Since it is a slow news day, I thought I’d share some thoughts I’ve been meaning to post but have been taking a back seat to my usual blogging and podcasting.
When I made the decision to try to move my daily activities in my home office, aka The Lab, back to an all open stack I promised regular updates. Since that first weekend, though, I haven’t found much time to make actual progress. I still have a laundry list of things to look into, mostly device and driver compatibility work to be able to do more of the podcast production under Linux. Unfortunately, none of my audio gear works with the latest stock installation of Ubuntu, not even with the Ubuntu Studio meta-packages installed.
My mixer uses FireWire which seems poorly supported for anything other than mass storage. There is a dedicated driver project, ffado, that claims compatibility with a model similar to my mixer. The pre-compiled version doesn’t work, my mixer doesn’t show in my KDE system settings audio device section. I do see the ffado drivers available in Audacity and Ardour but they simply don’t work. I am hoping that compiling from the latest sources may fix this.
As an alternative, I did try to fire up Audacity with my USB portable recorder. My H4n can drive my studio mics, has decent preamps, and can be connected as a multi-channel audio interface. Hooking the recorder up worked. At least until I stop recording on a track and tried to start recording again. The error I got from the crash seems to indicate I may need to get a bleeding edge version of port audio compiled.
Both these lower level audio compiles will probably kick off a cascade of other re-compiles for the applications that make use of them. It’s hard to see how I can carve off an hour or two of this effort to pursue every odd weekend. That has held me back from even trying. I guess my fear is that if I get an hour or two in and want to stop for the day, doing so may not be possible if I’ve wrecked my system in some way. If I had another Mac on which I could try things out without fear of horking my main system, I suppose that would help. Maybe I need yet another internal hard drive to triple boot to do just that.
To be fair, talking in such detail about these obstacles doesn’t paint a representative picture of my daily use of my Linux install. All of the communications and social applications I use work beautifully and my morning routine has been smoothly re-tooled so I can enjoy my coffee and my morning catch up without any hitches. My daily writing tasks also have been undertaken almost exclusively on Linux since the switch with no hiccups or complaints. The only time I write on OS X is when I want to work on my laptop on which I haven’t even considered installing Linux because of the ensuing hassles that would arise from my aging iPod which still needs at least one Mac with which to sync.
Speaking of the iPod, I did see news this morning that Samsung may be releasing a new Android based personal media player under their Yepp brand. According to what little information I could find, the player may essentially be a Galaxy without the phone components. It certainly would be smaller than the Dell Streak, which I have been contemplating. There is no US release date or price information. The version that is out overseas lookes like it is running Android 2.1 and from the screen shots appears to have the Market icon, two huge advantages over the Streak. If Samsung releases this gadget stateside, my personal media player may be the next bit of gear to receive some Linux love.
Setting aside my qualms about Apple’s mobile platform, I am getting tired of the increasing quirks of my aging iPod and would be glad of an updated device regardless of the make. I have even been contemplating just getting a dead nuts simple media player that is Linux friendly, usually entertaining the thought when my iPod’s touch screen goes out to lunch for no apparent reason.