June 24, 2007

Here's what I don't understand...

by Chris Randall

Now, I'm no whiz with Linux. I _can_ navigate my way around a typical Linux system, using my OS X chops (ironic, that) but quite frankly I find it to be rather tedious.

But that's neither here nor there. Here's what I'm curious about: Ardour, much beloved in the Linux audio circle and the recipient (from my lofty vantage point at least) of a more-or-less unending stream of kudos, is roughly equivalent in both operation and appearance to ProTools 2. Even with the MIDI, natch. Whereas EnergyXT is a far more advanced creature, both better looking and much more feature-laden, and assuming the Linux version and the Windows version are more or less the same, eminently usable. Why is it that I didn't know EnergyXT was available for Linux until I went to download the damned thing last week?

This is what I don't get about the Linux community. I mean, I'm not trying to be an asshole here, but if a DAW came out in 2007 for PC or Mac with Ardour's capabilities (or rather, the utter lack thereof) it wouldn't even make it out of the starting gate. I don't mean to offend, but what the fuck is it with you people? Is the fact that something is _FREE_ so important? I hate to say it, but I believe that to be the case. Ardour is free (as in b33r) while EnergyXT costs a whopping $75.



Page 2 of 5

Jun.24.2007 @ 11:26 PM
Solipsist Nation
moyashi-- I'm not sure if that was sarcastic...

I forgot to mention that Korg's Oasys is based on Linux, but with loads of custom software on top. Also, audio on MacOS X is useable, but again, by replacing lots of chunks of the basic unix bits and adjusting scheduling. So, audio on linux and unix is possible, and even quite functional, but mostly by ditching a lot of the general stuff and focusing the kernel more on low-latency audio. (Or by ditching the very general GUI and focusing more on a very efficient rendering engine.) At some point it stops being generic unix and turns into something else.


Jun.24.2007 @ 11:55 PM
you completed my admittedly incomplete thoughts. My point was (at least in my pointed head) that money, not good intentions and self satisfaction, drives both innovation and the marketplace.

Jun.25.2007 @ 12:14 AM
Being a user of EnergyXT for a while now, I get the impression that Jorgen doesn't give a fuck about the whole philosophy of current Linux user base. It seems more like he is on a mission to get people from the audio community on to Linux, or to at least get people thinking and talking about it. Are there even any producers actually using Ardour for serious audio work, or is it just a toy for Linux geeks to play with?

With the recent developments in Vista and now Leopard, who isn't a little concerned about the future of DAWs on the modern bloated commercial OS? IMO, Linux wasn't even an option for serious audio work until EnergyXT2 came along. It still isn't there yet, but I think Jorgen's intention is to jump start some development on the Linux side so that maybe it will become a viable option sooner rather than later.

Just check out the discussion on the eXT forums. Users are already talking about an email campaign to get their favorite developers to port commercial plugins over to Linux. They figure that there IS a market now and if they generate enough demand it can happen. None of these people are die-hard Linux users with some kind of anti-commercial philosophy, they just see Linux as the future alternative to an expensive, bloated, unfriendly OS.

The people snubbing eXT on Linux probably have never even tried it, have no idea of it's long history of development, and don't realize that there is a good size community of eXT users, some of which are just itching to jump ship over to Linux. They just think, "Ha! The Linux community won't pay for software! Who is going to buy that?" and leave it at that.

I for one just hope that all this Linux attention doesn't detract from eXT development on the Windows side of things because I was really hoping to get away from Cubase in the near future and EnergyXT was my ticket. I have no intention of switching to Linux anytime soon.


Jun.25.2007 @ 12:59 AM
Interesting to read solipstnations comments on how Linux isn't made for DAWs. It makes me wonder though, shouldn't a Linux app be able to include a whole lot of the features the major DAWs carry anyway? I have to agree with the poster on Ardour, it's way behind.

I'm a pro musician, pro mixer and pro producer. Besides all the major DAWs I've tried a shitload of minor. While I'm not a Linux user, I have in fact several times looked at that platform for pro audio application but it just isn't there yet. I sometimes force myself to think it is, but it isn't, in fact, it's not even close. In fact, I'm not sure any of the apps can rival Cubase VST5 or Logic 5 that I started using on a PC. Not talking about audio hiccups but pure features.

Another thing I'd like to mention is the lack of two things: proper plug-ins and drivers for high end sound cards. I've heard Ardour can work with VST plug-ins today, but I've also heard it's really buggy.

Sad thing is, I can't see Linux getting anywhere in the audio world the next couple of years if some major player port their DAW, and I don't see that happening at all.


Jun.25.2007 @ 6:57 AM
solipstnation, you explained the *nix issues very well, thank you.

I've been working with various flavors of *nix since about 88 and other than for VERY specialized applications have never found it enjoyable as a workstation. Oddly enough the kinda workstation centric flavors like NeXT and IRIX never gained much popularity amongst the unix zealots and the server centrix versions were a major pain as workstations for anything besides specialized apps and network admin work.

My current theory about the cult of FOSS is that it is just that, a cult; a modern substitute for religeon. Some people will obviously praise even the crappiest FOSS software with all the vigor of a missionary trying to convert the savages.


Jun.25.2007 @ 7:48 AM
I've always wondered the same thing about Ardour. you have guys cranking out stuff for linux like EnergyXT *relatively* quickly. Heck, given that Tracktion is built on the JUCE framework, I bet Mackie could whip out a Linux version pretty quickly if they wanted to.

But Ardour? They've been at it for YEARS, it's not very mature in terms of features, and it's frankly ugly to look at.

Why is that?


Jun.25.2007 @ 8:07 AM
For stater I'd like to say that I know nothing about Linux.
My question is what about Asio drivers for audio interfaces,I don't think there is even one pro or consumer company which offer Linux drivers for its products (for the reasons mentioned above).
so basically is there a way to run an interface with no drivers on Linux?

Jun.25.2007 @ 8:24 AM
Isn't this the point where some smartarse reminisces about BEoS? :)


Jun.25.2007 @ 8:35 AM

There's the ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) driver in Linux that supports a whole load of cards, pro and consumer. Pretty much the standard I believe so widely supported.

Not that I use it, pretty much in agreement with CR on this topic.


Jun.25.2007 @ 9:47 AM
Didn't SSL announce giving a bunch of money to the development of Ardour a few months ago? Have their been fruits from the deal yet?

I used to love Linux back when I worked in IT. For doing server/network security (which is what I did), it was just infinitely easier and better to use than any other system. I even happily used Linux as my generic desktop computer, just because I liked using it.

Once I left IT, and stopped obsessing over computers like only a computer guy can, I kind of gave up on Linux. It's very much something for people who really love computers. Once you just want to make use of computers, but don't really care about them one way or another, moving to a system that is better equppied for the task at hand makes more sense (and Windows and OSX just have way more advanced music software available). I must admit, though, I do miss plaintext config files now that I only ever really use WinXP.

One thing that's always disappointed me about Linux for audio or any other high-level user functions is that so much of what's available is very much designed to imitate something done already on other systems. So much of it seems like an opportunity missed. If you want computers to work differently from the Win/Mac way, why not go whole hog with it and completely define what you want, from the ground up? Invent stuff instead of just making a lot of me-too software. Linux is going to be the underdog for the foreseeable future, why not do it in style?

I can't think of a single audio app that is Linux only that I've felt I was really missing out on no longer using Linux. Which I think is a pity.


Page 2 of 5



Sorry, commenting is closed for this blog entry.