[LAU] what about a meta distribution system?

renato rennabh at gmail.com
Fri Dec 7 14:32:24 UTC 2012

Hi, I just had a [very fuzzy] idea that might be worth,
or it might be not... I thought I'd just put it out here in the wild,
maybe someone finds it insightful and makes something out of it. You're
warned, it's quite a rambling... here it goes: 

what about creating some sort of self-contained linux-audio package
manager, which is distro agnostic? I'm thinking of python (even perl if
I'm right has a similar tool), where you have tools like pip to search,
install and uninstall modules and you can easily create local
installations on your system (virtualenvs) where you can tinker all you
want without compromising system wide settings.

Ideally with this system for audio you would have access to
latest binaries of all audio apps and preconfigured environments...
You could download the exact binary versions and configurations the
professional and semi-professional on this list use and install them
in a local directory, ready to use and make music, without spending
time on configuration.

Of course there are things that would not be easy (or possible at all)
to fit in this scheme, like jackd, rt-kernel and audio card
configuration... But on the other hand I'd love it if when I wanted to
try out the latest apps I could just download a known working
configuration and start making music right away, instead of spending
days debugging compiling issues due to slightly mismatching library
versions or whatever...

The reason all this stems from is that I am only a computer-music
hobbyist and dedicate a little portion of my time to it. It often
happens I found out about a cool new app (din,giada,
non-software, muse2...) and when I find some free time to try and make
sounds with it, I never find binaries for it and I frequently can't
compile it the first time, so I have to start the usual cycle: report
bug to dev, wait for reply, supply more info, download patch, recompile
and so on. 

I don't know if such a thing is technically possible... But don't the
latest video games from the Humble Indie bundles use something similar?
I.e. they usually supply a distro-agnostic installer which puts
all the binary it needs in a self-contained directory, and then it runs
more or less without interacting with the rest of the system... Ok I'm
not sure it's exactly like this, but I think at least the critical
libs which the game depends on are provided, to ensure compatibility
throughout many different systems.

Wouldn't such a thing, together with the possibility I was mentioning
before of sharing such micro-distributions (maybe using something
like PGP-signing to be sure you're downloading binaries only from
trusted sources), be a great boon for linux audio users?

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