Linux music as a major player...

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glowrak guy
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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby glowrak guy » Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:40 am

funkmuscle wrote:So does Linux have a serious roll in pro audio's future or is it just for the home based, having fun musician?
There are a couple dozen great softwares in debian sid, and similar competing collections,
that cover most sonic territory. Maybe the round-robin/articulations of multi-sampled sounds,
as found in the $400+ sample libraries, ala kontakt, machV etc are the last main limitation at this time?
And even that is a more a limitation on music assemblers, rather than musicians. A lot of people are both.
If someone wants to produce great orchestral scores, across all musical genres, in a lone-wolf studio,
they will embrace the pricetag, sooner or later.

Can the question be accurately answered in either/or terms, when a lot of 'amateurs' and indies,
are deadly serious, and even some name-recognized 'pro's' squander their talent on frivolous living,
rather than working on their art? At least someone gets paid to mask their failings with a plethora
of plugins and edits.

Even socio-economic settings can broaden the possible range of answers. A 'poor' person in the
first-world, has a far better chance saving up for useful gear, than a poor person in third world regions.
Linux on an old recycled computer, could enable productivity for someone willing to learn,
to whom spending a $grand or $two on gear, is not on the horizon, or the map.

And then, the monetary choices of software authors, and consumers,
plays a role. Is paying a coder any different from paying a farmer, a doctor, a mechanic, a lawyer?
If the answer is 'no', there is hope. If the answer is yes, and linux musicians are seen by
contemporaries as a kind of floss welfare state, within an isolated enclave,
it will be a hard label to shake. Even then, labels do not mean one must own commercial
software, or even complex freeware, to produce great music. A symphony can consist
of simple parts, well composed, well played, and creatively arranged.
Stir in soundwaves, effects, a record button, and speakers to hear it on, and call it dinnertime.
Cheers

glowrak guy
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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby glowrak guy » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:21 am

kawliga wrote:If I was in charge of Red Hat, I would headhunt the likes of Paul Davis, R Nuno Capela, R Gareus, falkTX, linuxDSP and the pianoteq devs.
I have no doubt that a 'dream team' could be formed.
In a sense, that is what bitwig did, a small group, with sundry abilities, pooled their resources
to create a competing product, and in a crowded market. Time will tell, but they seem
to behave well in public, a crucial trait these days.

There are two hard parts, in a new business venture, being the boss, and obeying the boss.
If the entire team are linux Alpha dogs, one will eat the boss for breakfast,
and then be eaten for lunch. The winner of the fight over the bones, will become
the new Alpha, and the next day starts...at breakfast :lol:

My guess is that the next profitable project, will require a hardware/software bundle
that overcomes some of the most vociferous complaints in the market.

kawliga
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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby kawliga » Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:07 pm

2.9 dev branch already has high bit depths. And Krita has had them for ages...


I'm aware that they are working on implementing this functionality, however, at the time of writing, it is still not available in the current official stable version of GIMP.

The point I was trying to make was that people have been waiting about a decade for this feature - a feature whose absence is a dealbreaker for many - yet if the likes of Red Hat, Canonical and Novell had paid for extra developers to work on GIMP full time then it would have been implemented years ago.

Gimp development is slow. There has only been one new release in the last 5 years. When I say this, I am not having a go at the GIMP developers, who are doing excellent work. It is just frustrating that those who are in a position to provide the extra resources that the project needs to be more productive have not done so.

Contrast this with the Unity Desktop. Whatever you think about Unity - love it or hate it - I don't think people would argue that its development is very fast and active.

This is no doubt because Canonical is paying for a lot of man hours to go into its development. I just think its a pity that there isn't the same drive to provide extra developer resources to accelerate development of key applications like the GIMP.

I am just using the GIMP as a prominent example but the same goes for music creation and video editing applications - I see no commitment on the part of the big players to use their massive resources to move Linux forward in these areas.

DepreTux
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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby DepreTux » Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:19 pm

kawliga wrote:I am just using the GIMP as a prominent example but the same goes for music creation and video editing applications - I see no commitment on the part of the big players to use their massive resources to move Linux forward in these areas.


They [Canonical, Red Hat, SUSE, etc] are not funding development on professional grade tools since each of the major commercial linux companies targets a specific niche, none of whose is artistic or studio software.

The subject of a linux company was being dreamt about on another thread, and it seems a nice dream.

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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby nilshi » Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:47 pm

DepreTux wrote:The subject of a linux company was being dreamt about on another thread, and it seems a nice dream.


That was actually this very thread, just one page earlier. And if "dream" implies unrealistic I have to disagree.

diizy
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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby diizy » Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:54 pm

This is actually an idea that I've thought about before, in my brain:

A pay-to-use Linux distro, in the style of RHEL, that concentrates on audio/video/graphics production.

For a reasonable fee (perhaps per major release, where each release comes with a certain guaranteed supporttime, or perhaps a yearly fee where you get updates as long as you pay the price) you could get a distro that would be optimally configured, would come pre-installed with all the toys - all the best audio, video and graphics applications Linux has to offer, and there could be even some proprietary plugins thrown in as a bonus, something that would distinguish the distro from all the free variants.

The distro maintainers could also make some endorsement deals with software companies that produce proprietary products for Linux - for example: buy this Pro A/V/GFX Linux, and get -10% off of Bitwig.

Part of the money earned by the distro would be used to fund the development of all the open software, part would be used to fund the development of the distro itself (paying wages to a minimal staff)...

There could be hardware partners. That could be a huge advantage against proprietary windows DAW's and other software: who else can offer you, instead of just the software, an entire computer that comes preinstalled with an entire OS designed around working with creative software?

There's huge unused potential in open source and Linux... and I have 100% confidence that we're going to eventually see someone leverage that potential. Right now, Linux is in many ways at the same point where the internet was at in the 90s: a bit clumsy and new, but full of potential... and once we have enough innovators that we hit that breaking point, then it's just exponential growth from thereon.

glowrak guy
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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby glowrak guy » Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:39 pm

There is an issue with having a successful commercial linux audio/video/arts business.
There are 12 solid distributions already, and probably more I don't know of.
Unless you get 11 creator/leaders from around the world, to cease and desist, and convince their
followers/customers to use only the 'unfied commercial venture', it will not support itself.
The business end of the stick, also would require paid staff, with $ignificant experience.

Another issue, the people using those 12, are quite capable and many are used to moulding a stock linux distro,
or a custom release, to meet their needs and wants, in the windows/mac market, the OS customization
is a much lower priority, and the appearance of the apps, is maintained by paid artists. Appearance is important,
when money is to be parted with.

A six person team, earning only $20,000 each per year: $120,000 would need 2,400 sales per year.
And the $120,000 is not yet shared among app coders. One can see how difficult the row has been to hoe,
for Paul Davis and related Ardour team members.

Is it possible? Yes, men have swung golf clubs on the moon. Is it likely? No,
because taxpayers funded the lunar landings, and linux users have yet to prove they will
fund what they use.

Let's light the pipe, and say kx, avlinux, and tango, formed a corporation, sorted out the licensing,
and began selling a new release, with some value-added content, not available elsewhere, perhaps some samples,
utilities, and a few a nifty features, $60 on usbstick, $50 on dvd, and $40 for download.
It could be sold without the traditional apps, but with a solid package manager under the hood,
well stocked repos, and some accurate docs for new users. It could be a nice product,
and customizations could be crafted over time, to offer more products.

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Petra-Sue
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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby Petra-Sue » Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:41 am

glowrak guy wrote:Let's light the pipe, and say kx, avlinux, and tango, formed a corporation, sorted out the licensing,
and began selling a new release, with some value-added content, not available elsewhere, perhaps some samples,
utilities, and a few a nifty features, $60 on usbstick, $50 on dvd, and $40 for download.


Sorry, but I wouldn't think that this path is a promising one: As there are solid distros with thousands of users that support (at least some of them) the error reporting and purging circle, another basic distro would just add more "noise" to the Linux landscape. The number of customers paying for basic distro structures would be vanishingly small I fear. I'd rather think only the pure "added value" approach would be a sustainable one: Offer a basic setup, built on a standard distro like Debian, for free to attract potential customers - but do it in order to define a consistent base for subsequent custom developments - and only charge something like individualized support with guaranteed response cycles or specialized features.

Cheers,

Petra

diizy
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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby diizy » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:42 am

glowrak guy wrote:There is an issue with having a successful commercial linux audio/video/arts business.
There are 12 solid distributions already, and probably more I don't know of.
Unless you get 11 creator/leaders from around the world, to cease and desist, and convince their
followers/customers to use only the 'unfied commercial venture', it will not support itself.


Right, that was why RHEL sent a cease-and-desist order to CentOS. Oh wait, they did the exact opposite... now CentOS is pretty much an official Red Hat product, and they offer an upgrade path from CentOS to a paid RHEL subscription. Funny how things work...

Red Hat has shown that a paid model CAN work with open software. Sure you can right now get AVLinux, KXStudio or many others for free, and that's great, but if it was simply a matter of price/availability, we'd all be using Linux already.

All it really takes is to create something of value, something which people are willing to pay for. A competitive edge against free alternatives: it could be ease of use, tech support, bugfixing, good deals for other paid software (like I already mentioned), and I think many here would pay for such a distro if they knew that part of the profits would be used to fund open software development.

Of course I'm not saying that such a venture would be easy to pull off, of course there are challenges to overcome, but it's IMO also a bit too simplistic to say "who's going to use it when you can get KXStudio/AVLinux/whatever for free".

glowrak guy wrote:the appearance of the apps, is maintained by paid artists. Appearance is important,
when money is to be parted with.


Not necessarily... There's surprisingly much good graphical talent around in the open source community. A venture based on open source could leverage that talent, many artists would be willing to contribute artwork for applications for free, just like many contribute code for free. Yeah, maybe one paid designer could be hired for OS theming and to keep everything consistent, but that's pretty much it...

glowrak guy
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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby glowrak guy » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:31 am

Talent is abundant on both sides of open-source divide. Economies of scale
mean that extravagant commercial products from multiple vendors can compete,
if not flood the market. NI and IK have frequent mega-sales, or group-buys,
such that after purchase, the user has little need to look for more, which in theory,
works against the competing small team, or sole proprietor coder.

Could a team of linux developers form a competitive business,
and find a market niche that would sustain their needed family income?
Perhaps. How friendly have developers been at the Linux Audio Conferences?
Have any of them discussed such things at related lunch/dinner/bar gatherings?
If the topic has come up, and not been seriously considered by now,
it will be hard to generate the momentum. You'd need a number of talented,
hard driving people, whose personalities would thrive on attempting to dominate their market,
win, lose, or draw. When using your own 'venture capital', there are no weekends,
overtime means everyone wakes up with qwerty forehead, and support is 25/8,
367days a year. I suppose, that limits the numbers of French coders would want to join in :wink:

glowrak guy
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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby glowrak guy » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:47 am

Petra-Sue wrote:
glowrak guy wrote:Let's light the pipe, and say kx, avlinux, and tango, formed a corporation, sorted out the licensing,
and began selling a new release, with some value-added content, not available elsewhere, perhaps some samples,
utilities, and a few a nifty features, $60 on usbstick, $50 on dvd, and $40 for download.


another basic distro would just add more "noise" to the Linux landscape.

Cheers,
Petra
The example given, was meant to be more of an allstar team,
than yet another flavor of vanilla. There's been great progress in the last year,
getting many of the best contributors, under a single label, with unified
business objectives, could be amazing. Perhaps focusing on wireless audio production/performance,
and bullet proof remote collaboration, would be a good niche, not yet fully dominated
by mac and windows products?
Cheers

Alwaysanewb
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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby Alwaysanewb » Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:06 pm

Linux audio would need two things. A big name using it. I think the tools linux audio has are better than windows and mac and generally run much better. We have great soft synths aurdour and non time line are both great programs. A bit more stability would be a must. I know programing is hard and developers working on things like midi, plugins and plug in compatabilty is great but just aern't needed for making great music. What is needed is the actual recoding to never have bugs and issures. When there are updates to the major distros like ubuntu linux developers need to drop everything and make sure programs like ardour are running rock solid again. Living day by day on donations makes that a lot harder to do I understand that. Its just for a major studio and professional recording its a must have.

The soft syths and midi and electronic music focus that the linux audio world is great. And electronic music can be evey bit as creative and artistic and music made with guitars and drums. The things Guitars, drums, vocals and the ability to record them is what brings home the bacon in the music world. That's unarguable Real studios record these instruments 8,10, or even more hours a day. They aern't going to switch to ardour out of the kindness of there heart or for the good of humanity. If a program like ardour stops working right for even and hour studios are loosing money. So a couple months after major switches like ubuntu going from 12.04 to 14.04 ardour better be working right with the new distro. Its tough not getting paid what your worth. I understand that as well as the next guy. It also makes it a lot harder to get things dones and effects you mentally. Even if paul makes his goals ardour should be taking in much more money than that.
What linux audio really needs right now is a sudden influx of money. That may or may not happen right away. So guys like paul are just going to have to keep plugging away at it untill it does.

Same goes for amature musicians. There are hundreds of thousands of kid out there learning musical instruments and trying to form bands and buying home recording gear. If they could have a professional daw like ardour which I think actually sounds better than programs like protools, cubase, and reaper. it sounds real not like a program specificlly designed to polish turds to me. They will swarm to it If even a tenth of them donate money would not be a problem. It just has to be stable. I get 8 great months of stability then maybe 4 that aern't so great with linux. It just can't be that way.

glowrak guy
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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby glowrak guy » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:40 pm

Alwaysanewb wrote: I get 8 great months of stability then maybe 4 that aern't so great with linux. It just can't be that way.

If someone updates their linux studio in month nine, when it was stable and working in month 8,
they alone are to blame if it fails. Especially since it is trivial in linux, to have multiple testing environments.

I doubt that the profitable established turd polishing studios rushed headlong into windows 8.x,
or whatever felion release apple tied to the next wave of ever more expensive hardware.
Even the latest cubase and pro-tools releases always require extensive testing with barge-poles,
before replacing versions used for making money.
The big money is apparently up to the toilet seat in the shiny turd business.
Somehow, linux devs need to co-operate 'just enough', to enable producing the shiniest of turds,
in stable release cycles, and at competitive prices.
Does such willingness to co-operate and compete exist? The individual developers themselves,
are certainly talented and productive.

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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby kawliga » Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:51 am

diizy wrote:There could be hardware partners. That could be a huge advantage against proprietary windows DAW's and other software: who else can offer you, instead of just the software, an entire computer that comes preinstalled with an entire OS designed around working with creative software?


It's interesting that you mention hardware. Linux Mint have produced their own hardware in association with a company called Compuserve.

The mintbox must have been a financial success as there is now a mintbox 2 which also seems to have been successful according to an article on zdnet entitled "linux mintbox2 sells out in European debut".

Would there be sufficient demand to justify making an equivalent to the MintBox aimed at the musician?

It would be designed to be as close to silent as possible.

It would have Linux preinstalled.

It would also have JACK and other audio tools preinstalled and preconfigured to work out of the box.

It would have a dedicated soundcard installed and pre-configured.

MIDI/guitar/mic cables could be included.

Perhaps even include a cheap MIDI keyboard and mic? Obviously, the user could upgrade to a better one if desired but everything would be there to enable them to make music straightaway out of the box.

Profits from hardware sales would be used to fund development of linux audio software.

The hardware would not have to be expensive - thanks to Moore's law, even a budget machine nowadays would be powerful enough to suffice.

The Ardour system requirements state that "1GB (of RAM) is very nice". Even mobile phones have more than 1GB of RAM nowadays. I don't think they even make desktops or laptops with less than 4GB ram anymore.

Also, I imagine it would be possible for the software to be optimised to run better on the hardware.

On the Ardour website, there is a lengthy article on linux system requirements which links to numerous other sources. Wouldn't it be great if we could just say to people "Get one of them and it will all just work out of the box".

Also, support would be greatly simplified if a large number of people were using the same hardware - this could help with bugfixing too.

Linux Mint is not a billion dollar company like Red Hat - Linux Mint is a community project, so if Mint can successfully produce their own branded hardware, it suggests to me that to do something similar but with a focus on Music would be possible and need not be a pipedream.

Cubase currently costs £488. Then you say to people that for that price they can not only get an excellent DAW but also the hardware to run it on, designed and preconfigured to just work straightaway out of the box with that DAW and - unlike Cubase - all upgrades would be free of charge, so it would actually work out cheaper in the long run. That would be the sales pitch.

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Petra-Sue
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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby Petra-Sue » Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:00 am

kawliga wrote:Would there be sufficient demand to justify making an equivalent to the MintBox aimed at the musician?

It would be designed to be as close to silent as possible.

It would have Linux preinstalled.

It would also have JACK and other audio tools preinstalled and preconfigured to work out of the box.

It would have a dedicated soundcard installed and pre-configured. ...


Actually, there is such development: DynaSample's XPression. It is NOT a one-and-for-all DAW but "just" a very elaborated sample player with quite a lot of additional features, mainly oriented towards wind controllers. Its foundation is a very special and carefully assembled Linux base system that does not shine through at all. Even though way out of the low-budget market I bought it some time ago after not finding an appropriate sound player solution for live performance in the Linux universe even after several months of testing and tinkering along. Any Linux solution that I tested before would give me a non-satisfying sound rendering, with definitely missing expressiveness. The price for the Xpression is substantial, but definitely less than buying my most liked and put to use instruments as traditional ones (cello, sax, flute, bassoon) - and above all less laborious, as I can play them with a single fingering on a wind controller. :lol:

The hardware is custom selected to meet the requirements of the elaborated sample rendering. Being a tinkerer myself I would have loved to have a AC independent, self contained "instrument" for spontaneous use in the amateur classical domain. So checking the required hardware design led me to a price of some 400 EUR for the hardware alone for the current revised implementation. Adding a power amp and battery powering (for at least 3 hrs of non-AC playing time) would substantially increase this value. And at this point the provider of the elaborated samples - the main reason for buying such a system - would not have had his share at all. In the end the final "shelf price" would be nearly as much as the one the XPression is sold for today.

To conclude: If one follows the track that the referred poster is pointing to the prices for a (at least near-to) professional grade system will be substantial. The labor that goes into a sincere layout of such devices is not to be under-estimated - especially so if a "jack of all trades device" like a general DAW device is intended.

Cheers,

Petra


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