Skip the ISO and focus on documentation?

Unofficial support for the KXStudio Linux distribution and applications.
More info at http://kxstudio.linuxaudio.org/

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What should the focus be on?

 
Total votes: 0

Jodax
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Re: Skip the ISO and focus on documentation?

Postby Jodax » Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:09 pm

Luc wrote:
stanlea wrote:using Debian, Arch, and others is possible but requires some tweaking (...)

I assume you mean falkTX has been doing all the tweaking on his side, because I use vanilla Debian and I hardly have to tweak anything to make KXStudio work hunky-dory fine.

Jodax wrote:(...) but when I attempted to run KXStudio on a a Debian version of my system using the repo-packages I ran into all kinds of problems with Cadence and the Debian RT kernel.

I swear, I have no idea what these people are talking about.

I understand that Linux can be a little bit of a terror for newbies so I understand the importance of a turnkey distro that will relieve the user of many worries and troubles before they run back to hide under Microsoft's apron, but... WHAT are these problems that people are having with the KX repository? Can we solve them?


Pardon me, but you sound more like a linux enthusiast than a musician looking for a quick and easy solution to the problems of simplifying their work-flow.

But I digress...

After my install, a lot of the configurable parts of Cadence (CPU Scaling, etc) were blank or just not functioning. In retrospect, I suspect that had I installed KDE and its many packages Cadence might have actually worked. But this wasn't the show stopper...

The Debian RT kernel caused my system to become unstable. In the past I have had other hardware issues trying to run Debian on this particular system. So, I wasn't really that surprised. (Perhaps in a few more development cycles Debian will have caught up to my hardware.)

This was the point where I decided that reinstalling from the ISO was the quickest way to get back to actually producing music rather than sitting around tinkering with my system.


Luc wrote:I think that forcing people to use any one distro or DE goes against the grain of the Linux philosophy. KXStudio should work as an add-on, on as many distros as possible. I don't know how feasible that is, but I think that is the wisest path if possible. It seems that people only really want the ISO because of some perceived problems with other distros. Well, if those problems are fixed, nobody will need the ISO anymore.


I agree with you here. In a perfect world, I wouldn't need to set-up my machine to dual boot into a Debian based system and would be able to just install the packages onto my superior performing, heavily customized Gentoo system... using my very own custom configured RT kernel. It's a great system, but the reason I use KXStudio is because Cadence and Carla make my work flow easier. It is what it is and I suppose, ultimately, that will bend to the will of the creator.

oddy.o.lynx
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Re: Skip the ISO and focus on documentation?

Postby oddy.o.lynx » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:02 am

Before I answer the question I'll give a little background. I am a computer technician and have been using Linux since Red Hat 6. I've always wanted to use Linux for recording audio but it was always daunting and the software was not really available or to my liking. I tried Ubuntu Studio many times but there was always something that wasn't working or needed to be restarted and I spent more time troubleshooting than recording music. I went back to Windows 7 but even that was not up to scratch, at least in my opinion. The audio drivers for the M-Audio Fast Track Pro I use needed to be re-installed after every Windows update and I just ended up using the most stable XP version. I started to look at the approaching end of life and was not interested in going Apple or getting Windows 10 and have to worry about motherboard drivers, not to mention the sound card. I knew the sound card could work well in Linux after having compiled a kernel way back when using Joe Giampaoli's method.

I did a bit of research and figured it was either KXStudio or AVLinux. The thing I liked about KXStudio is that it offers the option of using repositories with the distribution and desktop of choice. I tried Debian but had too many dependency issues and conflicts. I had read that many people had success with Mint so I tried it with XFCE and added the KXStudio repos and the end result is simply fantastic. I have had some minor issues with certain plugins that wouldn't load but apart from that I can get 32bit and 64bit Windows VST's running in Reaper. I have managed to get energyXT2.7 working, both the Windows and the Linux versions, I can get ridiculously low latencies with rare xruns. I am never tweaking anything. Worse case scenario is I have to log off and on to get the sound card connected, but that is super rare. With Ardour, Mixbus, Tracktion, Waveform, Renoise, Bitwig, Sunvox, Radium and others the software is as good as it gets.

As for KXStudio, kudos to falkTX (I only recently put two and two together that he also developed energyXT) for putting together an impressive collection of audio tools and setting up Linux audio in a way that puts the user in the driver seat. I think Cadence alone is worth the price of admission for KXStudio.

Having experience with Linux gives me a bit of an advantage over someone who is learning the operating system, so I understand those who prefer the ISO. I would hope that you do both. The ISO for those who want to jump straight to recording out of the box and the repositories for those like myself, who would like to choose their environment and be able to tweak it to their liking.

Fedora
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Re: Skip the ISO and focus on documentation?

Postby Fedora » Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:11 pm

Sooo... what's the final verdict? :D

After a couple of non-music applicattions needed to be updated but wouldn't run on my system, I realized that my system is still happily chugging along on 14.04. I was able to run those applications using the beta KXStudio ISO, so a KXStudio upgrade is in my future. Rather than upgrade from 14.04, I'd prefer to just start over with 18.04 and the ISO makes that pretty easy. So, my vote is for the ISO, for purely selfish reasons.

Thanks for all your work on KXStudio... I wish I had some skills or resources to help you out in some way.

Cheers,

Fedora Jones (aka JMJ)

ciacnorris
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Re: Skip the ISO and focus on documentation?

Postby ciacnorris » Thu Sep 27, 2018 12:45 am

I vote for the ISO. The Linux audio world needs a good out-of-the-box experience, and KXStudio is the best one as far as I know, even if it lacks a modern DE like KDE5. With it it would be perfect, and I'm dying waiting for it.

I have just tried installing things from the repos in Kubuntu 18.04 and I just got errors and couldn't install anything, but I don't even have the time to investigate the issue.

merlyn
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Re: Skip the ISO and focus on documentation?

Postby merlyn » Fri Nov 23, 2018 12:19 am

Wondering how I would deal with Ubuntu 14 reaching its end of life, I ended up installing Arch. So i voted for skip the ISO.

Skipping the ISO does mean that there would be less routes for new users into Linux audio. The setup I'm putting together with Arch is 'better' than KX, in that it can run at a lower latency, but I would never have been able to do this if I hadn't used, broken, upgraded, re-installed and tweaked KX studio.

I think there does have to be an audio distribution that can cater to new users, but it seems to me that after a while every Linux musician is going to want to put their own system together. The out-the-box distributions, containing as they do, every piece of multimedia software for Linux known to mankind since 1492 are a great taster of what is available, but actually I found this a distraction because I was curious about what it all did, and felt compelled to try it all. Once I figured out what I would actually use I decided to set up a system with only those applications.

And falktx I must thank you for all your work. I couldn't have done it without you.

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Linuxmusician01
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Re: Skip the ISO and focus on documentation?

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Fri Nov 23, 2018 12:06 pm

Focusing on the ISO means serving one group of users, focusing on documentation serves everybody if you ask me. :)

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sysrqer
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Re: Skip the ISO and focus on documentation?

Postby sysrqer » Fri Nov 23, 2018 12:17 pm

merlyn wrote:The setup I'm putting together with Arch is 'better' than KX, in that it can run at a lower latency

What do you mean by this? What specifically did you do to change the latency, and how much of a difference are you talking?

merlyn
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Re: Skip the ISO and focus on documentation?

Postby merlyn » Fri Nov 23, 2018 3:49 pm

Hi sysrqer. I started a new topic about my setup : https://linuxmusicians.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=19223

asbak
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Re: Skip the ISO and focus on documentation?

Postby asbak » Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:14 pm

As the saying goes, the source code is the documentation.

I don't think it's very realistic to expect the coders writing open source software to also document it in fine detail. That's a job for somebody else to pick up the slack. The coders will usually be willing to clarify and explain tricky issues but that's as good as it's going to get.

For those who want documentation - that effort starts with YOU.

asbak
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Re: Skip the ISO and focus on documentation?

Postby asbak » Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:18 pm

Any standard Linux distro can be made to work well and with low audio latency. RT kernels and dual boot setups are not required. Your standard Linux Workstation will do just fine as an all-rounder provided it's been set up properly.

All that's required is for the basic tuning (described in countless sources) to be applied + to install a low-latency (also called a PREEMPT) kernel. RT kernel is not absolutely necessary for audio use and it causes more problems than it's worth.

Jack Winter
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Re: Skip the ISO and focus on documentation?

Postby Jack Winter » Fri Nov 23, 2018 11:32 pm

asbak wrote:RT kernel is not absolutely necessary for audio use and it causes more problems than it's worth


Might I ask what problems specifically? I use a rt kernel for maybe 10 years, and I don't know that it causes any more problems than any other kernel (except nvidia needing patching)..
Reaper/KDE/Archlinux. i7-2600k/16GB + i7-4700HQ/16GB, RME Multiface/Babyface, Behringer X32, WA273-EQ, 2 x WA-412, ADL-600, Tegeler TRC, etc 8) For REAPER on Linux information: https://wiki.cockos.com/wiki/index.php/REAPER_for_Linux

asbak
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Re: Skip the ISO and focus on documentation?

Postby asbak » Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:03 am

Last time I tried it some years ago on Mint there were endless system lockups. The situation may be different now, or your circumstances are different (different OS, different kernel version, different system setup). If a RT kernel works well in your setup for general day to day use then great.

However, the average punter who comes on here asking for help lacks the ability to resolve these kinds of problems yet because some people spread the gospel that "they must use a RT kernel", these users find themselves in a needless bind.

When RT did work for me (between lockups) I couldn't detect significant advantages (measured in xrun reductions at low-latency settings) compared to a PREEMPT kernel.

Put all these factors together and then ask whether a RT kernel is really necessary and worth the effort and whether it will deliver incalculable benefits to people who don't know what they're doing, compared to the ease of doing something like apt-get install linux-lowlatency

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CrocoDuck
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Re: Skip the ISO and focus on documentation?

Postby CrocoDuck » Sat Nov 24, 2018 2:01 pm

asbak wrote:However, the average punter who comes on here asking for help lacks the ability to resolve these kinds of problems yet because some people spread the gospel that "they must use a RT kernel", these users find themselves in a needless bind.


I don't see RT kernel recommended over and over nowadays. Even the wiki says it is most likely not necessary anymore.

Kernels >= 2.6.31 seem to work pretty well without RT patch, also for real-time pro audio usage. It's not strictly necessary anymore to install a real-time ('rt') kernel to get good results. Although the best results are still expected when using a real-time kernel. Try it, test it and decide for yourself.


Try, test in and decide for yourself. I don't think there are absolute truths in this realm. For example, with my current laptop and USB soundcard I cannot get any audio work done without RT kernel. Vanilla and lowlatency will give me a handful of xruns per second at the latency I need it to work. Instead, my desktop pulls it nicely with a firewire card and lowlatency kernel at the very same latency. It really depends on your hardware/software combo.

I think that when configuring a system for audio, the RT kernel is sort of the "heavy artillery". I would try it if good performances cannot achieved by any other mean.
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khz
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Re: Skip the ISO and focus on documentation?

Postby khz » Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:03 pm

Much of the RT branch is included in the standard kernel, anno ~version-2.6.25
Posted on Fr 18 April 2008 Finally, Secure Real-Time on the Desktop
http://0pointer.de/blog/projects/cgroups-and-rtwatch.html (https://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Kernel-Log-2-6-26-Entwicklung-laeuft-schwungvoll-an-Fehlerkorrekturen-fuer-2-6-24-und-2-4-36-201333.html)

A: For some uses, it can be helpful to run a realtime (RT) kernel, but generally this isn't necessary anymore. See the following JACK FAQ entry: Do I need a realtime kernel to use realtime scheduling?

In Linux kernels 3.0 and later, many of the additionally required realtime patches have been incorporated as standard. For those who are recording Audio, a standard non-realtime kernel may be sufficient for your needs, and running Jack with a non realtime kernel will work fine.

Source: https://wiki.linuxaudio.org/faq/start#qhow_to_optimize_my_system_for_audiomidi
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asbak
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Re: Skip the ISO and focus on documentation?

Postby asbak » Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:37 pm

CrocoDuck wrote:
asbak wrote:However, the average punter who comes on here asking for help lacks the ability to resolve these kinds of problems yet because some people spread the gospel that "they must use a RT kernel", these users find themselves in a needless bind.


I don't see RT kernel recommended over and over nowadays. Even the wiki says it is most likely not necessary anymore.


RT probably is the ultimate high performance solution for those who know what they are doing but that group excludes every single poster coming on here asking for advice.

That is why I clearly stated that SOME PEOPLE keep harping on about RT as if it's a requirement and then went at lengths to explain that IT WAS NOT AN ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT to obtain good low-latency performance.

It's really frustrating to see so much incorrect and irrelevant advice and group think "common wisdoms" being repeated again and again on this forum.

The truth as I see it:

- Any Linux distro will give good audio and low-latency performance provided it has been properly set up
- Almost all Linux distros low-latency audio performance suck straight out of the box
- Pulseaudio is poor but most of Linuxland is stuck with it now and we have to make do with workarounds to make it play nice with jack
- RT kernels are not essential for low-latency audio
- Standard kernels suck for low-latency audio
- A PREEMPT or low latency kernel is highly recommended and WILL outperform a standard kernel and works great for general purpose use and is easy to install
- Bad Videodrivers can mess with the quest to get good low-latency performance
- In some cases wireless networking causes issues
- USB hubs are a potential source of problems
- Many popular "prosumer" audio cards are over-priced and over-hyped by fanboys and don't offer anything special beyond what is already achievable with brands costing 1/2 the price or less


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