[Ardour-Users] OSX vs Linux

John Emmas johne53 at tiscali.co.uk
Sun Aug 23 02:24:06 PDT 2009

Thomas has given you a superb appraisal of the differences between the two
OS's.  I can only add by saying that in my experience Linux, whatever its
perceived benefits. is above all else a "high maintenance" OS.  To be fair,
Linux is slowly getting better at working "out of the box" but it's not
there yet.  Someone (not necessarily the user) needs to be willing to spend
a long time learning about and dealing with configuration issues.  Your
friend's wife is not going to welcome this if she's a Mac fan.

That said, my guess is that any support you give is most likely to be for
your friend's musical ambitions, rather than his wife's day-to-day usage.
In fact, if she's got any sense she'lll probably ban you from touching the
machine if you're unfortunate enough to do something that has undesirable
repercussions (which will almost certainly happen if they buy a Mac and you
end up having to tinker around with an unfamiliar OS).  So have they
considered buying a Mac and dual-booting it with Linux?  Maybe that would
keep all three of you happy.  You and you friend could tinker to your
heart's content without ever affecting hiw wife's precious OS-X.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Thomas Vecchione" <seablaede at gmail.com>
To: "Luc Tanguay" <lucus at sympatico.ca>
Cc: <ardour-users at lists.ardour.org>
Sent: 23 August 2009 03:22
Subject: Re: [Ardour-Users] OSX vs Linux

> On Sat, Aug 22, 2009 at 8:50 PM, Luc Tanguay <lucus at sympatico.ca> wrote:
>> I need advise.
>> A musician friend of mine wants to build a small home-studio.  Seeing my
>> setup he wants Adrour at the center of it all... (A good demo is a good
>> selling point :-) I'm running Linux (64 studio on a dual-core AMD PC) so
>> I
>> suggest him Linux... But his wife being a Mac addict, and he, having
>> already
>> used some Mac to do simple tasks (photo, video, drawing), wants to go
>> Mac.
>> On Ardour site, in System Requirements, I read OS X and Linux. But I need
>> feedback from users of both camp...
>> If he goes Linux I can help him with Ardour and the rest... But if he
>> goes
>> Mac OS X, I have no clue and no time to learn yet another operating
>> "environment" to do simple task like update/install software, add/modify
>> hardware devices (disks, MIDI keyboard, dual-monitor, ...), modify system
>> parameters (dynamic CPU speed, PCI latency, ...), compile/link source
>> code,
>> ...
>> What is the easiest path? (I would add: ... the easiest path for me :-)
> I personally would say that is likely the wrong addition there, it should
> be
> the easiest path for him (And his wife) since they will be the ones using
> it.
> Ok background info here.  I am currently on OS X primarily for my audio
> work.  I will get to why in a moment.  I have for a long time run a Linux
> workstation, and consider myself a firm supporter of the _possibilities_
> or
> Linux, however I do not consider myself a supporter of the default Linux
> state for professional audio as it currently stands.  It is FAR from user
> friendly for most users, and particularly newcomers.  I can set up a
> workstation for my own use in a very short order, but I know far more than
> most newcomers will for some time.  Try to explain what a pre-emption
> capable kernel is, or why you need to be a member of a 'group' and have a
> specific text file set up and it turns most off.  Admittedly there are
> some
> (few) distributions that come close to providing a 'decent' out of the box
> experience for newcomers for the initial install for the purpose of
> professional audio.  But once you get past that initial install things
> tend
> to require more work when dealing with the normal working environment,
> getting non-jack and jack software working together(Flash, Pulse, and Jack
> in a big pot anyone?), doing upgrades to the newest versions of software
> (Like Ardour for instance) etc. tend to need more work than they should
> really.
> OS X on the other hand provides a much stronger out of the box experience
> for most newcomers.  You can install Jack and Ardour(Very easily I might
> add
> in both cases, though not quite as easily as apt or similar systems), you
> already have a machine capable of realtime audio out of the box, no text
> editing, groups, etc. necessary.  You also have all software working
> together, even with Jack, very well and very easily.  Additionally you
> have
> things like wider hardware support and AU plugin support from the OS going
> in its favor as well.
> All this being said, as someone that used Linux for a long period of time,
> and still does for other machines and purposes, I find the workflow on OS
> X
> very limiting myself.  It is very much "Apple's way or we take a rod and
> shove it up..."  Compared to the workflow I could set up on Linux, I MUCH
> prefered my workflow on Linux.  I could tweak Linux to my hearts content
> and
> get better performance out of it than I ever can on OS X, just because of
> how open it is.  However I can't look away form the capability of running
> AU
> plugins that have no quality equivalent on Linux, for instance the
> restoration suite I just bought.  And I will admit to loving the sound of
> my
> Duet and having the hardware support on OS X, as well as the capability to
> occasionally run software that I much prefer to the equivalent on Linux,
> like Final Cut.  In the end it comes down to using the tool that best fits
> the job, and for me right now OS X is sadly the best tool for the job, or
> rather has the best tools available for it.
> So to go back and look at specific points in your email...
> But if he goes Mac OS X, I have no clue and no time to learn yet another
>> operating "environment" to do simple task like update/install software,
> Very simple.  As mentioned it is not as easy as a package management
> system
> getting the software for you and all its dependencies, but installing
> software is a matter of two things usually.  Either Drag and Drop into the
> "Applications" folder(Ardour is an example of this), or double click and
> run
> an installer(JackOSX is an example of this)
>> add/modify hardware devices (disks, MIDI keyboard, dual-monitor, ...),
> For the most part they are automatically detected and you don't have to do
> anything.  No fstab to modify, no text files to modify to get dual
> monitors
> working, etc.
>> modify system parameters (dynamic CPU speed, PCI latency, ...),
> You don't.  In fact I would be surprised if you ever needed to on OS X for
> the VAST majority of users.
>> compile/link source code, ...
> Both easy as Linux and not so easy at the same time.
> Easy in as far as gcc is part of the XCode toolkit that is on the install
> disks and you can easily install.  Not so easy in as far as most of the
> software you are probably looking to compile is things like Ardour, which
> is
> very difficult as it requires compiling and setting up an environment for
> GTKOSX as well as all dependencies, and sometimes dealing with problems in
> build systems set up for Linux that don't port easily to OS X, as well as
> differences in the provided libs between the platforms.   This is another
> example of, "Apple's way or we shove it up your..." as compiling programs
> coded for OS X using OS X's libs (Cocoa, Carbon, Quartz, etc.) is easy,
> but
> compiling ports from Linux can be much more involved due to needing to
> bring
> over all the libs as well.
> Which one would be best really depends on the goals of the users, and the
> users themselves.  In general as much as people might disagree, for the
> majority of users as things stand currently, OS X is probably the easier
> path for the users for the purposes of professional audio.  Doesn't
> necessarily mean it is the best path in all cases though, I am looking at
> setting up some custom Ardour and Pd boxes for a dedicated use that I
> won't
> be hesitating to use Linux for, OS X would be to limiting.
>        Seablade


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