August 20, 2005

Linux woes...

by Chris Randall

Okay, so I did something kind of dumb. I decided to give that OSx86 install everyone is doing a whirl on my HP laptop. To make a long story short, that didn't work, and obviously I completely hosed the hard drive in the process. So, rather than immediately re-installing WinXP, since I don't normally use this laptop except when playing live, I thought I'd give Linux a whirl, and see what the Linux music scene is doing lately.

So, after searching about a bit, I settled on the Xandros distribution. Downloaded it, and installed. Completely painless, and quite frankly a bit easier than installing WinXP or OSX on their respective platforms.

However, I've hit a brick wall. I want to use my emagic EMI 2|6 box with this computer. Apparently, the driver for this box is built-in to current kernels of Linux, but I can't for the life of me get it to work. Every page I find with a hint of "instruction," (and I use that term loosely in this context) is something on the order of this. Let me just say that shit like this is why Linux will never replace Windows as the desktop OS of choice. If you just want to surf and check your e-mail, it's fine, and even better than fine, because it is more or less completely unsucceptable to virii and such. But if you want to do _anything_ beyond the simplest tasks, it becomes a hair-pulling experience.

So, my question is thus: if _anyone_ that is reading this has managed to get the ESI 2|6 (or 6|2, for that matter) to work with Linux, and can give me clear, concise instruction for doing the same, I'd love to hear about it.




Aug.20.2005 @ 4:56 PM
Chris, love your blog. Just wanted to point out that your complaint (while valid) is misplaced. Yes, it's a pain in the ass. But I think venting on why "Linux will never replace Windows" is a bit silly. You're blaming the operating system for deficienies in driver support. But why is it that the Emagic driver works for Windows and Mac? Um...because Emagic bothered to write one.

Why doesn't it work for Linux? Because Emagic *didn't* write one.

Clearly, if manufacturers write drivers for every operating system out there somebody's going to pay the price. But it's not the operating system's responsibility to do it. Having said that, the fact that *anybody* writes drivers for free is a minor miracle.

Anyway, keep up the good work.

p.s. - when's the Linux version of Ronin coming out?


Aug.20.2005 @ 5:32 PM
Chris Randall
Excellent point, that.

Part of the problem, I think, is that ultimately if it isn't fun, not many people are interested in doing it for free. Driver writing can't possibly be fun, I'll say that much.

I used to be a militant BeOS supporter, and to this day probably own the only record label on the planet that advertised on BeOS sites. I still have a laptop dedicated to BeOS, in the event that I'm feeling nostalgic. I've certainly at least tried almost every GUI-based operating system there is, and this is the fourth, and most concerted, effort I've given to Linux. In the two years since my last stab, it has actually come quite a ways; that's certainly worth mentioning. I'd really love to spin this iBook through the nearest window (preferably while it is raining) so I hope that I can get this working with some degree of reliability.

(And before I get dog-piled, let me say that I _love_ OSX. However, I, like any developer or musician with an ounce of common sense, HATE Apple, the one company on this planet that goes out of its way to make life hard on developers and customers.)



Aug.20.2005 @ 5:34 PM
Chris Randall
Oh, BTW, my good friend Carl is right as I type this sorting my Linux Laptop out, remotely, natch. He's in Chicago, the laptop is in Oregon, yet he's doing his Thing, whatever that is. Gotta love the Future.



Aug.20.2005 @ 10:03 PM
Avid linux user. Can't comment on your specific problem. However it appears your driver is in recent kernels (link []">link []">link []</a>). I suspect that your problem is that your copy of Xandros is using a relativly vanilla kernel designed to operate on a variety of systems. This is where custom kernel compilation comes into play. It's daunting but easy once you try it a few times. Or perhaps you can try a different distribution. I would point you towards debian (ubuntu) and the agnula project (<a href="link []">link []).

All of my digital audio work is done in linux. Nothing fancy; audacity, buzz, oggenc, some other toys. Tons of more powerful stuff out there; ardour, csynth, jazz++, LADSPA. I'm comforted by the fact that I'm able to edit and produce stuff using free software. I don't have to buy or pirate anything. I find that very empowering. Aside from that, when getting into the really high-end stuff like realtime signal processing and synthesis, linux can't be beat for power and customability. But again, the vanilla kernels that come with most distributions are not compiled with realtime support. Meaning you have to be a relativly seasoned linux user before you can truly begin to enjoy it's power.

I hate to say it, but if you want something to work out of the box and don't want to get your hands dirty in config files and source code and makefiles, you should probably stick with windows.

Of course there's a lot of great free audio software for windows, too. Including audacity and oggenc.


Aug.21.2005 @ 8:09 AM
Hear, hear on the Apple point. I do my audio work on Windows ('cuz I can afford to build a smokin' machine for pennies) but I'm a mild-mannered (*cough*) sysadmin by day. I deal with Macs, PCs, Linux, friggin' name it. OSX is definitely on the top of my preferred list. I would take a stab at Linux, but neither Logic nor Ableton Live are ported to it.

I've got a serious hate-on for EMagic and what happened to Logic when they sold themselves to Apple. I've also been painfully aware through the years of the classic MacOS woes: MIDI fubars, driver memory leaks crashing the whole goddamn system. I couldn't believe they didn't deal with the protected memory thing all that time. OSX was, like, "okay, now stupid [insert manufacturer here] (Digidesign, I'm looking at you) will have to take responsiiblity for their random pointer generator code and not blame it on anyone else."



Aug.26.2005 @ 10:15 AM
Adam Schabtach
The Linux version of Ronin might come out if 1) Steinberg supported Linux with the VST SDK, and 2) there was a demonstrated market for Linux plug-ins. But as someone else described here, the Linux music community is dominated by free software and by users who expect free software. We're in the plug-in business because we love music tech, but we do have to pay the rent and stuff in the end. Selling Linux plug-ins isn't going to pay the rent.

(other AD guy speaking for himself)




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