[ardour-users] A decent sound card for Ardour

John Emmas johne53 at tiscali.co.uk
Fri Feb 9 12:28:25 PST 2007

Paul - I know we're digressing into commercial politics here but I'm going
to ask you for a moment to put yourself in the position of being a hardware
manufacturer.  I've been having this very discussion on a couple of Linux
forums recently.  Here's the problem as I see it, from the perspective of a
new user.....

Windows (whatever you might think of it) has one glorious thing going for
it - namely, the ease of installation both of hardware drivers and software.
I'm not saying it was always like this.  It wasn't.  But for at least the
past 5 years, installing ANYTHING under Windows has been a simple matter of
double clicking a file called SETUP.EXE and sitting back while the whole
thing sorts itself out.  You may or may not need a reboot at the end - but
either way, your software or hardware will be up & running in no time WITH
NO INTERVENTION FROM YOU (and that's the important bit).

Contrast that with Linux.... APPLICATION installations are mostly quite
slick due to utilities such as Synaptic - but frankly, driver installation
is a complete and utter mess.  There are almost as many different procedures
in use as there are different kinds of hardware.  For example, some drivers
can be installed using apt-get install.  A few can be updated by Synaptic.
Some are in self-extracting zip files or tarballs.  Others require you to
extract a tarball and then run some kind of setup utility.  Others use a
scripting approach.  Some (indeed most) require a command shell - often
requiring you to enter cryptic parameters that only mean something to the
person who wrote the program.  Some installations automatically overwrite
pre-existing files.  Other don't.  Some drivers require 'make'.  Some
require you to manually create or edit config files.  Others attend to any
editing automatically.  The list of different approaches is endless.  I've
even come across one driver where the installation method involved copying
the relevant driver from my Windows partition and running a utility that
re-configured it for Linux...!

The potential for error when installing Linux drivers is absolutely
enormous.  If I were a hardware manufacturer I wouldn't go near Linux with a
barge pole.  Why should I let my company's reputation be sullied by this
absolute mish-mash of inconsistency?  Installing hardware under Linux is
nothing less than a lottery.

If Linux wants manufacturers to take it seriously, it needs to define a
single, unifed strategy for driver installation - so that, no matter what
the driver; no matter who wrote it - users always install it the same way.
For the past 12 weeks I've spent around 2 days per week trying out different
flavours of Linux.  So far, I haven't done a single productive thing with it
in all that time.  My entire time has been spent purely & simply trying to
make the hardware work.

I've no doubt that Linux (in use) is every bit as good as any other modern
OS but setting it up can be an absolute nightmare.

I know that this isn't what you guys want to hear - but I'm afraid it's the
truth :-(

Best regards,

(and very sincere thanks to everyone who's helped me along the way.  Don't
think I'm being ungrateful.  I'm not - but I think that the above needed to
be said).

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