Ubuntu-Studio-users Digest, Vol 32, Issue 7

Karlheinz Noise khzmusik at hotmail.com
Mon Dec 7 04:57:45 GMT 2009

Hey, all. I guess I've helped open up a can of worms here. Sorry about that. I do want to reply, but I should preface this by saying that this is not any sort of personal criticism against UbuStu or any of the people involved in the distro. I'm only starting to code, and I'm only beginning to understand the hard work and headaches that are involved in something like UbuStu, so a big THANK YOU to all that make it happen.
Now, to the replies...
> Also I read that we should look at the MACintosh to see how it> works, because everyone in the industry use it for years, and it is solid> etc...
If you're making an A/V distro, it makes sense that you should know what most A/V users use, and why they use them. Simple, really. And why they use those tools really boils down to two things: ease of use, and stability... which are intimately related.
> Well This is a little bit disturbing indeed, because, normally there are> very few inputs to the DEV team. very few ideas and test cases etc. But i> see a lot of people complaining. And this nobody can deny. Peple come and> just complain, instead of describing the error or the feature etc.
If a user is complaining, it means that you're not doing your job as a programmer - simple as that. To everyone's credit, the usual response is not "shut up," but "give me more details." Anyone who's been on this list for a while knows that I started out being a total asshat (yes, even more than now), but calmed down when I actually received help. That's usually the way it goes, and ignoring the complainers will just lead to more complaining.
> So instead of flaming the linux geeks about the suposed "easy of use" and> the features needed I propose to make a list of ideas and features to bring> to Ubuntustudio.
I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. I've given some general opinions, so I'll get more specific:
- UbuStu should ideally run perfectly on install, without having to know about any config file editing or command-line use whatsoever. If a user has to take their hand off the mouse, you've failed.
- A/V is unfortunately not very open source at the moment, so should allow for easy installation of stuff that is not open. Obviously it wouldn't be included in the distro, but at some point in the setup non-open programs should be made available. One obvious example is to install Wine and auto-config it to use VST's out of the box.
- Documentation should be easily available, possibly as a seperate listing in the UbuStu launch menu. It should be trivial to RTFM.
- With the exception of non-distributable programs (i.e. stuff that's not open), everything should be available without an internet connection. (Many folks use audio programs in a computer in their practice space; even if not, it avoids the numerous problems with wireless cards and Linux.)
- System requirements, details of which programs are installed by default, and links to individual programs' documentation/forums/mailing lists, should be exactly one click away from the index page on the website... not buried somewhere in the wiki where the average user won't find it. (What's your web backend? I know from experience that there are a lot of web designers who want to beef up their resumes, so this is one area where you should be able to get a fair amount of help.)
- Ouside of UbuStu, or any specific distro: The development of a standard for LADSPA GUI programming. Perhaps something like the Java VM for audio GUI's. The success of VST's had a lot to do with being able to control the plugin's look and feel, and in that regard, everything Linux is at least ten years behind the curve.
- Greater outreach to people who devlop on non-Linux systems. The folks over at Smartelectronix have developed a ton of VST's for free, and many have shared source code. Their plugins are also consistently high in quality, some surpassing commercial plugins. (Listen to the Asynth filters if you don't believe me.) People like that would be outstanding to have on the Linux team.
- I'm actually becoming enamored of the W3C approach to audio standards. I know that the developers of UbuStu, Studio64, ArtistX, etc. are in pretty close contact, but how much do you guys actually share code? Have you considered teaming up to form a Linux audio standards body? Would there be any chance at all of a cross-platform audio standard like there is for web standards? (Yeah, I know it's not likely, but a guy can dream, can't he?)
> The bottom line is that, by its very nature, F/OSS developers> have _no_ responsibility to the end-user community, whatever that may> be. None! Zarro! Zilch!! Open Source is developed in the context of> a gift economy.
This statement really surprises me, as it would also surprise businesses like Sun or IBM (or even Microsoft, who are trying to get into the open source game). Even Richard Stallman doesn't like "open" to be confused with "non-commercial."
Leaving that aside, if you're not writing software for the end-user community, why are you even writing software in the first place? Who's supposed to use it, our future Martian overlords or something?
Simply put, software that provides a bad end-user experience is bad software. End of story.
> Often F/OSS software is> written by geeks, for geeks, which is why some packages seem to be> perpetually in a state of flux, or poorly documented.
That's true in some cases, but it ignores something that should be obvious: Idiot-proofing your software makes a programmer's life easier, not harder.
- The simpler a piece of software is to use, the less you'll get lusers asking inane questions on forums and mailing lists.
- It's pretty hard to tell people to RTFM if there's no F-ing manual to read.
- The more non-geeks you have, the bigger a user base you have, which means more varied hardware and more configurations. Thus, a wider base of systems to track bugs, test hardware compatibilities, etc. Provided you have an easy system to handle them, lusers are the best testers you could ever ask for.
- Even lusers have SOME knowledge, and if welcomed can probably contribute in some miniscule way.
It would be a terrible shame if "open source" became just one step away from "abandonware." Fortunately, though that may have been true at one point, it's not true now.
> But if we advertise a product as "easy and so on", then we only copy> closed source marketing.
No offense, but I find this way of thinking to be completely ludicrous.
Ease of use is not based on "marketing," it's based on sound design. I'm not saying Linux should be "marketed" as easy to use; I'm saying it should actually be easy to use. Software that has a good UI is simply better than software that doesn't.
This is really obvious in the audio world. Ableton Live doesn't do anything that you can't do in Acid (which predated it by years), but its user interface makes it easier to use in a live situation, and that's the only reason why people use it. Its success is due ONLY to its user interface. That should be a lesson to all programmers, open source or not.
As a final note: I've used Mac, Windows, and Linux now for a number of years. I can say with a good degree of certainty that Mac is the easiest system to use (provided you're rich). Windows is a distant second, with Linux being a close third (and thankfully catching up).
I can also say that if Linux programmers adopt Apple's design philosophy, then it will take over the planet. No question. The reason I'm writing these rants is that I'd really like to see that happen.
This is especially true in music software. There has never been a better time for Linux audio to truly make a mark on the public consciousness. Even giants like Avid/Digidesign are going down the tubes financially speaking, giving Linux a chance to step up to the plate. I'm really hoping we don't blow this opportunity.
...Okay, sorry for the long rant. Obviously I think too much about these things. Have a good day, everyone.
- Karlheinz. 		 	   		  
Get gifts for them and cashback for you. Try Bing now.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-studio-users/attachments/20091206/3aceb6a2/attachment.htm 

More information about the Ubuntu-Studio-users mailing list