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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Linux as a music workstation
Call for Help! It's time for an E-M.com distro!
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 9:42 pm    Post subject: Call for Help! It's time for an E-M.com distro! Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ok, so there's plenty of live CD's out there, and lot's of info on turning one to make it your own. I've been following this for sometime now, and playing with it quite a bit as well.

I think it's finally time to go ahead and make an official electro-music LiveCD distro. Especially now that MacIntel's are around, the common platform exists (the Intel based PC) to run a linux system that Linux, MacIntel, or Windows users can boot to, and everyone can use the same tools. This became very evident to me as the sudden break-out of Supercollider activity hit this forum, and other tools that we can all share in and make use of collectively.

So, the idea is to:
1.) Choose a base distro, such as Dynebolic, Knoppix, DSL, Ubuntu (or other), that would provide us with a re-spawnable system (we can all make changes and maintain a LiveCD, install it, or build it yourself).

2.) We all have the same tools. Guarantee everyone (that uses a PC base) can use the exact same tools, without need for install pains or compatability issues. All needed libraries would be included.

3.) Decide which tools to include. I believe there should be a GCC system in place for building/optimizing the necessities from scratch, and support for any hardware that both drivers exist and people in the community need/own.

4.) Share music! posts to the forum, using dedicated software, would be guaranteed to play on everyone else's machine! Ok, so MP3's could be used in the same way, but this opens the doors to...

5.) Collaboration. Since we use the same tools, we can pass things around and develop the community in a way not yet done.

6.) broadcast! Many distros include tools for live streaming, and this would allow the E-M community around the world to support other E-M artists by attending their shows! Virtually!

So, to begin with, I suggest Dynebolic as a starting place, though open to other suggestions. I like the attitude of the developers, and the tool set that is included. I'd also recommend Supercollider, Chuck, and Pd as starting points for programming tools.

Please, post your recommendations!
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mosc
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wow, are you volunteering to do this?

I think it would be very cool. I would be quite interested in trying this. I haven't tried Linux as a music platform because I haven't had the time to try out all of the variants and to try to get all this working. If we did an electro-music.com distribution, it would be much easier for me, and probably many people too. It would be more of a turn-key thing.

Aren't there alread music dedicated distributions?

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I like this suggestion. Very Happy
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The nice thing is that they've hit the point in development where the tools, and instructions exist for how to modify the distro to suite your needs. This method is, in fact, highly encouraged by the developers themselves.

There are apparently some differences between the MacIntels and the PCs, at least in my little looking around, so it may not be completely possible to have 1 single CD that serves all. But it still might be possible, since I think the differences come in the kernel, which can be choosen at boot.

I'd recommend try out a LiveCD sometime soon! The most time it takes is downloading the .iso, but then burn it and rebooot...no installation, and typically very little configuration. In fact, my PCs tend to boot up and connect to my wireless network simply by calling the network config tools. No configuration, just telling them to connect.

I would recommend Dynebolic (http://dynebolic.org/), since it is all developed in such a way for artists to not only have tools to make art, but also to distribute them (live streaming tools, etc). It isn't as "nice" as ubuntu or knoppix, in that it uses lighter weight window managers, rather than heavy & more feature rich ones. But it does allow for booting from CD, saving user info to a USB disk for configuration, copying user & config data to the hard drive (not repartitioning!!), or I think a complete install to the HD. It also comes with tuned kernels for media development, and alsa & such pre-installed.
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v-un-v
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

this looks great Smile

A very cool idea indeed.

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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm interested to at least try this and maybe I can be the ideal noob here Shocked

It's a very interesting development to be able to try such things in such a non destructive way.

edit : funny, I got this song in my head "I'm going to buy me a set of new strings, for my old guitar", burning the "rasta" ISO right now ...

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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well ... I had hoped to be able to post this from the rasta disk... but it wouldn't do no networking for me.

Now, under windows, there are two ways on this computer to get a network. The first one is to have patience and leave the computer off for quite a while. The 2nd one is to reset the network card by disabling it and re-enabling it again which is easy for me from windows but I couldn't quickly find how to do it from Linux.

Actually there seems to be a 3rd way to get it working, rebooting into windows after dynebolic ran ... Anyway its a bug in the network card I guess.

Also I have some trouble with the mouse, the mouse pad actually. The nice mouse driver sugar I have under windows don't work. I'm not really in the mood right now though to sort out the subtle differences and equalities between double tap hold and tap + left button actions - it makes my mind boil. Still it was an argument for me to never buy an HP laptop, those don't work either re. this.

All kinds of other stuff works though, f.i. I'd expected USB to not work, but the contents of my USB stick are accessible.

The "new strings" need some tuning I guess, hope to report more later on.

The polictz involved in this razzta Cool thing appealz, BTW.

ok, really need a time out now.

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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmm .. it will not do the nest thing on my USB stick and since the HD is NTFS which I'm not going to change, that means I'm stuck in demo mode.

The funny thing is that it seems to be perfectly possible to access the USB key but as soon as I try to make a nest I'm told that the key is 10 MB with 3 MB free, where in reality it's a 1 GB (FAT) disk.

Also it will not see a network for some reason, although the card seems to be recognized alright.

I can't get it to set the video to 1400 x 1050, it insists on using 1024 x something so it looks quite ugly, but as long as it won't nest there is not much use in trying to make it work of course.

The docking is a bit weird as well, first it takes some time to boot from CD and then it completely reboots from the dock. Unfortunately I don't have a floppy drive and the computer will not boot from USB (HD, CD or network only).

I'll try some web seaching on the USB issue.

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majutsu



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

cool idea. i'm down.
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I feel your pain on some of these points, BH. I just tried this on my new laptop, and networking is spotty, at best. Similar problems. I did not have these issues with the prior version 2.0 (the "latest" I believe is 2.1). The graphics are definitely limited.

The docking is strange at first, but makes sense in the long run. Linux still doesn't have a 100% reliable NTFS driver, it can read perfectly well, and modify files, but cannot create files or append to change file size very well. So what dyne is doing is creating the flat file, while in windows (copying the /dyne to your root), then when it boots, it has to load enough from the CD to load the file system drivers, at which point it can detect the docked dyne and "reboot" from there. If you had a partition, that was a FAT32, ext3, or something that a linux kernel can directly access, then you could boot directly to that dyne without the need for the CD at all. You'd install Lilo or Grub as in a regular Linux install.

I'm surprised the Nest isn't working well, that seems stable for me. Possibly since your USB disk is 1GB, it is FAT32, and dyne is assuming these thumb drives are almost always FAT16. Seems like a bad thing to assume, but it seems to be the only explaination I can think of (I use a 128MB thumb drive that's FAT16).

The video is limited, and is one of the first things I'd like to change as well (I personally have 1280x800). I've read parts of the SDK, and it's one of the reasons I like dynebolic...it's all self containg for creating a new version of itself. But having a working network is a necessary first Smile

There's some info using lsmod & modprobe to ensure the proper driver is loaded for networking...could be loading the wrong module for our network cards. BTW - Do you have a dual core centrino? The one nice thing about Intel's "platform" is it's fairly common across the board. Get things working in one place, and it should work everywhere.

Like I said, though, I'm open to other suggestions for a base... Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jksuperstar wrote:

Possibly since your USB disk is 1GB, it is FAT32,

Yes its FAT 32, could be troublesome to find a smaller one, I'll look around. The web search I did hinted at FAT32 trouble as well.
Quote:

BTW - Do you have a dual core centrino?

Don't think so, XP says its a single processor, anyway I think dual core was not available two years ago. But the new PC I bought a few months ago is a dual core, I'll try that one as well, it has Intel networking that might be easier than this yukon marvel that's in the laptop. But the display on that one is still a bit larger ...
Quote:

Like I said, though, I'm open to other suggestions for a base... Very Happy

So am I Very Happy

When you have any suggestions I could try to see what happens.

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brinxmat



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Now, under windows, there are two ways on this computer to get a network. The first one is to have patience and leave the computer off for quite a while. The 2nd one is to reset the network card by disabling it and re-enabling it again which is easy for me from windows but I couldn't quickly find how to do it from Linux.


Code:
myprompt% ifconfig eth0 down
myprompt% ifconfig eth0 up


Quote:
can't get it to set the video to 1400 x 1050, it insists on using 1024 x something so it looks quite ugly, but as long as it won't nest there is not much use in trying to make it work of course.


What video card are you using?

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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

brinxmat wrote:

Code:
myprompt% ifconfig eth0 down
myprompt% ifconfig eth0 up


thx ! I'll try if that helps.

Quote:
What video card are you using?

NVIDEA GeForce Go 6600

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brinxmat



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Like I said, though, I'm open to other suggestions for a base...


A FreeBSD live-CD is available at http://livecd.sourceforge.net/

NetBSD has mklivecd for the creation of live CDs -- the latter works on more platforms than just smelly old x86

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
NVIDEA GeForce Go 6600


Hmm. This is an OK card. Weird.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

brinxmat wrote:
Hmm. This is an OK card. Weird.


Yes it's pretty Ok I think, it makes beautiful pixels Very Happy

But probably you mean it should be well supported under Linux.

What happens is that at boot time when I press F3 I get an overview of video modes and it seems like I can select one by typing a 3 digit number, but when I select my dispaly's native mode I get a message that a file named with those 3 digits can't be found, so I guess it's simply not in the distrubution.

But anyway I'll first need to have some working "state storage" otherwise I'll have to recongigure on each boot.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ok ... greetings from [d:b], got the network working Very Happy
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm still getting spotting networking, don't kow if it's the laptop, or something it's not happy with the router, since it keeps dropping my gateway, or grabbing the wrong gateway (x.x.x.0 instead of x.x.x.1).

Anyway, I'm playing with Morphix (the Icewm version), and one of it's derivatives called Asork. Morphix, as a system, was designed to be modular and serve as a base for your own distro. Might be a bit of work...we'll see. I've read some comments that the Ubuntu LiveCD is based on Morphix, but can't find any official info on this.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Meanwhile I've reformatted my USB key with a 16k "Allocation Unit" size (the minimum I could set for the device). It was recognized then by Dyne and I could make a nest and a dock on it. However those turned out to be not usable, as with 'm Dyne just crashed while booting.

The CD now has a proper 2nd life Laughing

Next please Wink

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Kassen
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmmmm, While I'd be all for something live bootable that would include ChucK I do have to point out that CS, PD and ChucK are already cross platform and could easily be standrdised on already if we could just convince people to use them. This might be a bit more tricky then making a live disk....

Also; it would be much preferable to me to standardise on OGG for the output. OGG sounds way better and it's politically more suitable as well.

VLC would also be a esential ingredient. My presonal policy is that it's everybody's right to make their formats as hard to use as they wish but if VLC won't play it then I'm not watching it.

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brinxmat



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

!OGG; FLAC!
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I agree, Kassen, it makes much more "political" sense to promote a more open-sourced attitude of .ogg over .mp3, especially since I also agree that it's better. My intent on this LiveCD is that (almost) anyone can slip this disk into their PC, and boot into the exact same environment as everyone else in the community, so they could make & share & collaborate more efficiently. Same tools, same libraries, less confusion. It seems NTFS drivers are finally becoming stabile, so saving to hard disk is not as much a hassle as it once was. I imagine this is also true with OSX and older Apple file system machines, but will have to cross that bridge another day.

Maybe my notebook is just too new, but I just can't keep my network stable!
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ok, I can see the point. I'm not sure about PD but both ChucK and SC have a client-server model that would actually facilitate online jams. That would make it all very apealing but kind of hard to realise in practice. Quite interesting as a dream though...

I know next to nothing about mounting NTFS drives but I'd like topoint out that for audio FAT seems to be prefered by the experts due to having less overhead in realtime streaming and so on. I think it would be advisable for people in the audio world to use FAT anyway but that would kind of distract from the "any pc anywhere any time" plan.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, networking jams can start in the same living room, garage, or basement Smile Then branch out from there. Having a good OSC, NetMIDI, and other tools available would be key.

But collaboration could also be off-line, even using source (.pd, etc) for mash-ups & remixing rather than only audio.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

cool idea, a couple things:

base: needs to be lightweight as much as possible. I'm thinking something like debian/ubuntu would be too bloated to start with, especially with the dm... ran knoppix for many hours yesterday to do recovery work (i think it is debian based?) and it was kind of laggy at times (although i like it a lot regardless). Maybe best options are DSL or lightweight gentoo compiled for what is thought to be the most-used hardware.

desktop manager: blackbox, maybe fluxbox to make it a little more user friendly. Some linux audio programs use QT/KDE, some use GTK/GNOME, which can get to be messy even with Xfce. I don't even see these typical dm's as an option. Xruns are also a huge issue with recording audio and no one wants a glitch in that one awesome take because of GNOME/KDE being hogs against JACK and whatever else is running.

I have a lot of things I'm thinking about with this, more later
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