[PlanetCCRMA] Linux distributions and audio (Was: drop outs with FC8...)

David Nielson naptastic at comcast.net
Sat Jan 5 00:00:01 2008

John Dey wrote:
> What has made linux OS so successful is <snip>
Agreed. The core of Linux users are people who use Linux and hack Linux. 
Using it and hacking it are sets of skills that are highly related.

The multimedia / sound crew is at a relative disadvantage, because many 
of us as musicians, don't have the "hacker" skill set. There are only a 
few people (Nando, Paul Davis, ppalmers, a few others) who are both 
proficient hackers, and proficient enough musicians that they can design 
music software intelligently.
>   I do get frustrated that I can not get my ATI graphics card to work 
> and have to settle for a less then optimal driver for video but my 
> major concern recently, and maybe I am wrong, is the state of 
> soundcard drivers available for linux (particularly notebooks).
Agreed again! I have a fairly new laptop and a Presonus Firestudio, and 
I only have the option of using Windows on the laptop since there aren't 
(AFAICT) any interfaces available now that work and have enough channels 
/ features for what I need.

Freebob is evolving into FFADO, and the lead of that project does not 
have much time to devote to it at all. That, combined with the outright 
hostility hardware vendors seem to have for Linux drivers, makes it a 
seemingly hopeless situation.
> <snip> a non-profit organization with support from colleges and 
> university music departments <snip>
I think that's a great idea! How about this: a not-for-profit 
organization acting as the Hardware Division of the open-source 
movement? I look at the RME HDSP series of cards, and it certainly isn't 
$400 - $1500 worth of hardware, engineering, or anything else. It's not 
much more than a beefy FPGA chip and a few TOSLINK plugs. Imagine having 
a soundcard that Linux developers are completely in control of drivers for?

The Soundblaster Live! line of cards (based on EMU10k chips) is 
immensely powerful, once you use the kX drivers instead of Creative's 
drivers. A 25mhz DSP with 16 ins and outs and high-performance, 
low-latency PCI interface can be slapped on a card and sold for $50 or 
less. What would it take for the open-source community to make something 
like that?

Imagine if a retail computer manufacturer (Dell, Alienware, who else?) 
started using our sound cards exclusively? Having an "open-source" sound 
card appeals to the tree-hugger in all of us. Could we take over the 
world? Could we make music-making power available to a whole new group 
of people who can't afford it right now?
> Maybe I wouldn't have responded had I seen your response first.
Not at all! Your response was quite valuable and insightful. Thanks!