[PlanetCCRMA] 32 & 64 bit FC

Fernando Lopez-Lezcano nando at ccrma.Stanford.EDU
Sun Oct 28 11:25:02 2007

On Sun, 2007-10-28 at 11:09 +0000, joey.a wrote:
> Still more unfortunately, my local expert was more efficient than I had
> expected. By the time of your below email, he had solved the partitioning
> problems, installed FC 7 on the new partition, downloaded PlanetCCRMA
> software onto that, and given me an accelerated crash course in Linux,
> leaving me somewhat streesed out. My (20 minute later) forwarding to him of
> your below response, then left him in the same state, so it looks like I am
> stuck with the 64 bit version for the time being.
> Consequently, since I can't even open most of the programs, it would be
> helpful if you could indicate precisely which ones should open in a 64 bit
> environment (under what conditions), and which ones shouldn't, so that I can
> work out what (if anything) I am doing wrong.

The ones that got installed should work. Anything that does not work
(AFAIK) is not available at all for the 64 bit versions of FC. 

Most of the useful programs need Jack to be up and running before they
are able to start. Some are polite and tell you something is missing
(like Rosegarden), some will silently fail to start. In those cases you
can open a terminal ("Applications" -> "System Tools" -> "Terminal") and
type the command that starts the program. It may tell you things about
what's wrong as it fails. 

> In addition, he has pointed out that FC 5 is no longer supported (suggesting
> that the 32 bit version of FC 6 also might not be, for much longer), and has
> suggested that I might be better off installing the longer term supported
> Ubuntu, which he is confident Planet CCRMA should run on.

Ubuntu is based on Debian as the core distribution and so is basically
incompatible with Planet CCRMA (which is built on top of Fedora). 

> I would appreciate your comments on that, too.

Planet CCRMA packages will not install on top of Ubuntu. There an
initiative that is part of Ubuntu called Ubuntu Studio that provides the
same type of stuff that Planet CCRMA provides. 

Fedora is fast paced, new releases every 6 months or so. So it has the
advantage of having newer software available and the disadvantage of a
fast release cycle. It would be fine to skip every other release, for
example, but sooner or later you'll have to update to a newer one. 

> At this stage, the main thing I need is help files.
> I did manage to open Rosegarden, which was considerate enough to tell me it
> needed JACK server to function. Although I could not find that in the
> software list, I did manage to find, by trial & error that Qjackctl,
> followed by start did the trick for that (cryptic, or not?)

Yes, Qjackctl is the first thing you start (if you want to work with
jack). Probably you want to go to preferences and change - in the Setup
dialog - the interface from "Default" to "hw:0" which points directly to
your first soundcard (or "hw:1" which is the second, etc).
"Frames/Period" and "Periods/Buffer" will define the latency of Jack, or
in other words how small the buffers it uses are. The smaller, the more
responsive a soft synth will be to real time commands. I normally use
128 and 2 with good results. 

> I also managed to open Snd whose basic help did work. However, none of the
> related help did, giving e.g. Firefox cannot find the file at
> file:///snd.html#etc . (Surely that must be a bug which can be easily fixed,
> if you know where these files are supposed to be located?)

You should be able to get to its manual in a browser by pointing to:

This is probably a packaging problem, I have to take a look at it. 

> I do now have some pretty good help files for SuperCollider (which is what I
> think I need most). Unfortunately, however, as we already know now, this
> does not work with 64 bit Linux. I did eventually find a Windows (beta
> version) link which wasn't empty, and so downloaded that onto the other
> partition, but that doesn't work either (not even a response to 2+2, enter).

Psycollider? Hmm, I think that should work, unless your version of
Windows is 64 bit as well. 

> I don't think I am completely useless when it comes to computers and music.
> I did, after all, manage to design, build, program, & debug, a pyramid
> computer music system based on refinements of a digitally controlled analog
> flight simulation computer, with one of the first 16 bit microprocesssors at
> the (lower end) man-macine interface, over a quarter of a century ago.


> However, my initial attempt to interface with Planet CCRMA have left me
> feeling a bit like Homer Simpson, when he can't fin d the ANY key.

You will need a bit of patience I'm afraid. You are tackling a new
operating system, new applications, etc, etc. It can drive you into
overload very easily :-) It does that to me from time to time. 

Usually the home web pages for most Linux applications have links to
documentation on how to use the program. Some are good, some are bad and
on somes you have to learn by doing. When there's documentation
available in the original software package I install it. The location is
not necessarily the same for everything. Sometimes it is available from
the menus of the app itself, sometimes you have to do a little digging
to find it. For example, most packages come with a README file that
tells you what they do, and it is usually installed in the doc
directory, which is here:


You will see docs for most of the installed programs there. 

You can also see what files the program has installed and see if there's
anything documentation related. In a terminal type:

  rpm -q -l package_name | more

That will list all files in a given package. Pretty long and useless
list sometimes. But:

  rpm -q -l package_name | grep README

will list anything that has README in its name (a better clue). Or

  rpm -q -l package_name | grep doc

will list anything that has doc in its name. 

  rpm -q -i package_name

will also list more details for the package, including the URL of the
home page of the software, which may have docs available. Most packages
are listed in the Planet CCRMA home page with links to the home site as

Hope this helps a little bit...
Perhaps others can chime in with good online resources...
-- Fernando

> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Fernando Lopez-Lezcano" <nando@ccrma.Stanford.EDU>
> To: "joey.a" <joey.a@accelerators.co.uk>
> Cc: <planetccrma@ccrma.Stanford.EDU>
> Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 4:38 PM
> Subject: Re: [PlanetCCRMA] 32 & 64 bit FC
> > On Wed, 2007-10-24 at 06:53 +0100, joey.a wrote:
> > > Sorry, I am still a bit confused here. Do the various software packages
> > > which are still 32 bits actually already run on 64 bit versions of FC,
> or
> > > not?
> > >
> > > If not, might I be better off installing a 32 bit version of FC
> initially?
> >
> > The 32 bit version of fc is the one that has the most packages
> > available. Stuff like pd and supercollider (as noted in a different
> > thread) are missing. Depending on what software you need you might be
> > better off with the 32 bit version (which will run just fine on 64 bit
> > capable hardware).
> >
> > -- Fernando
> >
> >
> > > Unfortunately, problems arose during the partitioning of my laptop in
> > > preparation for installing FC, so it is still with my 'expert'.
> Consequently
> > > I can't yet just try it to see.
> >
> >