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Goodbye Apple, Hello Music Production On Ubuntu

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the ars-gratia-artis dept.

Music 513

Adam Wrzeski notes a piece up at Create Digital Music by musician Kim Cascone (artist's bio) on switching from Apple to Linux for audio production: "The [Apple] computer functioned as both sound design studio and stage instrument. I worked this way for ten years, faithfully following the upgrade path set forth by Apple and the various developers of the software I used. Continually upgrading required a substantial financial commitment on my part. ... I loaded up my Dell with a selection of Linux audio applications and brought it with me on tour as an emergency backup to my tottering PowerBook. The Mini 9 could play back four tracks of 24-bit/96 kHz audio with effects — not bad for a netbook. The solution to my financial constraint became clear, and I bought a refurbished Dell Studio 15, installed Ubuntu on it, and set it up for sound production and business administration. The total cost was around $600 for the laptop plus a donation to a software developer — a far cry from the $3000 price tag and weeks of my time it would have cost me to stay locked-in to Apple. After a couple of months of solid use, I have had no problems with my laptop or Ubuntu. Both have performed flawlessly, remaining stable and reliable."

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I'm going to break the pattern. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28948883)

I'm going to break the pattern, and claim to be the last post. that's right, no "first" here!

Yeah but there is one draw back (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28948991)

You now have to pay a $600 licensing fee you c**** smoking teabagger.

I know this guy... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28948897)

He totally switched from Apple to Linux, and he does things with this computer just like everyone else! You should totally post his story on /.

Re:I know this guy... (5, Informative)

hamburgler007 (1420537) | more than 4 years ago | (#28948977)

I see why you posted as AC. The point of the article is he is a fairly well established musician breaking away from a well established platform for the music industry. I actually find it interesting, considering that a few years ago you often had to go through hell just to get anything to come out of the sound card using linux.

Re:I know this guy... (5, Insightful)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949165)

I actually find it interesting, considering that a few years ago you often had to go through hell just to get anything to come out of the sound card using linux.

On the other hand, many still do have trouble getting anything to get out of their sound card on Linux. I agree that the story is "interesting," but those of us serious Linux users will have to admit that the audio situation here is far from ideal, to put it positively. Alsa.... pulse.... awful. Compound this with the noticeable lack of good software and drivers for audio production equipment, and I will have to admit that the vast majority of professional audio people are much better of staying with Apple at the moment.

Re:I know this guy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949423)

bingo! I installed ubuntu on my work laptop and sound worked out of the box, then one day it just stopped and has never worked since. the gui seems to think sound should work (I get the OSD volume bar when I push the +/- volume buttons) but no sound is heard. I've tried all the options in the sound control panel (oss/alsa/pulse) and they all result in silence. I'm not interested in spending the time figuring out whats wrong (it's for work, im busy doing real work. i dont need sound), but to act like linux has flawless sound support is ridiculous.

Re:I know this guy... (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949689)

maybe it's the speakers and not the OS.

Re:I know this guy... (5, Informative)

Guru80 (1579277) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949485)

I have had nothing but a NIGHTMARE with sound in Ubuntu forcing me to go through hell to find the problem at each upgrade. And each upgrade from 8.04 (to 8.10 and now 9.04) have caused me to have to figure out why I get NO SOUND each time. Unfortunately each of the 3 versions caused a different problem so it wasn't as simple as just replicating what I did previously to resolve the issue.

Re:I know this guy... (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949559)

upgrade

There's your problem right there. I'm not going to pretend that I don't have problems upgrading Gentoo, but at least I don't have unsolvable mystery bugs caused by release incompatibility.

Linux Sound Support (4, Informative)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949513)

Many people have problems with sound in Linux. The situation is certainly less than ideal. However, on most computers, sound in Linux works flawlessly. If you have problem with sound in Linux, you are part of the exception, rather than the rule.

Re:Linux Sound Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949667)

Sure, if you're trying to get your onboard soundcard working it's simple, right?

What about once you're routing 16 channel of input and 16 channels of output?

Re:Linux Sound Support (4, Interesting)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949711)

Half the time it's the chipset manufacturer's fault, too. For example, Realtek pretends to support Linux and even has public datasheets (to some extent), but some of their chips only half-work or don't work at all if you stick to the published specifications. Turns out you need to perform some magical undocumented actions to get them to behave correctly. Don't bother asking their "linux guy" (he's even listed at the top of the driver in the Linux kernel), he'll just waste your time.

I had an issue with their ALC889 chipset, which I described to him in technical detail (such and such portions of the chip don't work, even when there's no way this could happen going by the spec, which I can prove because I've tested this and this). He wasted two weeks of my time throwing random revisions of the driver .c file at me that just added pin-configuration support for other motherboards and laptops (none of which were my laptop, and which is totally irrelevant to the issue as I described it, as I know how to test and determine the platform-specific pinouts and had already nailed mine). Eventually I gave up and manually brute-forced every single bit of their proprietary registers until I came up with the magic ones to make the chip behave.

Problems getting *any* sound to come out are quite often the result of proprietary platforms and chipsets with poor support. Software issues with mixing and incompatibilities with applications are an entirely different issue - those can indeed be attributed to the rather crazy state of linux audio.

Re:I know this guy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949611)

And people have switched from Mac based systems to Windows based systems for audio production, yet that isn't news. Why? Because the Linux user has to be a pompous asshole and brag to the world that they have switched to Linux and now everything is awesome. Same old, same old.

Re:I know this guy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949235)

He does everything he used to do, except print from a generic printer, scan from his scanner, and download photos from his camera.

from worst to better (-1, Troll)

discorob3 (1479279) | more than 4 years ago | (#28948915)

now switch to windows and you can really get some work done

Not a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949249)

Linux has probably the worst sound architecture(s). Hideous, hideous mess. Good luck trying to get through the nonsense of ALSA when the sound fucks up. Or is it PulseAudio now? Or is it back to OSS? Hahaha.

-a guy on a Linux computer whose sound is disabled because his webcam is plugged in (wtf)

Re:Not a troll (1)

cheftw (996831) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949515)

Well if you were working on music production it would have to be http://jackaudio.org/ [jackaudio.org] .

Also webcams often contain microphones, I expect your computer is treating the webcam as its primary audio device.
Please see the relevant documentation for your audio system on changing this.

Re:Not a troll (1)

Hawke666 (260367) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949703)

The webcam problem occurs on Windows too. Very annoying.

Think Different (5, Funny)

fremean (1189177) | more than 4 years ago | (#28948943)

Well, Apple DO encourage it...

Re:Think Different (5, Funny)

bigngamer92 (1418559) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949621)

There next slogan: "Think Different, But Not THAT Different"

lolz (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28948957)

Sound on linux, yeah right.

You'll be telling us it's the year of the linux desktop next.

Interesting (1)

Sl4shd0t0rg (810273) | more than 4 years ago | (#28948971)

This is really interesting considering how much bad press Linux gets concerning its ability to handle audio. From personal experience I haven't had any issues with it since the Audigy line was new, but there are still people who claim the Linux audio support is horrid.

Re:Interesting (4, Interesting)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949055)

Audio support is fine. Music making support OTOH is abysmal. The article correctly points out that sound recording, editing and mixing is fine on Linux. The heavyweight music creation tools just don't exist and many of the top-end hardware interfaces simply don't have Linux drivers.

Re:Interesting (4, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949403)

Audio support is fine...the heavyweight music creation tools just don't exist

The heavyweight music creation tools don't exist because a) there's not much of a market for them on Linux because; b) Audio support is most definitely not fine.

Re:Interesting (3, Insightful)

mechanyx (960689) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949661)

Agreed. Driver support amongst studio quality interfaces is severely lacking and limits your options significantly.

Re:Interesting (1)

Jamie's Nightmare (1410247) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949697)

The article correctly points out that sound recording, editing and mixing is fine on Linux.

Which is bullshit, because doing any audio production on generic hardware is on the top 10 list of things not to do. There's a reason people buy the expensive audio cards. Noise and interference are a huge problem on standard PC audio devices. Even worse if it's on-board audio.

Good on him (5, Insightful)

pbjones (315127) | more than 4 years ago | (#28948973)

nice to see a person that has the right tool for the job. BTW you wern't locked into Apple, you were locked into the software developers choice of OS and hardware.

Re:Good on him (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949013)

The only thing the article's author was locked in to was the belief that they must have the latest and greatest version of everything. If it works, DON'T FIX IT.

Re:Good on him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949025)

Oh man I'd love to see Windows guys try to use that same argument ...

Re:Good on him (2, Interesting)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949279)

Oh man I'd love to see Windows guys try to use that same argument ...

They don't need to. Most software that works on Vista works just as fine on XP or Windows 2000. With OS X, on the other hand, you can't even get a modern browser running on 10.3,

Re:Good on him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949347)

moot, windows is always broke so fixing it is mandatory

Re:Good on him (0)

bezenek (958723) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949119)

Will someone with the appropriate experience please chime in here? I know there are many people in the recording industry with opinions. Please help us out.

Thanks.

-Todd

Re:Good on him (5, Interesting)

sqldr (838964) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949261)

nice to see a person that has the right tool for the job.

Having spent the last 6 hours writing music using a softsynth on linux (we're doing a 64k entry for the demoscene, on linux, so we have no choice), I have to say, in spite of the pre-emptive kernel, there need to be some serious kernel changes before it can stand up to the low latency requirements of music production.
My synth will happily plod away in interactive mode using about 30% cpu on windows (there's reasons why I can't just boot into windows and run it), and yet it munches about 40% whilst idle in its VST host on linux, and regularly spazzes out at 100% of the interrupt time given to it, requiring me to hit the panic button. That's with the pre-emptive kernel and realtime-everything switched on. All of this whilst "top" is showing that it's actually only using 30% of the total cpu time. It won't just ramp up to use the entire cpu. On the standard kernel, it's, erm.. well.
The problem appears to be the way in which the different applications are talking to eachother through processes which depend on eachother's data streams, but don't get called NOW when you need it. The previous version of my synth was a basic jack midi device, and that was even worse. Timing bugs all over the place. Occasionally it would miss entire notes.
Then again, if ubuntu are taking this seriously, hopefully we can see linux improve in this respect soon.
Either that, or I'm off to buy a quad-core xeon.

Re:Good on him (5, Interesting)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949449)

...it's actually only using 30% of the total cpu time. It won't just ramp up to use the entire cpu.

It may actually be using the entire CPU, but not reporting it via "top".

Unless I'm mistaken, CPU used by the back-end IO processing - the act of the CPU coordinating traffic between the computer's bus and the devices that are being written to and from, are not actually charged to the process or thread.

That is, the details of how much CPU are used by the IO system aren't written to the process header, because the process header isn't in the computable scope (an area defined by a set of active register values). Ergo, "top" doesn't report that CPU because it isn't there. (Old VMS systems had a parameter that simulated this, called "Iota" (measured in microfortnights, oddly enough) that was added in back when charging for CPU usage was in vogue.)

What that seems to indicate is that the problem may not be in the operating system per se, but in the driver and/or the device. The culture of one IO per byte may still exist in some buried (or should be buried) hardware devices. The IO needs to be blocked up a bit I think to get the performance you need for seamless music delivery.

Re:Good on him (4, Interesting)

gwait (179005) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949725)

Interesting point.
In the early days of Windows audio, people found that their gaming graphics card was grabbing the PCI bus for incredibly long stretches at a time, as a side effect of the graphics card driver trying to max out performance and show great benchmark results. This would totally mess up any audio latency.

I wonder if the linux graphics drivers are doing similar games, causing all sorts of latency hiccups?

(As I'm typing this on a windows box the hard drive is causing seconds long delays as I try to type this!)

Linux audio is definitely not yet what it should be..

Usable hardware? (2, Interesting)

chappel (1069900) | more than 4 years ago | (#28948983)

I love using linux for as much as I possibly can, but I have noticed a distinct difference in the audio quality between my old power book Ti and a 'business' grade dell. The audio out my mac mini is MUCH better than what I get out of Dell desktops I've used, too. My eeePC 901 does seem to sound pretty good, though.

Eh... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28948987)

I'm all for open-source, but trying to do any music production on linux has been a headache to say the least. I'm more than willing to give it another shot, but I've had very little if any problems on my mac. Actually, all the problems came from it being a "hackintosh" Mac OS X was designed for audio unlike other OS's. Between it's ultra-low latency audio subsytem and the industry standard Audio Units plugin archetecture, it'll take a hell of alot for Linux to beat that. Plus Logic owns any program I've ever tried and I can only run it on a mac. As much as I love open-source anything, I spent too much time just trying to figure out Linux technical issues and not enough time actually recording. If there were less competing standards on the platform and less buggy software I'd probably be running a Linux DAW right now. Until then I'm more than happy with my "Mac".

Re:Eh... (4, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949385)

it'll take a hell of alot for Linux to beat that.

Some sort of agreed plan would be a good start.

Allow me to be the first to say... (5, Informative)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949001)

So what? I'm not trying to troll here (well, maybe a little) but honestly, who cares?

This whole mentality of "Us against the world" is kinda amusing to me. I guess it's because I'm not a developer, or something, I dunno.

But this is one artist saying "Software X is/was expensive, so I'm using a different and free solution." Ok, great, good for her. So now what?

Re:Allow me to be the first to say... (2, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949029)

after clicking a link, Kim is a "him". My bad. Damned gender-implying names...

slashdot requires you to wait 1 minute in between posting. Your time is not up yet.

doo doo doo doo doo doo doo....doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo. doo doo doo duh duh duh-duht-bum-bum.

Re:Allow me to be the first to say... (0, Flamebait)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949125)

figures. Don't bother to refute what I said, just call it "troll" and be done with it. Typical.

yay (1, Funny)

el_tedward (1612093) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949003)

yay

Hardware (1)

prestomation (583502) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949007)

Hardware has kept me from Ubuntu in this regard. I have an old Steinberg VSL ADAT card that has no drivers on linux or even OS X.

Honestly, I don't know the state of pro audio on linux past this, but it is keeping me for now.

Waitaminute... (2, Interesting)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949009)

Did the author manage to get anything other than a DAW and sound editor running under Ubuntu ? Max/MSP for instance ? Reason ? Ableton Live ?

I've given up trying to do anything musical with Ubuntu. Windows and OSX are still miles ahead in terms of compatible hardware and software that 'just works'.

Re:Waitaminute... (1)

cheftw (996831) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949577)

Well I run Reason fine in Wine, but I only stopped using it in OSX because the window management made me cry.

This is a joke (5, Insightful)

BitHive (578094) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949023)

Anyone who believes this has never tried to record and mix multitrack audio on Linux

Re:This is a joke (4, Insightful)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949199)

We'll see how he'll like it once one of the components he's using gets dumped for a complete rewrite coming "real soon now"(TM), just use this 0.1.12alpha release in the meantime. And oh, you'll need to compile these parts from source 'cause there's no packages yet and now nothing works because the package manager just updated half the system and it can't find libc.so.5.

I mean really, he writes "mprove and update tools for JACK to make it easy for musicians to install, configure, and use." Was I ever that naive ? I might have been.

Re:This is a joke (4, Funny)

dotgain (630123) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949237)

Mod parent informative. You could make a mastercard ad with your luck setting up sound on Linux.
  1. Getting a sound card to work $x,
  2. Getting it work without pops and thumps when we slide the volume control $2x,
  3. Getting two sound cards to work $x^2,
  4. Getting two sound cards to work in sync $infinity

I agree, but this article didn't really inform me (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949095)

I agree with the premise of this article: Linux is a perfectly good platform for digital audio creation and editing. It might even be better than a Mac, depending on how you weigh different pros and cons. But I unfortunately don't really feel I learned much from this article about why Linux is a good choice. All the apps he mentioned (Audacity, Ardour, etc.) are available for both platforms. And his reasons for switching, like the lack of a tree view in the OS X finder, strike me as weirdly trivial and not music related.

As someone who's done some published research on audio latency/jitter issues in a former life, I'm also somewhat annoyed by how much these sorts of articles focus on tech like JACK and low-latency kernel patches. This used to be a huge issue, but I suspect it shouldn't be nearly as high up anyone's priority list as it used to be--- back in the 2.4.x. series kernels, when the default kernel's clock tick used 10ms granularity and scheduling was flaky, it made a much bigger difference. Today, I suspect this sort of behind-the-scenes performance is only infrequently the bottleneck in anyone's audio performance; when I see actual glitches in performances, they can often be fixed by much more boring scheduling tweaks like "nice -19" on the processes that are bottlenecks in the audio path, or finding bugs in how you're setting up your callbacks.

In any case, these days I see JACK as useful mainly for being a reasonably well supported audio-app-interconnection bus; as he says, the Core Audio of the Linux world. But that doesn't make it hugely unique either.

So I guess I'm in the weird position where I agree with the article's conclusions, and some of its specific points, but overall if I didn't already agree with it, this article wouldn't have sold me on why Linux is great for audio editing. Sorry. :/

Re:I agree, but this article didn't really inform (1)

Earyauteur (1142601) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949331)

And you can install Jack or Soundflower under Mac OS X's Core Audio as well.

Re:I agree, but this article didn't really inform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949413)

informative? only the (not) obvious (to you) -- no need to spend thousands of dollars on mac hardware and software

Re:I agree, but this article didn't really inform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949567)

And his reasons for switching, like the lack of a tree view in the OS X finder, strike me as weirdly trivial and not music related.

Wasn't cost the major reason he cited for the switch? (hint, it's in the summary - $600 vs $3000). Doesn't seem weirdly trivial to me.

Re:I agree, but this article didn't really inform (2, Interesting)

spintriae (958955) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949595)

But I unfortunately don't really feel I learned much from this article about why Linux is a good choice. All the apps he mentioned (Audacity, Ardour, etc.) are available for both platforms. And his reasons for switching, like the lack of a tree view in the OS X finder, strike me as weirdly trivial and not music related.

Yes, that's all he mentions. Never once does he mention price. Nope. Well, perhaps vaguely here:

A quick back-of-a-napkin estimate came to approximately $3,000, not including the time it would take tweaking and testing to make it work for the tour. If the netbook revolution hadn't come along and spawn a price-wars on laptops, I might have proceeded to increase my credit card debt.

But he certainly doesn't mention it here:

The solution to my financial constraint became clear, and I bought a refurbished Dell Studio 15, installed Ubuntu on it, and set it up for sound production and business administration. The total cost was around $600 for the laptop plus a donation to a software developer -- a far cry from the $3000.00 price tag and weeks of my time it would have cost me to stay locked-in to Apple.

Or here:

Not only was the expense of owning and maintaining Apple hardware a key factor in my switch, but the operating system had become a frustration to me.

Re:I agree, but this article didn't really inform (2, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949657)

Yeah, that's fair. I suppose what I really wanted to read was an argument about why Linux is particularly well-suited to audio, which I think it is. But an argument that it's "good enough, and cheap" is, as you point out, also legit.

Re:I agree, but this article didn't really inform (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949731)

Oh, I dunno...I think there are several professional musicians using linux...they just don't know it!

http://digitalmedia.oreilly.com/2005/11/09/inside-the-korg-oasys.html [oreilly.com]

Mirror anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949153)

Site is dead

Ubuntu studio?? (4, Interesting)

Cam42 (1459387) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949157)

I've been using this for quite some time now. anyone else?

Re:Ubuntu studio?? (2, Interesting)

apharmdq (219181) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949759)

I have, and I love it! The Ubuntu Studio guys do a great job of putting together their distro, and I hope they continue to support it for a long time.

BFD (2, Funny)

tyrione (134248) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949187)

Kim Cascone (December 21, 1955, in Albion, Michigan) is an American composer of electronic music who is best known for his

I stopped caring at this point.

Re:BFD (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949321)

What, you wanted Linux support for a Fender Twin Reverb?

Re:BFD (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949397)

Kim Cascone (December 21, 1955, in Albion, Michigan) is an American composer of electronic music who is best known for his

I stopped caring at this point.

cool story bro, im glad we all now know you dislike electronic music

feel free to remind us in the future!

Re:BFD (3, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949679)

The article doesn't mention it, but Linux laptops are actually just as good as Macs for acoustic guitarists, too.

Similar story (2, Interesting)

Spit (23158) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949193)

I used to produce with Cubase VST/32 on OS9, which was an environment I enjoyed working in. When OS9 was abandoned and my mac died I continued with VST/32 on Windows2000, but it wasn't the same. Neither were the new versions of Cubase on OSX.

My biggest problem with this situation was my old projects were stuck in this archaic format with nowhere to go. Since then I've moved to Ardour on Ubuntu, I find the environment is even better than before and tools like Hydrogen are great. Best of all is Jack, there's nothing like it.

Linux audio is good and it's only going to get better, the price of the software isn't relevant in this assessment, only quality.

What he fails to mention in his article... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949207)

...is that all his music creating can be summed up in him cutting and playing back audio samples with various effects on it - there is no actual sequencing or other advanced music creation involved.

Had there been, I'd say, with many years experience as a composer, that this article would not be.

I can do it for even less! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949243)

I could certainly do it for under $500 with a good used MacBook. Does that make the $600 for the refurbished old-school Dell system "more expensive"?

Well, what about LMMS? (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949275)

For the new/seeking, see these:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LMMS [wikipedia.org]

http://lmms.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

http://video.google.com/videosearch?client=opera&rls=en&q=lmms&sourceid=opera&oe=utf-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=FL14SrTCLYW0sgPfqe3xBA&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&ct=title&resnum=4# [google.com]

http://keepthemfree.net/application/lmms-044 [keepthemfree.net]

http://www.rosegardenmusic.com/ [rosegardenmusic.com]

http://linux-sound.org/notation.html [linux-sound.org]

And a slew of others are starts if not replacements, depending on what any given person is after. If someone can top Rosegarden, Lilypond and LMMS, or combine the best of all these and some others, you'll probably see/hear Apple whip out the patent/copyright infringement... But, i DO have to say, Garageband is FANTASTIC. I watched a demon in the Apple Store, and it's hard (it appears) to beat GarageBand (for now?).

Re:Well, what about LMMS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949623)

Thanks for the links. I have to say, I'm a little dubious when the LMMS mentioned above is for version 0.4.4.

I don't like testing other people's software for free. When will it be out of beta?

Re:Well, what about LMMS? (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949773)

I watched a demon in the Apple Store

They're called "geniuses".

Maybe I'm just paranoid, (0, Troll)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949277)

but this sounds a lot like a Dell ad.

Nothing beats Reaper! (4, Informative)

justindnb (1098861) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949283)

If you're looking for a great alternative to expensive, bloated audio applications, check out Reaper. It's made from the guy who originally wrote Winamp. The licensing is very friendly and only costs $60 (discounted license). They're very responsive to user feedback and add features constantly (updates usually arrive every 2 weeks). I've used other tools in the past like Reason and Cubase, but ended up ditching them in favor of Reaper. Its built-in effects are quite good and it supports DX and VST plugin formats. Unfortunately it is only supported on Windows (32 and 64bit) and Mac OSX at the moment however

Re:Nothing beats Reaper! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949533)

Runs more or less flawlessy under Wine however, I might add.

Re:Nothing beats Reaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949763)

REAPER is a still a joke in true studio environment, it does however have some good points though regarding licensing, pricing and support. Awaits REAPER fan boys to get all bent...

sounds like a bundling opportunity (4, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949285)

Seems like some enterprising individual could start putting together cheaper-than-dirt Ubuntu-based music machines by buying Dell Studio laptops (with Microsoft license rebate, naturally) and preloading everything necessary.

The complaint from non-geeks about Linux is you have to do it yourself. If you didn't have to do it yourself, and it really was that cheap, it becomes a lot more interesting.

I don't think Linux will be much on audio... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949287)

until it has this [line6.com] . i.e. something this cheap and useful.

Come on, let's be honest here... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949291)

This dude is not exactly producing musical scores using his Ubuntu rig. I mean, seriously... go check out some of the stuff on his store [anechoicmedia.com] and you'll see why (examples):

Reaching Dark Stations
Recorded in Regina, Saskatchewan in 2007 at the Neutral Ground Gallery:::industrial factory sounds filtered through a turbine jet engine::Play loud, play often:::
Statistically Improbable Phrases

30 minutes of sputtering modems and hacked sparking mainframes; the sound of technology gone awry mixed with submariner dark station dronescapes; briny chains scraping against the hulls of rusted ships. Recorded live in Paris at Instant Chavires

In short, he doesn't need the type of precision and accuracy provided by higher-end hardware and/or custom interfaces and plugins that one would need for 'serious' music (yes, I went there), so he can get away with using Ubuntu. After all, it's just 'bleepy shit' anyway.

But with Disappointing Authoring Software? (4, Interesting)

Earyauteur (1142601) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949295)

Kim mentions the use of free audio production software, such as Audacity, as substitutes for commercial offerings. While an Audacity user is more than welcome to dive into the code base and make needed improvements, not every user has the time and/or ability to do such. In my estimation, neither Audacity 1.3.7 nor Audacity 1.2.6 are stable enough to be considered "professional-quality" software. I am not trying to insult the developers and their abilities -- they have a complex project on their hands. But Audacity's graphical interface has serious and repeatable bugs; Audacity's sound export facilities reliably adds spurious noise to sound. I admire Kim's decision to use Ubuntu as an audio workstation, but I don't think Kim has been forthcoming about sacrifices in software quality that a user must make to do so. Kim can easily translate most audio programming done in Max/MSP (the commercial environment he has worked with extensively) to the public domain environment "pd" -- but as an experienced user of both systems there are more functionality loses than gains moving from the commercial Max/MSP/Jitter environment to pd (Pure Data).

If the cost of an Apple system and the higher cost of outfitting it with professional quality audio production and performance software are bankrupting a musician, then I can see the logic of using an Ubuntu system at this time. Otherwise, I still believe the adage "you get what you pay for" applies. However, I believe with effort from open source audio developers an Ubuntu audio workstation with both cost and quality advantages is more than possible. The bugs I am seeing in Audacity today remind me of the bugs I saw in the comparable commercial application "Peak" ten years ago.

Music production on Linux? Gimme a break! (0, Troll)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949305)

See, I'm a seasoned musician and I understand that music has to have a little style. Linux is about as stylish as a garage. That Unbuntu might be okay for making some kind of blooping video game remix, but when you want to impress people with the rock'n'roll, you need a stylish machine like a Mac.

Musicians don't have a "workflow," they just plug shit in and expect it to work. They aren't about commitment, they don't want to shepherd some high-maintenance bird around that has to be hacked into giving a good performance. They want a seasoned pro that's been there before, and knows how to impress! Why, that's the Mac to a T [youtube.com] ! And when it's over, there are no feelings hurt. Just goodbye stranger, it's been nice. Hope you find your paradise!

Re:Music production on Linux? Gimme a break! (1)

dandart (1274360) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949457)

Does it matter how funky the system is? Not that Ubuntu is un-funky, it's the imagination that funkifies it. Funkification, n: To make something like James Brown's music

Re:Music production on Linux? Gimme a break! (2, Funny)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949505)

they don't want to shepherd some high-maintenance bird around that has to be hacked ...

Shepherding birds?

Flocking hell. Forget beowulf clusters, imagine a bevy of quails! ;-)

Re:Music production on Linux? Gimme a break! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949571)

Yeah, what the hell does Kim Cascone know about producing music?

Look up Kim Cascone.. oh, quite a lot actually. Hmm a seasoned veteran with serious chops? That's actually worth looking into, to bad the article is shit.

Re:Music production on Linux? Gimme a break! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949747)

I fucking hate you all! Go to HELL!!

-PC

Why MacBook Pro? (1)

schnablebg (678930) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949311)

If a $600 laptop has enough horsepower to do what he needs, why was he looking at MacBook Pros? The $1,000 MacBook should have suited him fine. It's still more expensive, but as he says in TFA "invest money or time, never both" so that time savings would probably have been worth it.

Re:Why MacBook Pro? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949357)

The $3000 one is the only one with an expresscard slot.

Linux won't make it for audio (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949335)

until it has something like this [line6.com] . Something cheap and extremely usable.

Ahh, so you got the soundcard working (0, Troll)

ninjanissan (1612103) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949343)

No kidding, but this still.... seems to be a problem. And after that don't mention alsa, pulse, crap, crap, etc...

Re:Ahh, so you got the soundcard working (1)

dandart (1274360) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949467)

Pulse is dead. You can just use alsa, which is as low level as you can get.

Kim Cascone switched! (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949355)

Wow! Kim Cascone! THE Kim Cascone! Why, we were just talking about him...

Oh wait, actually I have absolutely no idea who this guy is. Why do I care? I take it we're going to be finding random "I switched from OS xxx to OS yyy" stories on Slashdot now?

Re:Kim Cascone switched! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949475)

Actual he has done some good stuff with the talking heads and HeadSpace, Thomas Dolby's studio.

He is a hardcore music guy that know his chops. This is why it is interesting that he switched to Linux; which ahs notorious issues regarding music.

It's not like some garage band decided to use Linux to save bucks.

I wish there was more real information. I would love to see a Slashdot interview about this guys set-up.

As a musician (3, Interesting)

diskofish (1037768) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949439)

I wonder how the vendors are going to support another OS when they can't even get their stuff working properly with different hardware configurations on TWO operating systems (Windows/OS X). I can't tell you how many problems I've had with FireWire audio interfaces.

Once this hurdle has been reached, I am all for whatever open source audio stuff comes my way. I use currently Audacity for editing samples and quick n' dirty recording. Audacity WORKS but it's interface is mediocre at best and if you want ASIO support you have to download an unsupported patch to get it.

Linux not a viable option for PRO music production (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949479)

Sorry. I'm a professional video game composer (and will remain anonymous), and I can tell you this will never fly, not until instruments/engines like Kontakt, Reason, PLAY, and Vienna Instruments all work on Linux. And that's not even counting all the plugins for reverb and such, like Altiverb. No freaking way could I produce compelling, high production quality material on a machine that didn't support these tools of the trade.

Heck. And that's just the plugin side of it! We haven't even talked about the sequencer, which has to beat heavy hitters like Cubase, Logic, and the few others that people tend to have in their arsenal. Linux has a very long way to go before it can be considered a professional music platform.

Re:Linux not a viable option for PRO music product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949651)

It's Linux's fault because an app doesn't run on it? It's not the developers fault?

Applications are everything (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949481)

There is no doubt that Ubuntu notebook would be somewhat cheaper than Apple hardware of comparable specs. Although, your own comparison is terribly flawed by choosing refurbished and low end Dell laptop compared to high-end Macbook Pro. Regular MacBooks can be had in the ballpark of $1K and refurbished one might well be available for $600.

But a bigger problem is comparison between Linux open source and commercial audio apps for OSX. Apparently you are both a geek and a music guy and can manage fine. For one, I prefer Gimp to Photoshop as the interface of the former is much more logical from programmer's perspective. However, majority of non-geeks still prefer Word, Photoshop, Garage Band or Logic studio and value their time more than a couple grand to get the hardware platform.

Still a looooong way to come (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28949543)

While I have absolutely no doubt that music production on Ubuntu may be the right tool for some forms of production, a lot remains to be said about the state of applications, interfaces, drivers and importantly - sheer simplicity, which has a huge impact on workflow. In most music production situations I imagine that the most important job for a DAW is to offer unhindered access to the creative process behind working on the track, basic usability is where a lot of OSS software seems to fall short and audio platforms are no exception.
If you're lucky enough to be able to establish a workflow and sound around the software that you're using then an open platform is ideal, but most people are going to be bringing a sound and a workflow to the software, and the software must complement this otherwise it will not be used for many serious projects. The article talks about how concerned he is with maintainability and reliability, but in my experience I will happily use software such as ProTools and Ableton Live which have received years of commercial investment and refinement. It may come with a high price tag which some people might find prohibitive, but in my experience most audio software should fit within the budget of anybody earning a modest living from music, it's certainly eclipsed by the price of instruments or audio hardware.

What it comes down to. If you want to be musically creative you don't want your software or OS to get in the way, Linux with its myriad of audio-related subsystems and incomplete audio software has a tendency to do just that. I'm a competent system admin but only a hobby musician, and I will happily argue the merits of Linux and open source all day long, but unfortunately where audio production is involved I will definitely recommend a Mac platform to anybody if they'd like to be productive.

Linux is well... (3, Funny)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949557)

The only problem I have is that on Linux, when I hear about this fantastic package that supposedly runs on the distro du jour, I usually find that I have to download 5 or more different pieces of kit like libraries or audio driver special patches and low latency kernel patches then re-compile all of these with this switch set and hold my nose a certain way while tweaking this driver then recompile the kernel on Tuesday with my hair on fire then do it again Wednesday standing in a freezer. And when I finally get all that done I find that no one mentioned the package that already existed with half of it done for me but the other half is written in perl and then I have to update perl modules from some depository to the latest and greatest. Then the PHP modules required by the web interface aren't loaded by default and the PHP version is too advanced i have to install the old one but if I switch to this other distro all this other stuff is done then when I finally get all these ducks in a row my sound card isn't fully supported by any distro in existence so I switch to a USB sound card that is supposed to be universally supported except that the drivers are proprietary so they weren't actually included in my distro cause that gave somebody heartburn.

By the time I get it running I have to update the kernel again and that broke the drivers all over again.
So Sorry I'm saving up and buying the tools that have already been proven to work.

What, the Linux netbook set itself up? (-1, Troll)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949589)

a far cry from the $3000 price tag and weeks of my time it would have cost me to stay locked-in to Apple.

So, let me get this straight - the Linux netbook just set itself up with no operator intervention?

I've been doing this for years in Linux... (1)

Swift Kick (240510) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949591)

cat /dev/urandom > /dev/audio

No need for a fancy Dell either, it works just fine with any soundcard, and I bet it sounds a lot like whatever this dude's doing (maybe even better).

Try it sometime!

Ubuntu Studio (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949605)

Like most people, all of my Linux experiences are seen through the filter of whatever distro I'm using. When I wanted to try out music production on Linux, I installed Ubuntu Studio 9.04.

My experience was bitter-sweet:

  • The people on the forums were really nice and really helpful.
  • But the RT kernel they shipped occasionally hanged my machine. Something that never happens with the normal Ubuntu kernel.

So sadly, I didn't even get as far as seriously critiquing the apps. It's a pity, because there seems to be so much potential there.

Cool (0, Flamebait)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#28949705)

Will this chink away at the myth that you need an Mac for anything creative?

Apple gives/sells cheaper Macs to school
School teaches students on Macs
Teacher knows only Macs
Students go to workplace and find Macs
  Only Macs can do audio/video/image editing.

The same is true of MS, but for office applications. It's true because it's true.... i think in the world of Mac users, there seems to be a mindset of NO NO NO! PCs CAN'T EDIT VIDEO! LA LA LA LA!

i've done all three on both OSes. Having a right click is reason enough for me to use a PC. YMMV.

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