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

From: tim hall <tech@email-addr-hidden>
Date: Tue Jul 26 2005 - 04:02:30 EEST

Last Monday 25 July 2005 01:15, Jono Bacon was like:

> Something that some people have been referring to is whether existing
> knowledge can make other systems more difficult to use. I am not going
> to deny that people approach 'ease of use' in different ways.
> Personally, Cubase works very easily for me, and Ardour seems pretty
> complex. I think the key question is about usability from the first
> minute the application is loaded. Sure, I can go away and read copious
> amounts of documentation about either Cubase or Ardour, but if an
> application is intuitive, it means less reading and more recording.

I strongly believe that existing knowledge / habits do make learning new
systems more difficult. The people I have trouble introducing to Linux
generally are those who are used to using another OS. People who are new to
computers generally seem to learn Linux faster. So, I think it's the same for
me with Cubase. I must be one of the few computer literate musicians who has
never used Cubase in anger, in fact I thought it was a MIDI sequencer, so I
wouldn't have thought to compare it with Ardour at all. That aside I now wish
to pick holes in the semantic use of 'intuitive'. OK, it's a truism, but
applications are not intuitive, they are logical. What you're talking about
here is learned behaviour and expectation matching. I found the learning
curve for Ardour roughly equivalent to that of GIMP or Photoshop, which seems
about right to me. Perhaps my mind just works more like Paul Davis's than
yours does. (Now there's a scary thought ;)

> -> The integration issue is solved or at least reduced if you use
> DeMuDi, Planet CCRMA, AGNULA etc.
> This is an interesting point. One side of me thinks, "awesome, this
> solves the problem", but another side of me feels a little weird about
> requiring an entire customised OS to run audio software. Now,
> personally, I use my studio box just for audio, but I know some other
> posters on the list said that it should not be a requirement to use a
> computer just for audio stuff. I do agree here.

It is taking some time for people to realise that you can have your cake and
eat it. Planet CCRMA works with Fedora, A/DeMuDi works with Debian. So,
"awesome, this solves the problem" is correct. Rah Rah Rah!

> To me, the integration issue seems largely a distribution problem.

Yes, this is also about choice. For me it is not so important that 'Linux' can
do everything that Windows & Mac can do, but better. What is important is
that it offers me a different set of choices and can be persuaded to do what
I want it do - one way or another.

> -> New users and pro users are a different breed
> I do agree that the needs for a new user and pro user are different,
> but the only real difference is that the pro user goes into a far
> deeper level of detail. As such, I don't see how usability necessarily
> has to be different. If you look at a different type of application
> such as a word processor, the tool can be as useful for my dad writing
> a letter as it can for a writer who writes a book. The key point is
> that the application scales to the differing requirements of the user.
> This can certainly apply to audio production.


> This moves me onto another point, and I would love to hear your
> thoughts on this. I have heard a few loose comments around different
> parts of the net that Ardour is not quite the same as other Open
> Source projects. I have heard that development occurs between a fairly
> limited set of developers, and only a few developers drive the
> direction of development. I also read somewhere that the testing team
> is restricted to a specific group of people and that the author may
> even charge for accessing the development version in the future. Is
> any of this true? How have you found the development of Ardour to be?
> I have not really looked into it, so these points I have heard may be
> rubbish, but I would love to hear your thoughts.

I think Jackd is being developed in a similar manner. This is different from
other apps because there is a team of developers (plural) ?;] I think it is
different because it is driven by Paul Davis, not for the reasons you state
above, some of which could equally well apply to other audio apps. Actually,
Isn't that development model rather similar to Firefox? Rosegarden is also
developed by a relatively small group of people, but there is a fairly large
difference in approach. Rosegarden has one of the biggest learning curves for
an audio application and it's about as psychic as a house brick, but it has a
published manual and people rarely complain about it. So long as both
continue to release GPL versions, I shall continue to use both of them and be


tim hall
Received on Tue Jul 26 08:15:04 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Jul 26 2005 - 08:15:04 EEST