[linux-audio-user] Looking for a distro strategy

Greg Reddin gtreddin at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 19 10:30:32 EST 2004

With all the new releases of audio software of late and all the shift
that's taking place among distros, I'm trying to devise a good
upgrade path for my DAW.

As it stands I'm running RedHat 9 with a patched kernel.  I've
installed all the audio software I use by building from scratch --
downloading, compiling, and installing individual packages.  At this
point, it has taken so much work to get my system where it is that
I'm loathe to upgrade it.  Yet, with new versions of Rosegarden,
Muse, Ardour, and Jack coming out lately, I'd really like to take
advantage of those new features.  OTOH, I'm worried that an upgrade
can cause problems with work that is in progress.

An ideal world for me would be a fairly straightforward binary
install process for the OS and most packages, with the capability to
install "development" versions of those packages that I'm interested
in playing with or contributing to.  For example, suppose I found a
bug in Ardour that I could patch.  I'd like to be able to code,
install, and test my patch without screwing up my existing system. 
I'd also like to be able to upgrade individual packages and back out
the upgrade if it breaks something.  It would be *really* cool to
have something like a virtual machine where I could have a test
environment and production enviornment on the same machine.  Then I
could get things running in the test environment and push them to
production when I'm sure they are stable.  Another issue is that I'm
thinking of moving from RedHat, but I don't know where to move to.  I
tried Planet CCRMA for a while, but my dial-up made that prohibitive.
 I'm about to upgrade to broadband, so I may revisit that.

So, anyway, how are you guys handling these issues?  Do you install
from scratch?  Do you install audio on top of an existing distro? 
Which one?  RedHat, Mandrake, Debian, SuSE, Gentoo, etc?  Does Planet
CCRMA work well for you?  What about Agnula?  How do you upgrade
individual packages?  How do you back out the upgrade if there's a
problem?  Do you manage a separate "test" environment to keep from
bringing down your DAW?

I know there's no single answer to these questions, and eventually,
I'll just have to pick from all the equally viable choices.  But I'd
also like to learn from the wisdom of folks who have more experience
with this -- find out what the pitfalls are with each choice.  So I
would be greatly appreciative of any suggestions you guys might have.


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