Your vision of the future of Linux audio

Discuss how to promote using FLOSS to make music.

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m4l3z
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Your vision of the future of Linux audio

Post by m4l3z »

Hello there !

I've been thinking about it a lot recently and I'm genuinely interested in your vision of the future of Linux audio and more globally FOSS audio at all the different levels. Like what would you love to see software-wise, feature-wise, community-wise ..etc

I'll start :
  • a better integration of microtonal music
    new approaches to music making
    communication hub between users and devs :
    documentation for easy reuse of code
    state of the art sampling softwares
    and overall a more coherent infrastructure
Take care,

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Re: Your vision of the future of Linux audio

Post by Lyberta »

m4l3z wrote:state of the art sampling softwares
LinuxSampler dying its well-deserved death :twisted:

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Re: Your vision of the future of Linux audio

Post by nilshi »

Lyberta wrote:LinuxSampler dying its well-deserved death :twisted:
Something I can get behind. Paranoid developers...

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Re: Your vision of the future of Linux audio

Post by Lyberta »

nilshi wrote:Something I can get behind. Paranoid developers...
I actually started working on 100% free/libre backend for LinuxSampler but got distracted by other projects. It may never see a public release.

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Re: Your vision of the future of Linux audio

Post by rghvdberg »

Lyberta wrote:
nilshi wrote:Something I can get behind. Paranoid developers...
I actually started working on 100% free/libre backend for LinuxSampler but got distracted by other projects. It may never see a public release.
Awesome
GitHub?
Share the code. The FOSS world need this.

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chaocrator
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Re: Your vision of the future of Linux audio

Post by chaocrator »

more, more, more cool educational stuff, like video tutorials about every single piece of software.
without that, all linux audio evangelization is doomed to be ineffective, and the community will never significantly grow.

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Re: Your vision of the future of Linux audio

Post by Lyberta »

rghvdberg wrote:Awesome
GitHub?
Share the code. The FOSS world need this.
Well, I've implemented 99% of the MIDI spec in ftz MIDI and implemented WAV file reading, bit depth conversion, sample rate conversion and pitch shifting in ftz Audio. What's left is a JACK wrapper and reading SFZ/SF2/GIG and we have a basic skeleton of a sampler. I think SF2 is not needed since we have FluidSynth. GIG can be read by libgig which is a FOSS part of LinuxSampler.

But production quality sampler would require years of hard work by a team of developers. LinuxSampler backend is 65k lines of code.
Last edited by Lyberta on Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Your vision of the future of Linux audio

Post by ufug »

For those who like thinking about this topic (the future of Linux audio), check out Paul Davis' talk at LAC. It's fascinating stuff and he certainly has as much perspective as anyone.

For nuts and bolts, there's not much missing as it stands now in the way of tools. But we need users to keep moving forward, and with more users comes an increased likelihood of high profile professionals using Linux*, which would in turn bring in even more users. I think we need this because the huge gains of recent years in Linux audio are largely based on the work of individual developers, and with that comes a lot of potential for abandoned projects. Get more users and you can encourage and support development in more sustainable way, both closed and open source.

If we did want more users to keep things moving forward, what we are truly lacking is a distro that works out-of-the-box for non-Linux savvy musicians. It's hard enough to "switch" people to Linux for everyday usage, but to trying to switch a musician to the world of Linux audio is insanity. The time/effort barrier is huge for someone who might be good at making music but not very good troubleshooting a new OS.

Such a distro 1) would be as easy to install as Ubuntu 2) would install transparently configured for best possible, lowest latency audio production, and 3) make JACK, Pulse, and ALSA invisible to the regular user (unless they go digging for it).

That's where the future would be. Something where you plug in a mic and there's a signal in your DAW and you can just start recording without reading a manual or digging through wikis from 2005. We don't have anything close to that, and it's a huge barrier to most musicians.


* TapeOp (free and required reading for anyone who records music IMHO) ran an editorial a few months back about Mac/Windows upgrade frustrations and vendor lock-in, and did not mention Linux. They have never reviewed a Linux DAW and none of the engineers or producers interviewed in the last decade in that magazine have mentioned Linux as far as I know. And they cover some obscure topics.
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Re: Your vision of the future of Linux audio

Post by chaocrator »

ufug wrote:If we did want more users to keep things moving forward, what we are truly lacking is a distro that works out-of-the-box for non-Linux savvy musicians. It's hard enough to "switch" people to Linux for everyday usage, but to trying to switch a musician to the world of Linux audio is insanity. The time/effort barrier is huge for someone who might be good at making music but not very good troubleshooting a new OS.

Such a distro 1) would be as easy to install as Ubuntu 2) would install transparently configured for best possible, lowest latency audio production, and 3) make JACK, Pulse, and ALSA invisible to the regular user (unless they go digging for it).
in so called reality, things never happen this way even in commercial OSes & ecosystems.
they may work out of the box, if one is lucky enough. but also may not work. and some degree of fiddling with software settings before it works as expected is always present.
any commercial software vendor's support forums are full of questions of frustrated users that were not lucky enough. just like linuxmusicians )

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ufug
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Re: Your vision of the future of Linux audio

Post by ufug »

chaocrator wrote: in so called reality, things never happen this way even in commercial OSes & ecosystems.
they may work out of the box, if one is lucky enough. but also may not work. and some degree of fiddling with software settings before it works as expected is always present.
Perhaps, but it is waaay closer to being plug and play in commercial OSes. I came to Linux from the Apple world. In that reality, it was easier for me to get set up and working in Protools and Reason under OS9 than it is for me today to make music using Linux, and that was more than 15 years ago. Same when I moved to OSX on a different machine. No config files, no needing to research kernels or anything like JACK or patching things together from unmaintained documentation. It WAS easy to just make music. Maybe it is harder now. I don't know, but I have a lot of musician friends who just buy a computer and start making music without having to go through what Linux users do.

After I switched to Linux in 2005, it took me years of failed attempts to even get close to the latencies I was getting in OS9, even with superior hardware. And then when I could get it working at all, it was buggy, and the Linux DAWs ten years ago were not so great, and everything I wanted to try took hours of research and often failed.

Fast forward to today: Ardour and Qtractor rock! There's also Mixbus and Tracktion and Bitwig to compete with! We have Guitarix and so many amazing open and closed plugins and synths at a point of maturity! And KXStudio makes set-up waaaay easier for those of us who are not super-technical people. There has been HUGE progress across the entire ecosystem in terms of usability.

I am just hoping that we can keep moving forward. The community of developers is amazing, but it is small, and some/many projects are just one person. If there is a new job, or a baby, or health concerns, there is no guarantee that someone else will step in. Sometimes people say they will and then they disappear. Yes, this is a risk in commercial stuff too (all of life is risk), but it is mitigated when there are more people involved. I know most people here probably don't care about getting new users, but it is one way to move forward and grow things. I just think the way that could be done is through a distro that comes pre set-up to make it easy for curious musicians to try.

Apologies if this is ranty, I do worry about things moving backward or being abandoned after all the positive things this community has accomplished.
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Re: Your vision of the future of Linux audio

Post by magicalex »

ufug wrote: Apologies if this is ranty, I do worry about things moving backward or being abandoned after all the positive things this community has accomplished.
Doesn't sound ranty at all. I think you make some well reasoned and reasonable points.
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Re: Your vision of the future of Linux audio

Post by bhilmers »

chaocrator wrote:in so called reality, things never happen this way even in commercial OSes & ecosystems.
Hell-fucking-no. This statement is completely ignorant of "reality," which is that people who are piratically idiots when it comes to computers can write fantastic music on Win/Mac and Android. I'm friends with a lot of those computer illiterates. I wouldn't in my wildest dreams recommend any of them switch over to Linux for music production unless their DAW was already proven to work perfectly in WINE. If you are talking about user's being "lucky" to have something working out-of-the-box, well shit, I'd take the safe bet and use anything but GNU/Linux for music.

I'm sure it's been posted on this forum somewhere, but it's worth reading this article on Linux Audio. Like the Paul Davis video above, the article a clear-headed evaluation of Linux Audio's strengths and weaknesses. Personally, I've given up on native Linux apps and really just follow development of low-latency WINE. At least in WINE I can use a simple audio editor with a real-time effects chain, something that's was available on Win/Mac in the 90s. (i'm looking at you Audacity.)

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Re: Your vision of the future of Linux audio

Post by chaocrator »

well, topic goes «your vision of the no future, no future, no future for linux audio» :mrgreen:
those people who want linux audio ecosystem to be «like windows, but free» just using wrong OS, i think.

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Re: Your vision of the future of Linux audio

Post by Nachei »

I think your question contains two possible interpretations that would be good to clarify:

1) Your vision OF de future of Linux Audio: where are things heading now, what will Linux Audio will look like in the future, considering its current condition and trends.

2) Your vision FOR the future of Linux Audio: where do you think Linux Audio should head next, what are good objectives to strive towards.

Some people will find this distinction too semantic, but I find both meanings are mingled along this whole thread, and it doesn't help having a constructive debate; both 1) and 2) are equally interesting, but maybe it would be a good idea to separate the topics?
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Re: Your vision of the future of Linux audio

Post by bhilmers »

chaocrator wrote:those people who want linux audio ecosystem to be «like windows, but free» just using wrong OS, i think.
"Free" has nothing to do with it. There are fatal flaws in the Linux Audio ecosystem that prevent wide adoption by musicians. It's widely known. The first is the lack of GNU software that can realistically compete with commercial releases and second is the ridiculous issue of multiple sound servers. Linux attracts musicians who like to tinker with computers and who prefer a modular setup. That's a remarkably small number of musicians. Sometime "more like Windows" is a good thing when Windows kicks your ass at something. it's called not having your head up your ass.
42low wrote:
bhilmers wrote:At least in WINE I can use a simple audio editor with a real-time effects chain, something that's was available on Win/Mac in the 90s. (i'm looking at you Audacity.)
Huh? Do i understand this well? Your pointing at Audacity under wine?

If so, why not simply the linux version. Works great.
No, I'm not running Audacity under WINE, I'm running other editors that have real-time effects chains.
42low wrote:Don't understand the 'linux ain't good for audio' yells. It does a great job for me. I can do what i want and make what i want, and easily.
Even the OS itself at start is more stable and quicker.
Survivorship bias. I do audio professionally. I use Linux to do my job, but I don't use GNU tools because, with the exception of a few, they are all too immature. My "vision of the future of Linux Audio" is one where I no longer have to use closed-source Windows tools inside Linux to do my job effectively.

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