Re: [linux-audio-user] Opening up the discussion

From: Brett McCoy <idragosani@email-addr-hidden>
Date: Sun Jul 24 2005 - 04:09:52 EEST

Jono Bacon wrote:

Hey, thanks for joining in!

> In the article I clarify the position that feature-wise, audio
> production on Linux is pretty good. Many of the issues that I was
> discussing were that some pre-requisite knowledge is required before
> you can get started. It seems that to record on Linux you need to have
> trawled through documentation, the archives for this list and read up
> on the intracies of getting the different parts of the system working.
> To me, this seems like a flaw in the offering - surely the user should
> be able to get up and running straight away - they download their
> package of choice, install and run. Would this not be better?

Ideally, yes, but even Cakewalk Home Studio, which is probably the
simplest DAW software to use, won't be immediately usable to someone who
is brand new to digital audio recording. It still requires the user to
know how to configure their audio hardware, configure their MIDI stuff
(if they are going to use it), and learn how to work in a multitrack
environment. When I was using Cakewalk a few years ago, and was on a
few mailing lists, many of the same beginner questions were asked on
those lists as I see on the Linux lists -- how to I tune my hardware to
prevent dropouts, how do I get my MIDI tracks to export to WAV files,
why do I get so many dropouts, what is the best plugin to use for such
and such effect... and so on.

Granted, the documentation for Ardour is a bit spotty, but documentation
for many other apps is much more complete (like for Jamin and especially
Rosegarden, for which a published book is now available). Hopefully
this issue will be alleviated soon as more people begin to use Ardour
and the Wiki manual gets more fleshed out.

> To direct the discussion further, I would be interested in your
> thoughts on the following things:
> - do you all feel that it is fairly simple to get stated with Linux
> and recording? Am I smoking crack? :)

Distribution dependent. If you use Agnula or Planet CCRMA, yes. If you
are more adventurous and want to roll your own patched kernel and build
a more customized environment, there is that also, but it's not for the
faint at heart or the newbie.

> - do you feel there is a seperation between a professional and an
> amateur? So, the software would 'just work' for the amateur, but the
> professional should really know the specifics of the system and how to
> set it up.

The separation is in the their defined goals more than anything.
Software that "just works" is a lofty ideal, even in the Windows world
(and to a lesser degree the Mac world). High-end audio in general is a
complex environment, and to even be semi-professional some extra effort
  and research is going to be required.

> - if you do feel it is a bit tough to get up and running without
> reading up on all of this, what do you feel are the barriers, both
> technical and socially? I am curious to see whether these barriers
> could be solved.

I think more effort into documentation for Linux audio is needed, and I
don't think many will disgree on this. High-end audio on Linux is still
very much in its infancy... but remember the days when high-end
graphics on Linux was at this same state? As more and more people start
taking Linux audio seriously, it will become more streamlined and well

-- Brett

Programmer by Day, Guitarist by Night
Received on Sun Jul 24 08:15:05 2005

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