January 28, 2007

Hmmmm...

by Chris Randall
 

Bounte sent me back my HP laptop today, my road dog that I use for live performance, and I thought, since I had the afternoon free, I would try out the pure:dyne Linux distro, largely based upon Peter Kirn's repeated schilling, but also because I'm something of a masochist, apparently.


The main thing I learned is that there's something to be said for spending a bit of money. While it's fun to get all this jank for free and all, quite frankly, there isn't enough time in the day. I probably spent two hours trying to figure out how to make it so the mouse pointer didn't go across the entire screen when I moved my finger, say, a centimeter. (For what it's worth, I wasn't actually able to figure this out. I just gave up.) Then another hour spent trying to figure out where the example patches for PD are stored. I was finally able to get sound to come out of the computer, but by that time, I simply didn't care any more.


No offense to the FLOSS banner-wavers, but Jesus Christ, by the end of the process, I was willing to press "accept" on any damned EULA you put in front of me just to have a help file that said something besides "todo: write help file." Now, all that said, this is a fairly comprehensive package, and it's non-invasive. You just download the ISO, drag one of the folders to your hard drive, boot from the CD, and you're golden. No partitioning nightmares or configuration hell. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's true. After 15 years, Linux is almost to the point where you can, like, do something. But not really.

 
 
 

19 comments:

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Jan.28.2007 @ 10:14 AM
Solipsist Nation
Mm, true enough. It's still one of the best systems out there for servers, but media software has a LONG way to go for just the reasons you describe. Hell, I tried to get a standard USB webcam to work on linux a couple of weeks ago and eventually gave up. I've done a little messing around with music software, but it's still pretty far from out-of-the-box useable. On the other hand, it really has come a long way from csound...
 
 

 
Jan.28.2007 @ 11:36 AM
Adam Schabtach
I'm thinking unusually (for me) happy thoughts about Linux these days because I actually managed to set up my aged Yikes G4 Mac as a web server with YDL, providing me with a mirror copy of my OSCommerce-based online store (not AD's). For bonus points it's running headless: I ssh into it from another machine, start a VNC server on it, and then open a VNC client to, like, actually use it in a quasi-comfortable manner. It's pretty nifty, and only took about 100x longer than doing the same thing with machines running either of the two major OSes.

OTOH, the reason I put YDL on it in the first place was to make it into a fileserver for backup purposes, and I cannot get Samba to work right on it no matter how many different times and ways I try.

Terrasoft (makers and distributors of YDL) are also sort of weird in that they've pulled all of the stuff about the current distro from their website and replaced it with hype about the upcoming distro. That's really not very useful, now, is it? You can find the ISOs for the current distro if you know where to look, but if you were coming at it cold you'd probably give up before you found 'em.

--Adam

 
 

 
Jan.28.2007 @ 12:52 PM
Scodiddly
Samba is actually pretty easy to get going - it's just that most/all distros have a firewall going which screws up Samba. So you have to open three (or thereabouts) ports in the firewall, and usually Samba starts working perfectly. Annoying, and an example of how bundled software is rarely properly tested.
 
 

 
Jan.28.2007 @ 1:13 PM
Adam Schabtach
Yeah, been there, done that. I actually took the firewall down altogether just to see whether I could get the stupid thing to work. Didn't help.

--Adam

 
 

 
Jan.28.2007 @ 2:17 PM
RexRhino
This is going to be the next laptop I purchase:
link [www.ruggednotebks.co...]">link [www.ruggednotebks.co...]
 
 

 
Jan.28.2007 @ 5:09 PM
Jeff C
> After 15 years, Linux is almost to the point where you can, like, do
> something. But not really.

Linux is great for servers. Not for desktops (though it can be fun to geek around with it, in the end it usually ends up being a waste of time).

- Jeff

 
 

 
Jan.28.2007 @ 5:23 PM
Scodiddly
>Linux is great for servers. Not for desktops (though it can be fun >to geek around with it, in the end it usually ends up being a >waste of time).

Depends on your needs - I've been running Linux for my desktop at home for years now. Great for safe & reliable internet stuff. OpenOffice is really good and able to handle MS Office files. Granted multimedia has always been tricky at best, but right now I'm running Kubuntu (the KDE desktop version of Ubuntu) and I can view YouTube flash stuff, etc. Then there's the DeMuDi distribution which is designed for audio production stuff... that's on the other half of the hard drive.

If I'd been running Windows all this time I probably would be poor from having to buy expensive-yet-shitty software, if I hadn't already killed myself from the frustration of keeping Windows running reliably.

 
 

 
Jan.28.2007 @ 7:11 PM
Aahzekiel
Used Ardour under Mandrake on my wife's older VAIO for a while (M-Audio Delta 1010LT for an interface), to multitrack band practices deeep down in the basement. Even with the pretty comprehensive support out on the net for audio under Mandrake, it was a chore to get going and would've been flat-out impossible without the help of a dedicated linux-knowledgeable friend. I DID get it to work. Spent hours getting things running just right... worked great when I'd test it, tracked lots of silence - eight tracks wide! - and then the system would (apparently) randomly forget key settings just as I was getting ready for band practice to start. Suddenly I'd be trying to remember just what, exactly, cryptic command I'd typed in to get the audio server running just right... or was it the hard drive controller software that needed to be tweaked? Damn... sorry guys, we'll get started in a few...

After that happened two or three times, I gave up.

I WANTED to believe...

 
 

 
Jan.28.2007 @ 8:59 PM
javahut
" I can view YouTube flash stuff, etc."

Wow!!! Impressive... NOT.

"If I'd been running Windows all this time I probably would be poor from having to buy expensive-yet-shitty software, if I hadn't already killed myself from the frustration of keeping Windows running reliably."

What a load of crap... you've watched one to many Apple commercials.

 
 

 
Jan.28.2007 @ 10:26 PM
Scodiddly
>What a load of crap... you've watched one to many Apple commercials.

Errmmm... we're talking about Linux here, not Mac OS. But either is much much safer than Windows, and I should know because I admin a small Windows network at my day job (not to mention a previous career as a software developer, but I'll admit that Windows has improved from the Win95/NT days).

Though I do have a couple Apple laptops - I bought my iBook several years ago primarily to run Linux, and much more recently I bought a MacBook so I could occasionally run Windows (for Windows-only software).

You know what the nicest thing about Linux is? I'll agree that it can be a nasty thing to set up, especially multimedia. But I'll trade that any day for having to wrassle with copy protection, license activation, etc.

 
 

 
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