KX mini manual

Unofficial support for the KXStudio Linux distribution and applications.
More info at http://kxstudio.linuxaudio.org/

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wolftune
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Re: KX mini manual

Postby wolftune » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:44 am

I'm no expert, but I think the problem isn't JACK but the way it is supported or not by different programs. Want an example? VLC does a bad job of supporting JACK :lol: It has only a JACK connection showing up while playing (or while paused) but not stable, and thus harder to control.

The answer to JACK isn't that it is itself that bad, it's that the tools to use it aren't great. Cadence is the best option, and it is still beta, falkTX is working hard. Also LADISH and whatever other session tools, they baffle me. I still don't understand how to use them best.

I dunno, falkTX might be able to explain more if there are really issues in JACK, but I don't think JACK is actually the thing to blame mainly.

Anyway, the reason I'm not jumping on the documentation thing is: I'm not convinced myself. I don't think GNU/Linux is really an audio platform to compare to the resources for Mac and Win. I think it has promise. It has enough to make it work. It has several advantages. But I think more improvements are needed before it will get there. I think KXStudio is the best bet and the most promising.

I've decided to prioritize freedom and FLOSS over the conveniences of Mac and Windows. So I'm in it for the long haul to see the system really working. When I truly have things working the way I need for myself, then I'll take my notes and try to help others. I'm trying to contribute ideas along the way, but I'm still confused about some things, and in some cases there are broken things that I know are broken and just waiting for fixes.
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Re: KX mini manual

Postby ToddMWorth » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:54 am

wolftune wrote:I'm no expert, but I think the problem isn't JACK but the way it is supported or not by different programs. Want an example? VLC does a bad job of supporting JACK :lol: It has only a JACK connection showing up while playing (or while paused) but not stable, and thus harder to control.


OT: This is because of the API they use. It makes it VERY easy to support JACK, without too many programming differences from handling other more traditional (less powerful) methods like the windows API or ALSA. I'll give details if anyone is interested in the coding side of it, but I'll leave that for another post :)

I dunno, falkTX might be able to explain more if there are really issues in JACK, but I don't think JACK is actually the thing to blame mainly.


FWIW I completely agree and have just logged in to post as such (see other thread)

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Re: KX mini manual

Postby hebjuzeb » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:13 am

Well, I guess we've established that there's one thing VLC can't play nice with: JACK.

If you have a program that doesn't work predictably and well with any other program, perhaps your program is the problem.

; )
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Re: KX mini manual

Postby wolftune » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:19 am

hebjuzeb wrote:If you have a program that doesn't work predictably and well with any other program, perhaps your program is the problem.


Or perhaps not. Perhaps you are obscure and working in a world with too many competing options and developers are not all aware of what to do to even consider working with you, so the problem isn't the program, perhaps it is a PR and publicity issue.

At any rate, JACK is not a program that "doesn't work predictably and well with any other program" it is merely a program that doesn't work predictably and well with all other programs. Several programs work wonderfully with JACK. Hydrogen is a good example of that.

But I still don't know. Maybe some blame does go to JACK. Still, innocent until proven guilty, please, in general as a rule for life. 8)
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Re: KX mini manual

Postby ToddMWorth » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:34 am

hebjuzeb wrote:Well, I guess we've established that there's one thing VLC can't play nice with: JACK.

If you have a program that doesn't work predictably and well with any other program, perhaps your program is the problem.

; )


Well really the problem here is making VLC work everywhere. That portability comes at a cost, and the tradeoff is the way that this API talks to JACK. That could be easily fixed, but then it would make it very difficult to support other audio APIs. VLC is very well done, it's just that the way JACK works is so different to the way WinAPI works, and the VLC devs are forced to work around that.

If you look at the code, it's kinda like this: (I will simplify - geeks, please don't hate on me for being approximate!)


WinAPI:

On start: Nothing

On playing sound:
Tell soundcard I'm about to play sound into it.
Push that sound into the card.
Tell soundcard I'm done playing now.

On closing the app: Nothing



JACK:

On start: Create an output port. This stays here until you close the app.

On playing sound: Push sound to the already-existing output port. That's it.

On closing the app: Remove the output port we created on startup.



JACK using PortAudio (like VLC does): - THIS IS THE PROBLEM HERE. IT HAS TO ACT LIKE WINAPI.... It doesn't do anything on app start or close - only when you actually play sound!

On start: Nothing

On playing sound:
Create an output port. This stays here until you press stop.
Push sound to the already-existing output port.
When the sound stops playing (end of the video, playlist, etc, or you press stop) remove the output port we created just a minute ago.

On closing the app: Nothing


So, the problem here is that making JACK act like WinAPI is not perfect, because WinAPI does not support all the cool stuff JACK does (like having a persistent output port that can be connected to anything). If VLC were a linux-only app, this problem would not exist.

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Re: KX mini manual

Postby danboid » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:50 am

Gerroff my thread! ;)

Nah, some interesting points have been made since I last checked back here so its all good! First, the good news is that F has since put up stub manual pages for all his apps (except Carla) at:

http://kxstudio.sourceforge.net/KXStudio:Applications

Only a few of those pages actually feature docs right now but thankfully one of those is Cadence. I have offered to help finish those docs for him as I think they are more important than the mini KX manual I suggested but he wants to write them himself. Fair enough! Its his project! :)

Terry:

I'd wait until 12.04.2 gets released before doing any vids personally but don't let me stop you - sounds like they'd be a great help.

hebjuzeb:

I was very surprised that a total newb to computers in general decided to get into Linux and end up on these forums so quickly! I think you're a rare breed. Some (very few) new computers do come pre-installed with Linux and sometimes these will be bought by total computer newbs who don't know the difference between Windows and Linux or even what an OS is. In these cases I think many get a friend to install Windows as thats what all their friends know how to use. For most everyone else who bought a computer with Windows pre-installed, thats what they use until it won't boot any more. They are unlikely to have heard of Linux at all but if they have then its something they think would be way out of their depth and what would they gain anyway? They can just get all the pirate apps off for free off their mates or the internet right? Thats how it goes here in the UK at least and most people who install Linux are experienced computer users, programmers or techie types.

I think I'm well suited to write these docs for a few reasons. First off I've been following Linux audio since '96. Second is I've done this before for JACKlab about 6 years ago. Thirdly I know how to explain techie stuff without using any jargon whatsoever as I work providing IT support at a big school where 'power button' is the absolute extreme limit of jargon you can get away with when talking to most of the teachers so I do this stuff every day. I can knock out a 1 or 2 page JACK/Cadence manual that will explain everything that the total JACK newb needs to know - a no-BS KX JACK FAQ as part ofthis manual - thats the key bit actually.

JACK is not perfect, no. It unfortunately has no 'autoconfigure' mode and its errors are certainly a bit cryptic to anyone who's not a Linux audio dev but most if not all of these errors are avoided by installing from the KX ISO instead of trying to configure a regular Ubuntu install by adding the KX repos or using a non-audio production optimized distro as a base. JACK is also becoming increasingly popular with OSX and Windows users and its recently been ported to iOS too so like it or not its winning the audio connectivity war it seems.

REAPER is a more powerful DAW than Ardour 3 but I would not recommend using it for serious work under Linux. Anyone who wants to be using REAPER should run it under Windows or OSX for sure to get max performance and avoid the quirky pitfalls and performance penalties of running it under wine but also write to Cockos or their forums and let them know you'd prefer to run it under Linux. If Cockos decided to properly support Linux with a native Linux port I'd buy it in an instant as I think it'll be years before any of the open source DAWs catch up to REAPERS feature set. REAPER DOES have a rudimentary Linux port but the devs are hoping someone else will port the required libraries for them it seems so I'm not expecting it any time soon.
Are you new to Linux Audio? This manual explains how to install KXStudio, set up and use JACK, mimimize latency, lists the best Linux AV apps and much more all in a concise and easy to understand format.

http://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/kxstudio_manual

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Re: KX mini manual

Postby hebjuzeb » Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:05 am

Hello Dan,

Good to see you back, I was afraid you'd lost interest in writing docs.

danboid wrote: I can knock out a 1 or 2 page JACK/Cadence manual that will explain everything that the total JACK newb needs to know - a no-BS KX JACK FAQ as part ofthis manual - thats the key bit actually.


That's the coolest thing I've heard in a long time.

danboid wrote:JACK is not perfect, no. It unfortunately has no 'autoconfigure' mode and its errors are certainly a bit cryptic to anyone who's not a Linux audio dev but most if not all of these errors are avoided by installing from the KX ISO instead of trying to configure a regular Ubuntu install by adding the KX repos or using a non-audio production optimized distro as a base.


danboid wrote: JACK is also becoming increasingly popular with OSX and Windows users and its recently been ported to iOS too so like it or not its winning the audio connectivity war it seems.


Well, it's good and bad I guess. I'm very big on cross-platform functionality: in my early days I'd use whatever OS was on the cheapest machine I could find but as long as I had my programs (VLC, Firefox, Libre Office, Inkscape) it was just a matter of learning the OS itself, so the learning curve was cut in half.

If the only real issues with JACK are setup, comprehensible crash reports, and documentation, well, it could be a lot worse I suppose.

To be honest it wouldn't surprise me if I'm the least-knowledgeable regular member of the forum, but it's possible I can be of some use by test-driving documentation: I'm one of the last people on earth to learn computers as an adult, and I remember the issues that troubled me with all 3 major OSs.

As an example, what if you didn't know why nothing appears to happen when you type your password into the terminal? I've never seen this included in any documentation: it's obvious, right? Well, not really . . . it's pretty much a timebomb for newbs. From your last post I imagine you'll catch these things but in a case like this there's no substitute for approaching the task with near-total ignorance, which is my strong-suite, lol.

danboid wrote:REAPER is a more powerful DAW than Ardour 3 but I would not recommend using it for serious work under Linux.


Understood. But . . . I love Reaper. I've little patience for DAW fanboys; there are plenty of great DAWs out there, but Reaper is ideal for what I need. Frankly I only use it for hosting VST chains and for preproduction, don't need anything fancy. And Ardour is perfectly good, of course, but if it's remotely feasible to use Reaper I'll do the work. (Actually got Reaper running properly for the first time in Linux just today, we'll see . . . )

Cheers,
h.
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Re: KX mini manual

Postby danboid » Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:15 am

Hi Heb!

Your point about not seeing passwords as they are entered in the terminal is exactly the sort of thing I won't have room to mention in such a manual, thats literally an obscure point you highlight!

I never said and I do not intend to provide a catch-all newbs guide to Linux here, just installing and the basics of setting up KX Studio, Cadence and a few other key tools.

By having used all 3 major OSs, you are already a more experienced computer user tha the man on the street. I have since re-read your post and you say it was about 4 years ago you got your first computer and I had it in my head it was only a year ago somehow? I'm not trying to get one up on you at all but I suppose 4 years isn't long compared to the decades of messing or better that many of us here have.

Setting up REAPER for use under KXStudio is something I'll cover in the manual though because it is officially supported under wine and it comes installed by default on the KX iso. There are a few people on these forums who use REAPER as their primary Linux DAW and have had good results so its not to be ruled out, its just something I personally don't recommend if you want to go all LInux - yet!

I'll get a rough outline of this manual done later today.
Are you new to Linux Audio? This manual explains how to install KXStudio, set up and use JACK, mimimize latency, lists the best Linux AV apps and much more all in a concise and easy to understand format.

http://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/kxstudio_manual

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Re: KX mini manual

Postby danboid » Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:48 am

I have just edited the OP with a more detailed outline of what I think should be covered in the KX manual.

I'm most interested in F's opinion of course but I'm interested in feedback off other KX users too.

How about a short chapter on KDE's 'System Settings' and common KDE tweaks/ issues?
Are you new to Linux Audio? This manual explains how to install KXStudio, set up and use JACK, mimimize latency, lists the best Linux AV apps and much more all in a concise and easy to understand format.

http://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/kxstudio_manual

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Re: KX mini manual

Postby danboid » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:01 am

Thanks for the feedback F! You made plenty of good points so I've updated the OP again with the relevant additions.

falkTX wrote:A note here: KXStudio is not meant to be a distribution, it simply provides one.
KXStudio is more than that. As I've put on the website:
KXStudio is a collection of applications, artwork and plugins, targeted at audio and video production.
KXStudio also provides a Linux Distribution, currently based on Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS.
Although focused on GNU/Linux, some of our applications work in other Operating Systems.

Soon enough when I make binary releases, you'll see not just Linux binaries, but also Windows and Mac versions as well.
The apps page, http://kxstudio.sourceforge.net/KXStudio:Applications, describes which apps are available to which systems.
Focus will always be to Linux, of course.

There's also the net-boot option, but not sure if this is good for newbies...


I'm aware that KX Studio is many things (distro, tools, repos) so one of things I just changed and clarified in the OP is that I'm discussing the creation of a mini manual for the full, Linux KX Studio distro ISO here and nothing else. I have no plans to cover installation from the netboot CD nor adding the KX repos to another Ubuntu distro as these install options wouldn't be recommended to newbs and thats the target audience of this manual. I dunno about F but I'd rather not cover any of that as I aim to keep the manual as lean as possible without skimping on the real important details of the topics to be covered.
Are you new to Linux Audio? This manual explains how to install KXStudio, set up and use JACK, mimimize latency, lists the best Linux AV apps and much more all in a concise and easy to understand format.

http://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/kxstudio_manual

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Re: KX mini manual

Postby wolftune » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:16 am

Dan, while I agree with you fully (and am happy to help to some extent and hope you'll include some of my items from my notes), I do think that including reference about how to add PPAs in general is necessary, and as such, it makes sense to mention that this process can be used to add the KXStudio PPAs themselves to Ubuntu-based distributions like Ubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Mint, Elementary OS etc.; in other words, this shouldn't go into detail, but just the idea and basic concept should be included.
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hebjuzeb
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Re: KX mini manual

Postby hebjuzeb » Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:07 am

wolftune wrote: I do think that including reference about how to add PPAs in general is necessary


This. I'm not good for much else, but should change my name to "CanaryInaCoalMine:" The whole idea of PPAs is alien and scary for newbs.
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Re: KX mini manual

Postby wolftune » Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:17 am

hebjuzeb wrote:This. I'm not good for much else, but should change my name to "CanaryInaCoalMine:" The whole idea of PPAs is alien and scary for newbs.


That's an exaggeration. When I was a totally newbie, PPAs were not the alien and scary thing. The entire idea of doing command line and typing "sudo apt-get" was scary and stressful. These commands are obviously totally jargon and completely impossible to figure out without someone just telling you. PPAs didn't add anything worse, they were just one of these sorts of things. Once I got the idea of how packages work at all, PPAs were just fine.

The real answer to all of this is simple: Muon 2.0 is coming, and it is beautiful and GUI for everything, and that is the answer. Until then, real newbies will not be comfortable, period.
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Re: KX mini manual

Postby Thad E Ginathom » Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:35 am

It isn't the PPAs which are scary, it is apt-get and other application installation tools, with their many, many options. With great power comes a little scariness!

Y PPA Manager is a useful tool

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Re: KX mini manual

Postby danboid » Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:49 am

Wolftune:

OK. I think the best thing to do then is to briefly mention in the manual that if the user has problems with the full KX DVD iso they also have the option of using the PPAs with various other Ubuntu based distros. Of course, Ubuntu has its own install docs already and there are hundreds of Ubuntu-based distros too but I'll likely just mention Mint and Ubuntustudio as some of the alternate Ubuntu spin-offs they could try alongside the KX netboot iso and vanilla (Gnome/X/K/*) Ubuntu as a base from which to add the PPAs with 12.04 based versions being recommended above the later ones. OP updated.
Are you new to Linux Audio? This manual explains how to install KXStudio, set up and use JACK, mimimize latency, lists the best Linux AV apps and much more all in a concise and easy to understand format.

http://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/kxstudio_manual


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