the first place.

I never got midi working properly in Mandriva either, but I'm not sure if that was the applications or the drivers. I was trying to use Rosegarden and amSynth, but neither of them seemed to be hearing my O2 keyboard.

If Linux works for you, then that's cool. I don't have any social or political hangups about Microsoft, and I actually like Windows a lot. The only thing that might have gotten my attention would be if BeOS was still around.

Corvus @ Wed Aug 16 06:18:04 2006 EST

DRM bothers me. A lot. Vista will be all about the DRM. But I agree that you have to use the tool that works for you. Have you looked at the music options under OS X? Not that Apple is any less oppressive...

Thomas @ Wed Aug 16 07:55:46 2006 EST

Just in terms of usability, I can't stand OS X. I hear Core Audio is pretty nice, but not all that much better than ASIO.

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