Linux music as a major player...

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

Postby tatch » Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:54 am

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.
Last edited by tatch on Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:25 am, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby looplog » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:06 am

Linux Audio focused commercial distro - I can think of at least three commercial Linux Audio distros that have attempted to cover this, with varying success. Studio-to-Go, Indamixx/Trinity, and Studio 13.37. This is not to mention Studio64, which seems to have attempted to become a commercial entity based on service and support provision and distro customization. All of these efforts were great in their own ways, and not a single one succeeded in becoming a legitimate sustainable commercial entity so far as I can tell. So before we discuss making another, perhaps a long hard look at reasons for those failures is necessary.

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

Postby glowrak guy » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:51 am


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

Postby kawliga » Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:19 am

tatch wrote:If the work could somehow be distributed more evenly across the community the effectiveness of FOSS could possibly actually be demonstrated.


Very true. Many hands make light work. The sad thing is that there are many of us (me included) who don't have much money to give but would be willing to give our time to help with Ardour development yet lack the technical expertise to write code.

Theoretically, Open Source gives everyone the chance to contribute towards improving the source code but, in reality, very few of us have the understanding necessary to be able to do this so we are overly reliant on a handful of programming ninjas like Paul.

tatch wrote: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).


The cubieboard is an ARM device I believe. It would be terrific from a price point of view to use an ARM cpu, as they are much cheaper than x86, but I am not sure if the performance would be good enough.

When asked about running Ardour on ARM, Seablade on the Ardour forums said:

"Since ARM platforms are typically fixed point and do horribly on floating point, this is in general not a good idea, however there have been a couple of platforms recently that handled floating point as well on the DSP, but again you would have to do some porting work to get that running correctly, but it is my understanding that it is technically feasible."

However, it was about 3 years ago that he said this, so ARM cpus are more powerful now and maybe this would not be such an issue.

Another nice thing about ARM cpus is that they are fanless so would be silent. Also very energy efficient, of course, so would save even more money over time and if the system was a laptop its battery life would be much better.

tatch wrote: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).


Agree, but shipping with web browser, file manager, email client, libreoffice etc should be relatively trivial.

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

Postby glowrak guy » Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:49 am

looplog wrote:Linux Audio focused commercial distro -
before we discuss making another, perhaps a long hard look at reasons for those failures is necessary.

A persistant and positive presence, in the necessary locations, is key to any venture. You must make yourself,
and the products/services you provide, known, and understood in the market.
A relentless stream of skilled and cheerful presentations is crucial. Response to potential customers, and critics
must be timely, and accurate, educating to the opportunities.
You want to build up potential customers, be happy to discuss things, without putting anyone down.
Look at the commercial developers in Germany, they compete, but are highly
supportive of one another in public. This creates a good vibe in the sales arena.

Linux is seen by many, as an uneccesary complication, an inferior alternative, or an arcane exile,
promoted by remote enclaves of dubious fanatics. There are heavily defended walls in place,
so making inroads won't be fast or easy. Keep pressing the positive aspects of linux integration,
and capability, without insisting people reject existing tools and methods that have worked for years.
As people begin experiencing the flexibilty and range of options available,
the walls may start to come down.

Business startups fail with regularity, so shake the dust off, learn what went wrong,
and give it a better go in the next round.

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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby kawliga » Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:59 am

Petra-Sue wrote: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.


Thanks for that - I was unaware of this. To be honest though, I had in mind more a system targeted towards the amateur bedroom musician on a budget, rather than Professional level.

Professional gear is always going to be expensive. Professionals will use what they regard as the best irrespective of price and I think that the manufacturers of high end gear take advantage of that.

However, I believe most musicians are like me. They are after something that sounds decent but doesn't cost the earth.

In an ideal world, I would like to have a vintage 1950s telecaster. All I can afford is a squire, but, although it might not be as good a guitar, it can still do the job.

Essentially, the hardware I am imagining is just an entry level PC with a decent soundcard. A decent soundcard needn't be super expensive - if I remember rightly, I paid about £100 for my M Audio Delta 1010LT.

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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby glowrak guy » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:08 am

kawliga wrote: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.

Cubase also includes eight virtual instruments, 66 audio plugins, 18 MIDI effect processors,
some 2,800 presets, and a mastering suite. It's crucial not to sell the competition short.

And a business startup claiming all upgrades would be free, is pure fairy dust,
that windows and mac users won't be quick to inhale. Success is built one brick at a time,
failure is insured by claiming the bricks are made of gold.

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

Postby glowrak guy » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:20 am

kawliga wrote:Essentially, the hardware I am imagining is just an entry level PC with a decent soundcard. A decent soundcard needn't be super expensive - if I remember rightly, I paid about £100 for my M Audio Delta 1010LT.

Computer and their parts are commodities, with tight sales margins, and little profit. There are frequent
complaints that there are no high quality midi keyboard controllers, lots of cheap ones under $500,
with mediocre features and keybeds, or worksations sampler/synths costing $2000 and up.
That may expose a hardware niche in the middle waiting to be filled. Like a Musebox stuffed
in a great midi keyboard controller.

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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby kawliga » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:57 am

glowrak guy wrote:
kawliga wrote: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.

Cubase also includes eight virtual instruments, 66 audio plugins, 18 MIDI effect processors,
some 2,800 presets, and a mastering suite. It's crucial not to sell the competition short.


Fair point. Cubase may have more going for it in terms of features, but what I was trying to stress was that £488 is the price for software only. Without hardware to run it on, you cannot make any music whatsoever with Cubase. The system I proposed would give you software and hardware. Perhaps the software isn't as good as Cubase, but that need not necessarily matter as long as it is good enough. Does everyone really need 2,800 presets?

glowrak guy wrote:And a business startup claiming all upgrades would be free, is pure fairy dust,
that windows and mac users won't be quick to inhale. Success is built one brick at a time,
failure is insured by claiming the bricks are made of gold.


When Google launched their chromebooks, one of their big selling points was that ChromeOS would upgrade free of charge.

Also, in a memorable interview, GMaq (AV Linux developer) said how he started out using Cubase for his music production before switching to Linux:

"I went to a local music store seminar on Steinberg’s CubaseVST and plunked down another $300.00 for CubaseVST 3.5, Oh yes those were the heady early days of VST Plugins with GUI’s. So for a few years I was in DAW bliss and could very quickly and easily get songs and ideas together, create sampled drumkits and all sorts of Audio and MIDI mayhem. It didn’t last long… Windows XP came out and Steinberg held out their hands for another $300.00 or so for a new Cubase for XP, then ISA slots disappeared from PC motherboards and killed my Pinnacle. This was my introduction to the short shelf-life of PC-based music production and I was supremely pissed and disappointed!"

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

Postby Petra-Sue » Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:23 pm

kawliga wrote:To be honest though, I had in mind more a system targeted towards the amateur bedroom musician on a budget, rather than Professional level.


Completely the same over here. I am just a dilettant and I openly avow it. But after tinkering around for several months the results obtained did not even convince me as a dilettant player, with at the same time noticing the whole system setup a bit laborious and flakey.Therefore, even with my limited expectation horizon (of requiring a practicable sample player for wind controllers for life sessions) I was looking to something more user-centered in the end.

I am quite a long-time Linux user (near to 20 years, with alternative OS usage definitely less than 1%), I do accept *some* tinkering, and I am evangelizing Linux in my personal acquaintance environment quite strongly. But for the objective target to arrive at something functional the eco-system presently available has not been adequate. I am very willing to learn, but eventually I just want to switch on the computer, put in the USB plug of my wind controller, double-click an icon for starting up my typical sample player (if this is not started already by default) and start making noise. As a near-to-target solution the setup of EWI-USB, XPression, and Roland µCube was not satisfying me either, I tinkered around with the EWI and created a new internal air duct system. And I built a custom battery power provision to run the Xpression, basically a standard computer, for more than 3 hrs continuously without AC. I managed this "more or less mechanical" modifications within due time. But the pure computational aspects of a supporting Linux setup evaded me, even though I did try hard (or at least I felt to haven done so).

In my struggle to arrive at a viable, explicitly Linux-based solution I never arrived at this point, apart from the unexpressive sound fonts (but that is another point). If someone could teach me: I am really eager to learn. But no excuses please w/r/to "special hardware configurations that need to be manually taken care of individually". :wink:

Cheers,

Petra

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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby ssj71 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 5:25 pm

Hardware may sound like a nice idea, and perhaps deserves more research, but I really don't know that many people start off by saying: "I want to record. What computer should I buy?" I think more typically they want to start with what they've got. Linux is neat that it can run on whatever hardware they've got, but perhaps that quote from Gmaq is more telling than first glance suggests. He went to a local workshop and was sold on cubase. Where is anyone going to get sold on linux audio? Surely not in the local music store (though perhaps if we could convince Guitar Center they could sell live CDs for 100% profit who knows what might happen, hopefully they won't think about how to support it). Not by googling "recording software" or "how can I record my band" or "I wanna soudn lik skrillex" ;) Not in SOS magazine (unless they pull out editions from 6 years ago). Not on the KVR forums (without some digging). Not on youtube. I just don't know how we expect more than a very few people to even hear about ardour, let alone be convinced to install a new operating system (that they may not have heard of) to try it out.

The more I think about it, we as a community have to be the FLOSS marketing team and we are failing. Its great to tell those around you, but we need to reach a larger audience. Stop telling. Start showing.
_ssj71

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Re: Linux music as a major player...

Postby diizy » Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:03 pm

Petra-Sue wrote: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.


And then there's Misa Tri-bass: a touchscreen-operated guitar MIDI controller, runs Fedora (IIRC) inside.

http://misa-digital.myshopify.com/products/tri-bass

That thing is so cool I have to change pants everytime I see it..

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

Postby glowrak guy » Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:02 pm

kawliga wrote: Does everyone really need 2,800 presets?

When Google launched their chromebooks, one of their big selling points was that ChromeOS would upgrade free of charge.
The market has shown most buyers want 28,000, from which 2800 will be auditioned,
280 may be used in recordings, and maybe 28 will ever be listened to in a song, by a fan.
Who most likely is one's hapless girlfriend :lol:

Nothing google provides is free. You pay up front, and the beancounters in the basement
divide the revenue. The engine is free, but the car it's in costs money :wink:

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

Postby Petra-Sue » Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:19 pm

diizy wrote:And then there's Misa Tri-bass: a touchscreen-operated guitar MIDI controller, runs Fedora (IIRC) inside.


Interesting! However, not my kind of music that is typically performed with that. I guess that's the cause why I missed it until tonight.

But the general idea is correct however, if I understood some of the presentations correctly: Switch it on, and make music.

Cheers,

Petra

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

Postby glowrak guy » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:15 pm

ssj71 wrote:we as a community have to be the FLOSS marketing team and we are failing.

A community has borders, rules, and accepted standards. Who gets to choose the members of 'we'?
Who decides which people ''have to be the...(fill in the blank)?'
What FLOSS projects are saleable products?
'Team' implies existance of a unified group that acknowleges and follows leadership, and the goals
that leadership sets forth. Who is the leader? What are the goals?
Failing implies there is a clear definition of success. Massive layoffs at Apple and Microsoft?
Bankruptcy filings among commercial DAW creators? Government websites requiring Chrome browsers?

The ambiguities and presuppositions within a short sentance are difficult to define,
and address accurately. How much more, the desires of throngs of diverse linux users?
Even the desired end results are unclear. There is a perception among
windows and osX users, that linux is not competitive, beyond server, and system rescue chores.
Success at any level, is rarely accidental, and when it is, not easily maintained.
Each of us, cash in hand, ask, do I prefer superior products, at affordable prices,
or useful products, that are free? Or some of both? I'm hoping for much more of both, myself.
Hurray for the weekend!
Cheers


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