[ubuntu-studio-devel] Some thoughts, frustrations, and considerations.

Len Ovens len at ovenwerks.net
Wed Sep 26 22:26:53 UTC 2018

On Wed, 26 Sep 2018, Alexandru Băluț wrote:

> People from Jack, PulseAudio, GStreamer, GNOME, KDE will meet at the end of
> October for a hackfest about improving the Linux audio situation. If successful,
> it seems this will make distributions focused on audio less relevant.

There is only one project in those listed that have anything to do with 
(semi)pro audio. That is jack, I have not heard from the jack developer 
any meantion of this and so would expect he has not even been contacted at 
this point. Generally missing from this list are ALSA, Kernel or even 
pipewire (which is still at the pipedream stage... ie. not yet doing 

> "The idea that we can have a shared infrastructure for consumer level audio and
> pro-audio under Linux really excites me and I do believe that if we do this
> right, Linux will take a huge step forward as a natural home for pro-audio
> desktop users." (Christian's opinion)
> https://blogs.gnome.org/uraeus/2018/09/24/getting-the-team-together-to-revolutio
> nize-linux-audio/

Steal coreaudio. Right now it is the best going for pro audio... probably 
desktop as well. Note that the HW design is part of it. PCs don't have 

What the average user does not seem to understand, is that the average 
"PC" hardware is not designed for proaudio. The proaudio path starts with 
motherboard selection... even in a laptop. Lowlatency anything (let alone 
audio) is not on the cpu/MB developer's mind at all. Any mention they 
give of low latency is deceiving... low latency = 30ms in their books. 
Managing to get lowlatency on a PC system (as low as .6ms) requires 
careful system massage from the kernel to irq priorities to choosing which 
slot a sound card uses or which USB plug it is plugged into (or adding a 
dedicated USB card). This is why there are so many chewed apple logos on 
stage, the hardware really is better. There are more PCs in the studio... 
because in the studio latency is less important. So changing software 
alone will not make much of a difference, if treated correctly alsa and/or 
jack already does what is needed.

>From past experience, gnome will do whatever they want no matter what 
anyone says. KDE will listen to their own users (gnome doesn't even do 
that much). Pulse will continue to work well for desktop audio as making 
it usable for even basic semipro work would require a complete rewrite... 
and jack will be ignored.

The fact is that the (semi)pro audio community is a very small part of the 
linux desktop use... and desktop linux is not a large part of the desktop 

Oh, I forgot to mention. Lowlatency or realtime kernels are "slower" or 
have slower data throughput than generic kernels... and who wants to give 
up computing speed on their graphics render... in their browser even. So 
using a normal desktop as is for pro audio is not impossible, but it is 

Len Ovens

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