[LAU] Jack max ports question

Brent Busby brent at keycorner.org
Sun Aug 2 16:23:20 UTC 2015

Fons Adriaensen <fons at linuxaudio.org> writes:

> On Sat, Aug 01, 2015 at 08:48:20PM -0400, Paul Davis wrote:
>> And even when they click it, they find that JACK is running on their
>> builtin hardware when they wanted it to use some USB device they have.
>> Then they can't figure out how to change it.
> With a GUI in front of them inviting them to change it.
>> the number of people who do not even realize that you need to tell
>> JACK which device to use is quite startling.
> With two or more sound cards, someone or something has to make
> a choice. That's not really rocket science.
>> You're way, way, way too much of an expert with computers Fons. There
>> are lots and lots of musicians for whom things you consider utterly
>> obvious and child-like are really quite difficult concepts.
> I don't think this is about computers.
> If someone really can't work out such simple things then he/she will
> be unable to do any job except maybe emptying trash cans, will fail
> the driving license examination, will happily pay $50 for three items
> that each cost $10, and will in general be unable to function in live
> as we know it. Let alone being creative. I don't believe most people
> are like that, and if sometimes they behave that way, it is by choice.

I think you're right that it's about more than aptitude with computers,
but the process of using a computer exposes the problem in ways that
other activities don't.  Starting from around the mid-90's, computers
(and Internet access) started being marketed to ordinary people, not as
a geek instrument for things nobody would care about (and honestly,
that's the way most people perceived computers in the 80's), but as an
appliance, like your toaster or your refridgerator.  Ordinary people
started actually expecting that a computer with a hard disk and an
operating system was something they would be able to bring home and use
to some benefit without them having to learn anything.  Much of the
time, it seemed like they didn't even know what they wanted one for.  It
was just being marketed so effectively that everyone felt they had to
have one, and if you have to blame anything, you can blame the
effectiveness of capitalism at making people crave something without
even knowing why.

Eventually there got to be so many users like this, that for some
reason, designers of Linux desktop environments felt the need to cater
to this type of user.  I think Ubuntu was the first to actually come as
close to idiot-proof as what most of them were used to, though Suse and
Mandrake made good earlier efforts.

So now, even on Linux, we have some users who have somehow managed to
get themselves installed on a Unix system who don't know very much about
computers in general, and expect that they may not even need to.

On the one hand you have users who read about things before they decide
to install them, who don't launch/execute anything without first
understanding what it's going to do, and who have a general
understanding of how their machine works.  And then we have people who
figure if anything is going to happen that they'll need to know about, a
big dialog window will appear in the center of their screen alerting
them to it (even if the situation is one they elected themselves),
forcing them to click OK to acknowledge that there's something they need
to do or know about.  This isn't just a Linux problem -- the whole world
of computing has been in a conundrum for twenty years now trying to
figure out how we're going to accomodate both these types of users.

I wouldn't want to run a Mac myself (too closed, not customizable
enough), but I have to hand it to Apple -- OSX has probably come closer
to this ideal comprimise than any other environment ever made.  You've
got a braindead simple desktop application environment that tries very
hard to make you forget you're even on a computer running on top of
something that's very nearly FreeBSD.  It runs almost all your closed
commercial apps.  It also runs almost all your FOSS apps.  It has
perfect multimedia, but it also has a complete shell environment with
X11.  Technically speaking, damned impressive.  I'll take Linux over it
any day, but still, damned impressive.

> And if this choice is as widespread as claimed, then what we have is
> a new class society. This time not the classical one of a the poor
> masses being exploited by a rich elite and a political system that
> maintains this order, but of the dumb masses simply *expecting* a
> more intelligent elite to take all, even the simplest decisions for
> them. It amounts to a voluntary rejection of part of what makes anyone
> a human being, and a lack of self-respect. All this in what remains
> despite the economic crisis an affluent part of the world, and where
> access to education, knowledge and information has never been easier.
> Like it ? I don't. And I'm not going to contribute anything that makes
> it worse.

Nah, blame all those marketers in the 90's who sold computers and
Internet access to them like it was a living room appliance.  At this
point, if you try and tell them a computer is very complex instrument
that has more configurable settings than most people have time to
understand, they won't believe you.  They'll think you're some kind of
anaorak and go find someone who already agrees with what they've already
been told.

Have you noticed that consumer desktops no longer have hard disk
activity lights?  A lot of users didn't know what the light meant, so
they stopped providing them.  It probably was just confusing people,
especially when you consider that all modern OS's have background
services that will cause disk access even when the user isn't
consciously running anything.  It blinks when you do something, it
blinks when you're not doing something -- what does it mean?  Oh hell,
just ignore it.  :)

Basically, they expect now that a computer is an appliance like their
refridgerator.  The deepest mystery it's allowed to have is whether the
light really goes off when you close the door.

+ Brent A. Busby	 + "We've all heard that a million monkeys
+ Sr. UNIX Systems Admin +  banging on a million typewriters will
+ University of Chicago	 +  eventually reproduce the entire works of
+ James Franck Institute +  Shakespeare.  Now, thanks to the Internet,
+ Materials Research Ctr +  we know this is not true." -Robert Wilensky

More information about the Linux-audio-user mailing list