Alwaysanewb wrote: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.
I think this looks like a chicken-vs-egg scenario except it isn't; big names didn't suddenly start using osx, windows, ipods, pro tools, ableton live or anything else. These things did things nothing else did at the time, or they did it significantly better, which is why they found use. The same can't be said for anything about LAU really. As you mentioned stability is definitely an issue but as far as features, ease-of-use and abundance of great programs/plugins/softsynths LAU has always been pretty far behind.
The soft syths and midi and electronic music focus that the linux audio world is great.
I find that LAU's capability for electronic music to be lacking. Maybe it's just the type of electronic music I try to make, but maybe misinformation like that is an indication of one of the things wrong with LAU too.
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.
I think the whole point of paul's post is how unreasonable that can be. If the work could somehow be distributed more evenly across the community the effectiveness of FOSS could possibly actually be demonstrated.
diizy wrote: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.
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?
I think some more investigation into this and kawliga's idea may be worthwhile. If we want to more successfully promote LAU as it is I think we need to highlight its strengths (modularity, freedom and coding) and fix its weaknesses (instability, limited feature-set, steep learning curve, hardware issues). The main issue for me is the weakness of the software, but creating a solid LAU box with everything guaranteed to work ootb would be great and could act as a decent crutch for LAU. I think one thing that could set this box apart would be to have a quality audio interface with XLR and 1/4" i/o. It's tempting to design it with cutting edge components but one of linux's strengths is its ability to run respectably on "slower" hardware. Similar specs to the mintbox maybe? dualcore, 4gb or something. Maybe even a cubieboard 8 with some sort of custom audio interface? I think price is quite important here and ought to be kept below $500 (hopefully that isn't entirely wishful thinking). At the same time the computer should function as a normal daily-use computer as well, not many people want multiple computers at once, especially if they need extra monitors, keyboards, mouses etc. (though having a low-cost box could appeal to those who do as well).
If you think about it, one of desktop linux's huge disadvantages is that practically none of the hardware it runs on was actually made to run linux, while on the other hand OS X and windows typically run on computers built for them. Having a LAU box with the hardware specifically chosen/manufactured to work flawlessly with linux may be a great idea.
I don't think proprietary software really has a place on this LAU box either. The point would be to provide more resources for LAU devs who are largely FOSS and strengthen LAU by increasing its userbase. Maybe a partnering with linux devs like linuxdsp whose software enhances rather than replaces other would make sense but I'm less sure about
of course the most important part of the box would be the LAU software which is just not good enough. Mitigation efforts could be getting software running well on the LAU box and to also look good. It'd be even better if a consistent theme could be applied across all the different software. We shouldn't just dump all LAU software into the box either, that can just increase the confusion. All the audio/media distros I know of just shove all the LAU software ever into a box, tack on an rt or lowlatency kernel and call it a day. It's definitely helpful to have preinstalled production software but I think it's kind of overwhelming. Bundled plugins with a lot of test functions and modular synthesis-specific should be repackaged so particularly test plugins aren't included. It's nice to have multiple different types of compressors, EQs and other things too but that could also possibly lead to more confusion. Most monolithic DAWs come with a single builtin dynamics, EQ, reverb etc. The other stuff can be downloaded and installed later, preferably in a more digestible format than packaged bundles of plugins selected with synaptic.
Finally (for now) plugin/program presets and project/workflow templates may help ease the learning curve that a lot of people struggle with using Linux. (as a short aside I wish NSM had better support for templates and presets. For one project it'd be great to just pull up a template and start working but as it stands you have to duplicate another project and delete all the data which is kind of a nuisance. Additionally there are times when I want something from another session like a carla-rack or sequencer (jk I still hate all linux sequencers) but as it stands there is no good way to do that. It's also disappointing when devs tell you something you think is pretty beneficial won't be implemented but you obviously can't blame them, repeat the "it's free so be grateful" mantra.)
All this would require a nontrivial amount of infrastructure and involvement and may not be essential, and it would have to be marketed which is yet more work, but it could be a worthwhile concrete community goal that could help expose LAU to more people while improving the usability of LAU for everyone. Of course we could just keep things as they are now with devs phasing in and out of LAU development since it isn't financially sustained even by some of its most ardent supporters (myself included)
addendum - people always say linux is better-suited for audio since it has a realtime kernel and can be custom-built specifically for audio but I really don't think that's a significant advantage. I don't think OS X was specifically built for audio but I have achieved perfectly workable latencies with audio software on OS X while being way more productive using much more fully-featured software with much fewer xruns, crashes and cruft (except for itunes). As was mentioned before by kawliga, the applications are what actually matters to most people.