[PlanetCCRMA] Some planet-ccrma wishes for the new year

Timo Sivula timo.sivula@luukku.com
Fri Jan 2 16:36:02 2004


as I do not (yet) know how the planet-ccrma requirement management is 
happening, I thought I'd bring up a couple of wishes on this list for 
commenting. I have been using planet-ccrma for a couple of weeks now 
and I thought to write down my first impressions while they are still 
fresh in my mind. Please disregard if I am on the wrong forum.

First: Planet-ccrma is a great tool and I am very grateful for all the 
work done especially by Nando on this. Thank you Nando! The proposals 
before are presented in order to make planet-ccrma even better.

1) using the root account
I think in general it is bad practice to have to use the super user 
rights to use user applications and this should be avoided. As a new 
user to planet-ccrma I have so far found two cases where I cannot avoid 
using the super user password: 
a) starting the low latency patch
I remember reading on some of the low latency pages about a solution 
where the low latency patch can be activated and deactivated with the 
SysReq key. This to me seems like a good solution and I would hope it 
could be included in planet-ccrma. Some kind of a graphical status 
indicator, e.g. a blinking scroll lock led, should be implemented to 
indicate that the patch is active.

b) using xvidix full screen video on mplayer with an ati mach64 card.
This should be possible using the kernel helper software presented in 
the mplayer FAQ. I have never gotten it to work, I think it would be a 
great thing if this "patch" would be included in the planet-ccrma 

2) grouping of programs in the Start button menu
As a new user it is very difficult to recognise which program does what 
in the Sound and Video menu in RH9. Submenus under the Sound and Video 
menu would help in recognising programs and also improve the usability 
a lot.

3) macros to start programs
To improve the usability of planet-ccrma it would be great if it would 
come with ready made macros that would do all the setting up needed for 
programs to start. E.g. starting Rosegarden requires me to a) activate 
the low latency patch, b) start qjackctl c) start fluidsynth d) connect 
fluidsynth and the alsa-driver e) finally start Rosegarden. Five (5) 
steps to start a midid sequencer seems a bit over the top! This is a 
usability flaw that could be solved by including program start macros 
in the Sound and Video menu to do this. I think most programs would 
benefit from this.

4) Soundfonts
I did not find any soundfonts on my system to use with Fuidsynth so I 
had to find them from the net. Planet-ccrma could include a selection 
of GM soundfonts and at least some collections of the most used 
instruments, such as pianos, organs, strings, string pads, percussion 
sets and sound effects by default. Also to the Sound Font Archiver 
Sfark linux version should be included in planet-ccrma as soon as it is 
available. Further, setting up a apt-get repository at planet-ccrma of 
free soundfonts could be a good idea.

5) Comments on the included programs I have used

Great tool! Extremely user friendly and  good usability.

Should be automated with a macro to activate always when you start a 
Midi sequencer. This is a service you would expect the operating system 
to provide with no hassle.

Rosegarden4 0.9.5 has a bug that makes recording midi from a keyboard 
while playing an existing file impossible. This is currently discussed 
on the Rosegarden users list and a solution is already on its way. I 
hope the correction will be included in planet-ccrma as soon as it is 

I am running a dual boot system with Windows 98 and RH9. For recording 
I have been using n-track studio http://www.n-track.com for years in 
Windows. The user interface of this program is one of the best , it is 
very intuitive and it consistently minimizes the number of key strokes 
and mouse clicks needed to do your stuff. It simply works. In addition 
it comes with a VST support and a number of excellent free effects. 
Ardour is from a different planet. Simply importing a wave file to edit 
requires a process which I still can not memorize even after doing 8 
different projects with it. Ardour seems not to be designed from the 
user point of view but from the developers point of view and has a long 
way to go in regards of usability before it can cal itself a 
professional tool.

Nice tool. Good usability. This is what the Ardour usability should be. 
I hope the recording lag problem is solved soon, and the correction 
included in planet-ccrma. This is a good candidate for a light 
replacement for the analog 4-tracker.

These were the points of improvement I have found during the christmas 
holiday season. I hope these proposals are of some use.

A good musical year 2004 to everyone!