Perparing for a presentation on Ubuntu Studio

Chris Dawson xrdawson at
Sat Sep 22 18:31:09 BST 2007


My biggest gripe with Linux audio is that so many applications, and
audio specific applications like RealPlayer or Flash, still persist in
supporting OSS rather than ALSA, and let's not even hold out for JACK.
 OSS apps lock the sound card making it impossible to share with other
applications.  The net effect is that in order to watch Flash movies
within Firefox you either have to kill JACK and any other apps using
the sound card, let Flash via Firefox attach to the sound card, and
then watch what you want.  If you then want to use any other app, you
have to kill the Firefox which is the Flash player host.  This gets
annoying very quickly.  There are bridges to avoid this like oss2jack
but in my experience they don't work reliably yet.  This simple audio
issue would cause a lot of people to avoid Linux, IMHO.  Telling them
they have to kill Firefox in order to play their music is not a
problem that exists on OSX or even Windows.  JACK, ESD, aRTS,
Gstreamer attempt to address the problem that OSS causes, and
generally do a fine job with applications that support those
interfaces, but they all provide new interfaces which are not
compatible with OSS apps.  One of the impossibilities in a
decentralized development environment like the Linux community is that
there is not 100% consensus on upgrading past OSS.  The flash guys are
aware of this, and have cited these same reasons as why Flash
development lags on Linux, but they've not fixed it yet.



On 9/22/07, Ben Shewmaker <benshewmaker at> wrote:
> Hello everybody,
> I am a graduate student at the University of Miami (studying electronic
> music).  I have installed Ubuntu Studio on our pc in the electronic music
> studio, and in order to help myself learn about audio creation and editing
> in linux, am going to do a presentation on linux audio and Ubuntu studio in
> one of my classes.  So first, I want to say thanks to all the UbuntuStudio
> developers for putting together a great package!  I've been dabbling in
> linux for several years now, and have always been frustrated when attempting
> to piece together all the necessary pieces of the audio linux puzzle myself.
> Anyways, I have a few questions I am hoping some of you could help me with.
> First, I want to get a better picture of exactly how ALSA and Jack work so I
> can better understand how linux processes audio and how applications can
> send audio information to and from each other (which I believe is one of the
> main purposes of Jack).  I am confused as there seem to be many different
> ways linux processes audio like why we have things like Gnome's ESD, ALSA,
> Jack, and other things like Gstreamer and aRTS.  Second, does anyone have
> any ideas on where they think linux audio really shines and/or areas it is
> still lacking?  I am trying to get a good overall picture of what can be
> done here and anyone with more experience than me might be able to give me
> some insight here.  Finally, are there any strong audio applications that
> run in Linux that were not included in Ubuntu studio, or does it come with
> all the best one already?
> I realize this is a bit of information I'm asking for, but if anybody could
> at least point me in the right direction (faqs, howtos, manuals, etc) I
> would greatly appreciate it!
> thanks,
> Ben Shewmaker
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