[Ardour-Users] The future?

Justin M. Streiner streiner at cluebyfour.org
Wed Aug 11 03:59:42 PDT 2010

On Wed, 11 Aug 2010, david headon wrote:

> Ardour/Jack users from the Gentoo or SuSe community, are there any 
> advantages to running a system on these platforms?

I've used Ardour on Gentoo for several years and when you get everything 
working, it's great.  You have the advantage of being able to tune 
the system for maximum performance more easily than other distros 
since you're building your kernel and most packages from source.

Getting things working (and keeping them working in when faced with 
upgrades) can be a bit more cumbersome than I'd really like to deal with 
on a production system.  There have been more than a few times that an 
upgrade of one library that the author decided not to make backward 
compatible with previous versions brought an otherwise functional machine 
to a grinding halt.  I've found that the realtime kernel patch 
occasionally interfered with rolling basic parts of a new kernel 
(framebuffer drivers and whatnot), to the point where you end up 
straying pretty far off the beaten path in terms of being able to get 
assistance on the Gentoo boards.  Most of the audio/multimedia stuff 
requires the use of packages from the ~x86 portage tree, which can back 
you into a corner if you have lots of packages installed and run into 
another patch of dependency hell.

I don't mean this to come across as Gentoo bashing - it's just that being 
able to tune your machine to the degree possible with Gentoo often comes 
with unanticipated penalties in terms of downtime.  That can probably be 
minimized by keeping the Ardour machine as much of a "single-tasker" as 
possible, but for many people that isn't an option.  Another approach that 
can work is building two machines, and using one as the guinea pig for 
testing out upgrades to get things stable before upgrading the production 
system, but many people don't have, or don't want to maintain two separate 

I've played around with it on Arch Linux, and getting it up and running 
wasn't too bad.  My two issues with Arch were 1. getting SATA RAID 
(fakeraid) mirrored partitions running was more painful than the docs let 
on, and 2. I didn't see a way to get a realtime-patched kernel, and my 
read of various docs and wikis seemed to suggest that the Arch maintainers 
dind't see the RT patch as being necessary for allowing apps like Ardour 
to work most efficiently.  That seemed to contradict most everything I've 
read on the subject.

The next step for me would probably be to give ubuntustudio, 64studio or 
AV Linux a try on a test machine.


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