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Topic: The Current State Of Linux Audio

  1. #1

    The Current State Of Linux Audio

    Note: originally posted in Linux forum, but probably nobody will see it there, so I took the liberty of re-posting here.

    Now and then I become disenamoured of Microsoft. Like now, with the Windows 10 debacle, with MS now downloading huge files to your computer whether you want them or not. Which can be a problem for folks with slow internet, limits to their downloads, etc. MS doesn't care, they want to turn your computer into a phone. So, I look forward to the day when it will be possible to create music on Linux as easily as Windows. It is possible now of course, but our requirements on this forum are different from many, as we are classically oriented and favor notation over piano roll view.

    I've been doing some investigating, and here's what I see: While there is a DAW for Linux that is full-featured, namely Rosegarden, it is notoriously hard to work with. And I am not sure I could use my various sample libraries with it, thus having to seriously compromise my sound production. All other Linux DAWS don't have notation, as far as I can tell. There is a new professional DAW designed to work natively on Windows, Mack and Linux, "Bitwig." It too lacks notation, and appears geared to live-sound-types (it is really an offshoot of Ableton). Finally, there is Reaper. May be some potential here. With some work, it can be made to run on Linux. And there is some speculation that the devs may in future make it more Linux-friendly. And Reaper should soon have some sort of notation or staff view, it is definitely in the works.

    I have the Linux OS "Zorin" on another drive, and it works really well. Very fast, although it doesn't have the aesthetic appeal of Windows 7. No aero view, for example. But you can do everything you can do on windows with it, often better/faster. It's leaner, more streamlined. I'm pretty sure that when Windows 7 is no longer supported in 2020, I will be looking to transition completely to Linux, including my music. I don't like the direction MS is going in. Their new Privacy Policy alone is enough to keep me from anything beyond Seven. In fact, I am closing my MS accounts. I stress "am" as it is a process. Once you figure out to do it, they wait 60 days before really closing it. Once they have their hooks in you, they don't want to let go.

    The one thing we can do is advocate for software devs to make their products Linux-friendly. for example, my interface, a Steinberg UR-22, doesn't work on Linux. Supposedly you can make it work, but only a geek would be able to pull it off. All Steinberg has to do is write drivers for Linux and the problem would be solved. DAWS would be more difficult. Sonar, which is what I use (8.5 - no way I'm going pay on an ongoing basis for monthly updates that are irrelevant to my needs), will probably never run on Linux. There's just not enough money in it. At least now. that could change, if more people become disgusted with MS and migrate to Linux.

    So, that is the view as I currently see it. Just thought I'd share it and see if anyone has any thoughts on it. The computer world is going through big changes. Many of them for the worse, in my view. I do see Linux as a sort of potential savior. There is a great base to build on, but the demand must be there.

  2. #2
    Senior Member tedvanya's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Canada,winter Mexico

    Re: The Current State Of Linux Audio

    While most of what you are saying is sanscrit for me, the general idea I understand. Since MS 7 will go till 2020, and only their nonexisting support will cease at that time, selfish me, I do not worry too much, I will not live long enough to panic about it, I think you are giving a good service for the younger generation, so please accept my sincere aplause for your post. I thank you in their name.


  3. #3

    Re: The Current State Of Linux Audio

    Ahem: Ted, we will not allow you to follow windows 7 into an early grave. Good Lord, that's little more than four years away! Judging by your latest post, you have so much to offer. I for one need to know that someone your age can still get it done. I'm following not far behind, you know.

  4. #4

    Re: The Current State Of Linux Audio

    At the moment, I'm with Ted. I have Windows 7, it works, it's still being kept up to date by MS and all of my software for both my hobbies (music and photography) works well on it.

    Ten flat out scares me. No one seems to be reliably sure that Finale, Aria, Garritan, Reaper and my other music s/w will work properly on it. Likewise, over on the photography side, the folks at Corel and AVID say they are "still testing" their products on Windows 10, then suggest I update (at the cost of a small used car).

    THEN- my wife has a high-end embroidery setup which works awesome on windows 7, but neither Microsoft nor Janome (in Japan) is ready to say for sure that all will be well post-upgrade to 10. Again, for the cost of a small used car ($3500 in Karen's case), they will happily sell her the newest version, but in Karen's case, that also may just require a new $12,000.00 machine to use the end product. Her hobby would suddenly become more expensive than golf!

    So I am staying with 7.

    For now, at least.

    Kevin F..

    KM Frye- (SOCAN)
    Music Director- Four Seasons Musical Theatre- 2016

    Bella Vista Studios

    GPO4, JABB3, Garritan World Inst, REAPER, Roland VS2480 DAW

  5. #5
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Ellendale, ND

    Re: The Current State Of Linux Audio

    I also do not like the way Microsoft is going. After I deleted the "free" download option of Windows 10, I started getting sales/inquiry e-mail and, most recently, phone calls.

    During one conversation with a MS rep, I mentioned that I was not interested in turning my music PC into a web toy and that I do not use Cloud because I don't want to pay a monthly fee for a LOT of music programs that I don't need.

    He told me that in another 5 years all major software will be only on Cloud anyway, so I should save some money and jump on the bandwagon while it's free. Current software, he added, will not work in a few years unless accessed via Cloud.

    In other words, he lied. I checked with several sources and found that there is absolutely nothing MS can do to stop me using software that I already have on my hard drive. It was suggested that I do a regular hard drive replacement every so many years to prevent the loss of those programs because in fact they may be able to negate any downloads from sources other than Cloud. Apparently MS is already giving developers considerable cost cuts if they will stop providing boxed software.

    Now, my honest opinion is that third party visionaries will come to the rescue. When Adobe After Effects went to the Cloud, HitFilm 3 Pro came to the rescue with a very effective alternative at WAY less than 1/2 the price. And, when so many of the DAW developers announced they would soon be only available via Cloud and their prices began to skyrocket, PreSonus Studio 3 Pro came along at a very reasonable price.

    If Finale goes to Cloud subscription only I will stop upgrading that too.

    There. Add me to the list of those wantonly independent fools that refuse to pay developers for their R&D up front instead of over time, accept their horrendously bad support and their inability to understand what the individual artist needs and can pay for. There is a lot of excellent music being created by independent composers and producers that simply do not have big studio spending accounts.

    Excuse me, I think I need to go hug the puppy now.


  6. #6

    Re: The Current State Of Linux Audio

    Hey Kev, yeah I will also keep using W7 at least until 2020. Actually, on my music rig, I could continue using it indefinitely, since I keep it offline 90% of the time. I could simply permanently disconnect it from the web, downloading music software on my other machine via external drive, then shooting it over to the music rig. And since I use sonar 8.5 (which the Sonar people hate to hear, as they want me to keep paying Gibson for monthly updates so I can "stay current"); I don't have to worry about updating it. It works fine as it is, and probably always will, unless some kind of senility sets in. Or a Gibson employee sneaks into my house and sabotages it. (What, me paranoid? In any case, I made copies of my installation disks. I may put them in a safe deposit box).

    Tom: I can't believe MS actually is calling you on the phone to get you to upgrade! This borders on harassment. It just gets worse and worse. They don't attempt any of that with me. With posts on the Seven Forum like this,


    I'm sure they know it would be a waste of their time.

    Anyway, your post is on the money. What is sad is that not very long ago, MS was a great company, and a new version of Windows was an exciting event, and rightly so. Now, they have caught the fast train to Brave New World.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Ellendale, ND

    Re: The Current State Of Linux Audio


    "Brave New World" indeed. My lingering question is how did they even know I had deleted the upgrade icon. Maybe "1984" would be another good reference - just how far we from Room 101?

    Now where IS that puppy?


  8. #8
    Senior Member Silh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Alberta, Canada

    Re: The Current State Of Linux Audio

    I wish Linux audio was more advanced.

    I'd spent a number of years juggling various pieces of software along with some (really bad) code of my own, and eventually gave up because of VST instruments which require Windows to run.

    Everything else in my house runs Linux though. :P
    -- Matt Wong

  9. #9
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Shelton, Washington State

    Re: The Current State Of Linux Audio

    The Windows 10 upgrade icon appeared in the system tray of Windows 7 running in Apple's Bootcamp on my 5.1 2009 MacPro. Apple does not support Windows 10 running in Bootcamp for Macs older than two years so I removed the icon and set updates to manual. After that it took a long time to boot from OSX into Windows 7 and then the audio went bad in Aria. So I reset Windows 7 for automatic updates and the audio problem immediately cleared up. Interesting.

    I think for Linux to have any chance in the audio field there would need to be a consortium of the major developers interested in it.

  10. #10

    Re: The Current State Of Linux Audio

    Just wanted to point out that there is another DAW that works on Linux, as I recently discovered: Mixbus. At 79.00, it appears to be a good deal. A pro level DAW, with VST support. The catch? No notation. As usual. How I long for the day when computer music does not mean musical illiteracy!

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