A little friendly nitpicking.

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A little friendly nitpicking.

Postby mdmullins » Sun Aug 01, 2010 2:44 am

Really aimed at Linux in generally but I was wondering if anyone else felt the same:

Need this be as difficult as it is? Alsa. Jack. QJackctl. Linuxsampler. Qsampler. Pulseaudio. I understand this whole concept of servers is there to make it easier for the applications coder, but it makes it so much harder for the user.

How nice it would be to download an application, run it and that's it. The commercial operating systems manage it. Can't we.

Linux has been modular from the get-go. Right down to the kernel. But the more I work with Linux -- and I've been working on Linux well over a decade -- the more I realize this is not the panacea it promises to be.

I guess what I'm asking is: has there ever been a discussion of making Linuxsampler a complete, monolithic application with sound production and midi ports built right in? I understand the complexity of coding this but surely there are existing libraries to make the task more manageable. Is there a way to just bypass all of these external services and just do everything 'in house'?

Just throwing this out there. ;)

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Re: A little friendly nitpicking.

Postby luisgarrido » Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:06 am

mdmullins wrote:Need this be as difficult as it is?

How nice it would be to download an application, run it and that's it. The commercial operating systems manage it. Can't we.


Many people think "difficult" when they see "different". They forget that they had to learn Windows or MacOS too. For instance, for Windows you have to go through learning what an ASIO driver is, install it and configure it. For anything non-trivial there is always a learning curve.

Anyway, Win and Mac count with support from the hardware manufacturer from the get go, and that makes a world of difference. There is no much that can be done about it from the Linux side, other than advice users to buy Linux-friendly hardware.

I, for one, find Linux audio plumbing pretty straight-forward (and insanely powerful) once you take some time to understand what is jack, what is alsa, what is pulseaudio... Many people that use Linux for audio work simply remove pulseaudio altogether from their systems.

mdmullins wrote:I guess what I'm asking is: has there ever been a discussion of making Linuxsampler a complete, monolithic application with sound production and midi ports built right in? I understand the complexity of coding this but surely there are existing libraries to make the task more manageable. Is there a way to just bypass all of these external services and just do everything 'in house'?


Ports are for communication. There is no such things as "in-house" ports by definition. Ports must conform to an external standard to communicate with external hardware or other programs that follow that same standard. When you have a sampler in other operating systems you have to take care of the plumbing yourself, too. Create ports as you need them and connect them to other pieces of your studio.

I don't get what you mean with a "sound production" monolithic application. Something like Reason, where you have a limited but powerful set of modules and you connect them internally within the application? Well, if you understand the complexity, you just have to go ahead and code it, it will be a welcome addition to the community.
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Re: A little friendly nitpicking.

Postby mdmullins » Sun Aug 01, 2010 6:50 pm

Well, if you understand the complexity, you just have to go ahead and code it, it will be a welcome addition to the community.


Fair enough.

I guess this rant of mine came on the heals of having to deal with any number of issues from Ubuntu Lucid, and so perhaps I'm conflating these two separate issues. (Ubuntu vs. Linuxsampler.) On any given Linux board you often here talk of making Linux attractive to the casual user, i.e. Windows converts. But with some of the hoops I've had to jump through over the last few weeks just to get some very basic things to work properly -- USB keyboard and mouse, DVD drive, getting the system to recognize all three cores -- there is simply no way a not-techie from the Windows world would ever survive. And I love Linux, love the command line, and -- thank you guys -- I think Linuxsampler is wonderful.

Thanks for the input,

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Re: A little friendly nitpicking.

Postby cuse » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:19 pm

There is definitely truth in your criticism. Linux has a lot of advantages compared to other operating systems, but definitely also drawbacks. A big inconvenience with Linux is that there is not one official ABI. That is developers cannot just compile one binary and installer that would install and run on every Linux installation, since there are so many different flavors of Linux systems, all with huge differences in the libraries they provide and so on. That makes installing LinuxSampler a lot more compilcated on many Linux systems compared to e.g. the Windows version of LinuxSampler, which you can just download and install with few clicks. Unfortunaly I dont see this to change any time soon. The only way we could ease this task is to provide more precompiled packages of LinuxSamper at least for the major Linux distributions.

About the modularity: of course we could bundle sampler backend, GUI control frontend and instrument editor together to one application, but I dont see a necessarity for more than that. ALSA is already as de facto standard preinstalled on most Linux distributions.

About Pulseaudio: I have a pretty bad opinion about that audio server and I just scratch my head why so many prefer that server instead of JACK. Pulseaudio is worthless for professional / realtime usage and does not support SMP. The only scenario where Pulseaudio could probably make a bit more sense than JACK are mobile devices, due to the fact that JACK so far does not have support of adjusting itself to power consumption requirements. But thats really it. JACK is by far more intuitive and transparent than PulseAudio and I hope people start to realize that soon.
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Re: A little friendly nitpicking.

Postby cuse » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:19 pm

There is definitely truth in your criticism. Linux has a lot of advantages compared to other operating systems, but definitely also drawbacks. A big inconvenience with Linux is that there is not one official ABI. That is developers cannot just compile one binary and installer that would install and run on every Linux installation, since there are so many different flavors of Linux systems, all with huge differences in the libraries they provide and so on. That makes installing LinuxSampler a lot more compilcated on many Linux systems compared to e.g. the Windows version of LinuxSampler, which you can just download and install with few clicks. Unfortunaly I dont see this to change any time soon. The only way we could ease this task is to provide more precompiled packages of LinuxSamper at least for the major Linux distributions.

About the modularity: of course we could bundle sampler backend, GUI control frontend and instrument editor together to one application, but I dont see a necessarity for more than that. ALSA is already as de facto standard preinstalled on most Linux distributions.

About Pulseaudio: I have a pretty bad opinion about that audio server and I just scratch my head why so many prefer that server instead of JACK. Pulseaudio is worthless for professional / realtime usage and does not support SMP. The only scenario where Pulseaudio could probably make a bit more sense than JACK are mobile devices, due to the fact that JACK so far does not have support of adjusting itself to power consumption requirements. But thats really it. JACK is by far more intuitive and transparent than PulseAudio and I hope people start to realize that soon.
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Re: A little friendly nitpicking.

Postby Alex » Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:20 am

It would certainly help for not only realtime kernel users (32 and 64bit alike) but those who use their box as an all in one, do everything, tool, if developers coded jack in as a native audio device, and not, as is the case with quite a few apps, some sort of wrapper to provided token support. (which is usually poor, and not always stable)

For making music, Jack is far and away the superior choice of audio server in any architecture, and pulse audio isn't.

Like Cuse, i don't understand why anyone would choose PA over jack, or attempt to have both installed at once (unless forced to by a distro, in which case there's more work to done getting rid of PA off the system). I have a Gentoo setup here (so no compulsory installs/dependencies), and with a bit of effort have managed to have every app "talk jack", and jack only. That's one audio system on one box, that does just about every audio and midi task.

Worth noting here that as more of the realtime code finds its way into the mainstream kernel, so users will find it gradually easier to get jack up and running on a non-RT box, with fewer parameters to try and figure out.

good luck,

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