[LAU] off topic (was: Re: ableton live in vmware)

Rob lau at kudla.org
Mon Aug 31 16:05:26 EDT 2009

On Monday 31 August 2009 01:27 pm, cunnilinux himself wrote:
> people in linux audio scene always DESPERATELY need something just
> like a copy of some fancy (commercial) app on win/mac.
> that's the main and only reason why linux is (semi-)deficient in the
> pro audio world.

That's exactly the same argument people were making about Linux office 
applications 8 or 9 years ago, and while some may dislike their choices now 
(essentially OpenOffice, Gnumeric/Abiword, Koffice and Google Docs) or find 
an obscure feature missing here and there, the only ones who can't get 
anything at all done with them are essentially the dimmer bulbs.

Meanwhile, back in those days, the people who claimed Linux didn't need all 
those monolithic office applications espoused tools like LaTeX.  There were 
others, but that's the only one whose name I remember and they were all 
basically the same idea, having the user insert codes into the text to tell 
the processor about its structure and format during printing.  Some people 
referred to Emacs as a "word processor", as well.  While they may very well 
be technically superior in some ways to Microsoft Office or the 
alternatives available to Linux (only used LaTeX once and only use emacs 
for writing code), tools like LaTeX and Emacs have a hell of a learning 

Ardour has a hell of a learning curve too, and is dependent upon things 
like JACK and low-latency kernels.  I used to have time to deal with things 
like that, but it's been a long time since those days.  I've never gotten a 
single note recorded in Ardour.  Luckily for me, there's LMMS (with inbuilt 
Zyn and a bunch of soundfonts) for composition and arrangement, and 
Audacity for editing and mixing, and the only thing I was unable to do when 
I finally got a song done earlier this year was use a mastering compressor, 
which I faked with some harmonics and a limiter.  I explained my process to 
a friend of mine and he basically said, "Dude, all that stuff you just 
spent days on I can do in Ableton in like half an hour."  

Maybe that's true, and certainly my friend is very prolific, but I've never 
used Ableton so I still don't really know what I'm missing.  (Of course, 
what he thinks of is "Ableton" is actually Ableton plus a bunch of other 
plugins, instruments and sample sets, whose cost would have been in the 
five figure range if he hadn't pirated them.)  But I've also been using 
Linux since 1994, and exclusively since around 2002.  Someone from another 
operating system doesn't care about a bunch of little virtual sound boxes 
connected by a bunch of little virtual cables to get everything exactly the 
way they want.  They want to double click on an icon and be off to the 
races.  They want sensible defaults.  They want the equivalent of a blank 
MS Word document with the cursor blinking and inviting them to type in 12-
point Times New Roman, and worry about adjusting it later.

Essentially, Ableton Live is MS Word.

I think the LMMS guys are the closest to that sort of thing now with all 
their presets and the way their default project is set up (and the fact 
that it actually *has* a default project), but I'm told it's still closer 
to Fruityloops than Ableton.  Doesn't matter to me since I haven't played 
live in 21 years and I'd be okay never playing live again.  I'd like the 
automagical stretching and beat matching stuff I hear Ableton does.  But 
other people do play live and might want more of that functionality, and it 
sounds to me like no current single Linux audio app is going to provide it.

If it can be provided by a number of different Linux programs, someone who 
makes that kind of claim needs to write a howto and put it out there on the 
web, and users who have never seen the inside of a recording booth and 
never seen a bash prompt will need to be able to follow the howto without 
ever taking their hands off their mice.  It really doesn't matter whether 
it works for people who already have a Linux solution they're happy with.  
It needs to work for the people who aren't getting anything done using 
Linux audio because they don't know where to start.


More information about the Linux-audio-user mailing list