[LAU] trial and error

Hamish Low sub_acoustic at yahoo.co.nz
Mon Aug 18 16:24:51 EDT 2008


I've been trying to get a fully working setup for linux audio for a 
really long time.  Partly my delay was not having the right gear, I 
spent 6 months trying to get one soundcard that wasn't supported (though 
the list had said it was) working and then, with help I've been able to 
get some sound out of my system now with a Presonus Firebox.

Still I have problems, partly I guess because I'm not a techie, but I've 
been stubborn enough to keep trying all this time.  Anyway the point I'm 
at now is that I can boot up into the realtime kernel - I need to go 
into a failsafe gnome session as then flgrx doesn't start up (it's 
really greedy with processing power, but when I'm not making audio it is 
very useful and looks great), and compiz-switch only turns off the 
effects, it doesn't free up the processor. 

I open the Ubuntu Studio Controls and enable raw 1394.  What percentage 
should I put the memory lock at?

I run a little start up script
 > jackd -R -dfreebob

because for some reason I can't start the Firebox/freebob with 
qjackctl.  But after running the script I can start qjackctl and jack is 
already running.  I then start up some applications, they all appear in 
the ALSA tab, nothing appears in the MIDI tab and sometimes the audio 
ports are visible in the Audio tab and sometimes not, it seems random.  
So sometimes I'm able to link the apps to my soundcard, and sometimes not.

I've been able to do a few things, link my midi keyboard to a synth to 
jack rack and record it in Ardour.  Record some guitar with a microphone.
But the whole system is so unstable that it's almost unusable.  Every 
2-5 minutes the system will crash. 

Perhaps my whole system is not up to spec, i've got a laptop with 1 gb 
RAM, and 1.7ghz M processor, it's a few years old but it should still be 
kick-ass enough to run a stable system.  It is 32-bit though and it 
sounds like others are running more stable systems on 64-bit computers.  
I'll get one when this laptop dies, but i hope that won't happen for 
years and years to come.

Anyway I just want to make some sound.  I've invested so much time and 
money so far.
I really want to make music using these great open source apps and 
contribute by raising linux audio's profile in the process.

What, if anything am I doing wrong and how can I have a fully stable 
system on this laptop?
Is it even possible?
Should I switch back to Windows until Presonus help out the FFADO people?
Or until I can afford a new system...
It seems I spend all my time messing around with things trying to make 
it work, making enough progress here and there to make it seem like I'm 
getting somewhere when I'm not really getting any music made.

Anyway, I fully see the massive potential that linux audio has, far 
beyond the limitations of proprietary software, and respect to the 
people who are working on the applications.

Any advice appreciated.


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