[LAU] Success! An Asus EEE softsynth!

Ken Restivo ken at restivo.org
Thu Feb 5 12:13:33 EST 2009

On Wed, Feb 04, 2009 at 03:40:07PM -0600, Josh Lawrence wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 3, 2009 at 4:28 AM, Ken Restivo <ken at restivo.org> wrote:
> > I'm stunned that this even works, but it does, and astoundingly well!
> Hey Ken!  Glad to hear you've gotten this going.  As I've said before
> to you, what you do with Linux is an inspiration.


> Just some quick questions:
> I've been thinking about purchasing a used laptop for some simple
> softsynths.  I was curious:  Why did you go with the netbook approach
> instead of, say, a used laptop?  Are you satisfied with the outcome
> considering the work you have in it?

I had several goals, somewhat intertwingled with each other:
	A) I needed a very light/portable device for WiFi web browsing, SSH, email, VoIP.
	B) I needed a more durable, smaller softsynth that took up less room on stage than my full laptop and stand/table.
	C) I wanted some kind of very light, low-power softsynth to do street performances with.

So boiling all those down to features, I needed:
	1) Smallest possible
	2) Lightest possible
	3) Lowest power consumption/longest battery life
	4) Able to type on it and use the command line, and read the screen!
	5) Reasonable hardware support in Linux (sound, WiFi, bluetooth)
	6) Able to at least run Fluidsynth and a few LADSPA's (my Rhodes!! my bass!)

Before I went with netbooks, I suffered through two failed approaches:

	Failure #1: OpenMoko phone. The software keyboard was unusable.

	Failure #2: A fanless 64-bit mini-ITX mobo in a custom box. It wouldn't boot off of USB flash. I'd also either have needed to make a 2x64 char LCD display for it, or use some other Linux device to shell into it, or both.

So that's how I ended up with a netbook.

I've since been told that the Wind's are better/faster/lighter/smaller, but I didn't know about them at the time (research isn't my strong point, and I *hate* shopping). I saw an EEE 1000 on Craigslist, a few blocks away, loaded with Linux already (Ubuntu). I looked it up and saw that Debian was well-supported on it, and figured, "OK, let's go for it". That was in November. 

> As I said, I'm trying to do something similar, but I'm torn as to
> which way to go, which is why I'm hitting you with all of this.  :)

No prob. Sometimes I wonder if my purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.

Speaking of which: I was able to sell the OpenMoko at a $20 loss-- not too bad for a week's worth of hacking/testing. The mini-ITX I bought is going to end up at a friend's studio, as his new shiny 64Studio Linux box, to supplement (and hopefully eventually replace) his old G4 Mac ProTools setup.

I will be re-reading the recent thread here about Silent PC's: I need an enclosure for the mini-ITX studio machine, and also a silent SATA or E-SATA hard drive for it.


More information about the Linux-audio-user mailing list