[LAD] [LAU] So what do you think sucks about Linux audio ?

J. Liles malnourite at gmail.com
Tue Feb 5 22:56:32 UTC 2013

On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 6:58 AM, Dave Phillips <dlphillips at woh.rr.com> wrote:

> Greetings,
> I've been reading a lot of negative (read: vitriolic) commentary about the
> world of Linux audio development and applications. I won't bother to say
> where, just "the usual places" will have to suffice. Of greater interest to
> me is the commentary itself - it seems to boil down to the following
> plaints and lamentations (in no particular order) :
> Too many distros.
> Too many audio-optimized distros.
> Not enough native plugins, esp. instruments.
> Inconsistent support for VST/VSTi plugins.
> Too many unstable/unfinished applications.
> Too many  "standards" (esp. wrt plugins).
> Poor external/internal session management.
> Poor support for certain modes of composition (think Ableton Live).
> Lack of support for contemporary hardware.
> Confusion re: desktops, and GUI toolkits.
> Too difficult to set up audio system.
> JACK is a pain.
> Too much conflict/fragmentation within the development community.
> I'm not so interested in comments on the commentary, I have my own, but
> say what you will about the list. I figure that most denizens of these
> lists already have ready replies and responses to these and other
> criticisms, many of which have been voiced here previously. What I'm more
> interested in is what *you* think is missing most or just plain wrong about
> the situation. Please, try to speak your piece without flames or dissing
> other developers and/or their work. Frankly speaking, I've had enough of
> that crap, and I'm most thankful these days for such forum amenities as
> "mute user" and autodiscard, along with the standard filters found in mail
> clients.
> <aside>
> I'm reminded of John Cage's comments regarding the behavior of the NY
> Philharmonic when they destroyed his equipment during the premire of Atlas
> Eclipticalis, something to the effect that his concerns had ceased to be
> musical and had become social, i.e. that he had to figure a way to allow
> people to be free yet behave themselves with respect towards the common
> goal (e.g. Cage's music and property). I'm going to guess that he was still
> working on that up to his death.
> </aside>
> So, in your honest and bold opinion as user and/or developer, what do we
> lack most and what can we do without that we already have ? Please feel
> free to expand your remarks as you like. I'm planning an article on the
> topic and will likely use selected comments, subject to approval of course.
> Best,
> dp

The biggest problem is that there are more people talking than there are
people doing. There are a 100 people to tell you this or that UI is shit,
but absolutely no-one to step up and do something about it. Users assume
that they're going to get the same level of integration and customer
support from free-software that they get from some $7000 commercial product
and get irate when it doesn't happen. With very few exceptions, LAD
software is not written for 'the users', it is written for the needs of the
developers and gifted to the community without warranty. I think the
conflict comes up more in LAD than other free-software arenas simply
because music attracts more novice/non-technical types (particularly
annoying Windows trolls) than does, say, forensic data analysis. So the
second problem with LAD is unreasonable expectations. Nobody said the goal
of Linux Audio was to replace Non-Linux Audio. The goal of Linux Audio is
simply to provide free-software alternatives for people who give a shit
(this group consists mostly of the LAD developers themselves). Yes, the
many standards/approches can be annoying.. But since when is diversity a
bad thing? This is a living, organic process driven by people with very
limited time and resources. If you want it to move faster or work better,
all you need to do is stop running your mouth and help.

And the problem of there being no such thing as an open source graphic
designer or UX expert applies to all free-software, not just LAD.
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