What HW/SW do people have working?

Larry David larrydavid07 at comcast.net
Tue Jan 27 02:33:39 GMT 2009

On Jan 26, 2009, at 5:48 PM, Gustin Johnson wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> Larry David wrote:
>> Thanks Scott.  I've gotten the impression that using audio/MIDI
>> hardware on a Linux machine is sort of the opposite of plug-and-play;
> I have yet to actually use a computer that was "plug and play".  They
> all have little quirks and limitations.  I will leave it at that since
> Apple has a special place in my heart; the dark, bitter, cold, jaded,
> and twisted part, so I doubt I can provide anything resembling an
> unbiased comparison.

Wow.  I have my own beefs with Apple, but I'll leave that alone. :-)

I agree and almost mentioned in my previous post, no computer DAW is  
plug and play (and I never claimed Apple was - only that it worked  
most of the time).  I've been thinking about some of the debugging  
I've done with my Macs trying to get my DAW running.  I have a Mackie  
Onyx 400F I bought a couple years ago when it first came out -  
amazing pres, but was just plain broken as a FW interface on both my  
G4 macs.  It was well documented on forums and such - Apple blamed  
Mackie, Mackie blamed Apple, etc.  I guess there are new drivers  
available recently that fixes it - years after initial release.  That  
was a long and frustrating experience, but I must say it was the  
exception not the rule.  But it has made me wonder how the situation  
would have been different if the driver/SW/OS were all open source -  
I couldn't have done much about the bugs, but surely someone else  
could have - more people probably than Apple and Mackie have had  
working on the problem.  I guess I still have to get a feel for how  
big the Linux Audio community is, and the number of people who are  
actually working on bugs.  Beggars can't be choosers, so I guess  
general users just wait it out until they are fixed?

>> and if your experience is typical, then that is an understatement.
>> So is this kind of sleuthing and experimenting typical to get a Linux
>> machine to do music?  I'm not a programmer and don't have time to
> The bad news: There will be some sleuthing and experimenting.
> The good news: You have already done this before.  If you can use
> google, ask questions, and follow directions you should be able to get
> around most of the problems you encounter.
> I know you have said that your Mac experience was plug and play,  
> but it
> really wasn't.

Actually I never said so, see above; but I agree with the general  
idea that any DAW will require some set up.

> You did have to learn how to use the software, you built
> up a workflow, etc.  There was actually a lot you had to figure out.


>> figure all this stuff out - I like the FOSS philosophy, and really
>> hope Linux keeps growing - but it sounds like it may be a bit early
>> for the humble user to try doing music with it.  Am I wrong?
> Probably :)  In all seriousness, you will be as successful as you want
> to be.  As you say in a later post, you get what you pay for, in the
> FLOSS world what you pay is your level of personal responsibility.   
> You
> may have to go and find solutions to your issues, you may even have to
> submit bug reports.

Interesting way to look at it.  I am really drawn to the FLOSS thing,  
but its all new to me and I'm just getting my bearings.  I can't tell  
yet whether as a "working musician" it will be better or worse in  
terms of getting things done - which at the end of the day is what  
its all about for me.

> - From my own experience, there have been many hours of frustration (I
> switched to Linux as my Desktop OS about 10 years ago, and as my DAW
> about 6 years ago).  Things have gotten a lot better over the  
> years, and
> I expect them to improve more in the future. In the end I have found
> solutions or workarounds to almost all of my problems.  Something that
> cannot be said for the other two OSs that I have used over the years.

Hmm, I have been fortunate enough to have not owned a Windoze machine  
since 96 or 97, so I don't have recent experience with it.  DP with  
MOTU hardware on my Macs however has been really solid - almost  
completely plug and play - and certainly very useable.

> The biggest challenge for me, was that I had to change my  
> workflow.   I
> was used to doing everything the Cubase way (ie. inside of Cubase).
> Once I was able to get my head around jack and what it allows you  
> to, I
> have not looked back.
> Anyway, my current setup is this:
> AMD 64 (939) 4400+ X2, 3 GB of RAM.  Standard SATA hard drive.
> RME 9652 + RME ADI-8 DS + Alesis XT ADAT for 16 channels of  
> simultaneous
>  input.
> M-Audio Axiom
> I like the RME PCI/PCIe stuff because it sounds great and is well
> supported under Linux (ie. I do not have to do anything to get it to
> work, it simply works).  It is a shame that their firewire stuff does
> not work, but RME is to blame for that.
> Before making a hardware purchase, do your research.  I put this at  
> the
> end so that you would remember it.  Do your research!

Thanks for the info, that's really helpful.  My next machine will be  
a laptop for work, that I will play with at home for music (I'm an  
independent contractor so I buy my own computers...).  I've heard  
that Linux DAWs on laptops can be real buggers, if you get bad  
interrupt/bios something or other going on.  Also I have 2 FW  
interfaces (though most Linux laptops I've seen - or Windows for that  
matter - no longer come with FW ports so I might have to switch to  
USB 2.0), and those aren't very friendly with Linux either (MOTU 828  
mk II which FFADO website says is basically not supported, and the  
above mentioned Onyx 400F, also unsupported by FFADO).

So does anyone have a Linux DAW running well on a laptop?  I want to  
do my research before I buy!  (Somehow that sounds vaguely familiar,  
like I've read that recently somewhere....  it'll come to me later...)


> Hth,
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