[Fwd: [LAU] light weight, full featured desktop for audio]

Len Ovens len at ovenwerks.net
Wed Feb 20 07:49:04 UTC 2013

For those interested in my experiments.

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: [LAU] light weight, full featured desktop for audio
From:    "Len Ovens" <len at ovenwerks.net>
Date:    Tue, February 19, 2013 11:36 pm
To:      "linux audio users" <linux-audio-user at lists.linuxaudio.org>

With all the talk about minimal DE installs, and reading about the
problems with different kernels and video cards... and what things cause
xruns. I thought of a solution that may work well.

Here is my minimal DE through the eyes of ps:

joet at music:~$ ps x
 3784 ?        S      0:00 sshd: joet at pts/0
 3785 pts/0    Ss     0:00 -bash
 3886 pts/0    S      0:03 xfce4-panel
 3890 pts/0    S      0:00 dbus-launch --autolaunch
 3891 ?        Ss     0:00 //bin/dbus-daemon --fork --print-pid 5
 3893 ?        S      0:00 /usr/lib/xfce4/xfconf/xfconfd
 3909 pts/0    R+     0:00 ps x

Yup, 6 things. The idea is to use two computers. Some of the mini atom MBs
would easily fit two in one case and still use no fans and one PS. They
all have Gb networking, so a small switch between them is all that is
needed. This assumes a single audio card with enough channels for whatever
you are doing, either pci, USB or (with a pci(e) FW card) FW.

One computer is headless and never runs X, though it would have most of
the x libs anyway. All of the audio SW would be installed on this machine.
I only used xfce4-panel because it was already there (it's running
ubuntustudio in real life sitting at the login screen). The panel has been
cleared of all applets except for the main menu and shrunk to fit. I am
not sure if this is enough, some people may need a systray as well. The
panel seems to launch dbus for me too (good). The main thing is that it
gives me a menu for that machine where the apps it launches all inherit
the same dbus info and display. An ncurses based menu could work just as
well. and there are other panels or docks which would also work.

The second computer can run any linux or BSD or anything else so long as
it has an xserver (even windows I think can have an xserver). It does not
matter what video card you use, because you can run a generic kernel that
the driver is made to run on. You don't have to think about interrupts or
anything like that. Pulse run on this machine will not affect jack in any
way. Rather than bother with figuring out a pulse-jack bridge, connect
line out from the head board to the line of the audio board and vise versa
and use zita-a2j and zita-j2a to add them to jack.

My machines are not the best trial. I am using wireless networking (b
version with max 11M, but most often less) but even with 100M there is
some lag, though it doesn't effect the audio at all. Gb net would probably
be good enough though.

affects latency? yup. jack running -p16 -r 48000, guitarix on top. very
few Xruns, with the DE on the same machine I had 1000s/minute. No mouse/kb
irqs, no video irqs, Makes this old P4/2.4G sing. I'll have to try dual
heading the gui box (aspire one netbook).

So far I think this is a better solution than running the audio across the

Len Ovens

Linux-audio-user mailing list
Linux-audio-user at lists.linuxaudio.org

Len Ovens

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