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    linux?

    Hi Chris,

    How are you coming with the Suse partition on your machine?

    I've never tried to drive a high end system from Linux, so I have only a very casual impression of the various playback engines. I know that the functionality in Amarok is great and it sounds OK (in context) through my on-board sound card and low-end desktop speakers and that's about it.

    I notice that MT-DAAP now has a name - FireFly - and that if you want a thin client for it, the Roku works. That could be interesting. I gave an early version a quick spin on a virtual machine some time ago and it looked good. I never really pursued it because my need to serve iTunes went away. I never got into the meaty questions of what formats it would serve and whether it would serve hi-res files.

    I would be interested to see what you find. My SqueezeCenter server chugs along on the family server (Mandriva 2007) for months at a time without a hiccup or a service restart.

    -Carl

    Edit: I just cruised the FrieFly site and I find, somewhat to my surprise, that they have a GUI now. It's web-based for "real" (Sorry. Couldn't help myself) OSes and it's an actual applet window for Windows. I know some people are kind of allergic to software they can't see, even if it's a server. So this bit of news might be a deal-maker for somebody. Cheers - Carl

    The Computer Audiophile's picture
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    Hi Carl - Slowly but surely it's coming along. I'm not really happy with the current applications because I want the same functionality and sound quality as I get on a Mac or PC. Anyway, I'm far from giving up and will continue to find the best Linux options available.

    __________________

    Chris Connaker

    Founder
    Computer Audiophile

     
    carlseibert's picture
      Joined: .:. .:. Comments:

    Which players and audio engines have you tried?

    -Carl

     
    BEEMB's picture
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    I'm interested in this also - I'd like to install Linux simply to have a play around.
    Keep us posted.

    __________________

    HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

     
    geekinthehood's picture
      Joined: .:. .:. Comments:

    I'm interested in your findings on Linux, too. I plan to build a Linux based music/media player, but I'm a little disappointed in your reports of better sound quality from Mac/Win solutions. I was hoping to keep my solution all open source, but that might not be possible.

    I love the site, BTW. This is exactly the info I was looking for.

    __________________

    --darren

     
    BEEMB's picture
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    How easy is it to install Linux ? ... partition my hard disk, create a DVD ISO then go for it ?? Can I easily dual boot between Vista and Linux on my PC ?

    Question aimed at any Linux experts there may be around here !

    __________________

    HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

     
    geekinthehood's picture
      Joined: .:. .:. Comments:

    Here's a link to get you started:

    A site with all the news of any new Linux distrobutions. You'll be amazed at how active the Linux world is:

    http://distrowatch.com/

    From there you can link to reviews of any of the distros and go to their site to download an ISO to burn a LiveCD with. A LiveCD lets you boot straight from the CD to try it out. Download several ISOs, burn a few CDs, and try them out. It couldn't be easier. You can quickly figure out which distros you like, which you don't, and which won't even boot on your computer. (the Linux world isn't perfect...) If you like it, you can use the same CD to install from. You literally have nothing to lose when you try a LiveCD.

    Most distros have an active and very helpful forum, so you should've have any problem getting help if you need it.

    BTW, a distro contains much more than just the OS - it also contains dozens of full-fledged applications.

    __________________

    --darren

     
    BEEMB's picture
      Joined: .:. .:. Comments:

    Darren,

    Many thanks for the information. Something to try tonight I think at home.

    Could you recommend a distro ? What is your favourite.

    Is the dual boot function part of the setup process ? I don't wish to lose Vista.

    What Media Player software are you using ?

    __________________

    HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

     
    geekinthehood's picture
      Joined: .:. .:. Comments:

    I have a network set up at home with one dedicated file server two other computers I use for day-to-day stuff. The server runs Linux (OpenSuse), but the other two computers run Windows (2000 & XP). It's not that I don't want to use Linux, just that I already had them set up with Windows before I started learning about Linux. Linux has made great strides in the last few years. I don't know that I could've effectively replaced Windows a couple years ago, but I'm sure I could now.

    Actually, I should put a qualifier on that: There are still some Windows/Mac applications that simply don't have a full replacement in Linux, yet. i.e. Gimp is good enough for me, but it's not Photoshop. YMMV

    That said, when my sister's eMachines (Windows) computer crashed, I brought over a few Linux distros, tried them all out, and installed the one she liked best. I think it was OpenSuse as well. It's worked fine for her ever since.

    Despite my having good luck with OpenSuse, I don't really have a favorite distro. Here are some I'd recommend trying:

    OpenSuse
    PCLinuxOS
    Ubuntu
    Mepis (SimplyMepis)
    Mandriva
    Mint
    gOS

    Just remember that they all have a pretty screenshot, but it's the functionality you need.

    Of particular interest to people in this forum is this distro:
    eAR OS
    http://www.earos.dk/
    http://www.linux.com/feature/138508
    http://forums.raiden.net/viewtopic.php?t=16153

    There may also be other distros with a media focus.

    Since I only use it as a file server right now, I don't have media player or dual boot experience to share.

    __________________

    --darren

     
    carlseibert's picture
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    Hi BEEMB,

    This is such a YMMV question that I almost hesitate to chime in. But....

    I've used Mandriva for several years and am pretty happy with it.

    When I last upgraded, I looked at a few distros and I rather liked Suse (I was looking at the SLED version) and Ubuntu (Kbuntu, actually, since I'm a dyed-in-the-wool KDE user). Kbuntu was nice but it was a bit stripped-down for my tastes. I felt like I would be installing packages until the cows came home. I rather liked SLED. The support seemed pretty good and I liked the configuration interfaces, but in the end I stayed with Mandriva, mostly because I didn't see a giant advantage in Suse and I've been comfortable with Mandriva and Red Hat (on which Mandriva was originally based) for such a long time.

    A buddy of mine had some trouble with Slimserver (now SqueezeCenter) on Ubuntu. That might matter to you if have Squeezeboxes. I haven't tried MT-DAAP (now Firefly) on anything but Mandriva, but I can't imagine it putting up too much of a fight. It seemed pretty straightforward.

    And hey, one of the the beauties of Linux is that if some application doesn't like your distro, if you put enough effort into it, you WILL make it work. Sometimes it's a pain when something is hard to install and configure, compared to how easy it is on Windows or Mac, but on Windows and Mac, a lot of times, if it doesn't work straight out of the box, you're just plain out of luck.

    May the Penguin be with you...

    -Carl

     
    Maarten's picture
      Joined: .:. .:. Comments:

    Hi,

    I just found this board; besides becoming an audiophile, I'm a fan of linux and open source. Installing linux is actually very easy. Some distributions (e.g. Ubuntu) allow you to run from a dvd without installing anything on your drive. Good to check out how you like it and if all you're hardware is supported. Dual boot is a standard option with linux. Make sure you have windows installed first as it may not work the other way around (because windows doesn't care about linux). Linux also comes with great tools to repartition your harddisk if necessary (great from a live-dvd/cd!), much more flexible than standard windows ones.

    Once you are comfortible with linux you can tweak it exactly as you want. I recommend using alsa for audio output instead of one of the mixers like gstreamer; you only want to hear the music anyway, no system sounds etc. Alsa should be set-up out of the box to output bit-perfect music (as long as your soundcard supports the sample type and frequency). It is a good idea to check if your soundcard is supported on alsa-project.org.

    There is a huge variety of players out there for linux. You could check sourceforge.net to find many of them. Personally, I use a simple but effective player: moc (moc.daper.net). No gui (it's a console app), no visualization, no database, but it's light-weight, small, gappless and does everything I need. Using a stripped down linux version I boot within 15 seconds and I can do with a low-specced system. I'm thinking now about buying a new audio-pc which will be fanless (and therefore a bit slow), so that's impotant.

    Going the open-source route also allowed me to get the most out of my soundcard, a semi-professional RME HDSP9632. As it is intended for recording as well, it doesn't automatically switch sample rates (neither will it do so on windows) but I could easily modify my player of choice to force it to do so anyway. I also set it up to copy the left and right channels to the subwoofer channel in hardware in that way. This would have been impossible or more difficult in windows.

    Good luck
    Maarten

     
    soundcheck's picture
      Joined: .:. .:. Comments:

    Hi there.

    I just stepped over this thread. I am deeply involved in Linux Audio since more then two years by now.
    I started with Unix 16 years ago.

    Linux offers an endless variety of tools, players ( to name some Amarok, Audacious, VLC, Music Player daemon, network players, professional audio software (Jack ,ecasound, Ardour), convolver ( Jconv, brutefir) etc. - you name it.

    Linux has the great advantage over Windows. You won't need kernel streaming/ASIO or similar.
    For best sound quality you can route your traffic right to the interface.

    There is no other system offering a real realtime kernel. No other OS can cope with extremely low performing
    hardware. If you want to setup a headless streaming client with 256MB RAM it'll perform just great if using e.g.
    PuppyLinux.

    If you go for Ubuntu Studio or 64 Studio you'll find already great optimized Linux-distros focused on audio.
    Ubuntu would be my first choice for a Linux entrant, since installation and support is the best and most comprehensive you can find in the Linux world.

    In the end most distros are pretty similar, since they all use 95% the same range applications and windows-managers.
    It's just a matter of integration, support (patches and most actual software) and colors ;) what makes the difference between distros.

    My preferred applications ( these are available on all Linux!) distros:

    Player: Music player daemon ( sounds great, you can use it for headless clients; can be controlled from any client
    via e.g. Firefox-Minion in the network)
    Convolution and filtering: brutefir (there is no faster engine around, sounds also great and runs on realtime-kernel)
    Recording,mixing and playback: ecasound (great quality commandline tool, realtime optimized, sounds awesome)
    Video: VLC player
    Conversions and SRC: SOX ( The swiss army knife - There is no better tool that I am aware of around for sample rate
    conversion. You can pretty much convert all formats to all formats. Your options seem to be endless)

    Where is light there is dark:

    Sometimes you'll face problems with soundcard support or you just get limited functionality with your card. Most of the manufactures are still not willing to share the sources. Beside that they wouldn't involve themselves. The key issue
    is not the effort behind writing a driver (which could be rather easily ported from OSX). It is more the willingness
    to support Linux.
    I think if they'd open up a bit more they could even boost their HW sales. They are not making money on the SW - that's for sure. The involved people in ALSA ( the Linux audio layer) development is still somewhat limited, which is causing delays on driver availability even if the data-sheets are made available by the manufactures. Don't forget that
    there are still many many hobbyists involved, who spent their free time to produce drivers to the community.

    However, e.g. 4 Front Technologies is providing proprietary - non-opensource drivers for e.g. Lynx cards. I'd like to see more of this. If Linux keeps growing like in the last two years - more and more manufactures will have to jump on this
    train.

    There is no risk behind trying an e.g Ubuntu. It can be easily installed and it costs you nothing. You just need to spare
    4GB of your TerraByte HDD and two hours (incl. download) for installation to get it going. ;)

    Have fun.

    Cheers

     

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