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Realtime Audio/Video and linux., Newbie question


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#1 envelope

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Posted 10 October 2004 - 12:35 PM

Hi!

I'm thinking about trying out some gnu/linuxdistros for audio and videowork and want some advice upon choosing distro and maybe also supporting programs to download.

First it should be a "fresh" complement to windows and take the workload off some stuff.

One of my computers will have windows on most of the time, so I don't need more of the same apps in linux.

For the moment theres very little use for my ATI Radeoncard since there seems to be very bad support for it(it is an 9800SE AIW which I also softmodded to 8 pipelines, so that benefit would probably be lost anyway)
I'm almost new to linux(tryed out red hat linux a year ago or so) and recently tried a knoppix live-cd(which worked good)

On my wishlist:
0. (added afterwards) Best possible hardware support!
1. A stable OS which give me low latencys for music applications

2. top-notch multitasking capabilities.

3. Don't need any unneccesary webprograms or officelike clones at all. Don't use them much in windows , won't use them at all in linux! No clutter, no waste of diskspace, no waste of resources and lesser chances of hickups.

4. Easy to use but at the same time also very configurable, but in the easiest way(not with scripts or otherwise).

5. Inbuilt or otherwise supported abillities to do ghosting/imagecasting without affecting other partitions.

6. No hassle partitioning AND repartitioning, even when windows is present on the same harddisk. i.e no conflicts when also using partition magic 8 or even making partition magic unnecessary. Especially if removing a linuxpartition.

7. Some good defragmentation programs(must exist when using Kde or gnome or some other environment, just didn't come to them. By the way is the cluster size still that puny? Even under differnet Reiser FS? I really want to set up different clustersizes in different partitions, if it is possible. Larger cluster means better speed for large concsecutive files.

8. A good looking desktop that also is very tweakable.

9. Support for some windowsfiles or aps. For example coding and decoding different fileformats like mpeg-files and divx(to spare time if its faster than on windows).
Even better: abillity to run an encoding or converting session on 2 computers in parallell(clustring anyone?).

What I don't need:

1. Spend hours in dependency hell. Installing should be like choosing "custom installation" in windows when I install in linux.
2. Unsupported hardware or
3. Something messing up with my other partitions. To make it short:Bad support for working with the harddrive.
4. Any office,e-mail or other, for me, useless applications, but I really like the "quirky" small progs that seems to be common in linux.
5. problems with interuptsharing.
6. Any lightweight music or videoapps.
7. Mediaplayers, and stuff like that is also of no need.
8. A lot of admintools.
Even if it's a question of just uninstalling I don't need these aps there in the first place. But if it's still the fastest way to get where i want from what little i know about linux then I'll do it!
Same thing with recompiling the kernel. Fastest possible hazzlefree route please...

What i'm gonna use it for:

1.Triggering videosequences via midi(keyboard/synt)("Vj;ing). Also videoediting(but that is mainly done in windows)
2. midisequencers with softsynts and fx(but also mainly done in cubase and reason in windows).
3. encoding video. converting between formats.
4. If therer are any time left: just some quirky nonwindowslike funny apps or games.
5. If theres still time left:Programming in good'ol C.
6. This is important: batchrunning things is a must. also running batches where i can schedule different things(coding programs, editors and stuff like that) and also start and stop the computer with linux booting automatically.

It actually seems like I have more use for it in the "videodepartment".

I have read that agnula is the best distro for A/V(tweaked for audiouse at low OS-levels and lots of aps), but they seem to have discontinued it(or at least it isn't funded by the eu anymore).

All agnuladistributions also seems to need a "real" distro like Fedora 1(or red hat for older agnulas) or debian.
Are there other gnu/linuxes that could do the job as good as agnula?

If it works out allright i'll probably aim for a multiboot on both computers(and my third when it's complete after a final upgrade in a month or two) where I can choose between linux and windows and where they should be networked without probs. Samba?

I'm not new to computers, but i'm a linux newbie who have very little time because of all the other stuff I want to do!

And I know I have a tendency to "do just one more thing" (like writing another line in this post laugh ) and end up doing some very unneccesary timeconsuming stuff!
So what should i do? Go with agnula combined with Fedora(for ease of installation) and "trim it down" or combine it with debian (for possibly better speed and stabillity but not as easy to use) or should I take a completelly different road, like a smaller distro(loosing some agnulacapabilities)?
What about all the other programs? Like disktools? defragmentation, partitioning, resising clusters, ghosting and so on?



#2 Dapper Dan

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Posted 10 October 2004 - 03:46 PM

Hi envelope and welcome! smile

Please believe I'm not trying to get down on you because I'm not. But what I'm getting from reading your post is that you want Linux to do everything you want, and in a Windows way, yet you don't seem to be willing to invest the time necessary to make it happen.

It's kind of like saying you want to be a airplane pilot, but you don't want to invest the time necessary to learn how to be one. wink

Having said that, Linux is a very versatile OS, and can be almost anything you want it to be. It is highly customizable, and extremely robust and reliable. You can have many, if not most of the things you want on your "wish list." With most distros, it's a simple matter of installing what you want, and/or uninstalling programs you don't need after installation.

If you are willing to put in at least some time into learning Linux, I would recommend going with Mepis. It has a very intuitive interface, and has great hardware support, although you should research if your hardware is going to work with it, or take a "try it and see" approach. Mepis also gives you full access to the Debian repositories making available thousands of packages and applications that are installed with "apt-get," a very easy to use package manager.

Linux can open up a world of versatility and freedom to you in what you're looking to do, but in order to get there, it will require you to have at least as much knowledge about it, as you obviously already do about Windows. smile

#3 envelope

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Posted 10 October 2004 - 10:26 PM

Originally posted by Dapper Dan:
Quote:
Hi envelope and welcome! smile

Please believe I'm not trying to get down on you because I'm not. But what I'm getting from reading your post is that you want Linux to do everything you want, and in a Windows way, yet you don't seem to be willing to invest the time necessary to make it happen.

It's kind of like saying you want to be a airplane pilot, but you don't want to invest the time necessary to learn how to be one. wink

Having said that, Linux is a very versatile OS, and can be almost anything you want it to be. It is highly customizable, and extremely robust and reliable. You can have many, if not most of the things you want on your "wish list." With most distros, it's a simple matter of installing what you want, and/or uninstalling programs you don't need after installation.

If you are willing to put in at least some time into learning Linux, I would recommend going with Mepis. It has a very intuitive interface, and has great hardware support, although you should research if your hardware is going to work with it, or take a "try it and see" approach. Mepis also gives you full access to the Debian repositories making available thousands of packages and applications that are installed with "apt-get," a very easy to use package manager.

Linux can open up a world of versatility and freedom to you in what you're looking to do, but in order to get there, it will require you to have at least as much knowledge about it, as you obviously already do about Windows. smile


Thanks for the good advice about Mepis!
You don't get me wrong at all. The good thing about the linuxcommunity seems to be that there are so many helpfull people around.
I'm already convinced about all the positive sides of linux.
I would have loved to use it if it wasn't for a couple of nagging things.

The real thing that has put me off linux up until now is the bad support for some of my hardware. Seems like I must go the nvidia-route(buying a better card than my geforce 2mx), my ATI-AIW card just didn't work(in the past) as it should have.
Unfortunatelly it is the same with the audiocard(a new Emu 0404).

But it all changed when I recently purchased an abit nf7 mobo and an AMD barton. Seemed to work "out of the box" with knoppix(except for the audio, but I'm gonna check it out more).
It is a creative live platinumcard, for which I used Emu APS-drivers(the shared the same sound/dsp-chip, think it was reverseenginered from a gnu/linuxport of the apsdrivers but they where ditched for winxp/win2k), and now kx-drivers(which gave me low latency and other goodies), but this card is almost "retired".

It would be really nice to get my other computer working with linux as well, just for the h--l of it. Or swap some of the cards.
Buying old grapics and audiocards and choosing the brands with good driversupport seems to be a must.
But I had to choose an audiocard that would be the best buy for windowsaps in the first place i'm kinda stuck with it for the moment.
The only option for getting things to really work(not in a semi kind of way, like just getting 2d and losing some of the video-in/tvcapabilities on my graphics card) seems to be buying new cards just for linux.

About the "airplane piloting analogy" , trying linux for me actually feels more like beeing some kind of "Chuck Yaeger" crash test pilot(pushing the envelope smile ) . You have some hardware that you don't know if it works and like a testpilot you try it out and some things works but not fully and it eventually may lead to a crash, but mostly it doesn't even take off. So it's more of me trying not to fly with prop parts attached to a jetplane(or really using a guidance/controll system which doesn't support the prop part, if it would have worked).

On the other hand: in windows most things are on autopilot...flying with "suntrip" but strapped to the chair and paying a lot of money for a trip to Mallorca where you discover that you have payed a lot of money for a hotell which wasn't as good as you thought it would be and you are more or less stuck with it since you have both breakfast and dinner included...

And everything is streamlined with the same look and so on...
And the service gets worse the longer you stay eventually even the hotell crashes, with no working fireexit(locked)! And you get no really good explanation why it happened afterwards. Everybody just blaming each others about the cause of the crash....

Linux(or the gnu-part maybe) initially feels to me like using the old Borland C or turbopascal(yeeears ago, in the early windows 3 /dos days) compilers, with all the directory-trees with /bins /library and a lot of time spent on configuring and make the stuff workable.
Making the environment work was usually harder than the actuall programming. I just want to delve into the interesting stuff.

It also reminds me of a port of a gnu c/c++ compiler(djgpp ) which I tried 3-4 years ago. Very, very many different packages being installed, different paths set, the right libraries, setting of some variables and so on. That puts me off(even if it finally worked).

I have also gone the visual C++ route, but didn't like the lack of controll of what was really going on.
I tried some wrappers when making t usually ended up in me going away from win32 and doing some consoleprogs instead.

But, as I said, most of the time i'm totally fascinated by making music and doing videoediting(mostly from recorded tv-clips) and playing it all live/realtime. It takes up most of my time spent at the computers.

I'm definitelly willing to put in the effort, but just concentrating on the important stuff! I'm kindof trying to avoid all possible "timewastetraps" and just scanning the web for a "good compromise" between time spent on configuring and useabillity/performance.

I'm definitelly gonna check mepis out. It seems to be a fast climber among the popular distros.

Thanks again for the fast response!
laugh




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