I wrote a
little bit a couple of weeks ago about getting a nice new
Focusrite Saffire Pro 26 I/O to do multi-channel recording on my
64Studio Linux box. Since then I've hooked it up and gotten it
running, but not on 64Studio. It doesn't include the all-important
FFADO Firewire drivers and user interface, and I couldn't build
them from sources due to a weird dependency conflict that wouldn't
even let me install a build environment.
So. On to Plan B. I installed Ubuntu Studio 9.10 because it
includes FFADO. It took a few tweaks to get things working, but
working they are and I have made some good test recordings in
Audacity. Haven't gotten Ardour working with the Saffire yet as
there seems to be some sort of issue with JACKD, the wonderful
low-latency audio server and router. High-end audio production on
computers is still very much in its infancy so don't be surprised
at running into a few speedbumps. Windows supports more devices,
sort of (a lot of them not very well, and it is a complete mystery
to me why any hardware vendor would be happy with crappy drivers
for their products), but Linux is way more stable, reliable, and
efficient of system resources. Audio production is CPU-intensive so
you don't want an OS that needs a dual-core just to get out of its
KDE on Windows
I think this is a marvelous thing. It has a ways to go and is still
very alpha, but it's a move in the right direction. The more
bridges we build away from Windows the better. Yeah, I know, people
who aren't willing to leap in headfirst and enthusiastically are
all defective and everything, but in the real world bridges work
better than carping. The applications and interface are more
important to most users than being system administrators, and
delivering a usable system that they can start playing with
immediately is a good way to get them excited and interested.
I think every computer use should know some basic system
administration for their own systems, just like car owners should
be able to check oil, water, and air, and notice obvious problems
like shredded fan belts and smoking wheel bearings. But first we
learn to drive, and with computers the path starts with a usable
system full of appealing apps. Later come the explorations under
the hood. Which brings me to...
Evicting Gimp is a Big Ubuntu Mistake
This has been generating a lot of discussion this week-- at the
Ubuntu Developer Summit it was decided to remove Gimp from the
LiveCD. Supposedly they think the F-Spot digital photo manager is a
good enough replacement.
Bad move, Ubunterites. F-Spot is not an image editor and drawing
program, it's a photo manager, and not a very good one. Even if you
like it as a photo manager let me repeat it is nothing like Gimp,
or even the simplest image editor and drawing program. It has very
limited editing capabilities, and you can't just open an image and
edit it, you have to import it into an album. Oh yeah, and it's not
an image editor/drawing program, in case anyone forgot.
The rationale for dropping Gimp is it's too hard for the
"average user." Here we go again with the mythical Average User who
is too stupid to do anything. As a commenter on LXer.com noted,
Gimp is one of the flagship FOSS desktop applications, along with
Firefox and OpenOffice. LiveCDs are Linux ambassadors; many users
have their first Linux experience with a Linux LiveCD. Leaving off
our very best is a mistake, especially when it's to make room for
the likes of F-Spot and Tomboy. Give them GQview and Gnote instead,
though I don't see a note-taking app as a must-have.
I have a suspicion that this demonstrates how deeply Mono has
become entrenched in Ubuntu. Gimp critics like to complain that
it's not Adobe Photoshop. True, it lacks CMYK support and other
features essential to producing very high-quality professional
color prints. For everything else it's great, it makes excellent
Web images and darned good color prints.
How different is Gimp? Not very, I think the critics have never
touched it. Virtually all image editing programs have similar
toolsets, the brush, pencil, airbrush, bucket fill, crop, eraser,
fonts, and so on. Higher-end ones support layers and bales of
plugins and add-ons. I think what the critics really want is
Photoshop for free just because it is expensive, like the trendy
folks who only wear brand-name apparel with high price tags. Like
paying more makes those denim jeans that came out of the same
factories as the cheap ones wear better. At any rate anyone who has
touched a decent image editing/paint program before will do fine in
Gimp, and someone who has never used one has some learning to do.
Requiring a user of a product to learn anything seems to be a
criminal offense anymore.
Forgot to complete the cross-platform thought...Gimp is popular on
Windows, so that's another reason to include it on a LiveCD along
with other familiar apps like Firefox. Familiarity = easier
Best of Breed Ambassador Linux
There are some of the apps I would put on a Linux LiveCD to show
off some of the best desktop apps, in no particular order or master
plan: Digikam, Kmail, Thunar, Firefox, Abiword, Krita, GFTP, K3b,
Pidgin, Gimp, Kooka, Kate, OOo, Gimp, Audacity, Ardour,
ImageMagick, VLC, Amarok, KolourPaint, Tuxpaint, Gparted, and WICD.
What gets your vote for best-of-breed?
Everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving I wish a wonderful and
excellent holiday, and for everyone who doesn't I wish a wonderful
and excellent day!